The 2020 Marvel Comics event has been put on hold due to the pandemic, but it’s soon to return June 24th with its fourth issue. Before that though, Vita Ayala and Danny Lore bring us a two part Ironheart tie-in, out today. The now digital-only miniseries focuses in on Riri Williams at a time when a new law prohibits anyone under the age of 21 to be a superhero. That’ll make being a hero tricky — but this is Riri Williams we’re talking about.
This comic is a good example of a hero zeroing in on a problem and trying to solve it. It’s in her blood to be a hero and she can’t help herself. Weaved into this is a sci-fi angle involving Riri’s A.I. friend N.A.T.A.L.I.E. and some hacking of self-driving cars. This issue hammers home the fact that Riri is law-abiding even when her A.I. is screaming at her to do more. The world is different and it makes sense to loop Riri in as she’s a genius with technology.
Art by David Messina and colors by Mattia Iacono do a great job rendering Riri, who is mostly in street clothes in this issue. The art excels at close-ups and facial expressions that suit this book since there’s a lot of dialogue. The layering of panels, characters pushed out in front of panels, and other clever layout ideas give the book a 3D feel that also suits the advanced technology themes. There are also some exceptional sound effects used throughout to ramp up the action.
Speaking of action, this book is rather light on that and also stakes. There is danger, sure, but it doesn’t reach superhero levels in this issue. There’s a lot of explaining which further slows down the book — sometimes to a crawl — and I found myself wondering why I should care. This adventure needed something more, such as cool reveals of technology made by the villain, or some super-suit action, to make it feel extraordinary. As it stands I was left wanting more progression in plot and more action.
This is a decent start to a two part story that has Riri forced out of her suit and into street clothes to do some good for the world. The handling of Riri is strong, as you have to admire her heroism and gumption, but the plot is slow and doesn’t offer enough action. Issue #2 might rectify this though.