Scarlet Issue 1

By Vince

Scarlet is the latest creator-owned series from Marvel’s big gun, Brian Michael Bendis. Say what you will about Bendis’ writing (and there’s a lot to say), but the guy is a great character writer. The best parts of New Avengers and Dark Avengers were when the teams were just sitting around talking, being themselves instead of heroes. And that’s where Scarlet really shines.

We’re introduced to the heroine right away, and Bendis uses some creative storytelling techniques to give us her background. The world is messed up, even broken, power and corruption go hand-in-hand. Scarlet’s life has been miserable because of it and she’s taking a stand. Scarlet is a relatable character, everybody has a desire to fight back against authority, though not necessarily to the extent she’s taking it to. It’s handled well, with Scarlet breaking the fourth wall and speaking directly to the reader, or perhaps to some unseen audience. Either way, we’re along for the ride.

Speaking honestly, I am not a fan of the art. Maleev’s presentation is unique, with lots of strong lines and shading, with only sparse, simple colors. The backgrounds are sketchy and undetailed. While that would normally be a criticism, the elements work well together. The characters, the only important parts of the story really pop off the page and draw your eye. However, it seems like each panel has been run through one too many PhotoShop filters, and any time shadows are present it’s just awkward. I like the style of the art, I like the concept of the art, I just don’t like the execution of the art.

As a character and a story, I love Scarlet. Unfortunately, as a comic, I’m unconvinced. I want to like it, and will likely give it another issue or two, but the art may prevent me from fully enjoying what it has to offer.

Scarlet Issue 1
ICON Comics (Marvel)
Story: Brian Michael Bendis
Art: Alex Maleev

Vince is the self-proclaimed “Massive Nerd.” His interests range from video games and comics to anime and Transformers collectibles.

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