Rejoice True Believers! This morning Marvel has announced that Iron-Man’s mantle will be taken over by Riri Williams, a 15 year old black girl. Riri’s still working on the name, but according to Time.com. “At the end of Civil War II.” said Marvel, “Iron Man is stepping out of the suit, and Riri is taking over.”
Riri is a scientific genius and a 15 year old who builds her own Iron Man suit in her MIT Dorm. According to Brian Micheal Bendis, she’s “the most modern version of a super heroine that I’d heard.”
One of the things that stuck with me when I was working in Chicago a couple of years ago on a TV show that didn’t end up airing was the amount of chaos and violence. And this story of this brilliant, young woman whose life was marred by tragedy that could have easily ended her life—just random street violence—and went off to college was very inspiring to me. I thought that was the most modern version of a superhero or superheroine story I had ever heard. And I sat with it for awhile until I had the right character and the right place.
Apparently while we see Tony Stark in the most recent comic he’s already aware of her. It makes sense as Tony Stark has taken it upon himself to oversee the superhero community, or at least keep tabs on it. He’s a master at burying himself in Avengers work however, and it seems as if his past might be catching up with him.
We’re in the middle of a very big Tony Stark storyline—actually three storylines converging. His best friend died, his company is collapsing and he’s finding out who his biological parents were all at the same time. That’s stressful for a character who is wired the way Tony is wired and has dependency issues the way Tony does.
According to Bendis, Riri and Tony will meet “Soon” given that she’s flying around the city in a halfway finished Iron Man suit. Riri represents an awesome step forward in diversity, however many individuals have questioned if having Bendis and the typical team of Marvel writers is a good thing. There is a growing push for diversity behind the scenes as well as in front of the camera so to speak. While Riri represents an incredible milestone, could Marvel be doing more behind the scenes to add credibility and further respect to Riri’s story? Riri is a woman of color, it seems only natural that a woman of color write about her adventures, yet she’s being written by a team of men.
While it’s a step in the right direction, twitter has rightfully pointed out that Diverse stories require more diverse voices.
You can't call these diverse stories without diverse voices.
— Carly Lane (@carlylane) July 6, 2016
We at TMR will be taking a look at what Riri means for the comic book community and what might add to her story in a more in-depth article. In the meantime, What do you think of this new direction for Iron Man? Are you excited? Intrigued? Sound off in the comments below!