Wanda Maximoff goes solo once again as she sets out to create a fresh start as the Scarlet Witch. While she has the standing as one of the iconic members of the Avengers this is only the third solo series Wanda has been given. Her most recent fifteen issues ongoing by James Robinson and Vanesa Del Rey that started in 2015 and ended in 2017 was a great showcase of Wanda as a solo hero. Especially with Doctor Strange as the only character that is constantly given a chance to explore the magic side, there is a lot of room for Wanda to expand this part of the Marvel Universe. Marvel has put together a strong creative team with Steve Orlando and Sara Pichelli for Wanda’s latest solo series. Now let’s see how things go with Scarlet Witch #1.
Writer: Steve Orlando
Artist: Sara Pichelli
Inker: Elisabetta D’Amico
Colorist: Matthew Wilson
Letterer: Cory Petit
After saving a cruise ship of ungrateful rich people from Doctor Hydro’s attack Wanda Maximoff sets up a store called Emporium in Lotkill, New York with Darcy Lewis (in her comic book debut after first appearing in the first Thor MCU movie and played by Kat Dennings) as her assistant.
Pietro Maximoff stops by to see what his sister is up to. Wanda reveals she set up the Emporium with The Lost Door in the store magically helping people who are at their lowest that can find her for help.
Wanda’s first customer through The Lost Door is a woman named Jarnette Chase whose village, Amatrice, Italy, has been taken over by The Corrupter. Wanda detects that Jarnette is wearing a special magic-canceling stone and has Pietro shine the stone while she goes to Amatrice.
In Amatrice the Scarlet Witch finds The Corrupter controlling the entire village. The Corrupter tries to use Scarlet Witch’s past against her, but she does not fall for the trap. With Jarnette’s magic canceling stone help Scarlet Witch is able to get The Corrupter to drop his guard long enough to use a spell that turns him into stone.
Scarlet Witch then frees the villagers from The Corrupter’s control. She then makes a speech about not letting others take their freedom away and be brought down by those looking to corrupt them. Then she leaves it up to the villagers to decide to have The Corrupter answer for his crimes or break his stone statue form.
Before leaving Scarlet Witch convinces Jarnette to let her examine the magic-canceling stone further.
Later that night, Wanda returns to the Emporium. Just as she and Darcy close up shop Viv Vision comes through The Lost Door asking Wanda for help with the dreams she is having that are trying to kill her. End of issue.
Scarlet Witch #1 is exactly how you would hope every first issue of a new series starts off. We get Wanda Maximoff’s new status quo established and multiple examples of Scarlet Witch establishing herself as a solo hero.
The biggest strength of Scarlet Witch #1 is the pacing. Steve Orlando and Sara Pichelli hit the ground running by making sure every single page of this first issue works to put over Wanda Maximoff’s new status quo. Things are kept simple as we see with Wanda’s explanation of her goal with the Emporium shop she set up and how The Lost Door works as a way to get her on various types of superhero adventures as the Scarlet Witch.
Especially with the world of magic that Wanda exists in there doesn’t need to be an over-explanation of everything. Just like with Doctor Strange, Wanda’s powers and adventures are only limited by the creative team. With the Emporium set up Orlando and Pichelli show the unlimited potential in the type of stories they can tell with Wanda as the Scarlet Witch.
We even see that with the two villains in Doctor Hydro and The Corrupter that Scarlet Witch defeats and saves people from. Both villains aren’t magic based but that does not matter. The two villains gave the opportunity to show how Wanda handles different situations. Whether it was saving ungrateful rich people or villagers who got their freedom stripped from them Wanda as the Scarlet Witch was able to save the day.
Having these multiple quick superhero acts help to shine where Wanda is at this point in her life in and out of being Scarlet Witch. The Corrupter trying and failing to use Wanda’s trauma against was a strong example of that. While things like Avengers Disassembled and “No More Mutants” actions are part of her history she is no longer letting those events define her. The last ten years of Scarlet Witch’s history has been spent addressing the weight of those events. So it is good to see Orlando and Pichelli address that by showing Wanda as moving forward with her life through her words and actions throughout Scarlet Witch #1.
Bringing in Darcy Lewis as a supporting cast member is a good call. As this is her comic book debut there is a lot of room to establish Darcy as a good supporting cast member for Wanda, who isn’t known for having one like Spider-Man. Orlando does a good job bringing in some characteristics from Kat Dennings’s portrayal of the character in the Marvel Cinematic Universe while establishing her as a unique character. As the first person who actually came through The Lost Door that Wanda created there is already a sub-plot established that could be built over the course of this series. And most importantly we see good chemistry already established between Wanda and Darcy that will help their friendship grow as this series goes on.
Quicksilver also making an appearance was a good call. The way Orlando portrayed Pietro Maximoff we see that unlike Darcy he will likely be more of a recurring character rather than part of the main cast in the series. That is a good role to as we get to see Wanda and Pietro’s brother-sister bond established but they each have individual lives they are living. Having more of a recurring role will help make the moments later in Scarlet Witch where Wanda and Pietro talk more meaningful than if they were constantly sharing screen time together.
The hook ending with Viv Vision was a good way to get the reader back for more. We know the strong connection Wanda and Vision have so for Viv Vision to come to her for help opens the door to explore that relationship again. The only thing that would’ve made this ending stronger is if it was left as a splash page of Viv Vision coming through The Lost Door asking Wanda for help. The final panel of Wanda telling Darcy that Viv Vision is her daughter just felt like an unnecessary addition.
As mentioned before, Pichelli’s artwork is just as big, if not bigger, the key to what made Scarlet Witch #1 a successful start to this new series. Pichelli does a great job with the differences between when Wanda is in her civilian life and active as Scarlet Witch which isn’t just a change into a costume. The magical streak that extends past her hair is a nice touch to give Wanda an even greater superhero look as Scarlet Witch. It’s a presentation touch that makes Scarlet Witch pop off the page even more. Pichelli also does a great job with the bigger emotional beats, like with the panel where Wanda is made to relive her traumatic past and quickly overcomes this attempt by The Corrupter.
Steve Orlando and Sara Pichelli hit all the notes that fans want to get from a first issue of a new series. We get the new status quo for Wanda Maximoff established, Scarlet Witch being a superhero, and a hook ending for an even bigger story for the next issue to pick up on. That is all a strong first impression by Scarlet Witch #1 that will leave fans wanting to read more.
Story Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10
Art Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10