Welcome back to the Marvel Rundown! This week, we take a look at the new Scarlet Witch #1 in our main review. As a warning, this review contains MILD SPOILERS, so head on down to the Rapid Rundown for quick hits on Blood Hunt #3 and Spider-Boy #8!

What did you think of this week’s batch of fresh Marvel Comics, True Believers? The Beat wants to hear from you! Give us a shout-out, here in the comment section or over on social media @comicsbeat, and let us know what you’re thinking.

Scarlet Witch #1

Scarlet Witch #1

Writer: Steve Orlando
Artist: Jacopo Camagni
Color Artist: Frank William
Letterer: VC’s Ariana Maher
Cover Artist: Russell Dauterman

The Scarlet Witch returns! Again! 

This is the latest in a series of Wanda Maximoff-focused mini series, the third such since January 2023. It’s an interesting strategy, given that each series is part of the same overarching story, but it feels more like a sales decision than anything else having to do with the title.

In any case, this is both a great jumping on point and a solid continuation of what’s been going on across the last year and change in the world of the Scarlet Witch. Steve Orlando has done a great job of building a strong supporting cast of friends and foes, while continuing to push the story forward in new directions amidst the hectic reshuffling of titles. I came into this having missed the end of the last volume, but Orlando and co. catch us up on what’s been going on over the course of the issue in non-intrusive exposition.

There are only a few introductory pages dedicated to establishing dynamics before we jump right into the crux of this story. The issue moves quick from here, and after a tear in dimensions sends a bunch of Endlings into Lotkill, New York, Wanda is forced to work with her friends to repel the invaders, who are subjected to the full fury of the living Darkhold. Orlando’s endless knowledge of deep Marvel continuity rears its head here, with the addition of Mantor to the cast. I’m sure nothing bad will happen to him.

Jacopo Camagni’s work with Frank William is so dynamic in this issue, with lithe figures that flow across panels from scene to scene. There’s a lot of great staging here to draw attention to faces and poses, in ways that make the issue perfectly primed for action set pieces. William’s colors are bright and pop in just the right spots, maintaining a cool presence until Wanda unleashes her fury on the beasts she faces. Ariana Maher’s letters are solid throughout the issue, and become exponentially more interesting when she’s able to go full throttle during Wanda’s closing scene.

Overall, this is a great return for this series and its characters, picking up on threads Orlando has left in the previous volumes, as well as setting the table for some rather large status quo shifts down the line. There’s the lingering question of who set the Wizard on Wanda and Pietro in the last volume, so it’ll be great to see where this team goes next… and if Wanda can survive what’s coming.

Verdict: BUY

Rapid Rundown!

  • Blood Hunt #3
    • Writer Jed Mackay, artist Pepe Larraz, and color artist Marte Gracia deliver a tense issue as Earth is overrun by Vampires led by the onetime avenger Blade. Dr. Strange and the Avengers have finally been able to pick themselves up after the initial attack and begin to mount their counterattack, even with some significant characters having been turned. While not as action-heavy as the side stories, by the end MacKay pushes the drama level higher unleashing an ancient threat from before the fall of Atlantis. And if I’ve never stated this before, I’m a big fan of Larraz’s fluid and slick artwork, joined with Gracia’s lush coloring makes for a gorgeous book. This brings us to the highlight of this issue, the four-page rally speech to the world from Sam Wilson. These four pages show us why he’s this team’s Captain America. If you had asked me which Cap I would follow before this issue, I would have said Steve, but Mackay’s dialogue and Larraz’s hero shot will have you choosing Team Sam. —GC3
  • Spider-Boy #9
    • Comics can feel stuffy and recycled if regarded as solely a medium for superheroic stories. Hell, you’re reading this, because you love superhero stories! But as a medium, comics continue to have untapped potential just waiting to be engaged with. In engaging a different, younger audience that requires more than continuity based narratives to stay engaged, Dan Slott and Jason Loo have found themselves bringing puzzles to comics! Now, this isn’t the first nor the last time puzzles are in comics. The inspiration for this issue, Highlights’ Puzzlemania, has been publishing comics and puzzles to entertain, educate, and engage younger audiences for 78 years! So, fresh off the end of Spider-Boy’s first big arc, Slott booked the creation of Puzzle Man [whose name is Krys Crossman], and found ways to narratively incorporate traditional pencil/paper puzzles into Loo’s layouts. While most the puzzles are a gimmick than a challenge, Loo takes advantage of a puzzle’s graphic requirements to highlight a page’s interactive elements without breezing us through this romp! Where Puzzlemania primarily published black/white pages to be colored over by kids with markers, colorist Erick Arciniega instead ingrains the puzzles in Spider-Boy’s world; not the other way around, and as a consequence his gradient toning can obfuscate puzzle visuals like the Word Search and Spot the Difference games. Worth noting that a creative challenge like this helped VC’s Joe Caramagna unearth fonts that have fallen out of fashion to bring the vibe back to Highlights’ prominent years, though with all the hint/answer captions, looks like Caramagna had to pull overtime on this one issue! Good work, Joe! Superhero comics are mostly loathe to be interacted with beyond reading and interpreting, so I know most readers won’t pull out the markers to scuff up this $5 USD book, but maybe the next time Puzzle Man comes around, you’ll make an exception for some old school pencil/paper fun! — BQ

Next Week: Venomverse: Reborn and more Blood Hunt shenanigans!