Just weeks ago, news broke that Tony Stark will be stepping down as Iron Man in the current run of Marvel comics. His replacement? Riri Williams, a teenage MIT prodigy who builds her own suit inspired by Stark’s designs.
The immediate question on everyone’s lips was: will this new female hero still call herself Iron Man?
Series writer Brian Michael Bendis has given us the answer. Riri will be known as Ironheart. Not Iron Woman, which “seemed too old fashioned,” and not Iron Maiden, which would have been “a legal nightmare.”
The new name was coined by Marvel CCO Joe Quesada, and Bendis whole-heartedly (yuk yuk) embraced the suggestion. It “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.”
So does this passing of the baton mean everyone’s favorite billionaire playboy philanthropist’s time on this earth is short? Unclear. Whatever goes down to take Iron Man out of the spotlight will most likely play out in the current Civil War II comic.
That doesn’t mean the snarky Stark will be gone for good, though. Riri will be ensuring that her superhero inspiration/mentor carries on as the A.I. in her own suit, which means Tony will basically become Riri’s J.A.R.V.I.S. An interesting reversal of roles for the self-assured (and often self-absorbed) Stark. Says editor Tom Breevort, “Regardless of where he might be physically, he’ll be soaring along with her spiritually.”
Ironheart’s origin will appear this November in Invincible Iron Man #1, so it’s time to get excited. The Marvel Universe is about to get a new infusion of blood.