Come November, Tony Stark will stepping down as Iron Man, and passing on the mantle of Marvel’s premiere armoured superhero to Riri Williams, a 15-year-old genius who built her own Iron Man suit based on one of Stark’s old suits.
Marvel recently announced via a Wired article that Williams will be calling herself “Ironheart”, and will replace Stark in November’s Invincible Iron Man #1 (yes, they’re rebooting the title… again).
She was first introduced a couple of months ago in Brian Michael Bendis’ ongoing Invincible Iron Man #9.
According to Bendis, the name “Ironheart” was coined by Joe Quesada, Marvel Entertainment’schief creative officer.
“Iron Woman seemed old fashioned to some, Iron Maiden looked like a legal nightmare,” Bendis says in the Wired article. “Ironheart … speaks not only to the soul of the character but to the Iron Man franchise as a whole. Tony first put on the armour to save his heart. Riri puts it on for different reasons altogether but still heart-related. When people see her story, you’ll be amazed at how simple and brilliant Joe’s suggestion was.”
If you’re a regular reader of Marvel Comics, you’ll know that Stark has been going through quite a torrid time of late. Not only is he once again embroiled in another Civil War against another major Marvel character (Captain Marvel this time), he also has to contend with losing both his best friend (James Rhodes, a.k.a. War Machine) and one of his oldest friends, Bruce Banner (a.k.a. The Hulk) to said war, and has even had to fake his own death to infiltrate a group of villainous “technology ninjas”.
He does get some welcome respite (and some hope) in the latest issue, Invincible Iron Man #12, when he meets Williams for the first time and is suitably impressed by the way she built her own suit, as well as her determination and fresh-faced enthusiasm. While it’s still not clear why he decides to relinquish his superhero role, the introduction of Ironheart should allow Marvel to introduce a fresh new perspective on Iron Man.
It’s not the first time Marvel has made drastic changes to one of its core superheroes in a bid to improve the diversity of their characters. The current crop of Marvel titles has a female Thor, an African-American Captain America, a teenage female Wolverine, a Muslim Ms Marvel, and a Chinese-American Hulk. While these changes have taken some getting used to, most of them have worked so far with Kamala Khan (a.k.a. the shape-shifting Ms Marvel) proving to be one of the best characters Marvel has created in recent times.
Here’s hoping that Riri will also put some ra-ra into the Iron Man titles.