Riri Williams is one of Brian Michael Bendis’ last and best contributions to Marvel Comics before he skedaddled to DC Comics. Thankfully Marvel is aware this is a strong character worth her own series, as they kick one off this week from creators Eve L. Ewing, Kevin Libranda, Matt Milla and Luciano Vecchio. Ironheart is back at MIT inventing things and getting her footing as a bonafide superhero.
So what’s it about?
Read our preview.
Why does this matter?
If you’re at all interested in this character you need to read this since it begins to reveal a new direction for the character. In a lot of ways this is like an Iron Man comic about the early days before he’s figured everything out, but the main character is ten times smarter.
Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?
This is a dense read well worth the $4.99 price tag. It opens in a way that many younger people will relate to. Riri doesn’t quite have a footing in the world, has suffered great loss, and just wants to be the best she can be. She’s at the age where she’s finding herself, but also living on her own. As the story plays out we get great examples of how smart she is with some clever problem solving that readers can even get in on. She must stop a sonic powered villain and uses science to find solutions in defeating him. That’s a refreshing example of how fists aren’t the only way for heroes to stop villains.
This issue also introduces a few of Riri’s new inventions as she shows them off to a tour group at her MIT lab. One of the coolest things introduced is the A.I. Riri has yet to program. Ewing sets up this A.I. in an interesting way only a hyper-genius would think up and it actually comes full circle at the very end in a satisfying way.
The pencils by Kevin Libranda and Luciano Vecchio are very clean and do a great job showing off the new suit. Riri may have her face showing on the cover, but the main use of the suit has a plated face. Make no mistake, there is action in the issue (how could there not be?), and it’s easy to follow. The book flows in an interesting way, almost ending, but then continuing on with Riri talking to a boy. These scenes are drawn very well with Riri’s facial expressions exhibiting the shock, frustration, and pure elation one has when talking to someone they’re interested in. This scene is done very well and makes you feel like you’re tapping into a shared moment.
It can’t be perfect can it?
This is a dense read that took quite a bit of time to get through when compared to the usual comic book. That’s a good thing up to a point, but it’s safe to say the pace is slower with a lot of dialogue to contend with. It can feel a bit stuffy with the added dimension of the art which tends to be pushed in closer than the norm. The general flow is good, but the pace could use a bit more zip.
Is it good?
A great first issue that not only introduces the character well but sets up plenty of trials for Riri to deal with moving forward. From boyfriends to employers to understanding herself, Ewing and company have a winner on their hands. Riri is like a YA version of Iron Man, but smarter and more interesting. Ironheart is a superhero for a more modern and hopeful era.