Ironheart: Who is The Next Armored Avenger?

She’s all (Iron)Heart

Ironheart:Those who move with courage… make the path for those who live with fear.”

Ironheart #12 (2020)

A woman in an armored suit flies through the air. An alert flashes across her HUD and a smarmy voice describes a robbery. Banking around a building, she spots the getaway car. Child’s play. A hatch opens near her shoulder as a laser sight targets the tires. A volley of lasers stop the car flat.

The criminals flee, but her thrusters are faster. Two of them are tased and subdued. The last pulls a gun and shoots her in the chest. The bullet bounces off the breastplate, but her eyes widen as memories flood her mind. Sirens, bullet-ridden bodies, her best friend slipping away. She crushes the gun and punches the man into a nearby dumpster. Ironheart flies off, angrily noting potential upgrades to her armor.

Ironheart is a recent hero with a bright future. She’s backed by one of the original Avengers and is making a name for herself as his replacement. So who is she? How did she get her armor? What makes Ironheart different from Iron Man? Let’s find out.

Heart of Steel: Ironheart’s Backstory

Riri:The techno-ghost of Tony Stark is haunting me!

Invincible Iron Man #2 (2016)

Ironheart debuted in Invincible Iron Man #7 in 2016. She was created by Brian Michael Bendis and Mike Deodato. Her design is based on actor Skai Jackson.

Riri Williams was a genius child. Her parents struggled raising a daughter smarter than they were and feared she would become a mad scientist if they didn’t constantly support her. Riri’s stepfather and her best friend Natalie were later killed in a drive-by shooting. A devastated Riri became obsessed with becoming a superhero.

Riri was bored while attending M.I.T. and stole equipment from the laboratories to reverse-engineer Iron Man’s armor. She unintentionally stopped a robbery and attracted Iron Man’s attention. After interviewing Riri, he agreed to mentor her.

Following Civil War II, Riri received an A.I. based on Tony’s mental patterns, a digital Force Ghost for all intents and purposes. Riri perfected her first armor and became Ironheart. After defeating several villains, the new hero joined The Champions. Ironheart was flying high, perhaps too high.

Sheer Heart Attack: Ironheart’s History

Ironheart: [waking up from a nightmare] “I was tired of being afraid. I wanted to fly.

Ironheart #1 (2018)

Ironheart encountered Thanos while on a mission with The Champions. Unaware of the danger and provoked by his arrogance, she attacked The Mad Titan. He defeated her effortlessly by destroying her armor, only sparing Riri because he was amused and The Champions had just helped him.

The crushing defeat weighed heavily on Ironheart, who began having nightmares about Thanos. She built an upgraded version of her armor, now in her own colors and with an A.I. based on Natalie. The new suit served her well against a HYDRA uprising, a government crackdown on teen heroes, and other threats.

The Natalie A.I. was compromised after interfacing with hacked driverless cars to stop them. It took control of the Ironheart armor to murder the hacker, forcing Riri to confront her armor and talk down its A.I. with a heart-to-heart talk, which allowed her to fix the glitch and capture the hacker.

Hidden Heart of Gold: Ironheart’s Powers and Personality

Spider-Man:I know that look. I had it a lot when I was your age. There’s no stopping you. I want you to run because you don’t have your armor. But you won’t… ‘cause you’re a hero.

Peter Parker: The Spectacular Spider-Man #300

Riri was recognized as a “super-genius” at five years old. She’s smart enough to build one of Iron Man’s advanced armors by herself with non-specialized equipment and quit M.I.T. because the coursework bored her.  

The Ironheart armor is the perfect accessory for this year’s Fall Collection. It’s outfitted with Stark’s repulsor-tech, allowing it to fly and fire repulsor blasts at foes. The armor also has micro-missiles, flashbang grenades, and tasers among its weapons. The newest version can be stored in a bracer, allowing Riri to quickly equip it like a heavily-armed Power Ranger.

Riri is an introvert who prefers fighting alone. Losing her stepfather and Natalie to gun violence and her defeat at Thanos’ hands traumatized her and led to her developing PTSD. She is empathic with those she’s close to, but often struggles to voice her feelings.

The Actors Who Play Ironheart

Sofia Wylie – Marvel Rising, Marvel’s Spider-Man
Ayomide F. – M.I.T. Promotional Video (Not All Heroes Wear Capes – But Some Carry Tubes)
Dominique Thorne – Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, Ironheart

Didya Get All That?

The Next Generation’s Armored Avenger

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