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Marvel's Ironheart Grew Up From a Kid Genius to a Rock Star

Marvel

Welcome to Marvel, Riri Williams.

On November 9, the 15-year-old MIT genius will suit up as Ironheart for the first time in her own series, taking Tony Stark’s place as the Iron Avenger after the catastrophic events of Civil War II.

Riri’s story will begin in Invincible Iron Man #1, and the first covers released show that the character has already inspired some of Marvel’s best artists to bring a sturdy first step forward for Riri.

In writer Brian Michael Bendis’s new series, Riri smooths out the edges to some Stark Industries salvage to create her Ironheart armor, which contains A.I. modeled after Tony Stark. After growing up in the tough Chicago streets, Riri is now her own hero. She’s already made her first appearance in Bendis’s current run on Invincible Iron Man, but the new book in November will be her start as Ironheart.

The one question that remains unanswered is the whereabouts of Stark. Civil War II continues to rage on, heading towards a devastating climax. War Machine and Bruce Banner are already casualties, but is Tony Stark next? Stark isn’t with the Avengers anymore, and in Mark Waid’s Champions, released during New York Comic Con, the young heroes spoke only in vague terms as to Stark’s absence.

But Marvel has Riri now, a fresh start for a new era. Here’s the first cover from Stefano Caselli, with Riri in mid-flight looking glorious.

Fly, Riri, fly!Marvel

Here’s the “Divided We Stand” variant from Tom Raney, with Riri in front of Stark’s Hulkbuster armor. Could she be harnessing more of Stark’s tech? Or having to face down rogue suits in an iron-on-iron battle?

Talk to the hand, Hulkbuster. Marvel

Here’s the STEAM variant, part of a line encouraging education in “Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math” in children.

Study hard, kids. Marvel

Here’s Jeff Dekal’s variant released when Riri was first announced to take over the series this past summer, featuring Stark in ethereal form. Stark will “stay” in Invincible Iron Man as an A.I. modeled after Stark’s likeness. Stark himself remains missing.

Tony's legacy ain't going anywhere. Marvel

Skottie Young gave us his version of a pint-sized Riri.

Cute.Marvel

John Tyler Christopher gave us another action figure cover, similar to the ones that have been a staple at Marvel for some time now.

Yep, we'd buy that. Marvel

There’s also a hip-hop cover, another line of variants from Marvel where Marvel heroes riff on iconic rap album covers, from Adi Granov, but it wasn’t included in Marvel’s previews.

We did get a few pages from the new Issue #1, where Riri’s parents learn from Riri’s school principal that she’s not like other kids. The principal warns them not to let Riri become “bored” when she’s not challenged enough.

Riri’s story is certainly different than the usual Poor Orphan Child Uses Wealth to Become Heroic or some other stuff we’ve heard a million times. It’s nice to know Riri has parents who are not just alive, but care.

That last page immediately smash-cuts to Riri, about a decade older, flying high in her new homemade armor.

Hey, that looks better than Tony Stark's first attempt. Marvel

Invincible Iron Man #1 from Brian Michael Bendis hits comics shelves on November 9.

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