Every issue so far of Ironheart has been a delight taking these steps with Riri towards self-improvement. She has a lot going on in her life between addressing her own struggles, while at the same time balancing her work as a hero. It’s easy to see where they try to avoid that departure from being an actual person like most might in her position. Sometimes it’s easier to have the hero dodge that responsibility towards themselves by burying it all in work. That’s not healthy, and you wouldn’t expect it from the average person either. You would expect that person to seek the proper help they need from all channels available to them.
With much of that personal development we got last month, it was a fun change of pace that this month would take us on our next adventure. Who would have thought that the time would finally come for her to make a trip to Wakanda? I was excited from the minute Doctor Strange suggested that what the Ten Rings want is located there. I always felt as though this was going to be an eventual destination for Riri given the appreciation of sciences in this country. I also looked forward to this adventure because there was a big challenge to brace for. Riri is still in the middle of working on herself and her mannerisms. How do you think someone like her will handle interaction with people who follow customs and proper communication? The sense of wonder was there for her, but that could only last so long as her first human contact. That was where things got interesting since this person just so happened to be Shuri.
While no direct action is taken in this issue to find the wellspring, the main focus was how Riri doesn’t really hit it off with Princess Shuri. I was actually surprised by her attitude going into this considering most people show a bit more gratitude when Wakanda allows them passage inside their walls. You could see why Riri looks at someone who was born into wealth the way she does, though you could also see why Shuri would look at a kid like Riri and see someone unfitting of her praise. A middleground was obviously going to be found, but the question was how. The answer to that was clever since the best way to put both on the same page is to show that they fight for the same things. Both care about saving all lives, and respect taking their jobs seriously.
Speaking of departures, something I appreciated was that we could get that one issue eventually where there could be some engagement between Riri and Tony Stark. When you want new heroes like her to take flight on their own, it’s always important to create some distance from the characters who readers might throw comparisons to.
We might not get around to this new ally may be able to shed some light on the story of Midnight’s Fire till the end of the issue, but the entrance gave you enough to anticipate what comes next. Putting three allies together like this gives you the impression that they are setting up for something big to come in the following issue.
Where this issue offered something new to us visually was the way that this art team visioned Wakanda. Luciano Vecchio, Geoffo, and Matt Milla did a standout job of capturing the vastness of these lands, while also taking notice of the things that make these lands advanced. No opportunity was missed to show how unique even the smaller city homes and buildings could be in structure. What jumped out at me more than anything else was the way that Shuri was drawn. She was definitely unlike anything else that they have drawn. Her expressions sharper than most, carrying a regal presence, and true detail in her hair style. The colors of her costume also popped for the way that they clashed. I think that Milla does her colors justice as well because they are bold enough to create an exotic image. There was also a number of scenes where Geoffo impressed me with the way that they were laid out. It will always make a difference to have those pages where there is creativity to the way you read the panels. Especially when you strip away the panel borders and consistent shapes to find other ways to separate them using objects or characters.
Riri in Wakanda has been one of the most unique experiences up to this point. This is what you get when you pair a girl from Chicago with a princess from a foreign nation. Ironheart #9 brought two worlds together, and it was fun for the humor in what two scientists like Riri and Shuri have to do in order to see that they are cut from the same cloth. I look forward to what cane be done when both from the start are on the same page!