There’s a new Marvel superhero on the road to becoming a comic book headliner. Ironheart will look to take Iron Man’s place as a super-intelligent, suited-up crime fighter protecting the world in a flying, full body outfit of high-tech armor. This fresh face in the world of Marvel is known as Riri Williams, a 15-year-old African-American girl, a super genius, whose vast intellect surpasses her predecessor.
Who Is Ironheart?
Who exactly is this new force? Who is this superhero expected to arrive at Marvel’s front door? Riri Williams is her name and Ironheart is her superhero alias. She was originally introduced in the comic book, Invincible Iron Man #7, as a prodigy at MIT, a young lady who was able to reverse engineer an old Ironman suit, and in effect, prevent a prison break and flip over a speeding truck.
But a new issue of Invincible Iron Man gives the Marvel audience a greater glimpse into the origins of Ironheart. New panels released by Time show Riri’s parents in a therapist’s office, discussing their daughter’s unusual behavior. The therapist reveals that their daughter is only acting out because of boredom, as she needs greater intellectual stimulation, and this is causing the issue. Riri Williams, better known as Ironheart to comic book fans, is a certified super-genius. She is smarter than her parents, the therapist, and even the great Tony Stark.
Riri Williams was created by writer Brian Michael Bendis and artist Mike Deodato. But Stefano Caselli will take up the artwork and Brian will continue to write and provide the script when the series officially launches this fall, when Ironheart finally arrives as a stand-alone superhero. As a bit of trivia information, this superhero is based on the young actress Skai Jackson, who also left her handprint on the superhero scene when she guest-starred in Disney XD’s Ultimate Spider-Man.
It’s the middle of October now, so let’s turn the calendar back to early July of this year: at that time, Marvel would make their big announcement that Tony Stark will be walking away from his spot as Iron Man, leaving it empty for the young 15-year-old Ironheart.
It looks like Marvel will giving Ironheart the typical superhero treatment. It appears as if they have provided us with another superhuman specimen with an incredible gift (think Spiderman, minus the webbing and climbing abilities and just add in the high-powered suit and brain). Indeed, she is very similar to other heroes, who are a type of outlier, who don’t seem to fit in with everyone else or “normal society,” but who have been given an incredible advantage and ability that they must use responsibly or risk falling into the ranks of villainy. Her parents were directed to nurture this gift so that she may share her great abilities with the world around her.
“As we say in the story: high intellects, out of frustration, can sometimes retreat into their own world. This young woman has had that burden but she also has a grounded parent who helped her get to this point. But she also has had a terrible tragedy that has informed her more than anything,” said creator Brian Bendis.
Bendis would also point out that, “Some of the intellectual characters at Marvel get to the point where they want to conquer the world and make it over in their own image. The fact that Riri, even after all she has been through, does not makes her mother the hero of this story. And we need to celebrate that kind of thing more anyhow.”
Marvel has given us a superhero which reflects the true diversity of its audience. Generations of super-strong white men in capes dominating the comic book scene are gradually being broken with superheroes like Ironheart. She demonstrates that a great hero can come at any age with any gender or color. In effect, one can argue that her stand-out character can help usher in a beautiful wave of acceptance in comic books as well as in the real world.