Comic fans everywhere were excited by Marvel’s announcement last month that Tony Stark would be relinquishing the Iron Man mantle to a young black girl, Riri Williams. But it posed the question: What Riri would call herself.
Invincible Iron Man writer Brian Michael Bendis cleared that up in a new interview with Wired on Monday, revealing Williams’ superhero alter ego would go by the name Ironheart.
“Iron Woman seemed old fashioned to some,” Bendis said. “Iron Maiden looked like a legal nightmare. And Ironheart, coined by [former Marvel editor-in-chief] 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. Tony first put on the armor to save his heart. Riri puts it on for different reasons altogether but still heart-related. When people see her story, you’ll be amazed at how simple and brilliant Joe’s suggestion was.”
Riri will officially take over for Tony in this fall’s Invincible Iron Man #1, written by Bendis and drawn by Stefano Caselli. It’s unclear how exactly she will fit into Marvel’s superhero hierarchy (especially after all the turmoil of this summer’s Civil War II event series, whose conclusion will presumably explain Tony’s abdication), but Ironheart represents more changes to the face of the Marvel universe. Along with a black Captain America, an Asian-American Hulk, a female Thor, a mixed-race Spider-Man, a female Avengers team, and a Muslim Ms. Marvel, among others, Riri Williams’ ascension to Iron-plated heroics is another sign that the Marvel Universe is gradually becoming more diverse and inclusive.