There's a new Iron Man in town, and she's a black girl.
Marvel Comics announced today that at the end of the run of their current comic book series "Civil War II," Tony Stark will step down from his role as the iconic super hero, and a new character named Riri Williams will emerge as his successor.
Riri is brilliant -- a scientific prodigy enrolled at MIT at the age of 15. She gets on Stark's radar after she manages to build her own fully functioning Iron Man armor. She also looks like a total badass. On the cover of the next "Invincible Iron Man," Riri is featured rocking an amazing fro and holding the iconic Iron Man helmet:
Williams is one of several new characters at Marvel taking on the mantles of beloved heroes, including Miles Morales (the first black Spider-Man), Kamala Khan (a Muslim-American super hero), and Jane Foster (the first female Thor).
Brian Michael Bendis, who is also responsible for creation of Jessica Jones, and Miles Morales, conceived of the Riri Williams character as a young woman who decides to become a hero in response to the tragic street violence she experiences growing up. Speaking exclusively to TIME on Wednesday, Bendis said that he hopes the inclusion of Williams will add to the recent wave of diversity within the Marvel Universe.
“Talking to any of the older creators, it’s the thing they said they wish they’d done more of ― reflecting the world around them,” Bendis said.
“Now, when you have a young woman come up to you at a signing and say how happy she is to be represented in this universe, you know you’re moving in the right direction.”
It remains to be seen how the Riri Williams story arc will pan out, but judging by her badass pose on the cover of “Invincible Iron Man” alone, it’s sure to be awesome.