Scarlet Witch #1
I wasn’t sure what exactly this book was going to look like when I opened it, but I knew that if James Robinson was writing it, I was most likely going to enjoy it. I have a bit of an understanding when it comes to Scarlet Witch’s powers and abilities, because she has been featured in quite a few Marvel events, and Mavel’s most recent Avengers film as well. So I would assume, that most people are at least SOMEwhat aware of Wanda (aka Scarlet Witch) and her powers. I would think that having a more artistically driven book like this (which reminds me quite a bit of Black Widow and Elektra’s standalone titles… im sensing a lady comic trend here…) would be a big draw for the title, but we wont yet know how well this book sold.
The story opens on a strange note- with Wanda and the “classic” Avengers lineup (Cap, Hawkeye, Quicksilver and the Scarlet Witch herself) which is followed up with a black page with bold white text that reads “Thou shall not suffer a witch to live. Exodus 22:18”. It was a sequence that threw me for a loop to say the least- I didn’t expect to be met right off the bat with a flashback sequence and some rather harsh words regarding Wanda. The scene that follows is Wanda in New York City, chatting it up with a ghost named Agatha- I take it that Wanda and Agatha have some sort of history together, but not being a Marvel Comics history buff, the reference is lost on me. Regardless, the view from Wanda’s apartment of NYC and the strange Northern Lights-esque auras of magic from all over the city was a very beautiful and unexpected thing to see.
I think that may be a good way to sum up this whole issue- “A beautiful and unexpected thing to see”. The sequence with Wanda walking through the city was another beautiful moment, seeing her in a half cape, and an off the shoulder bodysuit-thing (I have no clue how to accurately describe it, I’m not good at describing ladies fashion… it’s my one weakness.) and the black high boots was a very nice and modest outfit that both accentuated the Scarlet in her name, and the red splash really gives her a very powerful look.
I was a bit perplexed with her interactions with Detective Erikson- I understand they may have had an understanding, but it felt a bit off that she would be so quickly and without ceremony brought to a recent crime scene. Being that mutants are still so often hated and feared in the Marvel Universe, it just felt a bit odd for her to have so easily found an ally in the “authorities”. The turn of the story, though, is where I wonder if she hadn’t been asserting her magic on him the whole time, because she makes some pretty next level predictions about Erikson and the reason that all the cats in the city are dying (which is a grim and sad underlying point to this story. all those poor kitties…).
The pacing of the book was a bit slow at first, but when Wanda and Erikson get down to business the action REALLY picks up and I appreciated it greatly. The look of the fight sequences was really unique, and the strange horned, dagger fingered demon thing was a really cool choice for the visuals of whatever demon or evil spirit was behind the happening. I loved the onomatopoeia of “BZZT! And “AASSHH” from when the demon-thing appeared, and it’s low rumbling hiss being shown in snaky lettering that seemed to rise up off of it’s arms like green flames was a gorgeous bit of detail.
This book definitely wasn’t at all what I was expecting, but I think that it is starting to delve into the dark corners of the Marvel Universe, and giving someone like the Scarlet Witch her own corner of the sandbox to play in (hopefully, by herself for some time) will be something I think I a lot of people will want to read- myself included. This book does seem to have a pretty low accessibility hurdle (save for the reveal that **SPOILERS** Magneto WAS believed to be Wanda’s father, but it was revealed that he, in fact, is NOT!)- there isn’t much you NEED to know coming into this first issue, but I am betting as we go along, a bit of knowledge about her abilities and her past will come in handy. I hope people are picking up these lesser known titles and giving them a shot, because this book is definitely worth trying out.