For months I have purchased Brian Michael Bendis’ Invincible Iron Man, the book that replaced billionaire Tony Stark with superawesomegottaloveher genius Riri Williams. I have repeatedly asked what the heck her motivation is for becoming a superhero (besides being perfect), and this week an answer was provided.

In short, Mr. Bendis inadvertently gave the world the definitive social justice superhero origin.

There is so much I want to say, but in this case I will point you to my latest YouTube video. If you want to know why modern Marvel is struggling to keep readers engaged, then all you have to do is familiarize yourself with IIM #8. Put this one in your long-term memory, my friends, because it’s not every day that a comic book fan is handed a debate trump card of this magnitude.

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About the Author Douglas Ernst

I'm a former Army guy who believes success comes through hard work, honesty, optimism, and perseverance. I believe seeing yourself as a victim creates a self-fulfilling prophecy. I believe in God. I'm a USC Trojan with an MA in Political Science from American University.

7 comments

  1. This scene was both incredibly illuminating and incredibly disracting at the same time. It’s illuminating because we rarely get such a clear look into a regressive writer’s mindset. It’s distracting because you can’t help but think about the author when reading a scene like this.

    Additionally, man does this scene make Riri an unlikeable character. There is something seriously wrong with someone who wants to be a victim in order to have a boogie man to fight against. What happened to heroes that fight real injustices instead of making up false ones? Prior to this scene I figured that maybe some future writer might be able to actually make Riri a compelling character. With a retarded origin like this though, I think her character is irreparably damaged and is best left forgotten once Bendis is gone.

    Side note, what happened to Bendis? The man used to be a great writer. I love his Daredevil run, and I’ve enjoyed a number of his other stories through the years. I always thought his team books were weaker than his books focusing on a single character, but even those were still usually solid. I think he has a regressive parasite in his brain that is steadily eating away at what little writing talent he has left.

  2. Hi, Doug. I always enjoy your blog. But why buy Marvel comics, you don’t like? I know you like Daredevil, which I also read. And Marvel (at least I think so), is doing a good job with Doctor Strange, Iron Fist and Black Bolt. Perhaps because they have artists and writers on the titles….And they don’t try, to be politically correct.

    1. Hi Randy. Thanks for the question. I’ve fielded this one on YouTube before, although usually it’s asked in a rather mean fashion… Heh.

      People sometimes think I’m buying these books that I review purely for my own enjoyment, but there are multiple motivations for writing on this blog or creating YouTube videos. So, for instance, I care deeply about the craft of writing. Whether a book is good or bad, I still get the enjoyment of discussing the technical aspects of what the writer was trying to do. I can make young readers/viewers better writers through my work.

      I also care deeply about culture. I used to work for a think tank in Washington, D.C. I traveled across the country with policy experts to different colleges talking about economics, public policy, etc. That’s all well and good, but I think you can really reach people by speaking the “language” of the arts. You can talk about basic economics until you’re blue in the face, but I’ve found that you can often reach people if you’re able to relate political or philosophical issues to a creative parallel. A lot of the people I met in Washington wanted nothing to do with music, movies, comics, video games, etc. I’d try and tell them how short-sighted they were being, but they just looked at me like I was from Mars.

      I review Marvel because I want Marvel to be good. Make Marvel Great Again! Heh. (Note: I pulled the lever for the Libertarian guy as a protest vote.) After getting banned on different comic sites because I could tactfully take down bad books, I decided I was going to just do my own thing. Having this blog and my YouTube channel means some dishonest moderator can’t ban me while I’m at work and then make up lies about me while I’m gone…

      Readers might not always agree with my conclusions, but they know that I’m not bought and paid for by anyone. Ideologues on the right weren’t too happy with me when I lived in Washington…and ideologues on the left don’t like my blog. I’ll take that as a sign that I’m doing something right.

      In terms of quality Marvel books, I have heard good things about Doctor Strange. I also have two issues of Black Bolt sitting on my kitchen table that I have yet to read. It looked pretty cool, but I haven’t had a chance to get to it.

      I’ll also be doing up a review on DC’s “The Forge” very soon. 🙂 I woke up at around 3 a.m. this morning and had to force myself back to bed because I couldn’t stop thinking of all the things I wanted to say about DC… I probably should have just went for it while the inspiration hit, but it’s still all there. I’m super psyched on this story.

  3. Oh god… such an atrociously conceived origin. It almost makes me ponder if maybe that was the plan all along: to create the ultimate representative of the far-left millennial’s mindset. Except rather than set her up for some much needed character development and self-reflection, Bendis is doing everything in his power to make Riri’s flaws work in her favor. And so there we have it: a bonafide Mary Sue, straight from the bowels of the most tepid of fan-fiction works, now grazing the pages of mainstream comics. Yay!

    One has to wonder if Bendis and the rest of Marvel’s hacks even consider the quality of the work they submit. Common sense says, deep down, they KNOW their stories suck, but are just too cynical, too washed up, and too mired in political group-think to even look into harnessing any more artistic inspiration.

    1. Issue 8 practically screams “the making of a future supervillain”, whether Bendis intended it or not. The sociopathic signs are all there: selfish, grossly self-absorbed, and possessing a manipulative streak that she actually appears to revel in. Riri Williams is so beyond relatable at this point that the only logical direction I can see going for her… is to make her a part of Stark’s rogues gallery. I almost want to believe that that’s the long-term plan all along… since it would then make Riri the perfect foil/dark parallel to Tony’s own highly fallible, inflated ego. Still, even if it were the case, I highly doubt Bendis can make a compelling story out of it.

  4. It would be highly entertaining if they turned Riri into a self-righteous, deluded super-villain, but they would never go there.

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