Witchcraft is broken, and only one Avenger has the skill to find out why… Your Major Spoilers review of Scarlet Witch #1 awaits!
Previously in Scarlet Witch: First appearing in the Silver Age of Comics as a villain, a member of Magneto’s ‘Brotherhood of Evil Mutants,’ Wanda Maximoff has had quite a ride. A face-turn led her to become a member of the Avengers in their first membership shakeup, and her hex-powers continued to increase from year to year, going from her original hex-bolts to the ability to alter reality with only her own thoughts. She has also been subject to a number of revelations along the way: Discovering that her captor Magneto was actually her father; finding that the artificial man known as The Vision loved her and reciprocating his feelings; her twin brothers endless series of heel/face and face/heel turns; then, most recently, the revelation that not only is Magneto NOT her father, but she was never a mutant at all. Now, relocating to a new home in Manhattan, Wanda has embraced her witchy abilities and seeks out mystical conundrums no one else can solve…
“WITCHCRAFT IS SICK…”
The all-new, all-different Marvel era is a difficult one to really gauge, with so many new number ones coming out all at once, with the final effect being very similar to the New 52 DC relaunch of 2011. This issue keeps up that trend, with Wanda Maximoff waking up in her new home (a strangely gothic-looking apartment building/tower in Manhattan, accompanied by the spectre of her mentor Agatha Harkness. Wanda’s internal monologue does most of the storyline heavy-lifting here, gently side-stepping the mutant question by having her ruminating about finally embracing the full power of her witchcraft. Taking her name literally, Wanda has done her homework, and the issue discusses the history of traditional portrayals of witchy things, all the while leading Wanda into her new role as a paranormal investigator. While looking into a sudden double-homicide by a seemingly non-violent man, she encounters a police detective named Erikson, and proceeds to explain to him what has happened: Someone has called up a wandering spirit, one that has been moving from person to person, causing them to engage in murderous rages. When he asks what happened to it, and who might be the next host, Wanda eerily smiles, and says “Why, it’s you, Detective Erikson…”
THOUGHTFUL AND LITERATE
That moment alone sold me on the art, but Vanesa Del Rey does some very inspired work in this issue, delivering a version of New York that is shadowy and menacing, and imbuing Wanda and Agatha with strong personality and expression. I’m particularly enamored of the strangely bejeweled and dangly headdress she has created, taking Wanda’s traditional crest/pointy hat and transforming it into a more interesting and visually dynamic form. As for James Robinson, there’s more of his excellent ‘Starman’ work than ‘Cry Of Justice’ in these pages, and his take on Agatha Harkness as a spectral snarker is fun. (It’s a little strange to have her making fun of the premise, but Wanda’s response makes up for it.) All in all, there’s the potential to redefine Wanda with this series, making her more than just a plot device or the back half of “Vision and.” I’m a little leery of Del Rey’s depiction of superhero costumes (she does better with mundane clothing), but the overall effect of the issue is a positive one…
THE BOTTOM LINE: HAS POTENTIAL
As the Avenger who has been through the most changes in the last 40-odd years (no small feat given the likes of Iron Man, her brother Quicksilver and especially The Vision), Wanda is due for a solid revamp, and this issue makes a compelling case for her as a mystical detective type, handing issues that might not be on the radar of a Doctor Strange or Brother Voodoo. Scarlet Witch #1 has a lot going for it, in tone, art and character, and makes me interested to see where Wanda’s path will take her, leaving the book with 3 out of 5 stars overall. If nothing else, it’s good to have a Scarlet Witch who isn’t inherently unstable in the spotlight for a while…[taq_review][signoff predefined=”PayPal Donation” icon=”icon-cog”][/signoff]