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Why RiRi Williams Should Not be Iron Man

As someone who is a fan of comic books, an ethnic minority, and as an artist in general, I feel it is important for people to be honest about the direction marvel is going with their all-new lineup, and not allow themselves to be labeled a racist or a misogynist. for disagreeing with it. That being said, this is objectively a terrible idea in my opinion.

what struck me immediately upon reading the Riri Williams Iron Man issue is that the artwork looks like complete and utter CGI shit. I've seen better illustrations on freakin' Newgrounds back in 2006 than the art we have here.

Artwork aside, I feel there is something to be said about the lengths marvel seems to be going to be politically correct. I feel like there is a right way to do it, and if this is what they are going for, I'm all for it, but not when it comes at the price of good storytelling, or when it's blatantly disrespectful to the source material. Sadly, I think the ladder is happening.

Riri Williams does not deserve to be called Iron Man.

The issue I have with Williams is that unlike Tony Stark, Riri is a Mary Sue. For those of you who don't know, a Mary Sue is a character who is good at everything for no good reason. The reason this is a problem, is that a protagonist who is already perfect at everything, there are no longer opportunities for character development. Riri is already smarter than Stark, so there is no opportunity for a struggle to becoming a hero, or even for Tony stark to teach her how to be Iron Man, because she's already better than him for no good reason.

RiRi Wiliams Lacks basic character development.

The story of RiRi in this universe lacks basic character development you would find in most other comic books that follow 'the heroes journey'. THJ, for those of you who don't know, is a writing trope adapted by most films and books that were originally pioneered by the ancient Greeks. In these stories, a hero; seemingly down on their luck; is discovered by an old wise father figure who tells them they are destined for greatness, and trains them through a series of trials to be ready to face an even greater obstacle. The hero of the story is what writers call the "protagonist", and the obstacle is what we call the "Antagonist". Most stories within the Marvel lineup omit the wise father figure part and just skip to the trials, but the overall structure of the heroes journey stays the same, because it is the one and only method a writer has for character development. The heroes journey is a storytelling tool that changes the protagonist in order to become a better or stronger person. Heroes in these stories never end their journey being the same people as when they started it, because the process of making them better or stronger are what makes these characters relate-able to the reader.

Anyone who has read the mini issue of Riri Williams Iron Man can tell right away that there is no character development here. We don't get to see Williams go on a journey to become Iron Man, we just see her as Iron Man. She never has to learn anything in the story, she never has to struggle to become the hero the way a real hero does; she's just perfect for no good reason.

The precedent this sets is sexist and racist.

What we have here is a character who came out of nowhere, who's origin story is basically the writers lazily handing her a title she never earned, just because she's black. This is similar to why Jane foster as Thor got such a bad rep early on. It's disrespectful to the heroes who are still very much alive to have some amateur with no real back story, nor trials to becoming a hero, taking the place of established veterans just because marvel doesn't think the old heroes are the right gender or skin color.

It's inherently racist when you think about it. Marvel has been killing off characters like Bruce Banner, Peter Parker and Steve Rogers in order to replace them with ethnic minorities for the sole purpose of thinning the heard of white people. It's racist on two fronts, because not only does it imply that heroes can be "too white to matter" in the Marvel landscape, it also sets the same precedent that made affirmative action such a controversial issue. Instead allowing these ethnic minority characters to develop their own name and legends, Marvel seems to think that black, Asian, Hispanic and Middle-Eastern heroes are too inferior to stand on their own, so they need to commandeer the success and popularity of white people to succeed.

Like most social Justice Warriors, Brian Michael Bendis has been pushing ethnic minorities into the role of popular heroes, not based upon their merits, but simply the color of their skin, or their gender, so that anyone who disagrees with the decision can be labeled a racist or misogynist. The problem with this way of politicizing comics is not just that it's patronizing to readers, but it also seems to breed a cycle of bad storytelling. Riri is a perfect example of a character that just exists with no previous setup, no backstory, and no trials to becoming a hero, for this very reason.

Stolen Valor.

The reason I, and most other Marvel fans don't seems to have a problem with Sam Wilson as Captain America, is because he earned Captain America; Same with Carol Danvers as Captain Marvel. These people were already heroes in the field, fighting alongside other heroes. I think it can be perceived as an issue of stolen valor as well. Imagine if this 15 year old girl claimed to be a Veteran? Imagine if she went around masquerading as a decorated Iraq war hero? A purple heart, or a Star of Bravery wouldn't mean jack shit if you can just hand them out to any fifteen year old girl fresh out of high school, would it? That's what the names of heroes essentially are. Iron Man isn't just a name, it's the legend behind that name, earned over the coarse of several years. Tony Stark's Iron Man earned the fame and legendary status of the name, Riri Williams did NOT.
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  1. i hate riri williams so much, this is the worst thing to happen to marvel comics since jane foster picked up mjolnir

  2. i hate riri williams so much, this is the worst thing to happen to marvel comics since jane foster picked up mjolnir

  3. I agree 100%. If Riri Williams was a compelling character, she could stand on her own. As it is, she's not, and she apparently can't.
    Personally, if it's not the original character I was drawn to in the costume, I tend to lose interest. Take Captain America for instance. I lost interest in it when it was both Bucky and Sam Wilson in the suit. And I like both of those characters. Falcon's a great hero in his own right. No need to stick him in Cap's suit for him to be interesting. Though you make a great point about how at least Sam Wilson's put in the "time" to "earn" the shield. Kind of like back when Bane broke Batman's back.
    The sad thing is Marvel actually has a fair number of compelling minority characters with a history. They just refuse to push those characters instead of ret-conning and pushing white male characters aside. Take Luke Cage for instance. I LOVE Luke Cage. I loved him standing up against registration in the original Civil War storyline. I loved when he got to run the Avengers. And he's just one example. There are plenty of others. But instead of developing those characters more, or moving them into starring roles in popular books like Avengers, they prefer to go the cheap/easy route of eliminating fan favorites and replacing them with, as you say, characters that haven't "earned" their starring roles.

  4. The solution is simple:
    Make every superhero and villain hermaphrodites with skin color like anime hair. This will stop when all characters are utterly unrelateable.

  5. Not surprised. This is a racist post with three racist responses. You all hate yourselves just as much as you hate all these new characters of color. I bet the three of you voted for trump also. Lol what pieces of shit.

    1. Riri,I'd hate to hurt your amazingly sensitive ten-year-old-girl feelings, but you are -without a shadow of a doubt- a complete fucking moron. ��

      You like Ironheart. Good for you, but Instead of engaging in some level of a rational debate, or civilized disagreement, you opted to just label anyone who disagreed with you a racist...? That makes about as much sense as me claiming that you founded the Hitler youth in the 1930s because you like this boring character! What the fuck is wrong with you?! That's like If I labeled you a child molester if you didn't share my taste in music! Would throwing random nonsense accusations like "I bet you voted for Trump" change your mind about Riri Williams? No. Why? Because that would be fucking stupid, wouldn't it?

      And no, you troglodyte; I didn't vote Trump. I'm not a Republican. I didn't vote Hillary, because I'm not a Democrat.

      The problem with mentally handicapped people such as yourself is that had this article been about an asian female or a gay white teenager, you wouldn't have bothered starting a Blogger account just to spew amazingly dumb bullshit about everyone who doesn't like it beeing racist. You are such a waste of oxygen, that as soon as you saw a dark-skinned teen with an Afro, all of your critical thinking skills shut down, and the only thing you comprehended here was "durr, Rage no like black girl!! Me type he vote Trump because me stupid!! Durrrrrr..."

      Oh, I hate all these heroes of color? Let me ask you this, you fucking idiot: where the fuck was Adam Bashir (Blue Marvel) during the lead up to Secret Wars last year? Why is it that both of Marvel's Civil War events begin by killing off the black character? (Goliath and War Machine?) Where the hell is Blade? Seriously?

      You want to talk about racism, Let's talk about Marvel sidelining black superheroes unless they agree to put on white costumes. You think Falcon would ever lead the avengers unless he was wearing a captain America outfit? Hell no. Marvel has no confidence in black superheroes, which is why they think they need to commandeer the success established by white characters.

  6. if the creator of iron man thinks it is a good idea why can't you guys? obviously you guys are not true fans because you would love whatever idea they came up with and be happy that didn't end the story where it is. i came to like comics and shows because of the action and all; for once can you guys stop bringing so much hatred in everything to ruining people's love for creators work? (And i am completely on no ones side! Just please for once stop!)

  7. if the creator of iron man thinks it is a good idea why can't you guys? obviously you guys are not true fans because you would love whatever idea they came up with and be happy that they didn't end the story where it is. i came to like comics and shows because of the action and all; for once can you guys stop bringing so much hatred in everything and ruining people's love for creator's work? (And i am completely on no ones side! Just please for once stop!)

    1. I never said it was a bad idea, I said it was bad writing. RiRi Williams's Armor isn't called Iron Man anyway, so this article is not relevant anymore.

      And being a fan of Marvel doesn't mean you blindly support whatever bad storytelling the writer comes up with. Marvel is a comic book publisher, not a religion. No self-respecting person with any taste would blindly love something because someone slapped a Marvel logo on the front of it.

      And no, I don't "hate" this one-dimensional character. Claiming I hate anything is a bizzare overreaction on your part. This is bad writing that can be done better. That's it. If someone hating something you like is ruining your love of a creator's work, then you belong on some kind of medication, because you're not well-adjusted enough to cope with the real world. People disagree with each other and move on, the way adults are supposed to.

  8. My main complaint with Riri is the tendency to cringy dialogues, that Bendis writes for her. Makes her come across somewhere between spoiled brat und autistic person in several scenes. The cherry on top was the new issue 8, with young Riri acting like a psycho and bullying her teacher for NOT trying to discourage her dreams. Because...she needs to feel opressed?
    And then combines this with the fact how RiRi constantly gets praise heaped upon her, is said to surpass Tony Stark already (cuz, Teen Genius, duh) and is clearly intended have no flaws at all.
    Honestly, it feels to me like one of these bad fanfics, where the writer puts his personal Mary Sue into a fandom and constantly reminds the reader how much more awesome than any canon character she is.
    That said, it´s not like Riri Williams could not work as a character. Just write her like an actual human being, that readers can identify with. Give her some flaws, some struggle, some chance to grow as a character. Kamala Khan and Miles Morales a good, likeable characters because of this.