One of the biggest criticisms of modern day pop-culture has been the often ‘forced’ diversity. When these popular entities hit the market, the society was very different. The market had no place for ‘heroes’ who are not white males.
With the change in the mindset of people, it was only a matter of time before these trends changed. Marvel has made quite a number of changes in its roster by gender-bending some of our most beloved superheroes. While we all believe that diversity is great for society, the writing and the overall ‘diverse’ product could have been a lot better.
When Marvel announced that the new Iron Man will be a black female, keyboard warriors all over the world were all up in arms. While a lot of people were happy with this newer ‘avatar’ of Iron Man, an equally vocal section called this a move for some attention from the social justice warriors brigade. Considering how the earlier, gender-bending had led to disastrous results for Marvel, a lot of comic book fans were on the fence with this decision.
In an interview with Wired, Marvel revealed that when Williams officially steps into the role this November, she’ll be known as Ironheart.
This comes as a great move that just highlights the trust Marvel has in its newer characters. They need not bank on the popularity of a major superhero to get people to read about a female character. They went ahead and created a separate franchise for her. Writer Brian Michael Bendis and artist Stefano Caselli have teamed up to create Ironheart’s beginning in this fall’s Invincible Iron Man #1.
The nomenclature for this new superhero was definitely fun for the writers. Perhaps the most obvious suggestion, Iron Woman, was rejected because it “seemed old-fashioned to some”. Where as ‘Iron Maiden’ would have led to a barrage of lawsuits. Iron Heart, on the other hand, feels like an honest take on the genius superhero.
Tony Stark is retiring his familiar armoured suit and letting a new character, Riri Williams, step into his shoes. Both these characters have already met in the recent run of the Invincible Iron Man, but Riri’s transition into a superhero will only happen during the November issues.
Williams, who enrolled at MIT at 15, reverse-engineered a suit of power armour in her dorm room – but that doesn’t mean Stark won’t be part of the Iron Man ethos: Riri’s in-armor A.I. will based on Tony’s own personality.
With Riri as Iron Heart, Kamala Khan as Ms. Marvel, Miles Morales as Spider-Man, Jane Foster as the new Thor, and Amadeus Cho as the Hulk, the signs are clear – Marvel is heading towards a more inclusive universe.
With some fantastic back-story for Riri and some amazing illustrations, Marvel is leading the way of how comic books can actually be a catalyst for change in society.