While the Marvel Cinematic Universe continues to face criticism for a lack of diversity in its recurring cast of mostly white, mostly male superheroes (mainly due to most of their popular characters having been created in the early-1960s) the Marvel Comics Universe has been beefing up its roster with a wave of new heroes from a broader set of cultural backgrounds. One such character is Riri Williams, a young Black woman who dons the armored identity of “Ironheart.”
Now, check out new fan art that imagines the character as embodied by pop singer Rihanna.
The artwork, from fan art maestro BossLogic, features the popular singer sporting William’s distinctive hairstyle and a suit of armor based on the one seen in the comics. However, her armor is rendered in the functional style of the Iron Man suit from the MCU feature films, perhaps imagining a scenario where the pop star (who has appeared in Battleship and will continue acting in Ocean’s Eight and Valerian & The City of A Thousand Planets) took up the role onscreen – though no such casting has been suggested by anyone connected to the Iron Man movies. Check out the image and accompanying Tweet below:
Created this past year in the pages of Invincible Iron Man by writer Brian Michael Bendis and artist Stefano Caselli, Riri Williams is depicted as a science and engineering prodigy who entered MIT at 15-years-old and first caught the attention of Tony Stark after she rebuilt and reconfigured a discarded suit of Iron Man armor on her own. Though initially cautioned against using the suit herself, Williams eventually received Stark’s blessing and took the superheroine name Ironheart – ultimately taking up Stark’s full mantle (though the series will continue to be titled “Invincible Iron Man”) and utilizing an A.I. the replicates her predecessor’s consciousness.
As a multicultural successor to a previously established superhero, Ironheart is counted alongside characters like Jane Foster’s female Thor, Amadeus Cho’s Korean-American Hulk and Miles “Ultimate Spider-Man” Morales. The characters are part of the “All-New, All-Different” Marvel initiative that has earned accolades (and, in some cases, increased sales numbers) for the comics-publishing giant, but also pushback from more tradition-adherent fans and creators. While no plans have been announced to add any of these reoriented characters to the MCU, the move to normalize “legacy identities” in the comics has been viewed as a precursor to doing so in the films when the current crop of actors eventually retire.
Invincible Iron Man #3 will be available January 18, 2017.