"Sisters are doing it for themselves..." - Aretha Franklin


Rejoice nerds! Today is New Comic Book Day, but the topic that's lighting the blogosphere on fire is the announcement that everyone's favorite comic book playboy, Tony Stark aka Iron Man, is fixin' to hang up his metal body suit in the wake of whatever yet-unrevealed catastrophe that is to come from the current Civil War II arc.

In his place will step 15-year-old genius and MIT student Riri Williams. First Lunella Lafayette in Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur, now Riri Williams? C'mon, Riri? Marvel is batting a thousand on "Black People Names" as of late. Williams first appears in Invincible Iron Man #7 and eventually dons her prototype version of the armor in Invincible Iron Man #9.

This is the latest in what seems to be a five-year trend toward diversity at major comic book publishers. The mantle and shield of Captain America is now being brandished by the hero formerly known as Falcon, the Mighty Thor is now the alter ego of the Odinson's ex-girlfriend Jane Foster, the Incredible Hulk is now the Totally Awesome Hulk/Amadeus Chao, and the list goes on and on.

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(From Invincible Iron Man #7)

And while the notion of forcefully diversifying some of our favorite titles has become something of a cliché to everyday comic book readers, current Iron Man writer Brian Michael Bendis has been tabbed as the writer on this brand-new-funk as well. So, that should take some of the sting out of it.

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(From Invincible Iron Man #9)

“Thankfully because of my involvement in the creation of Miles Morales and Jessica Jones and some other characters, it’s getting the benefit of the doubt from even the most surly fans,” he says. “There are fans who say, ‘Show us the new stuff,’ and then there are fans who say, ‘Don’t do anything different from when I was a kid.’ So when you’re introducing new characters, you’re always going to have people getting paranoid about us ruining their childhood.

“I’ve been down this road with Miles Morales, Jessica Jones, Maria Hill. I knew I was in good hands with Mike Deodato and other artists who are helping visualize Riri.”

The fervor is likely to continue throughout the summer up until the relaunch of Invincible Iron Man this fall, but you'll have to read a couple back issues, as well as some tie-ins, to see just how Tony is screwing things up and the arc of how things go so bad for him.