It was announced fairly recently that in Marvel’s post-Civil War II-era Marvel NOW! relaunch, the new Iron Man wouldn’t actually be a man at all, but a woman instead. Actually, a teenage girl to be exact—a young African-American MIT student (and tech genius) named Riri Williams, who fashions her own powerful suit of armor based on that of Tony Stark’s. And although Riri Williams still plans on taking over the comic book title The Invincible Iron Man this fall, she won’t be inheriting Stark’s superhero alias in the actual comic. According to Wired, Riri Williams will instead be using the new name Ironheart.
So why not just Iron Woman? According to series writer Brian Michael Bendis, “Iron Woman seemed old fashioned to some. Iron Maiden looked like a legal nightmare. And Ironheart, coined by [Marvel CCO] Joe Quesada, after I told him my planned story for Riri, speaks not only to the soul of the character but to the Iron Man franchise as a whole. Tony first put on the armor 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.”
So what becomes of Tony Stark that anyone even has to take over for him as Iron Man? Well, we’re still not sure; his fate will likely be handled in the pages of Civil War II. But regardless of what happens to him, he will have a presence in Invincible Iron Man as Riri’s in-armor A.I., which will be based on Tony’s own personality. Essentially, Tony will be Riri’s J.A.R.V.I.S. According to editor Tom Breevort, “Regardless of where he might be physically, he’ll be soaring along with her spiritually.”
The creative team of writer Brian Michael Bendis and artist Stefano Caselli will explore Ironheart’s origin story in this fall’s Invincible Iron Man #1. Although Riri Williams and Tony Stark have recently met in the current run of Invincible Iron Man, the new series will set up how we transition from one hero to the next.
You can see the two covers (so far) for Invincible Iron Man #1 in our gallery below. The first issue hits this November.
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Images: Marvel Comics