Invincible Iron Man #1
Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Artist: Stefano Caselli
Colorist: Marte Gracia
Cover: Stefano Caselli & Marte Gracia
You might have heard that there’s a new armored hero in the Marvel Universe and she may not be ready for the big leagues yet but she’s definitely got the heart! RiRi Williams is taking over the mantle of Iron Man but before that happens we’re taken back several years to see what events helped to shape her and set her on this path. So yeah, this is the beginning of her origin story while Bendis also gives us a present day adventure focusing on RiRi’s life after whatever events took Tony off the table due to the yet to be revealed conclusion of Civil War II.
The story here is a mixed bag and seems to be a series of high points and very predictable lows that make the formulaic approach at times even more bland. Now, Bendis does make RiRi herself a character worth reading and quite likeable. She’s actually instantly likeable which is a huge reason to want to stay with the series. From being labled a “super genius” at the age of five there’s plenty this young lady is going to deal with. It also may seem like a similarity to Tony but much of what makes RiRi who she is and how she handles that genius is what makes her stand apart. Her family is advised to nurture her emotional growth along with her intellectual. Something that most likely didn’t happen for Tony and it’s one of the things that keeps her from being just a plain female version of him. Hopefully Bendis can keep her on this path and maintain her individuality throughout the series. We also get to see RiRi in the present day fighting a villain who was recently defeated by the Champions. Though that provides a bit of action here the real payoff is the relationship building between RiRi and her parents and her childhood friend. It’s these character moments where Bendis really shines and makes for a better story.
As much as all of that made for some fun reading the sequence at the picnic really raises a few problematic questions and was just one predictable scene. Maybe because I knew at the beginning of the sequence that another Black character’s tragic origin would be defined be some drive by shooting and it just seemed very lazy and simple. Everything about it just sucks out all of the momentum the story had and brings it to a halt. It’s such an overused trope (especially with Black characters) that what could have been an emotionally charged series of panels were just a regular series of panels.
Stefano Caselli’s artwork does a fine job at moving the story and picks up the narrative when things get a little dry. The action sequences are big and over the top with giant monsters and plenty of damage. Then he nails it with the slight nuances of body language and facial expressions when it’s time for some focused character moments. The only issue with the art is how RiRi’s hair is depicted and it’s something that I’ve seen from several artists when attempting to draw a natural. It usually ends up looking like an unkempt mess which always makes me wish there was more attention to detail and effort put into making it look better. Marte Gracia’s colors are excellent and add the depth necessary to enhance the artwork in this issue.
Overall, Invincible Iron Man is a solid start to the series and seeing how RiRi grows into her role should be a fun ride. Hopefully Bendis can stay away from predictable and boring tropes concerning Black characters and deliver great stories for us along the way.