Rating: 4.5/5 – Marvel’s Next Generation of Heroes Continues!
By ComicSpectrum senior reviewer Shawn Hoklas.
After reading the first issue of Infamous Iron Man, I was worried that Marvel and writer Brian Michael Bendis were forcing character changes just for the sake of change. For me Dr. Doom donning the suit of Iron Man and becoming a hero felt as though it was out of character for Marvel’s most famous and iconic villain. Now Bendis and Marvel are giving us another new Iron Man and an all new character in Riri Williams. Recently on social media there was plenty of (mostly unnecessary) controversy around the decision to change the characters in addition to the fact, which I mentioned in the previous Infamous Iron Man review, that we still don’t know what happened to Tony Stark due to the delays of Civil War II. So Bendis and artist Stefano Caselli had a bit of a challenge ahead of them with this first issue. Did they meet the challenge?
The answer so far is yes! I really enjoyed this first issue, both for Riri Williams as a character and for Caselli’s art. We’ve already met Riri in previous issues of Iron Man, but she hasn’t been developed much as a character so far. In this premiere issue, she’s given an origin and a reason to become the next Iron Man. The book starts out ten years in the past as we see Riri’s parents speaking with her principle as he informs them that their daughter is a “super genius”. From there, the remainder of the book cuts from present day to specific moments in time from Riri’s childhood as she was growing up in the city of Chicago.
Bendis does a nice job of pacing the issue, not spending too much time in one period, highlighting what’s most important to defining this new character. Bendis uses the violence that’s currently affecting Chicago in a powerful way that doesn’t feel forced, but as an unfortunate contributor to Riri’s motivations. Throughout this entire issue, Caselli’s art is really strong and seems just a bit less animated than usual which is a plus for this story in my opinion. His depiction of Riri is perfect and age appropriate and he gets to have a bit of fun with this issue’s villain, Animax, a newer villain who first appeared in Bendis’ X-Men run, a character who has the power to create genetic monsters. While not the best of villains, the choice allows for Caselli to show off a bit and counter the more serious origin story with some fun.
I really enjoyed this first issue of Invincible Iron Man and am definitely enjoying Riri Williams as a character. Slowly but surely Marvel is creating an all new generation of heroes with characters like Miles Morales, Kamala Khan, Sam Alexander, and now Riri Williams. Marvel has not previously had the “legacy heroes” passing the mantle from generation to generation that DC has had with their universe, but over the past few years that seems to be changing. I’m excited for what’s ahead for these characters, and for Riri in particular. I can’t wait to read more.
Reviewed by: Shawn Hoklas
https://comicspectrum.com/ Covering the full spectrum of comics culture