As far as I am concerned, with three little words, Brian Michael Bendis broke the Scarlet Witch. It’s okay for a writer to put his characters through their paces, as long as he has a viable exit strategy in place. (Example: Walt Simonson’s handling of Balder the Brave.) I don’t think BMB had such a plan. I think he took the strong character as developed by John Byrne and Kurt Busiek and ruined her in an effort to make her somehow more… oh, let’s say “interesting.” I’ve read comics featuring Scarlet Witch from time-to-time over the years since, but I never read one which actually “fixed” her.

I read and enjoyed James Robinson’s recent Invaders series. I not only think it was the best Invaders we have seen in recent years, but also Robinson’s best work since Starman came to an end. So I thought I’d try his take on Scarlet Witch. I liked it. the art was a bit murky in places, but it suited the story, and the story was strong. I’m not sure how she recovered; although I suspect Secret Wars hit the magic “reset” button, I’m more concerned that she recovered.

Will I continue to buy this series? No. I’m confident that Wanda is in good hands with James Robinson, but I have no need to actually read the stories.

Views: 247

Reply to This

Replies to This Discussion

As you know Jeff - i loved Robinson's recent Invaders series and so that intrigues me with what he might do with Wanda.

Have you seen/picked up the 'Age of Ultron Vs Marvel Zombies' Secret Wars series ?

Painfully short at only 4 issues it carried on some characters from the Invaders and highlighted what a 'classic' Avengers series may have been like by Robinson.


I looked at a shelf copy but couldn't get past the murky art.  Plus, when the art was legible, Wanda's face look pinched and flattened.  It wasn't flattering at all.  So I didn't even bother.  There's not much point in reading a comic if you know you're going to be bothered by the art the entire time.

I agree with Chris. I found the art muddled and mediocre.

Oddly, I could tell the artist was female before I checked the credits. Don't get me wrong -- that's not a complaint. But female artists tend to draw women more realistically -- thicker upper arms and waists, for example. What really gave it away was a shot from the rear, where Wanda's butt wasn't sexy, and was instead the opposite,  kinda big and shapeless. No male artist would pass up an opportunity to go J. Scott Campbell on that pose!

As I said, though, it's not a complaint. If Wanda is to have a big butt for the rest of her comics career, so be it -- at least it would differentiate her from the legion of pneumatic blow-up dolls. It might even serve to make her more plausible, and/or attract more female readers.

So that's not a complaint. What is a complaint is what I said in my first sentence. Also, Wanda's face changed from scene to scene. Male or female, this just isn't very good art.

And it must be said that new "costume" is just plain awful. Wanda has had her fair share of hideous haberdashery, so this isn't the worst. But it is plenty tacky. Pilates stretch pants (with high-heeled shoes somehow attached), half-cape/shawl, a discount-store top and a sequined tiara do not an attractive costume make. Nor does this ensemble constitute street clothes. It's like one of her old costumes married a yoga outfit and they had a brain-damaged baby.

Perhaps the art was influencing me, but I didn't care for the writing, either. Not the story -- I actually think the premise is sound, and the addition of spectral Agatha as confidante/sidekick is genius. But the execution.

The clumsy excision of the Avengers was ham-handed, only reinforced later when it's obvious that Wanda could use an Avenger or two to run interference when the battle gets physical. Further, her dialogue with the police detective, to my ear, was condescending and dismissive. Further, it was expositional -- clearly aimed at the reader -- so it wasn't telling him things he needed to know! There's no cop on earth who would accept that sort of treatment from a civilian, especially a celebrity civilian, so I assume that Robinson is setting this guy up to be the love interest. Too bad -- he's not a bit interesting, as doormats rarely are. (Of course, angry cop/antagonist with grudging admiration is such a cliche, I can see why he went the opposite way.) It almost makes me pine for the days when Wonder Man had sad thought balloons about her. (Kidding. I hated that subplot from the get-go. Wonder Man is such a whiny, needy baby that no woman in her right mind would fall for him.)

Which brings me to my chief complaint, which is that Wanda -- as Jeff said -- has been badly mangled over the years, to the point that her backstory is not only complicated and contradictory, but nonsensical. Is she a mutant? Is she a witch? Is she the avatar of Chthon? Does she hate mutants? Does she hate humans? Does she hate everybody? She doesn't have a personality, having always been a mirror for the men around her, a cipher for whatever the writer wants to write. Under Lee and Thomas, she was a pose-and-point wallflower who did what her brother or Steve Rogers told her to do. Michelinie made her Mrs. Vision, without ever establishing why she found a robot attractive. Byrne upgraded her powers to "unworkable," but kept the tedious Wonder Man subplot and wrote Wanda as he writes all his women. Busiek/Perez tried to turn her into a mysterious gypsy. Bendis made her a crazed supervillain. So she needs to have a strong personality put in place to overwrite the others, and pronto. Plus, it has to be a likable one.

I think Robinson fails in both counts. Throughout this issue, Wanda talks to herself (or perhaps to Agatha), which often devolves -- to my ear -- into whining. Then she gets all snotty with the cop. (Classy.) So she's neither strong-minded nor likable.

Oddly, the best I've ever seen Wanda is one panel in Doctor Strange #1, where she was funny, a little cynical, a bit teasing, all in a couple of lines of dialogue. That was a woman I liked straightaway. This one, not so much.

Speaking of Doctor Strange, one of the things I liked about that series, as I've said elsewhere, is that it corrected a flaw in the character's appeal that has existed from his debut -- that he had almost no supporting cast, and that he was cut off from the story possibilities of the greater Marvel Universe. Jason Aaron, writing the character for the first time, said "this will not do" and immediately fixed both of those things.

What's the first thing Robinson did? He eliminated her supporting cast and cut her off from the larger Marvel Universe. To quote the famous philospher Charlie Brown: Aaaaggghhhh.

Argh guys....

I was really looking forward to this series - I've loved Robinson's Invaders stuff and thought he could have a ball with Wanda's side of the Avenegrs family....but you've convinced me.

I'm out.


I feel like many of the new Marvel books are being designed with new readers in mind. Several appear to be aimed at younger readers, female readers or both. In my mind, this is a very good thing but it also means that many of them aren't going to appeal to me. Scarlet Witch seems to be aimed at a more Vertigo-ish and possibly female reader. I hope it does well and hits the mark for those readers but I don't think I'll stick with it.

Yeah, despite my complaints I don't wish Scarlet Witch -- or any book -- ill. I hope it finds an audience. But, for the reasons described above, that audience isn't likely to include me.

I don't usually savage a book, either -- I figure "bad" will chase people away without my help, and why dogpile on creators who are doing their best? But I was genuinely chagrined by Scarlet Witch #1. If there's a character who desperately needs salvaging at Marvel, it's her. But this looks like one more mistake to me, and the character has had far too many already. This was a chance to really establish the character in a way that will work long term, and instead what we got was just one more unworkable reboot that will need to be rebooted again later.

Agreed. I was hopeful that Robinson might be able to build her from the ground up with her own supporting cast, villains and mythology like he did with Starman. But then again, it seems like I've been waiting for the next Starman for a long time now.

Sometimes a creator doesn't have more than one or two jolts of lightning in them. I'm not saying Robinson is one of them, but you can probably name a few creators yourself who were one-hit wonders.

I really loved Starman. I hold out hope that Robinson has some big ideas that he will one day present in a creator-owned property.

Today it's hard to tell who can't innovate and who chooses not to do it as work-for-hire.

I’ll be giving Robinson’s Squadron Supreme a try.

Also, with artist Tony Harris, Robinson will be writing a C-3PO one-shot.

And, no, Richard, I’m unfamiliar with Age of Ultron vs. Marvel Zombies.

There is a difference between "this is good even though it's not aimed at me" and "this isn't good."  I can appreciate the former- I recognize that "Batgirl" and "Miss Marvel" are well done even though they aren't my cup of tea.  But "Scarlet Witch" seems to fall into the latter category- though I don't know for sure since I didn't even bother with it.

Reply to Discussion



Latest Activity

JD DeLuzio replied to Steve W's discussion A Cover a Day
"That Superman cover could also be a story about how Red Kryptonite turns him into a giant with the…"
1 hour ago
Eric L. Sofer replied to Steve W's discussion A Cover a Day
"Blue Falcon and Dynomutt, Dog Wonder - plus a couple crime solving friends."
1 hour ago
Dave Palmer replied to Steve W's discussion A Cover a Day
"Three of a kind from some heavy hitters"
2 hours ago
Jeff of Earth-J replied to Steve W's discussion A Cover a Day
"Difficult to choose between Flattop and the Brow for the cover spot."
3 hours ago
Jeff of Earth-J replied to The Baron's discussion Movies I Have Seen Lately
"DEATH MACHINES (1976): "Three expert martial artists are injected with a mind-controlling drug…"
3 hours ago
JD DeLuzio replied to The Baron's discussion Movies I Have Seen Lately
4 hours ago
JD DeLuzio replied to Steve W's discussion A Cover a Day
"He's in the lower right-hand corner and, although identified as a "secret agent," he…"
4 hours ago
The Baron replied to Steve W's discussion A Cover a Day
"Kanshikan Tsunemori Akane  features a young woman who becomes a police inspector in a…"
4 hours ago
Peter Wrexham replied to Steve W's discussion A Cover a Day
"This looks like another attempted-murder mystery."
5 hours ago
ClarkKent_DC replied to Steve W's discussion A Cover a Day
"The Wild Wild West, from Gold Key:"
12 hours ago
ClarkKent_DC replied to Steve W's discussion A Cover a Day
"More fun from Cracked about Barney Miller: "
12 hours ago
Captain Comics replied to Captain Comics's discussion Comics Guide: March 27-April 2, 2023
"I think I've outgrown any curiosity I might have had about this lifestyle.…"
13 hours ago

© 2023   Captain Comics, board content ©2013 Andrew Smith   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service