If you know me in real life, you know I’m a huge fan of Wanda Maximoff/Scarlet Witch as she appears in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. So when I heard she was getting a solo comic run, I was both excited and a little nervous. I’ve been wanting to find a place to jump into the comics for awhile, but with the longer runs it’s really difficult to find a starter point. On the other hand, I also had a kneejerk “oh no, what if they don’t do this right” reaction I think we’ve all had when a favorite female character gets her own story.
I’ve had a crash course on Wanda’s comic book history, but overall I’ll be approaching this series from a newbie’s perspective. This review will be spoiler free and won’t get into the plot details.
This issue at least was pretty accessible to me. It only makes vague references to the events of Wanda’s past – I had to look up some supplemental information on Agatha Harkness and the circumstances of her death but that was it. I am getting a bit confused on exactly what Wanda’s powers are, but that seems to be normal for every incarnation of the Scarlet Witch.
Based on interviews, I think the writer, James Robinson, is trying to properly define them over the course of the series and perhaps bring them a little more in line with what we see in the movies. I’ve always heard her abilities referred to as “chaos magic,” but it looks like it’s simply going to be called “witchcraft” going forward.
I’m hoping future issues will shed more light on the subject, and I’m definitely looking forward to her meeting with Hekate, the Greek goddess associated with magic, in Scarlet Witch #2.
While I’m really not a fan of the art style used in this issue, it has a no-nonsense, gritty feel that suits the story. Wanda certainly looked frightening to downright terrifying when she faced down this issue’s baddie, but as a newbie I was expecting it to look a little more like “traditional” comic book art. It’s a solid break from any glimpses I’ve seen of her before.
In another break from her previous appearances, Wanda isn’t sexualized in this issue at all. Her new costume is much more sensible than her traditional bodysuit and there is a refreshing lack of odd poses or strange angles meant to show off her body. I didn’t come away from this issue with the feeling that I’d intruded on something definitely not made for me.
One final note: Wanda does use the slur g*psy once in a sarcastic manner. Many people of Romani descent have written pieces or compiled facts and information on why it’s a slur, but since Wanda is Romani (and I’m not), I’m not sure how problematic her usage of the term is.
Overall, I enjoyed my first proper foray into comics and I’m really looking forward to what Robinson has in store for Wanda!
Scarlet Witch is published by Marvel and written by James Robinson. Art by Vanesa Del Rey and colors by Jordie Bellaire. Disclaimer: I have no material connections to Marvel. I bought this issue for myself and am reviewing it of my own accord.