by Defne Sastim
Invincible Iron Man #1 is the big introduction for one of the most highly anticipated books and characters in Marvel Comics this year. Riri Williams, a 15-year-old genius, is set to take on the Iron Man mantle as Ironheart in Invincible Iron Man, penned by Brian Michael Bendis and drawn by Stefano Caselli and Marte Gracia. The beautifully illustrated and wonderfully written first issue is the best thing this week (admittedly in a week of horrible things)- Riri’s origin and current superhero antics are woven together to introduce her to the reader and it is moving, emotional, and powerful.
The comic starts with little Riri, 5 years old and showing her genius, bored at school. Between flashing forward to Riri’s first real showdown with a super villain and the steps of her life that lead to her battle against Animax, Invincible Iron Man #1 builds the story of her life. Bendis constructs her origin perfectly by centering it on the garage-turned-engineering-lab where Riri builds and surrounding her world with her family and best friend, launching her on the path to jet-boot powered justice.
The art, with lines by Caselli and colors by Gracia, is a perfect companion to the writing, capturing the warmth of family as well as the danger of battle. The consistency between Tony Stark’s Invincible Iron man and Riri’s is there in the art as much as the writing, and the reveal at the end is beautifully rendered. Recent controversy over Riri’s depiction in a variant cover, said by many to be sexualizing the 15 year old character as well as lightening her skin in comparison to different covers, does not extend to the inside of Invincible Iron Man #1. Like the writing, the art depicts a complex teenager that wants to save the world.
Riri is the newest legacy hero to take the stage in a recent surge in Marvel comics, following the tradition of Miles Morales, Kamala Khan, and Sam Alexander. Marvel’s younger heroes have enjoyed lasting popularity that landed the legacy heroes on the flagship Avengers title and then onto their own Champions team book. Riri Williams as Ironheart won’t be any different, as the highly anticipated hero takes up the Iron Man mantle under the mentorship of a (spoiler alert) AI version of Tony Stark. With the spectacular first flight of Invincible Iron Man #1, it will be exciting to see where Ironheart goes.
INVINCIBLE IRON MAN #1
Written by BRIAN MICHAEL BENDIS
Art and cover by STEFANO CASELLI & MARTE GRACIA