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Marvel Comics is currently in the middle of their company-spanning “Civil War II” event, a follow-up to the popular “Civil War” storyline first featured in the comics during 2006-2007 and recently adapted to the Marvel Cinematic Universe via this year’s ‘Captain America: Civil War’ film.  In “Civil War II,” opposing superhero factions headed up by Iron Man and Captain Marvel come to blows when a new super-powered being is introduced who has the ability to predict the future.

The issue of how to utilize the being’s power is the core of the disagreement; Captain Marvel and her “side” believes that future crimes should be profiled and stopped before they occur (a la the plot of the 2002 Steven Spielberg ‘Minority Report’ film), whereas Iron Man and his crew feel that you can’t dole out a punishment for a crime that hasn’t happened yet.

iron manIron Man in particular features heavily in this storyline (as he did in the first “Civil War” comic series and the film version).  Writer/creator of the core “Civil War II” series Brian Michael Bendis recently did an interview with Time where he outlined many details of the struggle of Iron Man and his “alter-ego,” Tony Stark – including dropping the bombshell that at the end of the story, due to conclude later this year, Iron Man won’t be Iron Man anymore!

A new character has emerged in the series named Riri Williams; she is a scientific genius who enrolls in MIT as a 15-year-old and creates her own Iron Man suit, which obviously draws the attention of Stark.  Williams is a character of African-American descent, continuing Marvel’s recent trend of strongly prioritizing characters of all races, religions, and gender/sexual backgrounds.

Here’s a bit of what Bendis had to say about Stark and his issues impacting his performance as Iron Man:

“We’re in the middle of a very big Tony Stark storyline—actually three storylines converging. His best friend died, his company is collapsing and he’s finding out who his biological parents were all at the same time. That’s stressful for a character who is wired the way Tony is wired and has dependency issues the way Tony does.

Tony is also a master at not paying attention to the thing that’s most important and distracting himself with Avengers stuff. How that all shakes out such that Tony is no longer in the armor? You’ll have to wait to find out for the end of Civil War II. But it does create a path for Riri Williams, who Tony will know and will be interacting with very shortly in the comics.”

If it wasn’t obvious enough: the transition of Tony Stark out of the Iron Man role hasn’t happened yet – but as you can garner from Bendis’ words, it’s clearly coming soon.

Apparently, there has been some minor backlash from some people online, who feel that Marvel is pushing too far in the direction of being too inclusive with their main characters (whatever the heck that means).  Bendis took a moment in the interview to tell these “fans” what’s up:

“Some of the comments online, I don’t think people even realize how racist they sound. I’m not saying if you criticize you’re a racist, but if someone writes, “Why do we need Riri Williams we already have Miles?” that’s a weird thing to say. They’re individuals just like Captain America and Cyclops are individuals. All I can do is state my case for the character, and maybe they’ll realize over time that that’s not the most progressive thinking.”

While we don’t know exactly how the transition of Iron Man from Tony Stark to Riri Williams will take place, it’s something to watch closely in the coming months.  Marvel’s “Civil War II” storyline continues throughout its comics for the next few months.

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horizontal lineIf Tony Schaab has learned anything about patriotism from sci-fi films, it’s that speeches made to a handful of people in a jet-fighter hangar or other rag-tag military-type settings are damned inspiring!  A lover of most things sci-fi and horror, Tony is an author by day and a DJ by night. Come hang out with Tony on Facebook and Twitter to hear him spew semi-funny nonsense and get your opportunity to finally put him in his place.