Potential Civil War II Spoilers
Following the conclusion of Marvel Comics’ current event story Civil War II, Tony Stark is stepping down and Riri Williams is stepping into the Iron Man suit (though she might not be keeping the name), Marvel revealed to Time. Riri Williams, who debuted in the current Invincible Iron Man series, is a fifteen year-old black girl attending MIT who managed to build her own Iron Man suit in the dorms. This brought her to the immediate attention of Tony Stark. According to the Time article, the end of Civil War II will see Tony Stark retiring as Iron Man, but writer Brian Michael Bendis was careful to say that “what we’re saying doesn’t mean you know how Civil War II ends. We’re not telling you the end, at all.”
Riri Williams joins a growing roster of diverse entrants carrying on the legacies of white or male heroes. She follows such heroes as Thor, Captain Marvel, Spider-Gwen, Ms. Marvel and Miles Morales from the past few years. The increasing presence of women and people of color in Marvel’s comics is heartening; Bendis discussed why it’s taken this long for Marvel to start diversifying their characters, telling Time:
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.
Riri sounds downright inspiring: Bendis describes how she grew up around violence, which inspired her “to rise up and act, and [use] her science acumen, her natural born abilities that are still raw but so ahead of where even Tony Stark was at that age.”
Read Bendis’ full interview here, and see Riri Williams on the Invincible Iron Man cover below.