Monday, November 14, 2016

Invincible Iron Man #1 Review and *SPOILERS* - Marvel Monday

Another Origin Story

Written By: Brian Michael Bendis
Art By: Stefano Caselli, Marte Gracia
Cover Price: $3.99
Release Date: November 9, 2016
Publisher: Marvel

*Non Spoilers and Score At The Bottom*

*This review will contain Civil War II SPOILERS*

This title has been one of the most talked about comics in recent years. Sure, there is plenty of controversy surrounding the comics. It’s the same controversy that followed Ultimate Spider-Man introducing Miles Morales, Ms. Marvel becoming Kamala Khan, and Jane Foster taking over the mantle of Thor. Here’s the thing, I love legacy characters. Legacy characters are easily one of my favorite parts of comic books and I know plenty of fans will disagree and think that some characters should never change but after decades of the same character, I don’t think a little change is something to sneeze at. Of course, there was also plenty of controversy surrounding the variant covers of this book as well and I’m not gonna touch that one with a ten foot pole. That said, we don’t really know this Riri Williams character. Granted, we had a few scenes with her in the previous volume of Invincible Iron Man but nothing major happened with her. I thought that she would play a bigger part in Civil War II but in issue 6 she has just been introduced. So I’m curious and cautious about this comic. Let’s just jump in and see what it’s like.

The issue begins with a scene in a school where a principal is meeting with two parents. The parents are worried about their daughter’s role in school and the principal informs them that their daughter is a “super genius” and is simply bored by her current level of schooling. So, he informs the parents that he is going to manage her case personally so that she gets everything she needs intellectually. He warns her parents that they will have to take the responsibility of grounding her though. She could easily retreat insider her own mind and ignore those around her. He wants to make sure she’s as socially and emotionally healthy as she is intellectually. This is we get a scene of Riri Williams in her homemade armor flying in the sky. We then have a small recording that serves as the intro in the Marvel book. This is where we learn that Tony Stark is gone. They never say it outright but I find it safe to assume that he is dead. With him gone, Riri is left alone to discover her place as the new Iron Man.

We cut to a scene in Wyoming in which some kind of incident is occurring. Suddenly a large monster crashes through the side of a building and Riri is quick to contain it. Unfortunately, she quickly learns that there are dozens of monster appearing out from the building and one human is controlling them. The human is a mutant named Animax and she is angry, most likely due to her incarceration. Riri asks her suit to look up information on Animax which it does very slowly. She remarks on how she still needs a legitimate A.I. in order to properly run her suit. Animax seems surprised that a hero is out in the middle of Wyoming but she grows angry nonetheless and attacks.

We then cut to another flashback, five years prior to the current moment. Riri has been working on a project on her own and her mother comes in and scolds her. She is angry that Riri missed her last few meals and that she isn’t spending any time outside of her little workshop. Riri seems angry at her mother but eventually agrees to her demands. This is when another young girl appears and the two start talking a bit and the new girl seems interested in what Riri is building. We see that Riri is building new technology aimed at helping superheroes. The new girl that she is talking with is named Natalie and the two quickly form a friendship. We cut back to the present and see that Riri’s computer has finally found information on Animax, we get some background on the villain and the two continue their fight.

We flashback two years ago now at a picnic at the park. A large group of people from the neighborhood have come out to enjoy the day. This is when we meet a more modern version of Riri’s stepfather and while he may be a bit cheesy, he’s ultimately very good. Riri talks with Natalie about her father. Natalie finds Riri’s annoyance with her stepfather and we learn that Natalie doesn’t have a father at all. We get a scene in the background of some young men surrounding a car. They suddenly begin to run and Riri’s mother yells out. Gunshots ring out and Riri’s stepfather tackles her and Natalie in an attempt to keep them out of harms way. When Riri is safe enough to move, she lifts her head up to realize that not only has her stepfather been shot but her friend Natalie was also hit. Both of them seem to have died that day.

We cut back to the present and Riri is able to find footage through her computer that shows if you knock out Animax, her creatures disappear. With this information, Riri is able to make quick work of Animax. The cops capture Animax but then turn their weapons on the new Iron Man. Riri puts her hands up and simply tries to talk with the officers when a bullet strikes her helmet. The officer tries to arrest her but other officers don’t seem so keen on the idea. Riri understandably gets angry and ends up using magnetism to remove the gun from the officer’s hand and destroy it. She then shoots off into the sky.

Back in her home in Chicago, Riri is in her workshop and her mother comes to visit her. She seems to be somewhat supportive of Riri’s heroism but when Riri mentions the risks her mother becomes obviously worried. The two are interrupted by a man in a suit. The man simply delivers a package and leaves. Riri and her mother are initially hesitant to open it but Riri’s curiosity gets the better of her. Inside is a device with a big button that simply says “Push Me” on it. Riri does this and an A.I. suddenly appears in front of them. The A.I. is in the form of Tony Stark and informs her that Tony’s mind has been downloaded into this program in the event that Tony Stark ever died. Tony seemed to have been impressed with Riri enough that he wanted her to carry on his legacy and this is where the issue leaves us.

Now let me start off by saying that this story is an origin story and as a seasoned comic book fan, I’ve seen a million of these. Origin stories are done all the time and while they may excite some people, I’m not too thrilled about them. I tend to lean towards comics that give you a little bit of an origin piece by piece instead of all at once. However, there are plenty of people who do like them and such their personal feeling of this book may differ from mine in that respect. I will say that the origin story that we are given is pretty solid. Now, it isn’t without flaws. For the most part, we are told about Riri Williams rather than shown. We are told that she is a “super genius” and we are told that she is a tech expert but we aren’t really shown that in her origin. We see the end product which is her fighting crime in her own Iron suit but we don’t get a great sense of how she got from point A to point B. Something that the book does fairly well is address the issues that an African American girl from Chicago would deal with in our modern age. Her neighborhood seems friendly but it is plagued with violence and her issues in dealing with police are nothing new. That said it seems to be presented very quickly and left a lot to be interpreted and I think that is a safe choice. I’m not sure if safe is the way to go with such a story but I guess we will see. One part of this comic that is absolutely amazing though is the art. I have no complaints about the beautiful panels that we get with each page. Ultimately this issue felt like a beginner’s guide to Riri Williams rather than the beginning of a story but I found myself enjoying it and looking forward to what is to come. Did it do anything special in my opinion? No. However, maybe this is the just beginning that this book needs.

Bits and Pieces

While this new #1 catches readers up with this new character and spoils unfinished stories to do it, not a whole lot is show to the audience except for the fact that Riri Willaims seems capable at the very least. The comics made some safe choices that I don’t necessarily agree with but this is overall a good start to this story and this character. All eyes are on this book right now and I hope it thrives despite that pressure. For me, I’d say this book is good. It’s not great…. Yet. Some readers will enjoy it more but I think most will agree that this is a very solid start for this book.



  1. I had super low expectations for this book but was pleasantly surprised. Love the review.