The end of Marvel’s Civil War II is on the horizon. The fallout? A new status quo, one that includes a different Iron Man debuting in a new volume of Invincible Iron Man from veteran writer Brian Michael Bendis this November. Replacing a retired Tony Stark, teen genius and MIT student Riri Williams reverse-engineers one of Stark’s suits to become Ironheart.
The name “Ironheart,” which Bendis attributes to former Marvel editor Joe Quesada, comes from another “heart-related” narrative. “Tony first put on the armor to save his heart. Riri puts it on for different reasons altogether,” said Bendis in an interview with WIRED. “When people see her story, you’ll be amazed at how simple and brilliant Joe’s suggestion was.”
Riri is another gesture in Marvel’s effort to build a more inclusive superhero universe. Kamala Khan (Ms. Marvel), Amadeus Cho (Hulk), Samuel Chung (Blindspot), Cindy Moon (Silk), Miles Morales (Spider-Man), and Jane Foster (Thor) are all recent examples of Marvel diversifying its superheroes. While there was some expected backlash typical of such decisions, fans also identified another disparity: the predominant number of white, male authors.
But Tony Stark isn’t exiting the comics for good. While Stark is away from superhero duties in a physical sense, Riri models her in-suit A.I. after the billionaire playboy, meaning Stark will be assisting Riri in her own adventures. Says series editor Tom Breevort: “Regardless of where he might be physically … he’ll be soaring along with her spiritually.”
Invincible Iron Man hits shelves in November. Check out the series’s first issue cover below, along with the variant featuring Riri inspecting a disassembled suit.