(Warning: The following contains plot details from recent and forthcoming Marvel Comics releases, including the introduction of a fairly major new status quo for a major Marvel character. Proceed with whatever level of caution your robot butler suggests is wise...)
Now, in an era in which Sam 'The Falcon' Wilson is Captain America, Jane 'played by Natalie Portman in the movies' Foster is Thor, and there are about seventeen different Spider-Men/Women swinging around, it was only a matter of time before Marvel Comics' biggest asset - Iron Man - was on the receiving end of some major changes in the comic-books too.
Which is most likely why:
Marvel's New Iron Man Is NOT Who You'd Expect
(Note: This is where those aforementioned major SPOILERS really start to kick in...)
Y'see, with Pepper Potts having already done the whole 'Rescue' thing, and James 'War Machine' Rhodes having recently been killed, the two most obvious successors to Iron Man's armored crown weren't really available - and yet, in the wake of Civil War II, Iron Man's comic-book scribe Brian Michael Bendis had been charged with bringing in a replacement for Tony Stark, all the same.
And so, in classic Bendis-ian fashion (he's also the creator of fan-favorites and at-the-time-unusual heroes Miles Morales and Jessica Jones), he came up with a gloriously outside the box solution. Y'see:
The New Iron Man Is A 15-Year-Old Woman Named Riri Williams
Who, it seems - having already been introduced in the current Invincible Iron Man series - will be taking the lead when that comic-book is relaunched this fall. Which, seeing as Williams built her own damn armor in her dorm room at MIT, seems a hell of a lot more of a deserved hiring than, say, just getting one of Tony's buddies to jump in the suit.
Which, of course, isn't to say that it won't be a little... controversial. As Bendis himself argued in a recent interview with Time, though:
"Thankfully because of my involvement in the creation of Miles Morales and Jessica Jones and some other characters, it’s getting the benefit of the doubt from even the most surly fans. There are fans who say, 'Show us the new stuff,' and then there are fans who say, 'Don’t do anything different from when I was a kid.' So when you’re introducing new characters, you’re always going to have people getting paranoid about us ruining their childhood."
Which, while hopefully the case, might just turn out to be a little overly optimistic - especially if Civil War II leaves Tony Stark in a place few fans want to see him: deceased. Thankfully for Stark fans, though, it sounds as though the ascendance of Ms. Williams doesn't mean we know what to expect from Civil War II's finale just yet. Quoth Bendis:
"More people are going to be upset that they think they know the ending to Civil War II now than anything... But I can tell you just because we’re hearing what we’re saying doesn’t know you mean how Civil War II ends. We’re not telling you the end, at all."
So, there's still hope for a Tony Stark/Riri Williams team-up in the near future, then - and, just maybe, a potential plot-line for Iron Man 4?
What do you reckon, though?
Are you excited to see Riri Williams don the armor?