At first blush folks kind of hated Riri Williams, but over time I think we’ve all grown to love her a little bit. Prepare to love her even more as Brian Michael Bendis delivers flashbacks that’ll melt your heart and root for her to win.
Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Artist: Stefano Caselli
Publisher: Marvel Comics
So what’s it about?
Why does this book matter?
Is it just me or is Bendis working with artists who have an incredible way of adding gloss and glow to the books? Stefano Caselli can draw a face like no other, which helps with Bendis’ tendency for lots of dialogue and character acting. It’s no different with this issue.
Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?
This issue opens with Riri in what looks like the elementary school and she’s got a chip on her shoulder already. In a bit of back and forth with her teacher, we learn she wants someone to tell her she can’t be something so as to motivate her to prove them wrong; the scene at once shows her attitude, but also her tenaciousness and it’ll make you respect her that much more. A detail about a certain astronaut comes up, which pays off very well by the end.
Please give her motivation.
Now that Riri is a bit more comfortable in her homemade Iron Man suit Bendis opens up her heroics by having her check out an attack site. This allows Bendis to play around with her newness to the whole superhero thing and have characters like Nick Fury play off that. Meanwhile, Tony’s AI continues to have that ego-spark that keeps Riri on her toes. It’s a nice dynamic between Riri and the AI because he’s at once helpful, but ready to say, “I told you so,” which for someone as smart as Riri is infuriating.
Stefano Caselli draws a solid issue with the flashbacks standing out as some of the most dynamic and interesting. That’s saying something since it’s just a young girl talking to her teacher! There’s also a fight sequence with a lady version of a supervillain that allows for some cool blur effects that convey the chaos and movement really well.
It can’t be perfect can it?
There’s a two-page layout–with a splash across the top and panels below–that flashes back to a phone call Riri makes to NASA that doesn’t quite work. It’s not so much that it’s pointless by any means, but it stretches out a short scene over way too much comic real estate all for a relatively minor humorous moment. Essentially Caselli only has to draw one panel 7 times with a slight change in an eighth (which helps convey the shock by the end) which makes it feel a bit boring too. The dialogue is solid–especially given we don’t see Riri on the other end of the phone–but this two-page moment doesn’t quite land and feels like filler.
Is It Good?
This is an excellent display of Riri at a younger age, which helps show she’s been determined since the early days. There’s a spark of feminism in there too, especially when Riri makes light of a villain who slapped “lady” onto a male villain’s name. Overall this is a fun issue that reminds us Bendis is a master of dialogue and character building.
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