Comic Book Review: Ironheart #2
Ironheart #1 was a long time coming, and as I said before, I’m glad that it was worth the wait. I only wish that there wasn’t such a wait between that first issue and the second. Hopefully with the release of Ironheart #2 we are set back on track to expect this book shipped monthly. She’s not Tony Stark of a different ethnicity, and she is not just another person in a suit of armor. This is Riri’s story as she continues to make her mark on the Marvel Universe.
I found this issue to be a bit more endearing than the first, which is always a plus when dealing with Riri. As we all know, she is not too much of a people person. She’s a work in progress who tries her best around the right crowd. Starting us off with that flashback was refreshing for those of us who needed to see something from her past that wasn’t so tragic or heartbreaking. It was welcomed to feel heartwarmed to a younger Riri experiencing a tough time and helped by someone who didn’t make her feel invisible. What was never addressed about her past was the difficulty that comes with growing up a genius. Its one thing to be alone because of the friends and family she lost. Another thing to be alone because skipping grades places you with kids outside of your age group. Where that experience led her in this issue was a good development for this plot surrounding an old friend is kidnapped.
Riri’s motivation for helping this friend served as a strong bridge between herself and this city. Again, she may struggle connecting with most people, but that doesn’t mean everyone. It made a big difference to have this one person who she was ready to go above and beyond to save. That’s how to start to dig into her mission statement as a hero who wants to protect her hometown. I only find it odd that we are back to ninjas again for enemies.
Picking up from the events of the first issue, I was definitely taken back by the reveal of Riri’s brand-new A.I. system. For as closely as I tried to follow her story, somehow I feel like I did miss when she got around to developing an A.I. for her suit. Or maybe this is our first time seeing Natalie take form? Either way, I found that taking the form of Natalie to be a great decision. A familiar face that Riri can connect to. Just from introductions, I felt the same connection that Tony would have with Friday. Friday isn’t based on anyone particular, but she also shares in having a bond which is comforting as a sense of security.
The subplot of her need for independence and her obligations at M.I.T. is a slow crawl, but worth the time put into it. She chose M.I.T., and the Dean turned out invasive and exploitative. I hope it will be worth seeing how far she can be pushed before either a compromise is made, or she takes her business elsewhere.
For this second issue we just have Luciano Vecchio, Geoffo, and Matt Milla as the art team. You don’t see a significant difference from losing Kevin Libranda, and that is always appreciated in the early stages of a book like this. You don’t want distractions like changes in art style which can hurt investment. Flipping open to that first page, this book was still full of the same youthful energy and boldness. I loved the way that Luciano Vecchio draws a young Riri. She’s still in a place where you could call her view of the world innocent. She had a glow in her eyes that told you she was still hopeful. Something I also took notice of this issue was the diversity put into the characters this art team creates. So many people of different skin colors, ages, gender, sizes seen within this issue interacting with Riri. It matters when sending a message visually that a book like this is aware of the world around it. Also, I never got to say it in the first issue, but the work from Geoffo makes a big difference in keeping your eyes engaged from page to page. It’s a big job handling the layouts when presentation grabs your attention before anything else.
Ironheart #2 was an excellent transition from the debut issue. So far this book is giving us exactly what we need from a developing young hero. This story has direction, heart (no pun intended), and it has a genuine call to action. To keep up with this quality work, this creative team just needs to continue striking that balance between character development, story progression, and everything else.