REVIEW: James Robinson’s Scarlet Witch #1 is Bewitching

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By: Nick Eskey

Scarlet1Writer: James Robinson

Artist: Vanesa Del Rey

Colorist: Jordie Bellaire

Letterer: Cory Petit

Cover Artist: David Aja

Taking place after her stint in the Avengers team, James Robinson’s Scarlet Witch is now as she claims “alone.” The only acquaintance that we’re introduced to is the ghost of her old tutor in witchcraft, Agatha Harkness, who happens to take pleasure in her afterlife by giving snarky replies to her formal pupil. Living in an old loft high above Manhattan, the Scarlet Witch (Wanda Maximoff) has a bird’s eye view of any magical disturbances that she has sworn to fight. Whether or not the theme of magic will serve as this series focal point is uncertain, but for now it seems to be.

I’m not going to claim I’m a Scarlet Witch expert. I don’t think many can. Her back story is unarguably one of the most confusing. Throughout the years her powers have ranged from statistical odds manipulation, magic, and reality altering that about rivaled the Phoenix. Even her origins have gone through quite a change. She was a daughter of a golden age super hero named the Whizzer, later made to be the daughter of the mutant Magneto and brother to Quicksilver, and recently (to many angry fans) a retcon revealed that she was a non-mutant that had been experimented by the High Evolutionary. Probably the only thing that has stayed consistent is her striking looks and well developed curves.

Scarlet2

Like most first issues of the super hero variety, the conflict is limited to one battle scene, preceded by much explanation of the current events, ending with a reason to pursue the mysterious larger issue. In essence, it’s all to whet the appetites of readers for future issues to come. The dialogue in Scarlet Witch is a little slow going, and threatened to put me to sleep on a couple of occasions. Most of it is coming from the Scarlet Witch herself, which got quite tiresome. But it’s a first issue. Excuses can be allowed.

The real gems of the comic are the art of Vanesa Del Rey and the coloring of Jordie Bellaire. The way the lines blend with the color shows the painstaking care that the artist and colorist took. The art is so strong though that I feel much of the heavy, one-sided explanation made through the dialogue could have been done away with. The scenes and the comic as a whole look as if it were a painting, inspired by the colors and style of the early comics (in a good way), but yet with a dash of Dave McKean. Look at an issue of Sandman by Neil Gaiman and Dave McKean. The dialogue and art flow so well together, but if you took away the text you could still understand what was going on in the story. The art can carry the brunt of the weight if need be. The dialogue is a little heavy in anything Neil Gaiman writes, but heavy in a good way. Like a big grandmother. With all that loving fluff, they give the best hugs. Skinny grandmother hugs are still good, but they just can’t compete. This issue feels like a skinny grandmother hug.

I digress.

Overall, I did enjoy Scarlet Witch. The art was refreshing in a market that requires a comic to stand out from the rest. The dialogue was a little tedious, but again it’s a first issue. I would love to see the introduction of other characters to act as catalysts with the Scarlet Witch. If they build on the look of the comic and tune up the text a bit, James Robinson’s Scarlet Witch will do fine.

Marvel Comics‘s Scarlet Witch is available now. Pick it up at your local comic book retailer or download it online.