17 min read

Ironheart - Marvel Comics - Get me out of here whisper (header version)


(Riri Williams) (Bendis take (2016-2018), part 2)


This article is part of a series, to be read in order.

It goes :

  1. . Start there, heh ?
  2. Ironheart (Riri Williams) (Bendis take (2016-2018), part 2). This here profile.
  3. Champions team profile (2016-2019).
  4. Ironheart (Riri Williams) (Eve Ewing take).



Ironheart fought in the battle of Washington, D.C. against massive Hydra forces.

After this failed, she joined the Underground resistance against the Fascist regime. It was led by the Black Widow (Natalia Romanova) and Hawkeye (Clint Barton).

When the leadership splintered, Ironheart was among the young heroes who backed the Widow. The others were the Wasp (Nadia van Dyne), the Falcon (Joaquin Torres), Spider-Man (Miles Morales), Vivian Vision, and the Hulk (Amadeus Cho).

This unit was nicknamed the Red Room.

Nick Spencer licks goats

The youths refused to use the Widow’s lethal tactics, with mixed consequences.

But when the rest of the Underground was reported slain, they agreed to go with the Widow’s assassination plan.

Though superbly plotted, it went awry at the last second. The Widow sacrificed herself so Morales wouldn’t become a killer, and the Red Room team was apprehended.

But when the tide markedly turned against the Hydra regime, two mercenaries (Taskmaster and Black Ant) switched sides. They freed Ironheart and the rest of the Red Room team.

This allowed the young heroes to link up with :

  • The Underground survivors.
  • The orbital forces who had finally breached the planetary defence shield, and could thus return planetside.
  • Other heroes who had been trapped in Manhattan, but were now freed.

Though it was touch-and-go, the Hydra regime was defeated. The Cosmic Cube that had been at the heart of the Hydra plan was used to undo most of the damage.

(As with Civil War II, this huge event had next to no impact on Ironheart’s book. Both crises might as well have been dreams, as far as this character is concerned.)

Ironheart - Marvel Comics - Riri Williams - Cool flying armor shot

Riri Williams, Queen of Latveria

Ironheart also became embroiled in a conflict between the US and Lucia von Bardas, who was attempting to rebuild Latveria.

Though she knew that she was being manipulated by S.H.I.E.L.D., Ironheart flew straight for Latveria. She fought von Bardas and won through a combination of power and deception.

Riri then spontaneously… proclaimed herself to be the Queen of Latveria. Since she had defeated the current ruler, this was receivable by the antiquated law of the land.

Her crazy, largely improvised plan worked. She had the power to back the paramilitaries who served von Bardas without killing anybody.

Hail to the Queen, baby

Her intervention thus ended the confused civil war that had been ravaging Latveria since Doom left.

Ms. Williams also was in an excellent position to force Sharon Carter to negotiate with the troops that used to serve von Bardas.

Since everyone sought peace and stability, a broad compromise was hammered out.

  • Riri abdicatedRenouncing royal power. after about two days.
  • An interim government was approved.
  • S.H.I.E.L.D. flew in U.N. help.
  • A date was set for the first Latverian elections.

Former Queen Williams then slipped out of country. It all was now a matter of logistics, politics and rebuilding.

Ironheart - Marvel Comics - Riri Williams - Low angle shot helmet open

Shell games

She then defeated the Armadillo (Antonio Rodriguez), whom she clearly outmatched.

But unlike most heroes, Riri tried to talk to him. Which helped private detective Jessica Jones find the Armadillo after he escaped.

Coma is the new hack

At the close of 2017, Ironheart made an appearance for the launch of the annual Tony Stark International Sciences Expo.

As she returned to the Stark headquarters to touch bases, she learned that the comatose Tony Stark had just vanished.

A safeguard had activated. Its goal was to overcome decades of accrued health damage from biological micro-modifications Stark made to his body to operate a power armour. But for days, the “rebooted” Stark was in too much pain to communicate.

Ms. Armstrong launched a massive search. It was fruitless, and it was generally concluded that Mr. Stark had vanished on purpose.


Ironheart helped Spider-Man (Peter Parker) and allies against the Tinkerer (Phineas Mason). But Mason bricked her suit, and Whiplash (Anton Vanko) nearly killed her.

Nevertheless, she was instrumental in saving the life of Peter’s sister Teresa.

Ironheart also helped against an alien invasion summoned by the Tinkerer.

Riri and M.J. Watson then helped Amanda Armstrong fight off another takeover attempt of the company from the board.

There also was a raid on the Williams house, led by the Iron Maiden, to “repossess” Riri’s allegedly copied tech. Ms. Williams didn’t object. She knew that any fight would wreck the house and all the neighbours’.

Her armour was thus confiscated. And the struggle about who owned what meant that she couldn’t operate as Ironheart without the IP being cleared.

Goin’ back to my ‘tute, yeah

As a consequence, Ms. Williams took the MIT  ’s offer. The Dean of Engineering (who for some reason didn’t look like Dr. Chandrakasan  at all) had just set up an independent lab dedicated to future tech.

One immediate benefit was that the Institute asserted that the Ironheart power armour had been built on-campus. Therefore, it had owned the rights, which had been then ceded to Riri Williams. Knowing that the MIT Office of the General Counsel  had her back, Riri summoned her armour back to her.

The super-lab she joined also hosted fellow cutting-edge technologists Dr. Toni Ho, Arno Stark and Madison Jeffries. And it was discreetly backed by Leonardo da Vinci, as one of his seeds for creating a new version of S.H.I.E.L.D..

(Immortal super-genius Leonardo da Vinci joined the ancient Brotherhood of the Shield during the Italian Renaissance. He eventually became head honcho. The Brotherhood is behind the creation of S.H.I.E.L.D. during the 1960s, among many other things. It’s complicated.)

Da Vinci had already recruited a number of young heroes, though Riri and Toni were markedly higher potentials. He had also recruited Blade (Eric Brooks) as an instructor and senior operative.

Ironheart - Marvel Comics - Riri Williams - Face closeup big eyes

We are the Champions, my friends

Tony Stark then finished making his return. This freed up time for Riri to focus on her MIT work for proto-future-S.H.I.E.L.D..

Ms. Williams had also continued to talk with the young Champions. Especially since Champs member Spider-Man (Miles Morales) was also recruited by da Vinci.

She soon agreed to split her time between the ‘Tute and the Champs.

At first, Riri felt awkward among the Champions. She preferred to obsess over building their new flying base/transport rather than socialise.

However, she and fellow team member Vivian Vision soon became friends. Riri also came to enjoy pitting her brain against Amadeus Cho’s in silly mental calculations challenges.

Courting Death

Howbeit, during a space adventure with the Champions, Ironheart engaged Thanos of Titan. She wasn’t aware of his power level.

Thanos disintegrated her power armour with a gesture, leaving Riri shocked and distressed.

Her friend Viv was invaluable in helping Riri overcome this shock. Vivian reasoned that the best way to motivate Ms. Williams was to have her build something complicated.

Soon, the two young women were hard at work designing a new model of Ironheart power armour.

Ironheart - Marvel Comics - Riri Williams - Armoring up - Stark AI


A skinny, short-ish African-American 15-year old. She has a medium skin tone (about a Fenty 320) and large eyes.

Her wavy hair has fades on the sides and back. But it’s puffy on the top, with some wavy locks hanging over her brow and cheekbones. Does it still counts as a pineapple do when it’s wavy rather than kinky hair ?

Riri tends to wear normcore, low-flash clothing. When wearing her armour she’ll have exercise clothes underneath, and an old pair of hi-top sneakers.

She usually has a small sticks-and-pearls necklace on, which seems made of wood.



Riri is extraordinarily focused.

She also needs to keep her brain running as much as possible. That chiefly means overcoming technical challenges and building stuff. While she is working, she tends to forget everything else and forego eating and sleeping.

When it comes to other matters, she’s a mostly ordinary — if extraordinarily smart — teenager. She doesn’t have extensive life experience, interpersonal skills or forms of intelligence that aren’t focused on technical matters. Thus, she is a bit like Reed Richards.

However, her speech patterns are much snappier and more modern than Richards’. She is something of a Ms. Smartypants geek, fond of sarcasm and a bit of hyperbole. She talks real fast, and likes to argue.

And given the speed at which her brain operates, she will on occasion blurt out sentences that would have taken most people a good five minutes to write.

Riri thrives on challenging her intelligence. Especially if that involves doing something that people don’t believe she’s capable of. A lack of intellectual stimulation is her Kryptonite.

(Riri can certainly be read as neuroatypical. But it’s kinda hard to tell with characters who have comic-book-grade super-intelligence and live in an extraordinary world.)

Mourning Natalie

Riri was shocked by her only friend’s pointless death. From 2015 to 2017 she barely talked to anyone but her mum. Ms. Williams was solely focused on building her future heroic identity.

Her future would be to act as a protector, and she was willing to forego everything else. Riri is going to defend the defenceless, no matter what, even if all she’s got is a sharp stick and harsh language.

She is entirely aware that this was unhealthy as heck, and that she acted stupidly on several occasions. But she was hurt, and remained stuck in the early stages of grieving for two years.

Natalie’s death was what hurt her the most, but she also came to bitterly regret all the time that she hadn’t spent with her stepdad.

Since “Stark” is just a stupid A.I., Riri is attempting to connect better with her mum to compensate for Natalie’s absence. She’s not good at this, but she’s obviously trying. She is also trying to reassure her mother about the dangers she’s facing as Ironheart.

Though Mrs. Williams is scared by what is happening, she is lucid about her daughter’s choices and supports her.

Ironheart - Riri Williams - Marvel Comics - Hexagon-tiles force shields

2018 hexagon-tiles force shields.

Iron tactics

Ironheart is a beginner, and she’s but 15. No matter how smart she is, there are things she can’t deduce out of thin air. And her genius is specific to certain areas.

Therefore she is open about her need to get more experience, though she won’t be coddled.

Riri has basic superhuman combat training, and has undeniable courage. But she isn’t competent at it yet. She can handle a large range of situations, but high-intensity superhuman combat is a beast. Thus she will often partially disengage and fight defensively, in order to reorient, reassess and adjust.

Giant monsters and mid-powered solo super-villains (if they don’t have weird powers) are normally within her range. But she will not close these fights as fast as she’d like, then kick herself for not seeing the fight-winning move sooner.

She always fights non-lethally. She will also trash-talk a bit, but this is sass rather than insults.

Other traits

Riri doesn’t seem to have any interest in romance. She generally has low social needs. She is as fond of her privacy as any teenager, but there’s… nothing to protect.

There’s a boy on her street she likes, named Xavier King. But Riri never made time to really chat with him.

(Writer intent was that Riri Williams and Vivian Vision would have a relationship, but that was nixed by editorial. Having them back off from where they were clearly headed didn’t feel like too much of a retconMaking changes to a character or story after the fact, though, given their lack of experience and non-standard social skills).

Williams likes animated movies. She will sometimes makes references to the likes of The Little Mermaid or Toy Story.

For obvious reasons she’s not fond of guns, racism or sexism. She finds authoritarian politics counter-productive, and much prefers not having to deal with the media.

She has an excellent understanding of domestic and international news and politics.

Riri tends to babble and make sassy jokes when she’s stressed out. However, she is simultaneously thinking ahead and orienting herself. She can easily do all three at once.

Ironheart - Marvel Comics - Riri Williams - Welding and recapping


(At age 13, whilst welding and tuning up jet boots) “I want to *fly*.”

“Yeah, I’m terrible at naming things.”

(As several Iron Man suits are hitting her during a training exercise) “Agh ! You know, this is technically child abuse !”

Stark A.I.: “You can’t just run away from a fight when it’s not going your way.”
Riri: “I’d argue that’s the *best* time to run away, but I’m going to make it a new rule that I don’t argue with artificial intelligences. […] I swear to Thor, I liked you more when you were alive.”

“I’m not crazy, right ? Because I don’t have crazy scheduled until my 50s.”

“This is a death trap of a computer ! I’ve been in bakeries with fewer cookies !”

(To Sharon Carter, practically in a single breath) “Just because I have serious concerns and, I think, valid criticism of your systematic abuse of power in the name of global protection does not mean I’ve taken a side *against* you. Do you really think that, if someone doesn’t like how you do what you do, they’re the enemy ?”

“Holy macaroni, we’re in Doctor Doom’s evil lab. Can I have this moment, please ? It’s my first evil lab.”

Lady Octopus: “Who the hell are you ?”
Ironheart: “Someone with enough self-worth to not have to qualify myself with ‘lady’. Seriously ? *Lady* Octopus ?”

Riri: “Oh my god ! You look terrible !”
Future-wizard-Tony-Stark: “I am 126 year old.”
Riri: “Then you look amazing.”

(In late 2017) “The tech’s kind of antiquated. Very 2015. I could make a few adjustments, if you like.”

“A vampire ? [Blade is] a vampire ? WHAT WAS A VAMPIRE DOING IN MY GARAGE ?”

DC Universe Adaptation

(This section proposes ways of using this character in DC Universe stories).

The overlap with Iron Maiden (Natasha Irons) is considerable.

DC Heroes RPG

Riri Williams

Dex: 03 Str: 01 Bod: 02
Int: 08 Wil: 08 Min: 05
Inf: 04 Aur: 04 Spi: 05
Init: 015 HP: 025


Split: 01

Bonuses and Limitations:

  • Split 01 only for Mental Tasks having to do with computer programming. She can conduct her full range of Actions while also programming. However, this usually requires a cybernetic interface so she can write code directly with her brain.
  • Split is a Skilled Power.


Acrobatics (Dodging): 02, Artist (Singing): 02, Gadgetry: 11, Scientist (Analysis, Observation, Research): 08, Scientist (Drawing plans): 11, Scientist (Computers): 12, Vehicles (Power armour): 04, Thief (Security systems): 12, Weaponry (Power armour weapon systems): 06


Buddy (“Tony Stark” A.I.), Credentials (MIT, Low ; proto-future-S.H.I.E.L.D., Low), Familiarity (Animated movies, Super-heroes and villains, Tony Stark/Iron Man’s biography, Current news, Video games), Genius, Headquarters (Confined), Scholar (Computer viruses and hacking, Power Armour).


Amanda Armstrong (Low), Champions (Low), Pepper Potts (Low), Mary-Jane Watson (Low), Champions (Low), Vivian Vision (High).


Age (Young).


Responsibility of Protection.




See below.


  • Smartphone [BODY 03, Data storage: 06, Radio communications (Encrypted): 09, Area Knowledge (Phones location; Real Time bonus)].
  • GAUNTLET. Within one Phase, the held smartphone can become [BODY 03, Enhance (EV): 01 (cap is 04), Energy blast: 06, R#03].
  • SMARTWATCH EMITTER [BODY 02, Radio communications: 17, RC is limited to summoning her armour, which will fly to her current position].
Ironheart - Marvel Comics - Power armour Caselli concept art

Money trees is the perfect place for shade

Early on, Riri has next to no monetary resources on her own. Her mum seems to be lower middle class class and is the house’s only apparent income.

However, Riri can tap in an unclear fashion into Stark resources to have parts made to specs and for free. So she has an unclear, virtual Wealth score for her Gadgetry. But it seems tightly limited in breadth.

She also had a computing and engineering workshop in her garage, but there can’t be any manufacturing resources in there. It’s sufficient for repairs and adjustments, and there might be about 6 APs of Lab limited to computer science applications, but that’s about it. And this equipment is eventually confiscated.

However, she seems to have admin rights on some Stark servers farms.

The MIT special lab likely has 18+ APs, plus a hefty Financial Backer Advantage.

“Tony Stark” A.I.

For the ghostcompA human personality that has been transcribed as computer code., use the stats in our Tony Stark/Iron Man benchmark article.

It brings its Gadgetry, Scientist, Scholars, etc. to team up with Riri’s for technical work.

It cannot use the Vehicles (Power Armour) Skill since it’s needed to run the background functions of the armour. But if Riri is incapacitated, it can fly the Ironheart suit as Vehicles (Air): 05.

Ironheart - Marvel Comics - Riri Williams - Early armour


The early, large, metallic grey versions of the suit seemed to have the following stats. They weren’t seen for long though, so there easily could additional systems that weren’t demonstrated.

/STR/ 12 /BODY/ 09 R#4, stealth penalty 3/3.


Air-walking: 06, Data storage: 18, Energy blast: 11, Flight: 11, Growth: 02, Ice production: 08, Magnetic control: 04, Radio communications: 15, Sealed systems: 06, Skin armour: 02, Stretching: 04

Bonuses and Limitations:

  • Growth is Always On and Already Factored In.
  • Ice Production can only do the “encase” application.
  • Stretching can *only* be used to jettison her flying gauntlets and remotely operate them. The maximum STR they can exert is likely about STR 06, and it leaves Riri with unprotected hands and wrists.


Area Knowledge (continental United States).

Ironheart Mk1 armour

We don’t have full DCH estimates for a XXIst century Iron Man suit. So this here is strictly what was *seen* of the Ironheart suit. As opposed to reusing boilerplate Iron Man stats on the basis of commonality.

The suit didn’t seem loaded with gadgets. Its core capabilities are quite powerful, so there’s little need for exotic fallback systems. Riri is constantly tinkering with it, but this seems to be hardware and software optimisation.

/STR/ 17 /BODY/ 13 R#2


Data storage: 22, Detect (Energy): 09, Energy blast: 15, Flight: 13, Interface: 05, Life sense: 06, Lightning: 14, Magnetic control: 08, Radio communication: 18, Sealed systems: 12, Security systems: 13

Bonuses and Limitations:

  • Detect and Life Sense are both Discerning.
  • Interface is Ranged. However it requires hacking into the device, and that the device has advanced computers running it.
  • Life Sense requires a Dice Action.
  • Lightning is Diminishing (barring a conductor, obvs).


Insta-Change (the armour can move on its own and wrap itself around Riri), Stabilization.


REPULSOR GRENADES (x6) [BODY 01, Bomb: 12, Grenade Drawback].

Ironheart - Marvel Comics - Riri Williams - Repulsor blast

Mk. 1.1 ?

The Ironheart armour seems less powerful in 2018 Champions issues. Yet there’s no mention of a change.

This likely is a common-in-comics artefact caused by Riri appearing in a team book. But as a No-Prize HypothesisA made-up explanation to plug a plot hole, one could imagine that she replaced Stark-based systems to lower legal exposure whilst Stark IP was being disputed.

*Possible* changes :
/STR/ 14 /BODY/ 10 R#02


Lower Energy blast to 13, Flight to 12, Lightning to 12.
Add Skin armour: 01, and Damage Capacity (Energy only): 12.

The Damage Capacity is the hexagon-tiles personal force fields she manifests during this era.

Enhance !

Ironheart also demonstrates tracking an energy signal over multiple solar systems. However :

  1. There was an emphasis over how powerful the signal was.
  2. It’s a fairly common Genre rule to have Detect, Radio Communications, Radar Sense, etc. Ranges greatly increased in space.

Still, adding something like a +5 Special Range Bonus to her Detect (perhaps with a Limitation that it only activates outside of a troposphere) would be reasonable *if* we assume a Genre bonus coming on top of that.

Writeups.org writer avatar Sébastien Andrivet

By Sébastien Andrivet.

Source of Character: Marvel Comics. This profile stops in September of 2018 (cover date), after Infinity Countdown: Champions #2. This is the point where Riri builds herself a new armour, and just a few months before the Ironheart series starts under Eve Ewing.

Helper(s): Darci.

Writeup completed on the 24th of December, 2017.