By Brian Michael Bendis, Stefano Caselli, Marte Gracia, and Israel Silva
This series has taken an interesting development with Riri now declaring herself Queen of Latveria. Inevitably, such a bold and rash move like that comes with new responsibilities, new roles, and a different kind of threat compared to what she was used to before. Here Bendis introduces what Riri’s life at the beginning was like via SHIELD Agent Sharon Carter, who has arrived to investigate the situation. The way we first meet Riri in this issue comes through A Tribe Called Quest playing in the background while she’s helping out Latverian citizens, which is such a simple yet effective way for writer Brian Michael Bendis to really flesh out the character’s strength. Here, Bendis and Caselli manage to display what makes Riri work so well in a matter of panels, whereas some comics struggle with doing so in entire runs. It’s her idealism and willingness to help people that feels so fresh and energetic, and everything is really played to her strengths here.
It’s incredibly interesting to see how SHIELD and Riri’s mother cope with this newfound role for Riri, as after all, her mother has just learned that she is a new member of Latveria’s Royal Family. It’s a fascinating new direction, if only a brief escape that really changes the pace of the series so far, but also helps explore the problems that come with overthrowing a Government; namely in the aftermath that follows, tackling politics effectively whilst still keeping the charm and humour that the series is known for. The way the resistance to Riri’s new rule deals with their new leader being a bit more merciful is handled well, and there’s a lot of material that’s explored here that both the readers and the characters have to deal with. Latveria’s status in world affairs is also explored here, and Riri’s relationship with SHIELD doesn’t exactly run as smoothly as it appeared it would. For an issue with so much going on, it’s surprisingly light on action, but then that shouldn’t stop you from checking it out as it more than makes up for it in other areas.
The artwork by Stefano Caselli, Marte Gracia, and Israel Silva is fantastic, with the upbeat tone of the issue matched by the visuals. The new direction may only be a brief one, but it’s something that the artists have a lot of fun with in terms of fleshing out new landscapes and different parts of Latveria. Caselli’s splash pages are stunning in particular and the colors that Gracia and Silva use here really help bring Latveria in particular to life. Emotions too are a big part of this story, especially when it comes to Riri, and while some of the depicted expressions don’t always work, for the most part they’re handled really effectively and it helps add depth to her character.
Invincible Iron Man #10 is a fun issue that makes the most out of Riri’s idealist principles as it answers the question of what she would do if she became Queen of a country like Latveria effectively. The character study and heart brought to the table in this issue really pays off and right now, the series continues to be one of the most enjoyable books on Marvel’s shelves. You’re doing yourself a disservice if you’re not reading it.