For a hero like Ironheart, connections matter. That is why the past few issues from this series have been memorable. In every way she continued to walk away with the realization that you don’t get to that healthy point without good friends by your side and a little humor along the way to brighten your day. With that said, these adventures only go for so long, and it made a big difference that the last one tied perfectly into the magic situation that Riri has been dealing with.
Now I’m sure that some out there might say that the Ten Rings should be over and done with by now. However, the appeal of an organization like this is that there’s always a new way for them to return. It’s never going to always be the same people in charge, or the same kind of trouble that they bring to your doorstep. You could even say that Riri should be facing her own kind of villains, but this is the perfect obstacle to throw her way since she more than Tony tends to struggle with things that can’t be simply explained.
How this even brought Riri to the doorstep of Doctor Strange was just a bit predictable. You could choose and magic user around the world, and it seems most are pretty keen with running to the Sorcerer Supreme for the answers. The reason I wouldn’t argue against it in this case, is because Doctor Strange is a fitting hero to encounter for Riri. For as many similarities that she shares with Tony Stark, the same can be said with Doctor Strange who shares the same mentality. Once more, a step was taken to address some of the things going through her mind that can only genuinely explained by someone who has also walked a mile in her shoes.
The kind of help he offered Riri did get her to where she needed to go, and that was all the really mattered by the end of the issue. Beyond that, it was just another day in the life of Doctor Strange that she found herself opened to. You meet the guy, run into the kind of dilemmas he deals with, and then seek his counsel in whatever problem he might have the solution to.
Regardless of this being that point where Riri broke off from her friends, I believe it was the right choice to create a breaking point, rather than to simply jump straight into where she needed to go next. As I said above, these connections matter. It mattered having someone with a like-mind, and someone who has shared in the same experiences as her. That is not the kind of friendship you skim over. Neither is the friendship and partnership she has with Xavier who continues to be that anchor to the real world. Having superpowered friends is nice, but having someone who is normal and down to Earth is someone to appreciate when you need that different point of view.
For the most part, things were pretty consistent with what you were used to seeing from this art team. The emotional moment in the beginning of the issue was nice of course, I do love how they are able to tap into that side of Riri who isn’t as hardened as she lets on. Aside from that, it was her meeting with Doctor Strange which jumped out at you. Another creative demon that we opened the doors to, despite the spells being quite standard that he used to combat it. The spellwork after that was quite unique. They definitely played around with that one-on-one experience you expect when someone is looking to him for help. Nothing big that he was doing, but small flashy spells that cut through most of the manual work he could probably easily do. After that, the colors for this part of the story were popping. That is more than you can say for the current interiors for the Doctor Strange ongoing.
This issue was a fast read, but Ironheart #8 was satisfying for the answers that Riri got about what the Ten Rings might be after, and insight into the next steps she needs to take in order to continue improving herself. Right now I think it is important to acknowledge what these young hero books are doing right in contrast to the older heroes. They are finding their way to become proper heroes in their own right, but more than that, they are striving towards being the best person they can be. Who you are in costume is only as important as you are behind the mask. Or helmet in Riri’s case.