Meet Your New Iron “Man,” A 15 Year Old Black Woman

Riri Williams

As Marvel Comics continues their “All-New Marvel” launch, we are looking at even more changes and diversity for some of our favorite comic characters. The next character to go through a radical change is Iron Man. In the aftermath of the Civil War II arc, it appears that Tony Stark will no longer wear the mantle of Iron Man. Filling in his shoes will be Riri Williams, a 15-year-old black woman who is a student at MIT. A child prodigy, much like Tony Stark was, Williams already created her own Iron Man armor out of spare parts while a student in college. She was introduced in the Invincible Iron Man series, and will soon be taking over Tony Stark.

Creator of the character Brian Michael Bendis will remain as the writer for the new volume of the Invincible Iron Man series with the Riri Williams taking over. Given his track history, Bendis has no problem adding more diversity to Marvel’s roster.

“Thankfully because of my involvement in the creation of Miles Morales and Jessica Jones and some other characters, it’s getting the benefit of the doubt from even the most surly fans. There are fans who say, ‘Show us the new stuff,’ and then there are fans who say, ‘Don’t do anything different from when I was a kid.’ So when you’re introducing new characters, you’re always going to have people getting paranoid about us ruining their childhood. I’ve been down this road with Miles Morales, Jessica Jones, Maria Hill. I knew I was in good hands with Mike Deodato and other artists who are helping visualize Riri.”

Of course, this might make some fans think that Tony is going to die at the end of the Civil War II arc. Bendis advises fans not to get too ahead of themselves.

“More people are going to be upset that they think they know the ending to Civil War II now than anything we just talked about. But I can tell you just because we’re hearing what we’re saying doesn’t know you mean how Civil War II ends. We’re not telling you the end, at all.”

Riri will be taking over in the new Invincible Iron Man series this fall.

Source: Time (via Comicbook.com)

Khalil Johnson

Khalil Johnson

Khalil is a ride or die fanboy who was bitten by a radioactive blogger. Now, he uses his superpowers for online entertainment journalism. ...

  • Larry

    I don’t have a problem with Iron Man getting a makeover as a character. I like the character design. But Iron Man as a mantle is going to take some getting used to. Because the superhero name implies a ‘Man’ is in the armor. I don’t think we have had a character gender-swapped and still carry the male moniker. I’m all for diversity but this does make female moniker designations like Spider-Woman and She-Hulk look weak.

    And now my question is will Marvel ever replace a popular female character with a male version. Because everything seems tipped towards weeding out male characters with women and POC. If the point is to see more gender neutral characters -wouldn’t there be male characters taking some of the female variations to show that diversity too -for example, Invisible Man instead of the Sue Richards , Invisible Woman. With that character off the campus why hasn’t Marvel started adapting her power set with a male version?

    • They probably won’t call her Iron Man even though she appears in Iron Man’s book. We’ll see.

      • Lazer Brain

        Yeah I would imagine this could be the name of the book rather than the character and its been done for marketing more than anything else. Bit like ‘Spider-Gwen’

        • Exactly. And like it or not, Marvel and DC have to launch new characters by springboarding them off of old characters. It gets the new character lots of exposure and guaranteed sales, and they can eventually take on their own identity if they don’t get to stick around as the new version of the hero forever.

  • Ok, one second…

    (puts on flame retardant suit, zips up and puts on helmet)

    Okay. I’ll be the one to take the flames here. First allow me to say that I’m not an anti-feminist nor am I someone who is against equality. That being said, if you speak out against something like this you’re automatically labeled as such, regardless of correctness.

    Are men, boys and children not allowed to be upset about this? As a 36 year old man, I grew up on comics, I’ve read them, imitated them, gone to the movies to watch them. So excuse me if I get upset when I see Marvel take some of the biggest names in their world and just alter them for equality sake. Wolverine, Thor and now a female Iron Man. Enough is enough. We had Sam Wilson who is already Falcon re-branded as Captain America, why? Because Capt’s a bigger name so pushing Wilson into that slot will give Marvel a pat on the back from the NAACP?

    What happened to creativity? Remember guys like Jack Kirby? When Marvel or DC needed a character people like Jack made them up, ie. Darkseid. Marvel then made Thanos. The folks at Marvel are in complete control, why not create NEW characters of color, creed, ethnicity, and gender? Push them into the lime light, give them their OWN identity. If they fail it’s either because of two reasons, you didn’t do a good job promoting, writing and creating the character or the general public didn’t want them. But stop taking beloved characters and taking the easy road (i.e. gender/race swapping) to appease society.

    Look, it’s clear comics is growing industry once again and it’s clear that we need to have heroes and heroins that appeal to all types. I’m not against having a more black, female or LGBTQ characters in my books, I’m all for it, I’m just saying, STOP being lazy and taking away from the characters millions already love.

    That is all.

    • Marquis de Sade

      Well in the words of that great folk music troubadour, BOB DYLAN:

      “THE TIMES THEY ARE A CHANGIN’!”

      I’m actually lookin’ forward to this…it could be fun.

  • flavortang

    *sigh*

  • beane2099

    This isn’t an issue with an easy answer. I don’t get mad about this sort of thing. But I don’t think the issue is necessarily that people want something new but they don’t want change (I mean yeah, there is certainly that). The issue is more that the folks at Marvel are just putting someone else into the costume of a pre-existing character and calling that a new character. That’s very different than creating something new. The Blue Marvel was a new character. He had his own origin, set of powers and his own way of fitting in with the Marvel U (and we need to see a lot more of him by the way). He was created from the ground up. Simply changing out the person who wields Thor’s hammer, Cap’s shield or Tony’s armor – that’s not giving us something new. That’s repainting your old car and calling it a new car.

    However, completely new characters don’t get a fair shake in this age because people don’t want to read something they don’t know. This floors me, but then comics aren’t cheap. So can you really blame the readers?. So then how else do you bring diversity to your line of books is predominately populated with white males when people won’t buy books with unknown new characters? I get the dilemma. Plus now, they know that when they swap out the race/ethnicity/gender of a pre-existing character it gets publicity; it gets people talking and the book gets a major bump.

  • JMMagwood

    Nah. No thanks.

  • Chris W

    Good job on hitting 2 quota’s Marvel. You’re so progressive…