I couldn’t wait for Ironheart to debut this week. Ironheart #1 has been a long time coming since the countless issues where her book was still carrying the name Iron Man. This book right here is everything that some of us have been waiting for as these young heroes began becoming their own thing. Ironheart is NOT Iron Man. Ironheart is NOT Iron Man with a different pallet. It’s just something you got with or saw yourself to the door.
The way this issue opened up to us was perfect for welcoming both those familiar with Riri Williams and those who are new to this character. They wasted no time at all allowing us to get inside of her head to see what makes her tick. I find that for a new #1 issue you should never treat anyone as if they have already met the character before. Take a page or two to make sure that everyone in on the same page about the things that they need to know about the character before moving forward. Like I said above, Riri Williams is neither Tony Stark or a copy of him with a different skin color. The opening scene was the perfect time to make sure that readers were aware of this more than anything else. I only felt like I had missed something when it was understood that Riri had chosen to go to MIT to have her own lab. Clearly this was something she decided that I had missed a while back, but that was just me.
As with most solo series, I liked that this first issue was also a personal exploration for Riri. She’s young, she’s been through a lot, and there’s much more that she needs to figure out about herself in order to become a better person. Te only similarity you could find between Riri and Tony is their lack of tact when it comes to engaging with other people. Aside from that, everything else for Riri was stemmed from her past. Her inability to get close to people, to communicate without stepping on the wrong toes, to feel like she deserves anything good that has come her way so far. That is a troubling combination of negatives that should provide more than enough story potential for Riri to address over time. For just this issue, big steps were taken that you had to take notice of. If like me you have read other books she has been a part of up to this point, ten you know that she struggles a lot with making meaningful connections. We got one out of this issue, and just that one does wonders for what is possible for this girl once the layers start dropping.
Riri’s first taste of action in this solo series was executed very well. First off, it was smart that the enemy she faced was not someone from Iron Man’s gallery of villains. Second, it definitely made this act of heroics matter more that she would have to rescue a group of world leaders taken hostage.
I’m not going to lie, I wasn’t too confident in how things were going to look for Ironheart #1’s interior art. Admittedly when I really want to read something, I convince myself before looking too deeply into previews and what not. A wave of ease washed over once it became clear that the artist for this book would be Kevin Libranda. This was a smart move considered this is the guy who gave us the new look for Riri’s new Ironheart suit as well. I always said that this would be one hell of a task for whoever else would have to draw this intricate armor, so it makes sense that the designer would have the opportunity to handle just her. Everything about the way he drew her suit proved that this was for the best. Whether it was how sleek the armor was, the new tricks available to Riri now, or the way it sheds/reforms, he did not skip a beat in detail. Not even when it came to this Spider-Man foe. I was trilled by the work that went into that foe’s suit and what it was capable of. Even Geoffo’s and in this was something to appreciate for the way that the artwork was right in your face and creative with the layout. Every flip of the page was refreshing for the way that the scenes were presented to us. The color work from Matt Milla was just what this book need to give it the kind of energy you expect from a young hero who doesn’t really slow down. Riri’s world may not be bright, but it doesn’t mean the world around her isn’t. It certainly doesn’t mean that things wouldn’t be flashy either once she suit’s up. I loved the effect brought out in all of her toys, new and old. Aside from that, there was some unique colors used and others that stood out for the depth given trough various tones applied.
So, was Ironheart #1 worth the wait? Without a doubt! Ironheart #1 took some bold steps towards Riri Williams starting to write her own story. This is a big time for Riri in terms of stepping out of her OWN shadow, and being able to see a hopeful future that doesn’t reflect everything she taught herself to be pessimistic towards. By the end of this series, I want to see the pessimistic young hero become optimistic