I have met my new comic book crush and it’s a 15 year old girl named RiRi! This girl and her story represent some of my favorite things about classic comic book storytelling such as a compelling heroine, a tragic event, the opportunity to overcome something we fear and triumph. Add to that classic mix, a character that you would want to sit down and talk to, and you have The new Invincible Iron Man.
Let’s start with the art. Sometimes when people of color are portrayed in comics, the tones are off or the colors don’t really complement our skin. You all know what I am saying, that lipstick is too pink, that hair is flat, the background makes us stand out too much and we end up looking like clowns. But the colors in this comic are the rich, earth tones that we look best in. The art still manages to convey vibrancy through the highlights and shadows as well as the choice of colors. There is also the ever present Negro nose (thank you Queen Bey) and lips. The characters look like comic book illustrations of my friends. Crisp lines and varied perspectives also add to the beauty of the panels. I re-read this comic just to take a better look at the artwork. (Take note of the illustrations of her face when she is wearing the Iron Man suit, the colors alone will make you swoon.)
The character of RiRi is also classic black girl without being a stereotype or caricature. She is sassy, asking her mother questions when she should just be quiet. Her mother responds to this sass in much the same way our mother do…with a raised eyebrow and an “excuse me”. Her best friend is inquisitive and not intimidated by RiRi’s intelligence. She requires RiRi to break it down and she asks the right questions. RiRi is a super genius but the people she surrounds herself with are no slackers.
I am working hard not to give any spoilers but the scene in the park…oh my. First, it’s a concrete jungle, I mean they are in the southside of Chicago so let’s not look for green pastures and butterflies frolicking among the flowers. But it is a classic concrete jungle, with basketball courts, picnic tables, and high rise buildings in the background. This background is so memorable partly because it is so relatable. Most urbanites can relate to having a cookout next to the courts, with dads and uncles standing by with beers in hand. And I won’t say anymore about that scene.
Let me finish by saying that as I was reading this comic I freely yelled out to my two daughters to drop what they were doing and come see certain scenes or read pieces of dialogue. It is just that good that you have to share!!!
Invincible Iron Man is currently on pre-order at Comixology
Comic Review by Ayanna Jones