Seems like we’ve been hearing the news about Riri Williams and her new role in the post-Civil War II Marvel Universe forever… Time to see what the new Iron Man is all about! Your Major Spoilers review of Invincible Iron Man #1 awaits!
Previously in Invincible Iron Man: We still don’t know what happened to Tony Stark, since Civil War II delays mean that the story hasn’t yet seen print, but now there’s a new Iron Man in town, and she’s only 15 years old. Can Riri Williams make the role of Iron Man/Ironheart her own?
WHO SHE IS AND HOW SHE CAME TO BE
The cover of this issue promises Riri as Ironheart, with spiffy new (if a smaller version of Tony’s last uniform is new) armor, but as any modern comics reader will tell you, the covers mean less than nothing. Instead, we get flashbacks to Riri’s past, starting with her parents being informed that she is a “super-genius” at the tender age of 5. Interwoven with flashbacks to her youth are scenes of Riri fighting a battle against Animax, one of Bendis’ pet scrub villains. She’s still in her bulky “War Machine” armor here, and the for a super-genius, she takes her own sweet time figuring out Animax’ relatively obvious secret, but it’s all likeable stuff. We also get to see Riri meet her best friend, see her grapple with her genius, and suffer a terrible loss in a drive-by shooting (which feels really awkward for some reason, as if it was absolutely necessary to shoehorn in a formative tragedy) before receiving a package from Tony Stark. in that box is her very own A.I., in Tony’s own image, which explains to her that even though he’s gone, there’s still work to do.
WELL-DRAWN, IF A BIT PREDICTABLE
Here’s the thing about this first issue: If you’ve read a Bendis debut issue, you’re probably able to predict exactly what happens in these pages and exactly how the story beats fall. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, as a Bendis #1 is a solid piece of comic book storytelling, but it does mute my enjoyment a little bit by making the book feel predictable. Stefano Caselli does amazing work with this issue’s art, making Riri look like a young teenager, making the battle sequence look cool and offering some lovely “acting” work in the facial expressions. Bendis, more than most modern writers, seems to work in “written for the trade” arcs, but this story being told is engaging, and the main character interesting, leaving me wanting to see the rest of her transition into red-and-gold-hero…
THE BOTTOM LINE: WRITTEN FOR A TRADE
All in all, it’s a solid first issue that makes it clear that Miss Williams is a character worth reading about and a worthy successor to Iron Man, at least in terms of determination and intellect. Invincible Iron Man #1 features well-done art, some lovely dialogue and a compelling last-page hook, with no real downside other than timing and some pacing peccadilloes that just aren’t going to go away, earning 3.5 out of 5 stars overall. I’m more excited to read the adventures of Ironheart than I was to read another new Iron Man series last year, so I think this issue has more than done it’s job…