Last week, our Comics Contributor Kat covered the first two issues of Marvel’s ongoing Civil War II arc. Although that particular story won’t wrap up until October of this year, Marvel Entertainment is already teasing viewers about what comes next. Today’s big announcement: Riri Williams will succeed Tony Stark as Iron Man.
I don’t get to read comics as much as I would like, so the name Riri Williams didn’t ring any immediate bells for me. Williams was introduced recently in Invincible Iron Man as it builds up to Civil War II. She’s an M.I.T. student at the mere age of fifteen, and builds her own suit of armor in her dorm room. Hopefully more details will be revealed soon, as issue #11 (which was released today) features Riri testing out her suit’s capabilities.
This is an exciting development on the representation front for Marvel. The past few years we’ve seen the likes of Miles Morales, Sam Wilson, and Jane Foster take up the mantle from well-known white male heroes like Spiderman, Captain America, and Thor. Riri Williams seems to be the next step – both a person of color AND female.
But it does raise a few questions, even for a casual comics consumer such as myself. For the most part it’s questioning whether Riri’s genius can make up for her lack of experience. And then there’s the group image for Fall’s Marvel NOW! relaunch:
At the right is a cadre of younger heroes, and at the front of them is Riri Williams in armor. Many took the image as a sign that Riri would be the new War Machine, since James Rhodes is permanently out of commission (Civil War II). Today’s announcement says otherwise, that she will be the new Iron Man come Fall 2016. The title of the Iron Man series will stay the same according to Marvel, but whether Riri Williams changes the name for herself remains to be seen. But if Riri does in fact become the next Iron Man, then what’s up with the well-dressed fellow on the left holding the iconic Iron Man mask? Will her ascension to superhero involve taking down a false Iron Man first?