Steve Orlando and Sara Pichelli’s Scarlet Witch ongoing series got off to a strong start. Wanda Maximoff was immediately showcased as a character who should always have an ongoing series from Marvel. With the unlimited potential of the magic world, there is plenty of ways to tell Wanda’s story that enhances her background as an Avenger and X-Men character. Now with Wanda establishing a new direction for her life, we are seeing her deal with a personal story as Viv Vision, who she sees as a step-daughter of sorts, has come to her for help. What would cause this awkward family reunion to happen? Let’s find out with Scarlet Witch #2.
Writer: Steve Orlando (What Lurks In An Android’s Nightmares); Stephanie Williams (An Unlikely Forecast)
Artist: Sara Pichelli (What Lurks In An Android’s Nightmares); Chris Allen (An Unlikely Forecast)
Inker: Elisabetta D’Amico (What Lurks In An Android’s Nightmares)
Colorist: Matthew Wilson (What Lurks In An Android’s Nightmares); Dee Cunniffe (An Unlikely Forecast)
Letterer: Cory Petit
Viv Vision talks with Wanda Maximoff about something strange in her programming that is causing her to have nightmares about the death of her mother and brother. Wanda agrees to help even with some tension of Viv not seeing her as family.
Scarlet Witch goes into Viv’s dreamscape and uncovers that Dreamqueen (daughter of Nightmare) is using Viv Vision trauma to feed herself. Dreamqueen, already having control of Viv’s dream world, immediately overpowers Scarlet Witch. Scarlet Witch soon overcomes Dreamqueen.
Once she locks up the villain in a magical bubble Scarlet Witch gives Dreamqueen an item that’s filled with her own traumatic memories of losing her sons in exchange for Dreamqueen leaving Viv Vision alone.
Once Viv Vision recovers Scarlet Witch reveals that the magic item she gave to Dreamqueen will cause the villain to hunger for bliss rather than negative memories to survive.
Scarlet Witch then helps Viv Vision return to the Champions and her father Vision.
As they clean up the Emporium, a flashback shows Darcy Lewis’s first time walking through the Lost Door.
It’s then shown that Scythia (leader of the Hippolyta and Hades’ Bacchae group) attacks the Bar With No Name in search of Darcy. End of the main story.
We’ve become so used to every series telling multi-part stories right out of the gate that what Steve Orlando and Sara Pichelli have done with the start of their Scarlet Witch run is honestly refreshing. Telling a full story in one issue is its own art form that Orlando and Pichelli have already shown they know how to do extremely well, which also extends to Stephanie Williams and Chris Allen’s backup story. Scarlet Witch #2 is a showcase of that as we get a full story that builds on what Wanda’s life is like now that she is breaking out on her own.
Following up on the first issue with Wanda helping out Viv Vision worked to further delve into Wanda’s history while the focus is on moving forward. Orlando and Pichelli play on Wanda and Vision’s history in a way that isn’t just living in the past. That is a credit to how Viv Vision in particular is established early on with her attitude of not seeing Wanda even as family.
This all made the arc between Wanda and Viv even stronger. Because while Wanda did try to be there as family for Viv it made it clear where they stood. Understanding where the young Viv stood made Wanda move from trying to act as a mother figure to being more of a mentor later on in Scarlet Witch #2 a good pivot. Orlando picked Wanda’s words carefully to still show she cares for Viv but understood its not her place to force Viv to think of her as a mom.
Dreamqueen using Viv’s traumatic past of her mother turn that lead to both her and Viv’s brother’s death was an effective way to quickly create heat for the villain. Dreamqueen did not feel at all sorry for what she was doing to Viv as all she was looking for was to quell her hunger. Dreamqueen not losing her overconfidence even when Scarlet Witch kept countering her further pushed how the villain was just pure evil.
This led Scarlet Witch to have to come up with more of a creative solution to dealing with Dreamqueen. Because even though it was clear Scarlet Witch’s magic was stronger than Dreamqueen it would not stop the villain from continuing to attack Viv through her nightmares. And there is no way Scarlet Witch can stay guarding Viv’s mental scape 24/7. With that in mind we see how Scarlet Witch used Dreamqueen’s hunger against her and created a solution that insured the villain would not return. The solution was certainly brutal in what it resulted but in line with how Wanda would solve this type of situation.
Pichelli’s artwork plays a key role in all of this as we once again see how Wanda does not sweat whatever Dreamqueen throws at her. Wanda quickly adjusts her attacks to turn things around. In the process, we see Pichelli showcase how Wanda uses her Hex and magic powers to overcome even a situation where she is at a disadvantage.
The ending of Scarlet Witch #2 main story teasing the greater story with Darcy Lewis was a good hook ending. It was only a matter of time before we got to the reason why Darcy is working for Wanda. Getting that over sooner rather than later is an effective way to get Wanda and Darcy’s relationship to move from acquaintance to friendship.
The “An Unlikely Forecast” backup story by Stephanie Williams and Chris Allen was another great example of telling a full story in a one-shot style. Williams gets over where Wanda and Ororo Munroe stand with one another in a quick fashion. Even with Magneto dead that does not erase Wanda’s connection to the X-Men franchise and this team-up establishes that.
It was also great to see how Wanda as one of the most experienced magic users in the Marvel Universe can easily detect magic in others even if they don’t. This led to a fun superhero adventure that dug further into Marvel’s magical realm. Chris Allen’s artwork worked really well to show off both Scarlet Witch and Storm’s powers. It was done in a way that showed how different and complimentary their powers are. Hopefully, this isn’t the last time we see Scarlet Witch and Storm team up.
For as enjoyable as the first issue was Steve Orlando and Sara Pichelli improve on it in every way with Scarlet Witch #2. Continuing the storytelling in a one-shot style with the overarching narrative of how Wanda Maximoff is reestablishing her life has been a great choice. Not only that but we are treated to an additional Scarlet Witch and Storm team-up story by Stephanie Williams and Chris Allen which was a great surprise. It all comes together that after two issues Scarlet Witch is already one of the best comic books Marvel is currently publishing.
Story Rating: 9 Night Girls out of 10
Art Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 8.5 Night Girls out of 10