Marvel just announced that the new Iron Man in the All-New Marvel relaunch of Invincible Iron Man is a 15-year-old African American girl.
After the events of Civil War II, Tony Stark has stepped away from being Iron Man and stepping into those iron shoes is Riri Williams, who was introduced in the current Invincible Iron Man series. She is a student at MIT, and she has already built her own armor in her dorm room.
That’s how she got the attention of Stark.
Iron Man writer Brian Michael Bendis will stay on as the writer of the series, and in an interview with Time, he talks about the reception of the new character so far, saying:
“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.
“I’ve been down this road with Miles Morales, Jessica Jones, Maria Hill. I knew I was in good hands with Mike Deodato and other artists who are helping visualize Riri.”
These days there always seem to be some haters that don’t do well with change, but it’s 2016 and the world is changing. About the diverse new set of characters and the fan controversy, Bendis said:
“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.
“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.”
Bendis cautioned fans not to jump to conclusions:
“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.”
The new Invincible Iron Man is set to be released this fall.