“Witchcraft is sick. Witchcraft is ailing.”
Hej hej (there’s some Swedish for ya), this is D.C. back to catch up on even more throwdowns after a very dry July. Tonight let’s discuss my thoughts on this one:
Scarlet Witch is just one of the many series to come out of Marvel’s All-New, All-Different initiative. I picked up Vol. 1: Witches’ Road and barreled through.
This isn’t your Scarlet Witch from the Marvel films. Wanda Maximoff was the mutant daughter of Magneto, a long-time Avenger, and prolific magic user. She has had a long, sordid history, and her mental instability has resulted in the Avengers disbanding (Avengers Disassembled) and nearly made mutants extinct (House of M and Decimation).
Unresolved history is certain trope of Wanda’s: once a mutant and constantly having her family background questioned and retconned, recent stories have resulted in her no longer being a mutant, let alone Magneto’s birth daughter.
Vol. 1: Witches’ Road takes Wanda’s life in a different direction far away from the Avengers, and deeper into the world of witchcraft. Not the world of magic like in Dr. Strange, but witchcraft. Writer James Robinson does a great job of building up Wanda’s world with stories of witchcraft and the price of using it.
I enjoyed Robinson’s portrayal of the Scarlet Witch. He reminds the reader that she is aware of her own mental illness, yet she is still a strong woman with confidence in her skills and prowess apart from the Avengers that she’s been so tightly tethered to for most of her history.
It seemed as if Robinson really did his research in presenting the lore in Scarlet Witch, including Greek and Irish lore. I’ve always had a love for folklore and mythology, so I was very much drawn in by Robinson’s efforts.
The cover art is certain worth mentioning, too. Most of it was just plain great.
Lowlights: The Art
Volume 1 had five issues, and a different artist in every issue. Different artists often means different art styles. I’ve never liked when a book had different artists every issue. It makes the flow and feel of a trade, which usually covers an arc, disjointed.
The best artist by far was Marco Rudy. His painted art was beautifully rendered and gave a perfect picture of the dark and hidden world of witchcraft. Rudy has a great mastery of anatomy, which is always a great thing. I think Rudy definitely captured the essence of what Scarlet Witch is.
Every other artist I didn’t like at all.
Vanesa Del Rey’s art didn’t fit well at all for Scarlet Witch, seeming more appropriate for a “pulp fiction” type. Worse was her terrible facial depictions in this book, especially the eyes. Scarlet Witch always has been a beautiful woman, and Del Rey makes her look haggard. Javier Pulido suffers from the same downfall as Del Rey, bad eyes and facials, with art that is just mismatched for the feel of a mystic title. Pulido’s art is more fitting elsewhere, but I’m not sure where.
Steve Dillon…His art has always been smooth and was better than most of the others, but I’ve never been keen on his art. I’m only realizing now that Dillon has a real thing with accenting the philtrum–the area between the nose and upper lip. It always looks weird. I don’t like how he does teeth as well–the black areas make it look like everyone has gaps. These things just scream at me in a book like Scarlet Witch. It may work for The Punisher, but not here.
Chris Visions fared a little better, but that’s because his art works just well in the supernatural realm called Witches’ Road. When the setting changes from plane to plane, it’s nice to see a shift in art style to reflect it; Visions’ art worked adequately in those parts, but I wish it had a more mystical feel, rather than just being different. The colors and art together didn’t quite suffice.
Lowlights 2: Story
Well, the story overall was good. Again, Robinson did an adquate job painting Scarlet Witch’s world. What bothered me was the revelation in the Witches’ Road that, for the umpteenth time, revised Wanda’s family relations. How many times must we read that Wanda’s supposed parents aren’t what we were led to believe. Unresolved history should not be a consistent plotline for a character. Hopefully Robinson can let this be laid to rest once and for all.
For those who like the supernatural side of fiction, Scarlet Witch, Vol. 1: Witches’ Road does a great job of touching on not just magic, but witchcraft. James Robinson really knows how to capture the essence of Wanda Maximoff as she tackles this side of the Marvel universe.
The cycle of artists did an overall disservice to the overall arc by giving it a disjointed feel. Marco Rudy by far did a fantastic job, but the others were simply not up to par. Hopefully the next trade and issues have a more steady artist.
Regardless of my issues with this series, the mystical aspect alone may force me to buy the next book to come.