Tony Stark is backing away from his Iron Man armor and a 15-year-old Black girl will be suiting up in his place.
Meet Riri Williams. She’s about the slay your local comic shop.
Can you say new cosplay inspiration?
Marvel announced today that named Riri will be taking over as Iron Man this Fall in Invincible Iron Man. According to The Hollywood Reporter, readers were introduced to Riri back in March.
The first thing you need to know about her is that she’s a genius! At the age of 15 years old, she’s reverse engineering her own replica of Tony’s armor in her dorm at MIT. Read Invincible Iron Man #11(released today) as she tests out her Iron Man armor.
Her story line is being written by Brian Michael Bendis, who is also behind the character Miles Morales (aka Spider-Man).
As exciting as this is, Blerds everywhere need to prepare themselves for the impending storm of angry readers (male and female) that are bitter about this change. Bendis anticipates that there will be some pushback on this move, and he knows the a lot of the criticisms will smack of ignorance.
“Some of the comments online, I don’t think people even realize how racist they sound. I’m not saying if you criticize you’re a racist, but if someone writes, “Why do we need Riri Williams we already have Miles?” that’s a weird thing to say. They’re individuals,” Bendis told Time.com, pointing out that they are seeing more positive reactions among the hate.
“Increasingly we see less and less of that,” the writer continued. “Once Miles hit, and Kamala Khan hit and female Thor hit—there was a part of an audience crawling through the desert looking for an oasis when it came to representation, and now that it’s here, you’ll go online and be greeted with this wave of love.”
Over the last year or so, Marvel has made a big effort to create a more inclusive universe. That means more women, more people of color, and even more LGBTQ characters. Marvel has been wanting to do something like this for decades. What’s taken Marvel so long to get here? Bendis points out that many of the older Marvel creators didn’t necessarily have the courage to achieve those goals in the early days.
“It’s the thing they said they wish they’d done more of—reflecting the world around them. It just wasn’t where the world was at at that time,” he explained. “Now, when you have a young woman come up to you at a signing and say how happy she is to be represented in his universe, you know you’re moving in the right direction.”