Straight from the pages, Marvel's Champions have arrived!

Today, Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment released a new downloadable character pack for “LEGO® Marvel Super Heroes 2” featuring Marvel’s teenage team of super hero sensations inspired by CHAMPIONS! The pack, priced at $1.99, adds playable characters Ms. Marvel, Nova, Miles Morales, Ironheart, Devil Dinosaur, Moon Girl, Viv Vision & Sparky, Amadeus Cho, Nadia Pym Wasp, Kate Bishop Hawkeye, and Nova. Strike out on your own with our “Totally Awesome” young heroes!

“LEGO Marvel Super Heroes 2” is an all-new, epic adventure and sequel to the smash hit, “LEGO Marvel Super Heroes.” This original branching storyline, co-written by award-winning comics writer Kurt Busiek, transports players into a cosmic battle across a myriad of Marvel locations ripped from time and space into the incredible Open Hub World of Chronopolis. Packed with signature LEGO humor for fans of all ages, gamers will go head-to-head with the time-travelling Kang the Conqueror in this fun-filled journey spanning the Marvel Universe.

The Champions DLC pack can be purchased separately for $1.99 or as part of the “LEGO Marvel Super Heroes 2” Season Pass, which is currently available for $14.99 or free for everyone who purchased the “LEGO Marvel Super Heroes 2 Deluxe Edition.”

LEGO Marvel Super Heroes 2” is available on PlayStation®4, Xbox One®, Nintendo Switch™, and Windows® PC.

For all the latest on “LEGO Marvel Super Heroes 2,” stay tuned to and follow @MarvelGames on Twitter!

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While the world asks “Where is Tony Stark?” our resident therapist asks “How is Riri Williams?”

Riri Williams, the client, presents as a healthy late adolescent woman. Cognitive and IQ tests reveal a genius level intellect, with a particular propensity for tasks related to science, math, and engineering. Her history supports these test results; she attended M.I.T. in her mid-teens, which led directly to her current role as the armored hero known as Ironheart.

The client has a relationship with the office, dating back to her early childhood when she first began to understand the implications of her father’s death prior to her birth. After that period of brief existential therapy—which she processed with surprising intellect for someone her age—Williams left therapy for several years.

However, after the violent—and seemingly accidental—deaths of her stepfather and best friend, Williams returned to the office. Therapy at that time focused on issues of trauma, guilt, and radical acceptance. Client again self-discharged after short-term treatment. While this writer felt she could have done more work in a global mental health sense, he supported her choice without objection.

After Williams was ostensibly forced out of M.I.T. due to her unapproved acquisition of materials and equally unapproved creation of a high tech homemade suit of armor, she returned to therapy once more to process her feelings of sadness, fear, and guilt. She has continued on since then as she became a super hero and the protégé of Tony Stark as Ironheart.

Most of our focus in therapy has centered on emotional regulation, techniques for dealing with high levels of stress, and processing those thoughts when events return to baseline. However, we’ve also begun to take a psychodynamic approach to her life and begun to explore her feelings about the repeated loss of father figures she has endured—her father before her birth, her stepfather in her early teens, and, most recently, Tony Stark. We have also looked at how the women in her life have helped her survive those experiences, and what, if any, issues remain unaddressed even with the tremendous level of family and family-adjacent support she has received.

Similarly, we are exploring her relationship to same age peers after the death of her best friend and how that death—and her intellect—may be giving her an “excuse” not to seek out strong, lasting relationships with peers.

Due to a past history of mental illness related to armor use, as documented in previous users including James Rhodes and Tony Stark himself, Riri Williams is attending a two-session diagnostic scan for any possible signs of organic brain disturbances with Doctors Brian Michael Bendis, Stefano Caselli, and Alex Maleev on December 27 and January 17. The results of those tests will be found in INVINCIBLE IRON MAN #595 and #596, respectively.

Psy D. Candidate Tim Stevens is a Staff Therapist who could’ve gone to M.I.T. at the age of 15, but he missed the bus and it just became this whole thing.

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Peter Parker picks allies like Ironheart with help from Chip Zdarsky!

There’s no place like home and for Peter Parker, that’s New York City. Thanks to writer Chip Zdarsky and artist Adam Kubert, Spider-Man’s back in town, but he can’t just put his feet up and relax; it’s the city that never sleeps after all.

As if a tech-crime ring didn’t provide enough of a challenge, Spidey will also be facing an unlikely foe in issue #2 of PETER PARKER: SPECTACULAR SPIDER-MAN—Riri Williams, aka Ironheart! Why would two such heroes spar with one another instead of joining forces? Luckily, you won’t have to wait for the next edition of the Daily Bugle to get the inside scoop because we already spoke with Chip about pairing up these characters for the first time in Marvel history. Peter is already facing threats from both villains and heroes, the latter being in the form of Ironheart in PETER PARKER: SPECTACULAR SPIDER-MAN #2 on July 19. Why is she beating up on Spider-Man and more to the point, what’s driving her in this series?

Chip Zdarsky: I don’t want to spoil anything, but Riri has information Peter needs as he unravels a mystery. Unfortunately, his interrogation tactics leave a lot to be desired. So right now what’s driving her is Spider-Man: Threat or menace? I’m getting a buddy cop comedy vibe of two do-gooders with similar end games who don’t initially see eye-to-eye. Not to mention that Peter just got back to New York. What’s going through his head and how will the two complement one another once they get past their differences?

Chip Zdarsky: The beauty of writing Spider-Man is that every team-up is like a buddy cop comedy! Riri’s in a situation reminiscent of a teenaged Peter: a young super hero tech genius dealing with the loss of loved ones. But, unlike Peter, she has a maturity to her that he may still be lacking, at least superficially. I think he’s super pleased with this new batch of teen heroes, as it kind of symbolizes his position as well, not as one of the wise elders of the Marvel [Universe], but at least somewhat of an authority figure.

Peter Parker: Spectacular Spider-Man #2 cover by Adam Kubert What was it like being able to introduce these characters for the first time?

Chip Zdarsky: Great! You only get to introduce characters like these once, so I’m really happy I got to do it before [INVINCIBLE IRON MAN writer Brian Michael] Bendis did. Riri is a fairly new face to the Marvel Universe while Spidey’s been around for a while. Do you explore this dichotomy between them either literally or sub-texually?

Chip Zdarsky: A bit, yeah. Peter’s been doing this for a while so there are some things he’s forgotten about being a new hero. And it’s true that there’s over a half century gap between their first appearances, but in terms of the Marvel Universe it’s just over a dozen years, so it’s not like Spidey is ancient! How will Peter’s repartee with Ironheart be different from with Iron Man? Any jokes in particular that we should expect?

Chip Zdarsky: Luckily we also have Tony’s A.I. in the mix, so we can see how the three of them interact! Spidey can be an acquired taste for some heroes, and A.I. Tony’s had some artificial time to acquire it. How will Riri’s involvement in issue #2 set the stage for future guest appearances by other heroes?

Chip Zdarsky: Issue #2 definitely sets the stage for a whole host of heroes and villains. Things are going to get pretty complicated for Spidey really soon.

Web-swing your way into excitement with PETER PARKER: SPECTACULAR SPIDER-MAN #2 from Chip Zdarsky and Adam Kubert, coming July 19!

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Brian Michael Bendis wonders what it would take to drive Ironheart over the edge!

The possibility of successfully navigating an angry super villain is approximately three thousand seven hundred and twenty to one! No need to tell Ironheart the odds of victory—chances are, she already knows!

But how invincible is Riri Williams? Can she maintain her sense of youthful idealism and hope in the face of villains seeking her demise daily? Writer Brian Michael Bendis tackles these questions and more not only in the current arc—issue #8 arriving June 21—alongside artist Stefano Caselli, but also in our most recent interview. We’ve spoken in the past about Riri Williams as a source of youthful hope for the Marvel Universe. What do you think it is that makes her such a positive character; not just for readers but as a person herself?

Brian Michael Bendis: She has a very unique perspective. I really dove into it when I discovered it, but if I’m honest, it’s hard to describe. She’s a studier. A lot of learning, but not a lot of experience. She has that youthful perspective of not yet knowing just how crappy the world can be. She’s been studying the global situation since she’s been nine years old, but it’s different seeing and experiencing the world versus studying it. That’s something a lot of people can relate to, you know? It’s a real thing in life.

Also, it’s a little similar to what we did with Ultimate Peter Parker in terms of that journey of coming to know something as opposed to just learning about it. But Riri’s process in gaining this perspective couldn’t be more different than Peter’s. The similarity is that they’re both growing up fast as super heroes. Sometimes, people do their very best to avoid letting others become aware of their greater weaknesses. What do you think Riri would want to avoid letting people know about herself?

Brian Michael Bendis: She’s terrified. It’s funny, you know? Some people don’t know what they do not know. But then again, there are others who are well aware of what they don’t know and it can be incredibly unnerving. She’s aware of her blind spots, and she can figure out what she doesn’t know.

For example, she could be in a fight and then run the calculations of how much more damage she can take before things go really bad really quickly. And that’s both helpful and a little nerve-wracking to know. With higher intellect comes more fact-based fear. Let’s assume you aren’t the mild-mannered writer that you are, and instead, are one of the four-colored comic book villains you write about. How would you go about breaking the heart of Ironheart?

Brian Michael Bendis: [Laughs] I’m actually going to do that in the book, so I can’t tell you that! That’s actually my job: to be the worst person in the world and figure out how to bring low the best person. It’s hilarious you’re asking me that! Well, you can’t blame me for trying! Let me ask this another way: How evil are you? What are some ways we can expect to see Ironheart tested to this extent even if in the future? How might you test her limits?

Brian Michael Bendis: [Laughs] Her limits are different. There’s no “Uncle Ben’s killer” to get. It’s not that kind of story. It’s about how she’s going to process her tragedies and move forward in life. That’s what the stories we’re going to tell are going to push her to the limit. Push her up against the wall and make her think twice—like what happened with Peter. How will the technology and legacy that she’s taken on will help her grow?

Invincible Iron Man #8 cover by Stefano Caselli It’s interesting as you’ve juxta-positioned Riri against Peter a couple of times. But whereas Peter’s origin seems to be centered around personal responsibility, Riri’s seems more focused on self-assurance.

Brian Michael Bendis: I keep connecting them because, while their stories are so specific, they’re also quite similar in their “everyman” qualities; we can all imagine ourselves in their positions doing something better or more exciting than we might. That’s what inspires.

And going back to your earlier questions, that’s my goal: to create situations that allow me to tell stories where I can push these characters to the extreme. It’s also worth pointing out she’s only two weeks into her super hero origin. She may very well be on a journey that puts her past Ironheart and onto something else. That’s very exciting! Looking down that road, there’s a common trope in comics over the past 30 years to go “dark and gritty.” Is this a place you could ever see Riri Williams going?

Brian Michael Bendis: There’s “dark and gritty” and there’s dark and gritty. In a similarly youthful book, Miles finds himself in a pretty dark place. His dark place looks like Matt Murdock’s brunch! [Laughs] It’s all perspective. I look at Riri’s story as a survivor’s tale. I don’t think that kind of darkness has a way “in” right now, but in five years? Who knows? We might discover something that would lend itself to that kind of story. But at the moment, the book is about hope and proactively working to make the world a better place.

As the global news is more chaotic, I’m finding that when I read the scripts back, I’m startled at how intimate and personal they’re getting. Because of that, there’s going to be a lot of “feels” and hope more than I ever have written before. Do we need moments of levity when we approach those narrative breaking points for our characters?

Brian Michael Bendis: Yeah, exactly. Fun is a dirty “F word” in some parts of the comics community, but some of my favorite comics right now have a lot of fun in them. Even the darkest ones possess a little fun. You have a suit of armor you made in your garage? You should have fun with it! That would never not be fun—it will always be fun!

See what Brian Michael Bendis and Stefano Caselli have in store for Ironheart in INVINCIBLE IRON MAN #8, coming June 21!

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We keep tabs on potential team-ups for Ironheart!

As Riri Williams grows into her role as Ironheart, we’ll see her meeting up with many of the heroes—and villains—of the Marvel Universe. She recently teamed up with Pepper Potts, and in INVINCIBLE IRON MAN #5 on March 22, we’ll see her bumping into none other than the Merc with a Mouth—Deadpool!

What other heroes and villains would we like to see Riri encounter? A few exciting examples…

Nadia Pym/The Wasp
We’d love to see Riri meet up with Nadia Pym. While we don’t see Riri officially joining G.I.R.L., these two girl geniuses—and budding super heroes—would probably have a lot to learn from each other. Combine Nadia’s cheerful outlook with Riri’s can-do attitude and these two would be pretty unstoppable—see what we did there?

Kamala Khan/Ms. Marvel
At this point in her story, we see Riri beginning to grow into her role as a super hero; not an easy thing to do, when you’ve also got to balance family and life as a teenager. Kamala definitely knows a thing or two about this, and would probably have some valuable advice for the intrepid Ironheart. And given her recent enthusiasm for helping young heroes fight for what’s right—a sentiment that contributed to the formation of the newest incarnation of the Champions—Ms. Khan would likely feel more than willing to give Riri a helping hand.

3Carol Danvers/Captain Marvel
The line between right and wrong isn’t always completely clear, a lesson Riri will need to learn as she navigates the choppy waters of super-heroism. Given the recent events of Civil War II, Carol could give our hero a glimpse into some of the difficult ethical terrain she’ll have to traverse. And what’s more, despite the challenges she has faced recently, Cap has excellent leadership skills, and could pass on what she has learned on that front.

We wouldn’t exactly describe Riri as a social butterfly. She had one close friend, who met her end in a tragic shooting. And her intelligence has always made her feel a little like an outsider. Of course, Medusa understands that feeling. As queen of the Inhumans, Medusa lives in the human world, but remains set apart from it. Yet she continues to try and approach conflicts with empathy and understanding as much as possible—even the trickiest situations, like the current battle between the Inhumans and the mutants. Medusa could serve as an example of someone who tries to become the best version of herself and taken the high road.

Steve Rogers/Captain America
Okay, so with all the crazy Hydra stuff going on, Cap’s in a bit of a weird place right now. Still, pretty much everyone sees him as a legend. The ultimate hero. Riri would probably consider meeting him, and fighting by his side, one of those landmark experiences. It would mean she had arrived as a super hero. And we want Riri to have that moment.

Like Tony Stark, Riri has the strength of the Iron Man suit at her disposal, but she also relies on her smarts when fighting baddies. Loki stands out as one of the cleverest villains out there—but he has a different kind of IQ. He knows how to read people and manipulate them. We’d like to see Ironheart’s sheer brain power go up against the God of Mischief’s quick mind. Plus, this would give us the opportunity for a Jane Foster cameo!

Red Skull
Many of the villains in the Marvel Universe have at least a couple redeeming qualities. We can relate to them on a certain level, and even empathize. Not so with Red Skull. For the most part, we see this guy as pretty much pure evil—basically, the classic super villain. For that reason, we’d definitely enjoy watching Riri kick his butt.

Granted, this guy has been taking a bit of a break from the super villain business these days. But we’d really enjoy a comeback from him, just so he could go head to giant head with Riri. Like Ironheart, M.O.D.O.K. has used science to his benefit—except what benefits him usually doesn’t end well for anyone else. During his days at A.I.M., the villain became basically the quintessential evil scientist. We’d find it pretty interesting to see Riri face off with a bad guy who uses science in this way, since she conversely strives to employ it for the greater good.

Crimson Dynamo
We’ve seen quite a few versions of the Crimson Dynamo over the years, and multiple people have carried the mantle. Some of them have even switched sides and teamed up with Tony Stark. But essentially, we see the Crimson Dynamo as the “bizzaro” Iron Man. He often has lots of new tech to try out against our hero. So what better villain for Riri to test out her powers on?

Whitney Frost/Madame Masque
Masque and Tony have a complicated history, to say the least. They even had a bit of a romance at one point. So we wouldn’t be surprised to find some of Whitney’s entanglements with Stark spilling over into Riri’s new gig. We feel pretty certain Ironheart would handle conflicts with Madam Masque differently than Tony did. She’d drop the drama and just kick butt.

Find out who Riri will be teaming with next in INVINCIBLE IRON MAN #5 on March 22!

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Return to the introduction of Riri Williams and get her full story!

Celebrate Black History Month by delving into the first appearances of Marvel’s most prominent African and African-American characters on Marvel Unlimited!

Riri Williams, the first African-American woman to wear the Iron Man armor, debuted in wildly appropriate circumstances. The 15-year-old MIT student made so much noise working on a secret Iron Man armor that she roused the floor’s RA in the pages of INVINCIBLE IRON MAN #7 by Brian Michael Bendis and Mike Deodato.

In issue #9, Riri explained that she made the armor as a dare to herself, but took the apparent disappearance of Tony Stark as a sign that it was meant to be. She donned the suit not long after when campus security showed up to ask about some unfortunate video footage implying that she’d stolen some of the tech from the robotics lab, though she routinely stated that she simply borrowed parts that weren’t being used by anyone else.

Figuring out the whole flying tactical armor thing over time, a near crash in the pages of issue #10 made Riri realize that she needed an artificial intelligence to help keep the thing in the air. In the following issue, she lost her armor while attempting to stop a police escape and got taken in by the cops, but only briefly.imvim2015_promo

Riri and Tony Stark finally came face to face in issue #12 when the latter interrupted an argument between the former and her mother. The young woman then revealed the armor to them both. As Riri explained, she based her design on the Mark-41 but put her own touches into it.

With Stark mostly incapacitated thanks to the end of Civil War II and his battle with Captain Marvel, he passed the metallic baton over to Riri who now stars in the latest volume of INVINCIBLE IRON MAN as Ironheart!

History Lesson

Riri just appeared last year for the first time, so there’s not a lot of history available on her. However, back in September, creator Brian Michael Bendis did an interview with about the creation of the character and how the announcement lead to crazy amounts of attention, including commentary by Robert Downey, Jr. that got people thinking Riri might take over for Tony in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. He explained that he started getting hate mail as well as actress headshots for the role, which only exists in the comics so far.

“It just revealed how shallow the pool is for women of color in certain roles,” Bendis said. “There’s evidence we’re on the right track, but still much more to do. You see, there are some people who just really have some difficulty with change when it comes to these characters who they’ve known for years if not decades in some cases. And I get that. But, you know, I think it was [Marvel Chief Creative Officer] Joe Quesada who was talking to Stan Lee and asked him what he thought about some of these changes, and Stan’s response was that fans wouldn’t recognize one bit of the Marvel Universe if he was still running it. ‘You guys are the ones who truly love this stuff,’ he said. ‘But we would constantly tear it up. Who knows what it’d look like now if we were still at the helm.’”

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The hero known as Ironheart makes her mobile gaming debut!

Riri Williams, the newest hero to incase herself in iron armor takes to the “Marvel Puzzle Quest” stage this week. Armed with her own improvised Iron Man suit and ready to kick bad guy butt, the hero called Ironheart will be a force to be reckoned with. D3 Go! Producer Josh Austin dropped by to chat about Riri’s powers and just what she’s capable of in-game. We’ve had a couple strong heroines enter the fray recently: Medusa, Captain Marvel (Carol Danvers), and now Riri Williams joins the fight. What was the thinking behind pulling her into “Puzzle Quest”?

Josh Austin: After adding some well-established heroines to “Marvel Puzzle Quest” with the Queen of the Inhumans and Carol Danvers, we are super excited about the new Ironheart (Riri Williams) character and the recent handoff of Iron Man to this new strong female character.

While Medusa and [Captain] Marvel are super powerful, Riri is still finding her way but already surprising Tony Stark in his new AI form with her amazing intellect. It’s been great working with Marvel on a bringing this new heroine to “Marvel Puzzle Quest.” Right now there are five different versions of Iron Man armor and one War Machine suit shooting people to heck and back. How did the team focus on making Riri feel unique?

Josh Austin: Riri Williams’ design focuses on what we’ve seen so far from her in the comics: she’s still learning and not as strong as Iron Man, she’s more of a support character at this stage. So our version of Riri uses features [what] she knows about Iron Man but mixed with her wit to make these attacks her own.

For example, instead of just shooting fists at the enemy, she shoots them to flank the enemy and uses magnetic repulsors to bring together enemy special tiles to disarm the enemy. Her charge into battle attack sends her airborne after initial damage, also causing the enemy to go airborne, like she does in the comics currently where she runs by flying off, but it’s still a great tactical move that benefits the player if they want to disable someone for a bit. And let’s talk about her abilities; what can Ironheart do?

Josh Austin: Riri’s first ability costs nine Blue AP and is called Magnetic Repulsors. Riri uses her magnetic repulsors in her armor’s gauntlet to disarm her opponents. This power attracts enemy special tiles to the center of the board. What’s great about this is if you have a character that makes a specific color special tile like Protect Tiles, it has a strong chance to match them away after they are pulled into the middle of the board!

Riri’s second ability, Remote Control Gauntlets, costs 11 Red AP. Riri launches her gauntlets, maneuvering them remotely towards her opponent. The gauntlets attack from the flank dealing damage to the target opponent and also places a Four-Turn countdown tile that unlocks and removes special tiles.

Riri’s final ability, Selfless Intervention, costs 8 Green AP. Riri makes a split second decision to fly into the action causing damage and her armor to react to the impact sending [her] Airborne for two turns and her target Airborne for one turn. I like her special tile manipulation moves. That definitely feels different. Selfless intervention though—it’s been a while since we’ve seen a move that sends characters Airborne. What’s the strategy behind taking both yourself and the enemy out of combat?

Josh Austin: Sending an opponent out of the fight is advantageous for the player to get one of [their adversaries] off the field for a bit. This allows the player to remove a threat for at least one turn or two at higher levels. For example, if you’re playing PVE with one hero character that can manipulate the tile board, it’s great to be able to send that opponent flying if you see a match four or five that you would like to utilize instead of the opponent’s team! Who does she team well with? And can she team-up with other Iron Man armors or is she included in their number?

Josh Austin: Actually Riri can team up with Iron Man, she’s her own entity. So a player could add Ironheart with Iron Man. As far as teaming up, Ironheart is a bit of a support character. She is good against teams that use special tiles.

Since she removes tiles effectively, she’d pair pretty well will Luke Cage (Power Man) since his red deals more damage if there aren’t any opposing special tiles. The new Four-Star Captain Marvel can take advantage of the red countdown tile created by Riri’s Red ability. Also, I heard “Puzzle Quest” is going to be celebrating some Jack Kirby monster madness soon. Care to give us a breakdown of the festivities?

Josh Austin: We will be swapping out some covers and promoting the Kirby Monster event in game for a limited time. Comic swaps will be for X-23 (All-New X-Men), The Hulk (Totally Awesome), Doctor Strange (Stephen Strange), Spider-Man (Classic), Devil Dino, Thor (Goddess of Thunder), Deadpool (It’s Me, Deadpool!), Medusa, Vision, and Kamala Khan.

The swaps are a fun way to celebrate some of the recent Marvel news in [“Marvel Puzzle Quest”]! There are also some cool materials and offers at the Marvel Digital Comics Shop and Marvel Insider. Is there anything else players need to know?

Josh Austin: You can earn Riri in the Thick as Thieves event starting on January 19, or in the Vault for the Event Hearts of Darkness that starts on January 23. Riri’s upcoming Versus Event will be called Flight Test.

Stay tuned to for more “Marvel Puzzle Quest” news and interviews!

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