Writer: Brian Michael Bendis / Artist: Stefano Caselli / Marvel Comics
I would say Riri is the hero we need, but not necessarily the hero we deserve, but that’s not true. Comic book fans, POC comic book fans specifically, we’ve endured much. We deserve Riri right now. She is quickly becoming one of my favorite heroines in the Marvel universe and it’s her shortcomings as much as her profound strengths that make her so likable. The resourcefulness and humility have really propelled her into a stratosphere worthy of the Iron Man moniker and Bendis deserves a lot of credit for that. If you’ve read our comic book reviews, you know that we have a complicated engagement with some of Bendis’ work of late. Still one of the best comic book writers around, some of the questionable angles he’s taken with Miles Morales in regards to race, the storyline of Rhodey from Civil War and just the general tenor that is White identified writers and Black protagonists has been enough to make us pretty cautious.
Having said that, I haven’t loved every single part of the make-up that is Riri (especially from the first two issues), but I do love an overwhelming majority of it. The latest issue is split between the resolution of dealing with the Techno Golem and Riri’s ascension as a fully-fledged hero and how this affects her mother, the only family she has. We are given more development from her mother and a really effecting panel that shows her reflection and balance as the mother of a special child that wants to put her life in danger for the greater good. The dynamic between Riri and her mom is so refreshing. There’s no secrets. There’s no overprotective parent forbidding the gifted child to not put themselves in harms way and hamper her hero’s quest. It is rooted, and honest and complex in the way we would hope to see if this situation we’re a reality.
Caselli is really doing the lord’s work on this book as well. It is so crisp and compelling, from the close-ups of the back and forth that Riri has with SHIELD, to the action sequences at the beginning of the book, it just shines and is befitting the lovable hero.
Not only is Invincible Iron Man a good book that is getting better, but Riri put on some big hero boots this week and showed a part of her personality we hadn’t seen yet with satisfying results. Combine that with the heart this issue showed with Riri’s mom and the balance she faces as the parent of a teenage superhero, and this book just about claimed the week.
Reading Invincible Iron Man? Find BNP’s other reviews of the series here.