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)
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.
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.
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.