Scarlet Witch #1 review

New York’s rich are being murdered by less well-off members of society, who then claim to have no memory of the attacks. Suspecting witchcraft at work, the Scarlet Witch teams up with a detective to investigate the latest crime scene. Using her knowledge of hexing history, she puts down a demonic infestation, but uncovers a bigger mystery.

And… wow. Ever since the terrible Avengers Disassembled, the Scarlet Witch has been a toxic character in the Marvel Universe: at best, mentally ill, at worst, outright evil. But in a single issue writer James Robinson makes Wanda Maximoff not simply useable again, but compelling. I can see other Marvel creators queueing up to embrace his take on one of Marvel’s longest-serving heroines. Robinson redeems her by having Wanda own her recent history, then quickly move forward. He sets up her new status quote as a single woman and independent hero, a determined witty soul whose confidant is the ghost of Agatha Harkness. Wanda’s old mentor is under the impression that Wanda killed her, or perhaps is simply teasing her, but one way or another, they’re on great terms, with the tables turned in terms of who’s head witch.

This Agatha is less melodramatic than Lee and Kirby’s, something Robinson manages to have fun with, without making it feel like a heavy character reboot.

The quest scenario set up here – what’s gone wrong with witchcraft? – has huge potentials in terms of sending Wanda on a physical, emotional and spiritual journey, but I’m most intrigued by this early sequence.

Is Robinson saying Wanda is much older than she looks, that she casts a glamour that makes everyone – including the reader – see her as a young woman? Or is that a magic mirror reflecting her emotional state.

The series will be switching artists from issue to issue, with Vanesa Del Rey setting the tone with this debut. Her Wanda is wise, sexy, with a realistically womanly physique that strays from the superhero norm. She looks fantastic as she walks the streets of a convincingly 2015 New York, the calm centre of a magical storm. Agatha also gets a subtle makeover, she’s softer looking, no longer the Victorian nanny, and it rather suits her. I look forward to lots more Agatha – perhaps she’ll even regain her corporeal form.

On this showing I’d like to see more of Detective Erikson too, a cop who escapes the cliche of being either hero-hater or superfan. Mind, the shoulderpads have to go.

Jordie Bellaire contributes colours, ensuring tones fit the emotional mood, while Cory Petit’s letters are suitably sharp. A great-looking book is topped off by David Aja’s gorgeous cover, a portrait of elegance and charm.

If you’ve been swithering as to whether to try this book, I say jump in – it’s a classic comics character, lovingly restored by terrifically talented creators.

8 thoughts on “Scarlet Witch #1 review

  1. Nice review, sir! Looking forward to picking this one up later today. Robinson always gets a pick-up from me, regardless, but this time out, he's set up a nice challenge for himself.


  2. I liked Perez' rendering of Wanda, has she finally looked sexy, vivacious, and full of the eldritch she possessed. This art? She looks so bland. I've always imagined Wanda to look like Morgana Le Fey from Excalibur, as played by Helen Mirren. Here she looks like Jessica Jones' sister. I can't get into the look, I can't purchase the book.


  3. I never minded what they did to her in Disassembled but it has been too long since she was successfully rehabbed! I guess Uncanny Avengers counts to some but I found that series unreadable under Remender (still do with Duggan) so this is the first positive portrayal of Wanda I've read since Children's Crusade. Not sure about the rotating artisuts thing, especially since this issue's art is so below the quality of Robinson's script. Yes, that's nearly always the case but the disparity is glaring here.

    Oh and wouldn't it be nice if Wanda sometime in this run repowers a second mutant? Maybe she can do Dani Moonstar only giving the character a power set from someone else since ehrs has always paled in comparison to her personality…


  4. Remind me, Wanda repowered a mutant? My mind has gone! On way or another, Dani Moonstar should be back in use, she's such s strong character. When did we see her last, Bunn's Defenders?


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