Here's What We Know About Riri Williams, The 15-Year-Old Black Girl Who's Going To Be Iron Man

Yesterday, Marvel announced that Tony Stark would be walking away from his latest suit of power armour. His replacement is going to be Riri Williams, a genius MIT student who isn't old enough to drink yet. (So no "Demon in a Bottle" storyline for her, I guess.) Riri Williams first appeared was in a subplot that started months ago in Invincible Iron Man #6. Her initial scenes showed work well underway on a prototype suit of armour, cobbled together from components she "borrowed" from the MIT campus. Making a suit of armour is noisy work and the racket didn't endear Riri to her dorm neighbours.

Looking back on the Riri sequences from Invincible Iron Man #6-11, it becomes crystal clear that the editorial plans for her aimed at higher than her just being a sidekick or taking on the War Machine identity after James Rhodes death. She tells her friend Sharon about compulsively starting in on the armour project without knowing why, and completes it just as Tony Stark's long absence from the public eye starts making headlines.

Campus security interrupts their little chat and Riri fires up the boot jets on her Gundam-inflected creation for the first time.

Her first actual instance of do-gooding happened in this week's Invincible Iron Man #11, when she stops a pair of prisoners escaping from a New Mexico prison.

So far, Riri's personality has been shown to harbour a few elements that echo that of Tony Stark. She seems to impulsively do what she wants and isn't that great when it comes to thinking about consequences. That's believably understandable for a teenager with an intelligence that's put her on the fast track to success. Superheroing is a whole other sort of challenge, though, and it will be interesting to see who, if anyone, will serve as a mentor to Riri.

Given his recurring-character status in Invincible Iron Man and helmet-holding pose in the recent Marvel Now teaser poster, Victor Von Doom would be a likely candidate. Sure, he used to (?) be one of the world's most ominous supervillains, but who better to serve as teacher to an upstart hero than someone who regularly got his butt kicked by the biggest world-savers? Mentoring Riri would also arguably earn Victor some goodwill from the hero community.

There's still a few months to go before Riri takes on the starring role in the next volume of Invincible Iron Man, a time period that will show Tony Stark dealing with personal and financial crises and Marvel's heroes aligning into new configurations. Hopefully, we'll see why Riri deserves to jump so quickly to the head of the pack of the publisher's A-list characters.

Comic Book Resources has a look at the armour Riri will be wearing in the next volume of Invincible Iron Man.


    why do you emphasis 'black' ? both titles about riri have '15 year old BLACK girl'. I don't understand this...

      Uh, Black isn't emphasised any more than girl or 15-year-old.

      Last edited 08/07/16 5:29 pm

    She's a Mary Sue made by Bendis so he can score brownie points with the progressive squad (most of whom don't buy the books, but demand more changes. Just look on Twitter).

    Judging by the reaction from a lot of Iron Man fans, this change isn't going to be accepted easily, if at all. Not only are we getting a Mary Sue forced into a legacy role, but the book itself is getting relaunched too. The mix of the two is not appealing to anyone at all.

      I seriously don't understand why this is such a big deal.

      New people have taken over the roles of existing heroes a million times before, it's just they've often been a white dude replacing another white dude. New Thor, Iron Man, Captain America etc. They're just different races or genders.


      Batman, Robin, Green Lantern, Ant Man, Iron Man previously (Rhodey), Captain Marvel, Spiderman (though Miles was also a different race and was very well received), Wonder Woman, The Flash, etc etc etc.

      inb4: "but this time it's just pandering!"

        To be fair nobody was happy about Jim Gordon replacing Bruce and that is from a writer with a much better history when it comes to not making clusterfuck titles.

        People are happy when non white characters replace Hal Jordan in JL.

        Its all about the context and I am gonna say the same thing I said last time; Rhodes shouldn't have been knocked off for some crappy event just so that SJW can masterbate to Disney sensibilities.

        Bet this character is retconned into the back ground faster than Peter Parker clones.

          While I'll definitely agree with you on Jim Gordon, SJW isn't an insult. SJWs are not a big bad conspiracy ruining everything straight white males have ever loved.

            I didn't mean SJW as an insult; its merely a political outlook, admittedly not one that I share.

            I am in the camp that I think a lot of these changes are knee jerk reactions to opinions from people that largely don't buy comics. I would much rather they had taken the time to flesh out other characters of minorities and place some really good writers behind them, in order to make interesting stories rather than changing characters because its just easier than actually putting in real effort.

            I would like to go on record saying that Blue Marvel makes a much more interesting champion of Justice than Superman does.

              Fair enough, I can see you taking the time to flesh out your arguments that I may have overreacted and placed you in the camp of certain other commenters.

              While I may still disagree with the crux of your argument I can see that by fleshing out your opinion you're certainly coming at it from a more mature angle than most.

                There are people that certainly come at it with at racist or sexist outlook and while I do have some disdain or feel some embarassment to being associated with such people; I do also find myself erring on the side of caution. These decisions do have lasting effects and I feel like its a poor business decision.

    I'm usually the first in line to pot Marvel but hey, this is definitely a great idea.

    It's like, brazen.

    "We know this is going to piss off the worst elements of our userbase, to the extent they leave our audience base entirely.'

    Gotta love that.

      Maybe the ones that are irrationally angry, but they are also the ones that seem to drop the most money on the comic book industry. I cant help but feel that this is a very poor idea from a business perspective.

        When.....(forgot her name)......Riri is in the movies that make a billion plus dollars and Downey is well and truly out of the picture, we'll see how much of a poor idea it is :D

          Maybe, but the same logic could be used for the new Ghost Busters. Time will tell.

            Apparently new Ghost Busters has reviewed great. Time will definitely tell.

              Reviews are not butts on seats, that being said power to them.

        The thing is, they're also the people who complain how terrible the idea is, yet still buy the products, read the books and watch the shows/movies.

          No they aren't and that is why Cap is now white again. You can make any assertions you want, but when Sam has only been inside the top 60 comics once (Issue 7 sat at 19th position) in the last seven months and that was due to a crossover with another comic that brought him up; you have to realise that the people actually buying comics don't give a damn for the politics.

          They are used to lineage which is something that until recently gave Marvel a massive advantage over DC, but they have gone and pissed it away at the same time that DC have openly embraced their older comics and story lines. This has resulted in DC sales (apparently) increasing a lot and Marvel (outside of SW and a few "icon" titles) taking a hit.

          I don't think that these ideals are sustainable and would probably go out on a limb and say that Iron man will likely be dropping out of the top 30 really soon. After all his sales have been on the downward slope since Secret Wars closed out and they have been alluding to this possible change.

          Resources for quick reading;

            Huh. Thanks for the info. Looks like I've got some reading ahead of me :)

              I think it would be fine if Marvel hadn't condensed their universe. Alot of the popular alternate characters have been introduced through what ifs or alternate story lines

    Pretty sure they're just trying to change all their white male heroes into anything else until they're all replaced... You know, instead of being creative and bringing new heroes and characters in with their own identity.

    Don't care for the whole "Let's make the people who yell at us feel happy" thing they're doing at the moment.

    Why is there a need to alter FICTIONAL characters so suite this politically correct minority...

      To give people hope. To show that black culture can make contributions to the safety and well being of the innocent.

      Or to suck the wallets dry of politically correct minorities, cause who doesn't love money?

      Also, I couldn't tell what ethnic group she is, as Google searches just come up with hundreds of news articles calling her BLACK.

      She could be a transgender white guy with a tanning salon for all we know.

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