Written by Brian Michael Bendis
Art by Stefano Caselli, Marte Gracia
Published by Marvel Comics
Release Date: November 9, 2016

The age of Riri is here, and thank God Doom for that.

I’m going to say this before I dive into the issue itself: there are not enough persons of colour writing or creating comics, especially at the Big Two. That is an indisputable fact, and my enjoyment of this comic is not in any way meant to diminish or gloss over this very important issue in comics today.

With this in mind, I have to say Invincible Iron Man #1 got me extremely excited and Riri Williams is a breath of fresh air in a week where I bloody well needed it. A black teenage girl who is brilliant, full of moxie and, frankly, hilarious is the new Iron Man and I couldn’t be happier. Much in the same way that Thor was given new energy when Jane Foster lifted the hammer, I have not been this excited for an Iron Man title or the concept of the protector in the suit of super advanced armour in a long time. I mean, I’m excited for Iron Doom, don’t get me wrong, but certainly not in the same way that my spirit was lifted by Riri.

Miles Morales is one of my favourite characters of all time and I believe Bendis’ work with the character is his greatest achievement as a writer in comics. While Riri’s reign in the Iron suit is pretty fresh, this comic has the same enthusiasm and energy as when readers first got to meet Miles. We’ve got a brilliant young woman who is diving into saving the world head first, no matter what could go wrong. There is a feeling of limitless potential here, and while Bendis gives readers some dramatic flashbacks into some of the reasoning why Riri may be diving into helping others that I’m sure will be explored in further issues, overall I found the tone of this issue to be light and optimistic. Riri wants to help people and she’s going to keep building better armour and keep making the world a better place. With this first issue of the series we are getting a look at a special character who deserves to be a prime-time, A-list Marvel Universe pillar, that much is already apparent.

Stefano Caselli is one of my favourite artists of the past 10 years and when I saw his name attached to this comic I was elated. With the controversy swirling around artist’s misguided and downright appalling interpretations of Riri, I did worry that Caselli may not capture her age well. I shouldn’t have worried. Stefano Caselli delivers fabulous pencils from the first panel to the last, giving Riri an amazing visual tone and capturing the spirit and gumption of her dialogue perfectly. You can tell she’s a teen at all points, with the naïveté that comes with being young, but also the dynamic energy. You can see the worry in her parents’ eyes, you can see the bond between Riri and her friend and you can see the determination in this character to continue Tony’s legacy and save the world without ever needing to read a word. Caselli’s lines are sharp and he sets a perfect visual tone for this series. Marte Gracia’s colour work is also exceptional and is the perfect compliment to Caselli’s pencils. This is a stellar art team to give Riri her her proper introduction to the Marvel Universe.

Invincible Iron Man #1 is a fantastic first issue featuring one of the most dynamic characters to storm into the Marvel Universe. Bendis, Caselli and Gracia have crafted an issue that excited me to no end and I can’t wait to see the progression of this character. The final page has me wanting issue #2 right bloody now and I am delighted to be reading in the Age of Riri.

The Verdict: 9.5/10


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