Big things have been happening in the world of Iron Man. Civil War II has shaken up the Marvel Universe for better or worse but hey, it’s been nothing if not interesting. We heard earlier this summer that someone new would be taking over the iconic Iron Man suit, but it wasn’t until now that we knew what to call her.
News broke at the beginning of July that a new character would take over as Iron Man later this year. This is all part of the Marvel NOW! campaign that has seen a significant boost in diversity in the pages of the company’s comics. This has included the introduction of the teenage Pakistani-American Kamala Khan becoming the new Ms. Marvel in addition to Jane Foster taking over as Thor.
The new character slipping into Iron Man’s suit is Riri Williams, a 15-year-old African-American science prodigy attending M.I.T. She managed to build her own suit by reverse-engineering one of Tony Stark’s old models in her dorm room. Naturally, her genius couldn’t be kept secret for long, and Tony Stark came knocking to see her handiwork in Invincible Iron Man #12. He was clearly impressed with what he saw and has more or less already given Riri his blessing to continue her work.
But for all this time, we still didn’t know what to call the new heroine. Just calling her Iron Man didn’t seem quite right and Iron Girl is a little bit on the nose. It’s now been revealed that when Riri Williams takes over with Invincible Iron Man #1 later this fall, she’ll be known as “Ironheart.” We’ve got to admit, it works well and has a pretty nice ring to it.
Writer Brian Michael Bendis explained his reasoning in a recent interview saying, “Iron Woman seemed old-fashioned to some. Iron Maiden looked like a legal nightmare,” said Bendis. “And Ironheart, coined by Joe Quesada, after I told him my planned story for Riri, speaks not only to the soul of the character but to the Iron Man franchise as a whole.”
Iron Man continues to be one of the most recognizable characters in Marvel comics and pretty much single-handedly made the Marvel Cinematic Universe an initial success. The company is always looking for different ways to expand its reach to new audiences, and this is just one more example and a smart one at that. Marvel has also courted wider audiences through the casual video game market, especially when it comes to Iron Man. The character has several slot reels found within a collection of comic-themed games available online, where numerous nods to pop culture exist and serve as inspiration. These games feature the characters that fans have come to know and love from the comics such as War Machine, Black Widow, and, of course, Iron Man himself. We can only hope that eventually Marvel will wise up and create another console video game featuring the character soon, especially as they continue to greatly expand the scope of the Iron Man comics.
We still don’t know exactly what’s going to become of Tony Stark, but we suspect the billionaire genius will stick around in one way or another. Huge things are going to happen to the character this fall, including Dr. Doom donning his own armor in the Infamous Iron Man. There’s going to be a lot of armor flying around the Marvel universe this year, and we doubt the Marvel universe is big enough for all of them. Both Invincible Iron Man and Infamous Iron Man are expected to be on shelves this November.