Following the end of the comic book event series Civil War II, Tony Stark will be replaced by a “brilliant” 15-year-old Black girl who made her own Iron Man suit in her MIT dorm. Iron Man writer Brian Michael Bendis proclaims Riri Williams’ life was marred by random street violence that could have ended her life altogether, so her story of triumph is super inspirational. She’s still working on a new name.
Bendis: One of the things that stuck with me when I was working in Chicago a couple of years ago on a TV show that didn’t end up airing was the amount of chaos and violence. And this story of this brilliant, young woman whose life was marred by tragedy that could have easily ended her life—just random street violence—and went off to college was very inspiring to me. I thought that was the most modern version of a superhero or superheroine story I had ever heard. And I sat with it for awhile until I had the right character and the right place.
As we’ve been slowly and hopefully very organically adding all these new characters to the Marvel Universe, it just seemed that sort of violence inspiring a young hero to rise up and act, and using her science acumen, her natural born abilities that are still raw but so ahead of where even Tony Stark was at that age, was very exciting to me.
As far as why it took so long to make The Avengers more diverse, Bendis admits:
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. It just wasn’t where the world was at at that time. Now, when you have a young woman come up to you at a signing and say how happy she is to be represented in his universe, you know you’re moving in the right direction.