Last month, Marvel revealed that it was introducing a new Iron Man to take over for Tony Stark — a 15-year-old, black woman named Riri Williams. Now, Marvel has confirmed that Williams will take on a new identity while donning the iconic suit, going by the name Ironheart instead of Iron Man.
In an interview with Wired, writer Brian Michael Bendis said that the reason they didn’t want to give Williams the obvious "Iron Woman" name was because it felt antiquated. Bendis joked that they thought of going with Iron Maiden, an ode to the heavy metal band of the same name, but the legalities would have been very frustrating. When Marvel’s Editor-in-Chief Joe Quesada coined the name Ironheart, Bendis and the writing team ran with it.
Williams’ Ironheart will officially debut once the new volume of Invincible Iron Man is launched, but the character has already met Stark in the current series. Williams, an engineering prodigy at MIT (Stark’s alma mater), uses her keen mind to develop a new army of Iron Man inspired suits that attracts Stark’s attention. After noticing her passion for justice and a desire to help those in need, Stark hands the keys to his robotic empire over to Williams and she takes on the role that he’s now able to walk away from.
When Bendis and Marvel first revealed the character, they were asked why they decided to go with a black woman for the role and Bendis said he was tired of reading the same story about a white, male superhero. He thought that with Williams, he and his writing team could come up with more unique and impactful stories than they ever could with a character like Stark.
Invincible Iron Man will launch this fall.