In an interview with TIME Magazine, Marvel writer Brian Michael Bendis announced that the character Riri Williams, a 15-year-old science genius and afro-wearing Chicago native, will be the new Iron Man.
Riri Williams is no stranger to anyone who reads comic books, but if you don't, here's the run down. She's a teen prodigy who at a young age was accepted to MIT on scholarship. She built a replica of the famed Iron Man suit in her dorm room and has been flying around the city, gaining the attention of Iron Man himself, Tony Stark. Stark, who is dealing with identity issues, from some revealing information about his parents will soon step down from his role, making way for Williams to take over.
|The cover for Riri Williams' headlining comic book series. (Marvel)|
Bendis' told TIME that his inspiration for Williams' came from real life:
"One of the things that stuck with me when I was working in Chicago a couple of years ago on a TV show that didn’t end up airing was the amount of chaos and violence. And 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."
Riri is beyond intelligent and extremely ambitious. According to Bendis, Stark knows that "her brain is maybe a little better than his,” and that as a character “she looks at things from a different perspective that makes the armor unique."
Marvel is leading the way with it's diverse new line up. In the past few years, we've seen a female Thor, Ms. Marvel, a Muslim-American woman hero and a Black Captain America. In addition to creating Williams' character in the Iron Man saga, Bendis also helped introduce Miles Morales, an Afro-Latino, as the new Spider-Man. And despite the countless attacks on social media from racist comic book purists, more diverse faces continue to appear.
|(Marvel via Fusion.net)|
"Blerds" across the internet have been rejoicing at the addition of another POC in the franchise. But some are concerned about the characters being written by white writers. Even Bendis has been criticized for his development of POC characters.
In the right hands, within the right imagination, #RiRiWilliams could be a DOPE character. But I don't trust Bendis. #IronMan— Son of Baldwin (@SonofBaldwin) July 6, 2016
This is the writer who will write for Riri Williams so it's not a huge win. pic.twitter.com/a12iPaehZA— NPOC (@nerdypoc) July 6, 2016
I'd be more excited about Riri Williams if the book were written by a black woman.— Dominant Queen DJ (@OhHeyDJ) July 6, 2016
It's exciting to see a Black woman as a leading super hero, but many are also hoping to see more POC at the writers table. Riri will be making her headlining debut in the Invincible Iron Man series this fall.