Everything You Need To Know About Ironheart's Short Existence In Marvel Comics

Riri Williams's rise as Ironheart has been nothing short of meteoric in the Marvel Universe. While some superheroes wait decades for their big-screen debuts, it only took Riri six years after her first appearance in the comics to make her MCU bow in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever.

But who is Ironheart? What is her connection to Tony Stark's Iron Man, and does he approve of her extracurricular activities? Why is she often considered one of the most essential Marvel creations in recent memory?

Let's dig through the archives and dive deeper into the details of Ironheart and her history in Marvel Comics.

Photo: Marvel Comics / Marvel Comics / Marvel Comics

  • Riri Williams Is A Relatively Recent Addition To Marvel Comics

    From Miles Morales's Spider-Man to Scott Lang's Ant-Man, Marvel Comics hasn't been averse to letting new characters take over popular mantles from legacy heroes. The House of Ideas introduced another significant one back in March 2016. Invincible Iron Man #7 marks the debut of 15-year-old genius Riri Williams who goes on to become Ironheart: Iron Man's successor. 

    That said, while Riri debuted in 2016, she only assumed the Ironheart moniker in 2017.

  • She Was Thought Up By The Co-Creator Of Jessica Jones, Daisy Johnson, And Miles Morales

    The brain trust behind Riri Williams is the creative team of Brian Michael Bendis and Mike Deodato. Bendis is a highly decorated and critically acclaimed comic book writer who also had a hand in co-creating notable Marvel characters such as Jessica Jones, Daisy Johnson, and Miles Morales.

    Explaining why characters such as Riri and Miles are essential additions to the Marvel Universe, Bendis told Entertainment Weekly: "The statement of Miles as Spider-Man or Riri as Iron Man is a big statement - that anyone can be these heroes. It used to be white dudes who were these heroes [but] that’s not the world we live in. Marvel’s always been a mirror reflection of the world we live in and these choices are exciting."

  • Riri Is Undoubtedly Marvel Comics' Most Important Denizen Of Chicago, Illinois

    Why are the vast majority of Marvel's heroes situated in New York? Captain America has Brooklyn. Spider-Man has Manhattan. Daredevil has Hell's Kitchen. Really, the Big Apple has more than enough superheroes roaming around and saving the day.

    So what does the Second City do when CM Punk is on the road and unavailable to be its savior? Well, Chicago has Ironheart to call upon as its protector. Riri Williams is there when her city needs her the most, as she protects her home from all kinds of threats - including zombies!

  • She Got A Full Scholarship to M.I.T. At Age Eleven

    At the age of 11, most of us are still imagining which superhero we'll be when we grow up or trying to convince our parents why the latest gadget is a good investment in happiness. In Riri Williams' world, she doesn't only imagine these things… she creates them.

    After being certified as a super genius at the age of five, it doesn't take long for others to recognize her talents and abilities. By the time she is 11, M.I.T. opens its doors for Riri, offering her a full scholarship. It isn't enough for Riri, though, as she also tries to apply for an astronaut's program at the Kennedy Space Center.

  • Both Her Stepfather And Best Friend Were Slain In A Drive-By Shooting When She Was Thirteen

    Much like other superheroes, Ironheart's origin story is rooted in tragedy. While at a picnic, the 13-year-old Riri Williams is helpless and can only watch as her stepfather and best friend Natalie get caught in a drive-by shooting. Both of them perish after being shot in the heart.

    Even though this is simply a case of being at the wrong place at the wrong time, Riri doesn't forget. The event leaves a mark and serves as her inspiration for becoming a superhero and protecting others.

  • She Reverse-Engineered An Iron Man Suit As A Challenge To Herself

    Some people challenge themselves by seeing how many M&M's they can eat before getting sick, while others do more creative things like trying to balance a chair on their chin. For Riri Williams, that's all child's play, as she decides a real challenge is to pit her smarts against another genius: Tony Stark.

    In 2016's Invincible Iron Man #12, she sets herself the task of reverse-engineering the Iron Man Mark-41 armored suit, which she successfully achieves. However, this is only the catalyst, as her interest in the suit's technology leads her to build her iron armor.