Last week, Marvel Comics released a look at its universe following Civil War II, and one notable absence was Tony Stark, although he was represented in some capacity on both sides of the teaser. On the left, Victor Von Doom held the Iron Man face plate, while on the right, new character Riri Williams stood front and center in her own suit of armor.

While Marvel is being coy about Tony Stark's fate in the aftermath of the event, it was confirmed today that Riri Williams will take over as the lead character in Invincible Iron Man by Brian Michael Bendis and Stefano Caselli later this year.

In an announcement today in Time Magazine, Bendis confirms that the character he created alongside Mike Deodato will be the new protagonist in the title. In the interview, Bendis talks about the importance for representation in comics, and how a new generation of fans have found themselves reflected in characters such as Miles Morales, Kamala Khan, and Jane Foster as Thor.

If you're behind on Invincible Iron Man, Riri Williams is a fifteen year old black girl from Chicago, currently attending the Michigan Institute of Technology, and she has developed her own suit of Iron Man-alike armor. Tony Stark is aware of her work, though their paths have yet to cross in the pages of the book. It was speculated that Riri may be the new War Machine, stoked by comments made by Axel Alonso in his interview with Fast Company, but it seems that may have been a red herring.

While Bendis' goal to improve representation in comics is admirable, it doesn't address the fact that this is another comic featuring a black female lead with a white male writer, and that issues of representation in comics extend beyond the printed page. Also, given that we're about to have a sixth Spider-Man film with no Miles Morales, and that Jane Foster is absent from Thor: Ragnarok, what are the odds that we'll ever see Riri Williams on the big screen?

While we don't know if Tony Stark will survive Civil War II, his absence from the Marvel NOW promo images and the confirmation of Riri's role leads us to wonder if Victor Von Doom will end up headlining Bendis and Alex Maleev's International Iron Man.


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