Page 45 Review by Stephen
Whither will she Wanda?
An unexpected pleasure, refreshingly far from the convoluted cacophony of the central Marvel Universe, I described SCARLET WITCH VOL 1 as geo-specific occult detective fiction.
Its closest comparison point was HELLBLAZER, albeit without its socio-political bite. I don't know, though, it had something to say about old Spanish nunneries at the mercy of their patriarchal peers.
Wanda Maximoff journeyed from New York to Ireland and Greece etc partly to atone for her pasts misdemeanours* by helping those in magic-mired distress and partly in search of answers as to why Witchcraft is broken. Its artists were carefully chosen for those exotic locations and each brought something brilliant to the proceedings. Marco Rudy, for example, whose Greece-bound episode featured the Minotaur, deployed panel constructions like those of a maze. Neat!
Many are on top form again. Tula Lotay's Central Park of a Thursday, with its spectral, skeletal trees, is a beautiful thing to behold, emphasising the wide-open wonder of its wintery blue sky by being seen from waist-level. One panel prior to that she concludes Wanda's latest, intense therapy session with the avuncular Doctor Grand with a subtle deployment of slightly sickly and sweaty tangerine as his stare burrows deep into yours / Wanda's. This uncomfortable claustrophobia signalled a certain something which made me smile and makes the relief of that chilly outdoors all the more palpable.
Marguerite Sauvage also colours her own pages and, if you remember, I said that one of the key strengths of this series - one which set it apart - was that it was geo-specific. Her very first page (and those that follow) leaps out at you with its complete comprehension of that essential quality.
"Paris is a city of many ghosts... and all I need is one of them."
Paris - as the cliché goes - is also a city of romance. And I subscribe to that cliché. I've spent even more time lolling about its tree-lined avenues with a smile on my face and striding down its inviting vistas than I have meandering around Venice's serpentine canals with their sequestered secrets waiting to be discovered around the next corner. I find both exceptionally romantic.
It is a romance which James Robinson gives us, and Sauvage delivers on every front too. Her forms are feminine, sensual and vulnerable - including the beau's - as are her frames with their rounded corners and final-page flourish. But on the first page she sets the scene to perfection with its soft, white-lined, pink and purple clouds billowing up above the rooftops of a Paris shrouded in a thin, horizontal cocoon of mist broken chiefly by the Eiffel Tower on the horizon.
So whither will she wander?
I'm ever so sorry, but I'm afraid this has strayed off course.
Perhaps to appease long-term Marvel Comics readers, Robinson has seen fit (or been editorially instructed) to attempt to marry this new, strident direction which could appeal to any new readers to Wanda's constipated, contradictory past history which Brian Michael Bendis - against all odds - managed to make perfect sense of briefly, brilliantly, but only once.*
On top of which Marvel Central intrudes with a whole chapter's reference to its second Civil War which <yawn>".
The ever so elegant covers by Aja are included.
* See NEW AVENGERS BY BENDIS COMPLETE COLLECTION VOL 1. For the first volume you really didn't have to and that was part of its joy. For this second book, I'm afraid you do.