Introducing Riri Williams, Marvel’s New Black Iron Woman

As reported by Time Magazine, after the events of Civil War II, a new character will don the Iron Man armor.  Riri Williams, “a science genius who enrolls in MIT at the age of 15,” captures Tony Stark’s curiosity when she builds her own Iron Man armor in her dorm.  It’s not quite a cave with a box of scraps, but having lived in some interesting dorms, I’d say her accomplishment is quite impressive nonetheless.

Brian Michael Bendis, creator of characters such as Miles Morales and Jessica Jones, is helming Riri’s foray into the Marvel universe.  He said he was inspired to tell Riri’s story after working on a TV show in Chicago and observing all the violence.  He heard “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.”

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Bendis and Time took pains to mention that just because Tony is stepping away from the Iron Man identity does not mean readers now know the ending to Civil War II, which is being written by Bendis and drawn by artist David Marquez.  According to Bendis, “We’re not telling you the end, at all.”

Perhaps Tony Stark dies? Perhaps all the traumas he is currently experiencing lead to a decision to go on a journey of a nomadic nature? Who can say?

When asked about why it took so long to bring characters of underrepresented cultural backgrounds such as Riri and Kamala Khan into the Avengers, Bendis had this to say:

Talking to any of the older creators, 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. 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.

Comments

  1. Suzene says

    Kudos to Marvel for a bold move. But given recent events, if they wanted a legacy hero for Tony, I think it would have been more fitting to put Lila Rhodes in the armor.

  2. says

    I agree completely, Suzene. Lila Rhodes is basically the same character, being a young genius who could even remotely access the Iron Patriot armor. The only reason I can think of that we get Riri instead is that Bendis wanted a to create a new character and not use someone else’s. It feels like an ego thing.

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