Tony Stark Reveals Who He Wants As His Next Protege (It's Not Ironheart)


SPOILER WARNING: This article contains spoilers for X-Men: Red #10 by Tom Taylor, Roge Antonio, Rain Beredo, and VC's Cory Petit, on sale now.

Over the years, Tony Stark has had recruited a number of people to help him change the Marvel Universe for the better. Mary Jane Watson was recently employed to help him achieve greatness, as has Pepper Potts, his artificial intelligence J.A.R.V.I.S., Peter Parker just before Civil War, and his bestie, James Rhodes, aka War Machine.

But when it comes a character you might consider his sidekick, apprentice or protege, the list is much shorter. Sure, there's Riri Williams, or as we know her, Ironheart, but that was a short-lived arrangement, and involved an A.I. version of Stark rather than the real thing. And while you might think he'd be interested in continuing their partnership, Riri is focused on her work as a member of the Champions. Thus, Iron Man has his eyes set on another person he'd love to serve as a mentor to: Trinary, a recent addition to the X-Men.

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Trinary, a mutant from India, debuted in X-Men: Red #2 and has proven to be a major asset in Jean Grey's war against Cassandra Nova, as Charles Xavier's evil twin looks to pit humanity against mutants yet again. As a technopath, Trinary communicates with machines and interfaces with the digital hemisphere, an ability which has seen her hack accounts and disburse funds to the poor, and even take down Sentinels. But in X-Men: Red #10, Tony offers her a full-time job, with him guiding the way.

He makes the revelation as he drops off some weapons Jean requested to take on Cassandra, who's now using Genosha as her military base. As much as he loves saving the world, Tony knows peace is a tough call for one person to achieve, and he's singled out the technopath to help him. After all, she's great at coding, crunching numbers, and optimizing costs, which means she's best for business. He's been studying Trinary as he gauged recruitment for future wars to come, for the Avengers' growth and development, and also for his ever-expanding vision of Stark Unlimited.

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As he succinctly puts in, he wants to make Trinary an "ex-X-Man" to help with his mission. He's brazen enough about his wish that he doesn't even hide it from Jean, who's a bit preoccupied with the impending genocide and whatnot. But that's Stark for you; whatever he desires, he voices loudly, and with his negotiating and bargaining power, he usually gets.

As much as reader may not want her leaving the Red team, a higher profile job with Stark might actually provide Trinary with more opportunity to do good. She's said she really doesn't know if she's cut out for the field, and this scientific/philanthropy path may actually suit her better.

Speaking from a readership standpoint, it would be inspirational to female Avengers fans to see an Indian woman in such a position of power (no disrespect to the Children of the Atom), especially considering Trinary's concerns over real-world issues such as poverty in Asia, human trafficking and abuse of women. Trinary has always echoed Gandhi's mantra of being the change she wants to see in the world, so learning under Stark and having his tools and wealth at her disposal could see her achieving the ultimate dream of becoming a humanitarian.

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