Comics have a history of changing the hero behind the mask, or in this case, under the helmet. Miles Morales replaced Peter Parker in Ultimate Comics: Spider-Man and now 15-year-old Riri Williams will replace Tony Stark in Iron Man, according to Time Magazine.
Following the events of Civil War II, one of Marvel's most iconic heroes, Tony Stark, will walk away from the suit, according to writer Michael Brian Bendis. Replacing him will be Riri Williams, a scientific and mechanical genius, not unlike Stark, who enrolled in MIT at the age of 15. She catches the eye of Stark after he discovers that she built her own version of the Iron Man suit in her dorm room.
Bendis told Time he came up with the idea for Williams while working in Chicago a couple of years ago. He wanted to create a superhero that was faced with the street violence of the Windy City and who used that struggle as an inspiration for wanting to make the world a better place. Instead of making her a vigilante, however, Bendis wanted Williams to use her keen mind for science to help protect the citizens of America while also finding innovative ways to better the lives of people living in dangerous pockets.
One of the big issues facing Bendis and his creative team with the new iteration of Iron Man is fan reaction, he said. Bendis said that unfortunately there were racist individuals who had a problem with Iron Man being a black woman. It's important to him, he added, to be able to tell different stories from different perspectives, and the creation of Williams felt entirely organic.
"We never had a meeting saying, "We need to create this character," Bendis said. "It's inspired by the world around me and not seeing that represented enough in popular culture."
Bendis hopes that other comic creators and writers will do more to reflect not only their diverse readership, but the world they live in. He said that one of his biggest regrets was not doing that in the first place, but with characters like Miles Morales and Riri Williams, they're trying to do that now.