Before Robert Downey Jr. became Tony Stark, and comic book Tony became RDJ as a result, Iron Man wasn’t considered to be a “funny” series. That adjective was reserved for books like Deadpool or Peter David’s X-Factor. Well, thanks to writer Brian Michael Bendis and artist Stefano Caselli, Invincible Iron Man can be considered a genuine funny book.
Invincible Iron Man #4 (Marvel Comics)
Writing humor is hard. Even the best comedians deliver a few clunkers every now and then. So if you’re familiar with Bendis and his love for injecting a few laughs into his books, you know those punchlines don’t always land. But something just works here – and I’m going to assume it’s Riri Williams. Unlike Tony, she isn’t forever living in the shadow of someone played by RDJ on the big screen.
In Invincible Iron Man #4, we pick up where we left off – with Riri and Virginia “Pepper” Potts on a rooftop, sans armor, about to face off against the Techno Golem and techno ninjas (from Bendis’ last Iron Man volume). Seems like impossible odds, and they kind of are, but this is where our heroes shine.
The back and forth between Iron Man’s former confidant and protege are solid and show just how much Potts has grown in recent years. Originally depicted as a secretary with a crush on Stark, Potts now how as a superhero alter ego of her own (Rescue) and is every bit the hero her former boss was. It’s also hilarious that Potts can’t remember Riri’s name (is it Rachel? Reggie?) – doesn’t mean she doesn’t care about her!
Riri has a fun scene of her own when she commandeers a kid’s “crappy laptop” (AI Tony’s description, not mine) so she can communicate with her digital mentor. This truly is a fun series, and it helps that Caselli has a gift for rendering great facial expressions. His pencils work much better with Bendis’ humor than moodier art from the likes of Mike Deodato.
One complaint I have – we revisit Stark’s armor collection in this issue. I feel like the many armors of Iron Man have been used a lot in recent years – often as drone-like cannon fodder. But once they get destroyed, shouldn’t they be gone for good? Or is Tony rebuilding them every time they’re destroyed? Does he have like 25 copies of every armor?
Maybe it’s time to stop revisiting that Hall of Armor. It’s getting to be the new blowing up the X-Mansion.
Invincible Iron Man #4 also ends a bit abruptly. It’s as if Bendis was really into the story he was telling then realized he was out of pages. Then again, maybe I’m just used to splash pages with “To Be Continued…” rather than a small panel.
Either way, if the cover to the next issue is accurate, it looks like Riri will partake in a good old-fashioned superhero team-up. Should be another fun entry in what’s quickly become one of Marvel’s most youthful and energetic series.