New ‘Iron Man’ for Marvel

The Iron Man comic is getting a new hero, and the character is already taking over the world — the world of Marvel, that is.

According to NBC News, the new heroine will be a 15-year-old black girl named Riri Williams, who purportedly takes over “The Golden Avenger mantle from Tony Stark as a result of the events that transpired in Marvel’s ‘Civil War II.'”

A child prodigy who attends MIT, NBC News says that Williams “reverse engineers Iron Man armor from the confines of her dorm. Tony Stark becomes aware of Riri after she takes this armor for a test drive and he seeks her out immediately.”

Brian Michael Bendis, the creator and writer of the comic, shared that he was inspired to create the character during his time working on a TV show in Chicago, according to NBC News, and was “moved by redemption stories of youth overcoming their environment to succeed at the highest level.”

NBC News says he explained his rationale to TIME this way:

This story of this brilliant, young woman whose life was marred by tragedy that could have easily ended her life—just random street violence—and went off to college was very inspiring to me. I thought that was the most modern version of a superhero or superheroine story I had ever heard. And I sat with it for awhile until I had the right character and the right place

Bendis also added that the new character aims to show a young heroine who is able to “rise up and act … using her science acumen, her natural born abilities,” which serves to contrast a young Tony Stark and his abilities at her age, according to NBC News.

While NBC News says that Tony Stark will still be around, it seems that Williams’ character will open up new territory for the comic — one that has been a long time coming, according to Bendis.

“Talking to any of the older creators, it’s the thing they said they wish they’d done more of—reflecting the world around them,” he said. “It just wasn’t where the world was at that time. Now, when you have a young woman come up to you at a signing and say how happy she is to be represented in his universe, you know you’re moving in the right direction.”



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