We’ve known that Riri Williams will be taking over as the new Iron Man from Tony Stark for a little while now, but there’s been some speculation as to what her name would be. Would she stick with “Iron Man” for the sake of legacy? Or maybe make the simple switch to Iron Woman? Thanks to Wired, we now know that Riri will be going into action as “Ironheart.”
Explaining the new name, series writer Brian Michael Bendis said, “Iron Woman seemed old fashioned to some. Iron Maiden looked like a legal nightmare. And Ironheart, coined by 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.”
Riri will be headlining her own book, still to be titled Invincible Iron Man, this November as part of “Marvel NOW! 2.0,” the company’s latest universe shake-up following the conclusion of the company-wide event Civil War II. Introduced in the current run of Invincible Iron Man, Riri is a 15-year-old black girl who built her own Iron Man armor in her dorm at MIT, which, naturally, attracted the attention of Tony Stark. What motivates her to take over after Tony is still unknown, but Bendis says, “Tony first put on the armor to save his heart. Riri puts it on for different reasons altogether but still heart-related.”
Everyone’s favorite smug jerk isn’t completely out of the picture, though. Tony Stark’s fate after Civil War II is still a mystery, but Marvel editor Tom Breevort says, “Regardless of where he might be physically, he’ll be soaring along with her spiritually,” serving as her armor’s Jarvis-like A.I.
While Riri was the first to be announced as Tony’s successor, Marvel’s greatest villain (or savior, depending on which comic nerd you ask), Doctor Doom, was announced to be turning over a new leaf and taking on an Iron mantle in a book titled Infamous Iron Man, also written by Bendis and illustrated by frequent collaborator Alex Maleev. Riri’s book is considered the main Iron book, but now that she’s officially not going to be “Iron Man,” it’ll be interesting to see what name Doom ends up with. Giving him the name Iron Man might devalue Riri’s position as the preeminent Iron person of the Marvel universe, so maybe he’ll just stick with being Doctor Doom (though that might not be the best name for a hero).
Over the last few years, Marvel has been making a very deliberate attempt to diversify its characters, with Tony Stark being the only white, male character of the major Avengers team still occupying its ranks. Since 2011, we’ve seen Miles Morales take on the Spider-Man name, Jane Foster wield Mjolnir as Thor, Amadeus Cho become the Hulk, Sam Wilson take over as Captain America and Laura Kinney as Wolverine. On top of that, Marvel has been quick to support the non-white, non-male B-list characters that have seen a rise in popularity recently, the most notable being Kamala Khan, a.k.a. Ms. Marvel, a Muslim Pakistani-American teenager.
You can see two variant covers for Invincible Iron Man #1 below.