Home Comics & Toys The next Iron Man is a 15 year-old black girl

The next Iron Man is a 15 year-old black girl

4 min read

Iron Man

Looks like a new Iron Man is in town again. Again. Tony Stark hasn’t been the only person to wear the red and gold armour, vacating that spot a couple of times in the past to other people for reasons. The most notable stand-in being James Rhodes, who went on to become War Machine and a hero in his own right. And dead. Civil War II confirmed that even the best technology from Stark Industries wasn’t enough to soften a point-blank punch from Thanos, resulting in Rhodes kicking the bucket and leaving a void in Marvel’s superhero family.

A void that looked like it was going to be filled by 15 year-old super genius Riri Williams. That ain’t happening however, as Tony Stark is going to be taking a sabbatical from the hero scene, leaving Williams to become the next Iron Man. Or Iron Thatcher. That’s the news according to Iron Man writer Brian Michael Bendis, who explained to Time how the events of Civil War II would impact on Stark:

Iron Man

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 armour? 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.

Riri isn’t just some random character that popped up out of nowhere. Marvel has been building her up over many months, as a new generation of genius who can easily match IQs with Stark. “In the latest issue of Iron Man, Tony is in a lab talking to himself, and he’s already aware that there’s some student at M.I.T. that’s reverse-engineered one of his old armors all by herself in her dorm room. He’s aware of her immediately,” Bendis said of Riri.

Riron Man

He’s also aware that this young woman is flying by him in terms of how quickly she’s doing it. Her brain is maybe a little better than his. She looks at things from a different perspective that makes the armor unique. He can’t help but go maybe I should buy her out.

Sounds interesting. Naturally, an absolute sh*t-storm has already begun brewing around this news over a fictional character getting a replacement, as Marvel seeks to diversify its cast of heroes to be more than just a white sausage festival. “Some of the comments online, I don’t think people even realize how racist they sound,” Bendis said of recent criticism to Marvel reshaping its cast of heroes.

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.

But increasingly we see less and less of that. Once Miles hit, and Kamala Khan hit and female Thor hit — there was a part of an audience crawling through the desert looking for an oasis when it came to representation, and now that it’s here, you’ll go online and be greeted with this wave of love.

I think what’s most important is that the character is created in an organic setting. We never had a meeting saying, “We need to create this character.” It’s inspired by the world around me and not seeing that represented enough in popular culture.

I’ve got a simpler viewpoint on all this: Fictional characters. Fic-tio-nal cha-rac-ters.

Expect Riri to don her own suit of armour in Iron Man once Civil War II wraps up in a few months.

Last Updated: July 7, 2016


  1. Iron Maiden?


    • The D

      July 7, 2016 at 09:30

      I LIKE IT!


      • Hammersteyn_hates_Raid0

        July 7, 2016 at 09:41



    • Sageville

      July 7, 2016 at 09:59

      Perfect, they really can’t keep calling her “Ironman” going forward.

      “Iron Maiden” it is!


    • Brian

      July 7, 2016 at 10:33

      I prefer Iron Lady, with a late 1980s setting and Margaret Thatcher playing the role of Iron Lady.


      • Hammersteyn_hates_Raid0

        July 7, 2016 at 11:10



  2. Captain JJ off track

    July 7, 2016 at 09:06

    As long as they make her classy (which by the looks she seems to be), like Iron Man’s always been, I’m all for it 😀


    • Hammersteyn_hates_Raid0

      July 7, 2016 at 09:08

      • Captain JJ off track

        July 7, 2016 at 09:21

        Haha. Damn. Not sure if this is racist or what.


        • Hammersteyn_hates_Raid0

          July 7, 2016 at 09:23

          Saw the episode last night. Classy this and classi that. That’s all I could think off when I read your comment


          • Captain JJ off track

            July 7, 2016 at 09:26

            I haven’t seen it. Was watching Archer last night. Two more episodes to go to finish S7

  3. konfab

    July 7, 2016 at 09:11

    Why don’t they just make a new character instead of shoehorning diversity into existing characters?

    Are Marvel writers that lazy?


    • Hammersteyn_hates_Raid0

      July 7, 2016 at 09:24

      They should be gamers


      • Captain JJ off track

        July 7, 2016 at 09:27

        Oh, I know what that makes them! 😀


    • Brian

      July 7, 2016 at 10:31

      Because it’s more high profile, will have higher readership, can possibly draw in new readers, and passing on identities to new people is a comic book tradition and has been for a long time.


      • konfab

        July 7, 2016 at 10:47

        Or maybe it is because they know that controversy sells media time.


        • Brian

          July 7, 2016 at 10:55

          You think it’s controversial that a 15yr old black girl is going to be Iron Man?


          • konfab

            July 7, 2016 at 11:47

            They know that it is controversial to some.

            My problem with this, is the same people who advocate throwing out a character like this are the same ones complaining about it when the reverse happens.

            If an Asian character is played by a white person, all hell breaks loose.

            As for what I think:
            Man = adult male
            Iron Man= adult male surrounded by Iron
            Iron Man != 15 year old girl

            Nothing wrong with making her a spiritual successor, so then she gets her own identity, but still fits the same type of hero that Iron man was.

          • Alessandro Barbosa

            July 7, 2016 at 11:51

            “Nothing wrong with making her a spiritual successor, so then she gets her own identity”

            Uh, that is kind of exactly what they are doing. New character with a whole new backstory, taking over the mantle and succeeding Tony. So?

          • konfab

            July 7, 2016 at 12:09

            Depends on whether they call her Iron Man or not.

            Call her Iron girl and no one would have a problem.

        • Kervyn Cloete

          July 7, 2016 at 11:40

          What Brian said. It’s a legacy thing, which has always happened. The new part – and the part that I don’t agree with – is that they’re making these creative decisions with a huge media circus along with it. When Bucky became Captain America, it was just part of a storyline and everybody accepted it as such. When Sam Wilson became Captain America it suddenly had to be announced on morning talk shows.


    • Blogvader

      July 7, 2016 at 13:00

      As evidenced by the many reboots and their decision to just redo Civil War and Secret Wars instead of writing something new, yes.

      But decisions like this are, I think, more about branding.


  4. Alien Emperor Trevor

    July 7, 2016 at 09:15

    Sounds like an interesting story line.


  5. konfab

    July 7, 2016 at 09:28

    “It’s inspired by the world around me and not seeing that represented enough in popular culture.”

    There isn’t enough diversity in body shape either.

    Captain America should therefore be played by an overweight person with failing eyesight.


    • Captain JJ off track

      July 7, 2016 at 09:29

      That’s too realistic though


    • Hammersteyn_hates_Raid0

      July 7, 2016 at 09:29

      And he uses his shield as a dinner plate?


      • Captain JJ off track

        July 7, 2016 at 09:40

        Damn. There’s no limit to this 😀


    • BakedBagel

      July 7, 2016 at 09:39

      “Captain America should therefore be played by an overweight person with failing eyesight.”

      Lets make him a nazi too

      oh wait…


  6. Skittle

    July 7, 2016 at 09:46

    How does her hair fit in the helmet?


    • HairyEwok

      July 7, 2016 at 10:07



    • konfab

      July 7, 2016 at 13:50

      Little thing called black magic 😉


  7. Dane

    July 7, 2016 at 13:56

    We also find out that “Wonder Women” is actually a 72 year old Japanese man!


  8. Jason Keller

    July 7, 2016 at 16:23

    Just another PC appeasement being done. Perhaps women and black people should create their own characters and build them up for decades instead of whining about the lack of them. I’d like to see a Asian blade or Latino spawn. Maybe even a white spawn, but they aren’t as popular so there’s that. In fact let’s kill all creativity and remake everything so that men get replaced by women and white people are replaced by black people.


  9. Burt

    July 7, 2016 at 20:44

    Who the hell is James Thodes?


  10. The Order of the Banana

    July 8, 2016 at 11:53

    Margaret Thatcher did it better!

    PS: Is Marvel becoming retarded or am I hallucinating again? She less of an Iron-Man and more of an Iron Mary Sue….


  11. The Order of the Banana

    July 8, 2016 at 14:07

    Social Justice ruins everything… 🙁 They’ve ruined Angela, Thor, Hulk (although a Chinese Hulk has potential) and now they’ve ruined Iron Man. 🙁



  12. Peter Pan

    July 12, 2016 at 08:35

    Almost as if they stole her name from Rihanna’s nickname…Riri!


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