Marvel fans, meet your new Iron Man, Riri Williams.
This fall, the 15-year-old M.I.T. prodigy, who will go by the moniker Ironheart, will be taking over Tony Stark in the pages of the “Invincible Iron Man” and don’t worry guys, writer Brian Michael Bendis said that she’s “smarter than Tony”.
Here’s her backstory:
“Riri Williams grows up in Chicago before suffering a personal tragedy. She eventually attends M.I.T., where Tony Stark first hears that she’s reverse engineered one of the old Iron Man armours in her dorm room.”
In the comics’ first looks (below), an educator tells Riri’s parents that Riri is a “super genius” even though she’s only 5 years old and urges them to nurture her intellect, heart, and soul so that she doesn’t become jaded with the world.
In response to the educator’s advice to Riri’s parents, Bendis said,:
“My wife and I always thought that was one of our jobs as parents. But then I discovered, through research, that it is a thing that gifted children need desperately. As we say in the story: high intellects, out of frustration, can sometimes retreat into their own world. This young woman has had that burden but she also has a grounded parent who helped her get to this point. But she also has had terrible tragedy that has informed her more than anything.”
Riri Williams is part of Marvel’s effort to diversify its superheroes. In recent years, the publisher has introduced Jane Foster (female Thor), Mile Morales (a black-Hispanic Spider-Man), Kamala Khan (a Muslim Ms. Marvel), and Amadeus Cho (an Asian-American Hulk).