Riri Williams suits up in Tony Stark's armor as Ironheart

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It wasn't too long ago that Marvel writer Brian Michael Bendis announced that Riri Williams, an African-American teenager, would be stepping into Tony Stark's armor and carrying on the legacy of Iron Man, post-CIVIL WAR. As expected, the usual crowd voiced their displeasure over Marvel trying to do something like introducing diversity into their universe, complaining about new faces and characters being introduced in the roles of these established monikers. "Why don't they get their own comic?!" they'd cry. 

Today we got more information about this Iron Man transition going down, particularly about the name Riri Williams will be taking as she assumes such a big responsibility. Riri Williams will be Ironheart, and Benis explained to Wired why. 

"Iron Woman seemed old fashioned to some (and) Iron Maiden looked like a legal nightmare."

"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. 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.”

You can get much more information about who Riri Williams is, how she acquires the Iron Man armor and what Tony Stark's involvement will be in all of it from Wired's exclusive, but I think one of the more important issues to address is the backlash to these changes that keep happening. 

It's easy to say that these characters should just launch as entirely new properties, but, as we've seen time and time again, people don't support the "fresh, new content" they claim to always want. If fans would put their money where their mouths are, that might be a proposition that content creators like Marvel could move forward with. But as we constantly see, it's the brands that attract the eyes, with mainstream audiences constantly going back to what they know, what they're comfortable with, rather than taking a chance on something new - and that's where those opportunities falter. 

Let's not get confused and believe that Riri Williams is replacing Tony Stark and wiping his presence from the Marvel Universe clean as if he didn't exist. Instead she is simply a continuation of a greater story, an establishment of her credentials over time that then allows to the chance to branch out and exist on her own. She's getting the rub from the Iron Man name to become that characters a certain segment of the fanbase say they'd prefer. It's difficult for one to happen without the other. So before you write these developments off with kneejerk reactions, maybe give these issues a read and see what kind of story the changes tell. After all, if it serves the story well, isn't that the very thing we want anyway?

riri williams, ironheart, invincible iron man, marvel comics, marvel universe, iron man 

Source: Wired



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