Last month, comic book publisher Marvel Comics scored some sweet headlines when they announced that Tony Stark would be replaced as Iron Man by a recently created character, Riri Williams, who is a teenage black girl (though an Iron Man book starring a man was also announced soon after). Today, Marvel has revealed that Williams will take a different Iron-themed name for her superhero identity: Ironheart. The news was announced via EXXXCLUSIVE report on Wired.com, for some reason.
Like pretty much every idea at Marvel nowadays, the name came from an editorial mandate, according to series writer "The Great One" Brian Bendis. "Iron Woman seemed old fashioned to some," Bendis told Wired. "Iron Maiden looked like a legal nightmare. And Ironheart, coined by Joe Quesada, after I told him my planned story for Riri, speaks not only to the soul of the character but to the Iron Man franchise as a whole. Tony first put on the armor to save his heart. Riri puts it on for different reasons altogether but still heart-related."
Bendis went on to rattle off a long list of "heart" references to prove that Ironheart isn't a stupid sounding name. "Earlier this morning, I was playing Kingdom Hearts on my playstation, so, yeah," Bendis explained. "My favorite movie starring a racist is Braveheart, and my favorite professional wrestler is Bret 'The Hitman' Hart, and who could ever forget Kid Blackheart from the now classic Ghost Riders: Heaven's on Fire (2009). My favorite Planeteer was Ma-Ti, whose power came from the element of heart, so this was basically fucking meant to be. This morning while I was driving into work, I heard the song Barracuda by the band Heart, and by the way, I'm like 99% sure that song is about a dildo."
"When people see her story, you'll be amazed at how simple and brilliant Joe's suggestion was," Bendis quickly added, realizing that he wasn't making any sense. As a sign that Marvel is moving toward a more inclusive universe, Wired noted that Riri Williams joins Bendis's own Miles Morales, Jason Aaron's Jane Foster, Greg Pak's Amadeus Cho, and G. Willow Wilson's Kamala Khan as diverse characters, four out of five of which are written by men, three of four of which are white men.
Despite all the posturing, Marvel was still too chicken to call the book Ironheart, so it will still be called Invincible Iron Man. Look for this book in stores in November, but if you can't find it because it's sold out, remember, Ironheart will always be with you - *points at chest* - right here.