Written by Brian Michael Bendis
Art by Stefano Caselli, Marte Gracia
Published by Marvel Comics
Release Date: December 21, 2016

Riri and her brand new, pain in the ass A.I. spend some time together as we learn more about the loss of her friend and step-father in a very strong second issue of Invincible Iron Man.

Riri Williams is a dynamic character that explodes from the page. She’s got charisma and a personality that makes her an A-list character despite how new she is in the Marvel U. Bendis and Caselli give her a charisma that overshadows even Tony, and her presence as her A.I. does not diminish her strength at all. I’ll admit that I had some concerns that Tony’s presence, while not being alive per se, would dimish Riri in some way or push her into being his spirit’s sidekick, in a sense, but that is certainly not the case. Riri continues to put Tony in his place and their banter is entertaining to say the least. The legacy of Iron Man suit wearer vs. A.I. is fully intact and better than ever, I would argue. Riri has the spirit and spunk to take the Iron Man concept to new levels and it is evident in issue #2 that she’s a powerhouse.

Bendis & Caselli structure this issue well, shifting between the past and present at moments that are natural fits for the story. The flashbacks are giving readers insight into who Riri is, and how the shooting involving her friend and her step-father changed her course and affected her family. The flashback is emotionally charged and raw, with Caselli excelling at showing the pain Riri is feeling. The images are a kick to the stomach, and you can’t help but feel for Riri, a teen trying to process something that no one really can.

The excellent pacing of this issue really struck me, as Bendis and Caselli move the story along at a good clip without it being empty or hollow. There’s important information here for the growth of Riri as a character, but at no point does the story get bogged down in too much of an info dump. The banter between Riri and Tony moves at an almost Gilmore Girls-esque clip, which gives this comic a lot of energy and flair.

Marte Gracia’s colour work is strong, enhancing Caselli’s pencils and giving them extra depth. This issue is bright and bold without being cartoonish during the gut-wrenching scenes, and he and Caselli are in obvious sync.

Invincible Iron Man #2 is a great follow up to a stellar first issue. Editorial didn’t mess around when they put this team of A-list creators together and the results reflect that. I can’t wait to see more adventure with Riri and her co-pilot, may their banter stay lightning fast far into the future.

The Verdict: 9.0/10


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