Super (Hero) News: Marvel's New Iron Man Is a Black Woman

Meet Riri Williams, the new Tony Stark.

Meet the new Iron Man. Or Iron Lady, that is. Time reports that the newest Marvel superhero is Riri Williams, a black woman who is taking over as Tony Stark steps out of his Iron Man suit. As with any superhero takeover, Marvel has unveiled Williams' impressive background that qualifies her to fill Iron Man's big, metallic shoes: she enrolled at MIT when she was just 15, is a science genius, and built her own Iron Man suit in her dorm. As one does.

"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," Brian Michael Bendis, creator and Iron Man writer, told Time of Williams' backstory. "I thought that was the most modern version of a superhero or superheroine story I had ever heard."

But it's Williams' sheer brilliance and talent for invention that leads Stark to her. "He's already aware that there's some student at M.I.T. that's reverse-engineered one of his old armors all by herself in her dorm room," Bendis said in the interview. "He goes to find this young woman who is flying around the middle of America in an armor that's not completely made to try to find out what her deal is."

The latest addition joins an increasingly diverse roster of Marvel superheroes. "When you're introducing new characters, you're always going to have people getting paranoid about us ruining their childhood," Bendis told 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."

The new Iron Lady even is a few steps ahead of Iron Man himself. "Her brain is maybe a little better than his," Bendis said of Williams. "She looks at things from a different perspective." And we can only hope that Riri's name was inspire by our real life superhero: Riri, AKA the queen herself, Rihanna.

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Maggie Maloney

Maggie Maloney is the associate editor at Town & Country and ELLE Decor, where she covers style, beauty, jewelry, and the many members of the royal family. She also manages social media and content strategy for both brands.