Writer: Brian Michael Bendis / Artist: Stefano Caselli / Marvel Comics

Okay, so seriously. You all know that I love this book. This might be the best issue yet. Strong possibility there. Riri is being Riri: hilarious, intuitive, charming, and way in over her head. It’s basically her standby mode. After violating some international treaties I’m sure, Riri has invaded Latveria to confront Lucia Van Bardas after her attack on the U.S. While I’m sure there’s a way to read Riri’s actions as some BS patriotic vitriol, it really seems like the impulsive action of a pissed off teenager with way too much power at her fingertips. That manifests itself by the end of the book, with Riri expressing that possibly misguided compulsion even further, which sets up a lot of opportunities for this story.

What steals the show a bit though is the evolving understanding of Tony Stark as the onboarding companion to Riri. We’re given a bit more understanding to what he actually is as a program, or more importantly, what makes him different than the true AI, Friday. The scene with Friday and MJ is a little exploratory but still fascinating as the foreshadowing could not be more worrisome.

Bendis might be doing his best work in a long time on this book. There have been some hiccups with the story or imagery here and there, but truly, this is shaping up to be a great book.

Caselli is just killing the game on the art side. The action is fierce and kinetic in this issue. From the characterizations of Lucia and Riri to the in air combat (and a perfect last panel), the art is crisp and impactful. No matter where the story goes, with Caselli on this book, it’s always a worthwhile flip through the pages.

Riri continues to be the best new hero in any comic book universe, period. This book specifically does some great work with relationships and future interactions while giving us a hell of an action packed book as well.

9.6 Smiling Under My Armor out of 10

Reading Invincible Iron Man? Find BNP’s other reviews of the series here.

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