Tony Stark to Be Replaced as Iron Man by a Black Female Superhero

Wednesday, 06 July 2016 - 10:36AM
Marvel
Iron Man
Wednesday, 06 July 2016 - 10:36AM
Tony Stark to Be Replaced as Iron Man by a Black Female Superhero

After Civil War II, the status quo of the Marvel universe will be very different, and will apparently include an entirely new Iron Man (or Iron person, as the case may be). In the new Divided We Stand era, 15-year-old supergenius Riri Williams will replace Tony Stark in the Iron suit.

Riri Williams

Marvel had already heavily implied that Tony Stark would be dead/MIA after Civil War II, considering that the Divided We Stand teaser showed Doom holding the Iron Man helmet, while Tony was nowhere to be found. And it seemed that Riri Williams, who was seen heading up the other team of heroes in the new status quo, was set to (spoiler!) become the new War Machine, since Rhodey just died in the comics. But according to a new interview with creator Brian Michael Bendis, Riri is actually going to don Tony's suit and become Iron Woman. 

Speaking with Time, Bendis confirmed that Williams, whom he has previously described as even smarter than Tony, will take over the Iron Man mantle after Civil War II:

Opening quote
We're in the middle of a very big Tony Stark storyline-actually three storylines converging. His best friend died, his company is collapsing and he's finding out who his biological parents were all at the same time. That's stressful for a character who is wired the way Tony is wired and has dependency issues the way Tony does.

Tony is also a master at not paying attention to the thing that's most important and distracting himself with Avengers stuff. How that all shakes out such that Tony is no longer in the armor? You'll have to wait to find out for the end of Civil War II. But it does create a path or Riri Williams, who Tony will know and will be interacting with very shortly in the comics.
Closing quote

This is fantastic news, since representation for both women and people of color (and especially women of color) is still extremely sparse in superhero comics. Representation is slowly improving--Mark Millar just announced a new black female Kick-Ass, for example--but we still have a long way to go. Bendis says that fans are more accepting after his work on heroes like Jessica Jones and Miles Morales, but that there is still a ton of racism in the reactions to Williams.

Opening quote
"Some of the comments online, I don't think people even realize how racist they sound. I'm not saying if you criticize you're a racist, but if someone writes, "Why do we need Riri Williams we already have Miles?" that's a weird thing to say. They're individuals just like Captain America and Cyclops are individuals. All I can do is state my case for the character, and maybe they'll realize over time that that's not the most progressive thinking."
Closing quote

And for those who are upset that Iron Man is departing, it doesn't necessarily mean that we've seen the end of him. Bendis assures comics readers that the Divided We Stand teaser, as well as this news, doesn't spoil the resolution of Civil War II:

Opening quote
"More people are going to be upset that they think they know the ending to Civil War II now than anything we just talked about. 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."
Closing quote

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