ByDavid Opie, writer at Creators.co
The day someone green-lights a Marvel Zombies Ghibli film directed by Xavier Dolan is the day I will be happy. Any day now...
David Opie

With a bad heart and a serious alcohol problem, it's surprising that Tony Stark didn't stop fighting crime sooner to be honest! His loss is our gain, as Iron Man's successor looks set to be the rising star of Marvel Comics.

We've known Riri Williams would soar into our lives for quite some time now and the reaction has been — mixed, to say the least. For every fan who's excited to see a young black woman take a prominent role in the Marvel Universe, there's another who argues that comics are diversifying just to be politically correct. Because, you know, heaven forbid that we look up to a superhero who isn't a straight, white male.

[Via Marvel Studios]
[Via Marvel Studios]

One of the key arguments against the likes or Riri and other Legacy heroes that Marvel have created recently is that publishers shouldn't alter pre-existing characters in order to represent specific demographics. However, Marvel have commendably skirted around this issue by revealing today that Riri has her very own superhero name to go with her own suit of armor.

Ladies and gentlemen. Meet Ironheart.

[Via Marvel Comics]
[Via Marvel Comics]

Where did the name 'Ironheart' come from?

[Via Marvel Comics]
[Via Marvel Comics]

In an exclusive interview with Wired, writer Brian Michael Bendis discussed the origins of Riri's superhero moniker in more detail, dismissing a few of the more obvious choices along the way;

“Iron Woman seemed old fashioned to some. Iron Maiden looked like a legal nightmare... And Ironheart, coined by Joe Quesada, after I told him my planned story for Riri, speaks not only to the soul of the character but to the Iron Man franchise as a whole. Tony first put on the armor to save his heart. Riri puts it on for different reasons altogether but still heart-related. When people see her story, you’ll be amazed at how simple and brilliant Joe’s suggestion was."

It's commendable that Marvel chose to circumvent any potential gender issues by giving Riri the name Ironheart. After all, the Iron Man codename clearly wouldn't have worked on a logistical level, and even the moniker 'Iron Woman' would have inevitably drawn negative comparisons between Riri and Stark.

[Via Marvel Comics]
[Via Marvel Comics]

For years, characters like Supergirl have had to deal with being perceived as inferior knock-offs of their male counterparts, so Marvel's decision to give Riri a unique codename is a huge step in the right direction.

What Will Riri Williams Bring To The Iron Man Legacy?

[Via Marvel Comics]
[Via Marvel Comics]

People are resistant to change, there's no question about that. But when you consider that heroes like Iron Man were originally designed to be role models for young people, it makes perfect sense for Marvel to begin introducing Legacy heroes like Amadeus Cho and Miles Morales.

Back when Tony Stark first debuted in 1963, diversity wasn't perceived as an important issue, so few questioned the addition of yet another white male to the superhero ranks. However, decisions like this meant that entire generations of children missed out on seeing themselves reflected in their heroes, making young people from many backgrounds feel inferior just for being different from the perceived majority.

While more diverse characters shouldn't be shoehorned in just for the sake of it, the creation of new characters like Ironheart is a bold move that will have an immeasurable impact on the lives of people across the world.

Where's Tony Stark Though?

Heeeeere's Tony! [Via Marvel Studios]
Heeeeere's Tony! [Via Marvel Studios]

Williams first appeared in Invincible Iron Man #9, where she reverse-engineered Iron Man's suit to create her own armor at MIT before being kicked out for causing trouble. Soon after, Tony Stark caught wind of her accomplishment and paid her a visit to officially endorse Riri's decision to become a hero in her own right.

Right now, it's unclear where Tony Stark will be by the time Ironheart stars in her own title, or whether he will even continue in the role of Iron Man after the events of Civil War II. Whatever happens though, the genius billionaire will still play a role in Ironheart's life as the basis of her new armor's AI, ensuring that the legacy of Iron Man will continue to live on in Marvel Comics regardless.

For more Marvel goodies, check these articles out:

If we were as intelligent as Riri though, we'd give up the superhero game asap and sell the secrets of Iron Man's armor to the highest bidder. Billionnaire life looks pretty sweet if the following clip is anything to go by.

What do you think of the name IronHeart? Will you read Riri's comics when they hit the stands this fall? And do you think we'll ever see Williams in the MCU? Let me know in the comments!

Source - Wired