The Invincible Riri Williams

Tony’s a goner! That’s right, Tony Stark is done as Iron Man. I’m so glad that arrogant, smug jerk is gone. Ok, ok now I know that was a little harsh. But it’s true. Time magazine revealed that at the end of the current Civil War II storyline in the comics the original Iron Man, Tony Stark, will be stepping down as Iron Man and he’ll be replaced by a genius 15-year-old African American woman named Riri Williams (No, not this Riri)

 

Image Courtesy of movieweb.com

For a little background, she’s an MIT student who reverse engineers one of Stark’s old armors (the guy leaves them around like old underwear) and catches Stark’s attention as a result. Pretty dope. I definitely couldn’t do that at age 15. I was too busy trying to pass Algebra II!

Bendis says that his inspiration for the character came while he was working on a defunct TV show in Chicago, he was inspired by the story of an African American woman who overcame tragedy in her neighborhood to go to college. He stated that he felt like this was the modern superhero story.

I think that it’s great that Brian Michael Bendis (BMB) is trying to diversify comics. I call him the trailblazer, he was the one that brought Miles Morales to the comic world. And I do applaud both he and Marvel for trying to create characters more reflective of America as it is now.

Image courtesy of fusion.net

 

Now there is the other side.

There are some people who are somewhat upset with the fact that the character was not created by a person of color. David Betancourt from the Washington Post noted that Black Twitter was in a tizzy over the reveal.  Some feel that an authentic black female voice should be the one writing the character. The greater concern too is that although the characters are more diverse, the creative teams behind them are not. If we can have Ta-Nehisi Coates writing Black Panther then we sure enough should be able to have a modern day Jackie Ormes  drawing the New Iron Man.

Secondly I have issue with the name Riri. It sounds a little too stereotypical to me. Why can’t the character just be called something like Rianne? As a side point, there have been studies that showed that job applicants with “black” sounding names were less likely to get hired. And I am thinking, will that be the case with comic buyers and Riri?

One of my other concerns is that the inspiration for this character was based on “oppressed minority who overcomes terrible obstacles” narrative that we have heard time and time again. Why not base it on a black woman who was middle class? I don’t know maybe I’m overthinking it.

Also I wonder with (SPOILER ALERT) Rhodey dying in the Civil War II, is Riri a consolation prize? Kill an old black character and replace them with a newer model.

Last gripe, Mike Deodato. I just do not like his artwork. I think his inks are too dark and his action scenes leave a lot to be desired.

Image courtesy of bleedingcool.com

Well, I’ve had my say. What do you all think out there? Are you going to buy the comic? Would you like to see Riri in an MCU movie? Please sound off below.

Have your Peter and eat your Miles too

Image Courtesy of: Comicbookmovie.com

Wow! After the debacle that was Secret Wars we get the New 52….ahem I mean the All-New Marvel universe. Can’t believe I’m getting my companies confused but how can you blame me, it’s like both of the big two are blowing up the existing continuity to create something ‘new’!

After all of the delays and confusion with the Secret Wars limited series not even being complete before we get the All-New Marvel comics it’s finally a new day in the Marvel Universe. To catch you up, Marvel ran a multi-year story line that introduced concept of the destruction of the multiverse. In essence all of the alternative universes were destroyed one by one  by something called “Incursions” which eventually led to the conflict between the main continuity 616 universe and the Ultimate universe. This led to the Secret Wars conflict which was a mash-up of various bits and pieces of alternative universes. I personally think it was just an opportunity for Marvel staff to create their Vanity projects without having a lasting effect on continuity.

Anyway, the outcome was a more diverse Marvel Universe. This included Sam Wilson, the former Falcon, as Captain America, an female Wolverine (formerly X-23) , a female Star Lord, and Two, count them, Two Spider-Men residing in the same Universe.  So we get a jet-setting millionaire playboy Peter Parker and struggling high schooler Miles Morales. You get both your Spider-Men and everyone is happy. Right?

Maybe.

In an article in Comicbookresources, Joseph Ilidge wrote a very good article regarding Marvel hedging their bets. He highlighted the fact that Marvel is trying to have their cake and eat it too with having two Captain Americas in Steve Rogers and Sam Wilson. He posited something akin to Captain America being an institution and not so much an individual, thereby making dual Caps feasible. I sort of like that idea. The only thing I fear is that eventually Marvel will go back to its default and get rid of Sam Wilson as Cap. Believe me, they do this all the time in comics–kill or teleport or replace a character and then bring them back to make the “real” fans happy.

On one hand I applaud Marvel for striving for diversity by bringing in a black Captain America and Miles Morales’ Spider-Man. But it’s almost like they are trying to please everybody. Sometimes in doing that you don’t break new ground. Sometimes the audience has to be uncomfortable to bring something cool and fresh. That’s just my opinion.

Tell me, what do you think?