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Tag Archive: Scarlet Witch


SCARLET-WITCH-#1

Last week saw the release of the first issue of Marvel Comics’ latest monthly Scarlet Witch.  The series is written by James Robinson with artwork by Vanesa Del Rey with colors by Jordie Bellaire.  Award winning Hawkeye cover artist David Aja provides the cover to the first issue, plus variant covers are available from Kevin Wada, Bill Sienkiewicz, Erica Henderson, Tom Raney, and Chris Sotomayor.  It’s not only David Aja’s cover, but Robinson’s well-paced introduction and Del Rey and Bellaire’s visuals that remind us of Matt Fraction and Aja’s successful Hawkeye series, another series about a secondary character and a life outside the scope of saving the world with the Avengers.

The new Scarlet Witch has a ghostly quality, and a style similar to DC Comics’s initial New 52 stories of Batwoman from J.H. Williams III and W. Haden Blackman.  It’s introspective look at a superheroine with a past also echoes Nathan Edmondson and Phil Noto’s brilliant Black Widow series.

Scarlet Witch interior page

But this is a distinctly different story about a much different character.  She is not a young heroine.  She is a witch who speaks aloud with the ghost of Agatha, a dead woman she may or may not have killed in her past.  Scarlet Witch–Wanda Maximoff–is a detective of sorts in the same way as Liv Moore uses her supernatural skills to solve crimes in iZombie.

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Captain America tries Thor hammer

In case you missed it, Marvel Entertainment released a funnier, longer version of their trailer for Avengers: Age of Ultron, after the first two trailers we previewed here and here.

Basically it includes an introduction where the Avengers takes turns trying to lift Thor’s hammer.  Cobie Smulders and Samuel L. Jackson return with all the Avengers back together again.

As with the first, this second trailer again includes a boy singing Pinocchio’s “I Got No Strings,” a reference probably lost on most movie watchers.  It just seems a little obscure, although Ultron makes a puppetmaster reference in his big reveal.  Maybe use of the song was a matter of budgeting–Disney owns Marvel and perhaps threw Marvel the song from its archives?  With Chappie, previewed here, the Pinocchio story may just be a common theme for 2015.

Trying the hammer

Ultron is of course that “living automaton” who is an inductee in our borg.com Hall of Fame.  But the big question is how well siblings Quicksilver and the Scarlet Witch will be portrayed.

After the break, check out the longer preview for Avengers: Age of Ultron:

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Scarlet Witch by Frank Cho

As part of its programming for San Diego Comic-Con International 2014, Marvel Entertainment is offering a new online video series about cosplay.  Providing a beginner’s guide for one way to put together a superhero costume, the episodic series of approximately 6 minute segments launched yesterday at Marvel.com and on Marvel’s YouTube channel.

Similar in concept to the Syfy Channel’s Heroes of Cosplay, the Marvel series is slowing things down a bit and going step-by-step, beginning with selection of character by a cosplayer heading to SDCC later this month.  That character is the Scarlet Witch, and cosplayer Lorraine Cink, host of Marvel’s online series The Watcher is the cosplayer who will wear the final costume.  The show is put together by Judy Stephens, associate producer of The Watcher.

Episode 1 sets up the series and has Cink and Stephens enlisting the work of a professional Broadway production costumer, Carly Bradt, to design the costume.  Her method may be more or less elaborate than those used by some cosplayers, beginning with a design sketch and translating that to a dress form and creating the costume from a pattern.  A lot of cosplayers may get the same effect by using a commercial pattern as a starting point and adjusting for the character requirements from there.  Still, with two episodes per week leading up to SDCC 2014, the show is bound to contain some tips cosplayers may find useful.

Future episodes will feature wig expert, Katie Hondrogen and professional cosplayer, Yaya Han, one of the stars of Heroes of Cosplay.

After the break we have the first episode of the new series, titled Marvel Method: Cosplay:

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Now at Round 7 of the ongoing battle, Avengers vs. X-Men has caught up with the plot foreseen in Avengers vs. X-Men Issue #0 reviewed here 100 days ago.  When you think of a title like Avengers vs. X-Men, you think of panel after panel of the Hulk vs. Colossus, Iron Man vs. Emma Frost or Cyclops vs. Captain America and everyone else.  It’s what you’d expect for an event series like this, and for the most part it is what has been delivered.  But Avengers vs. X-Men Issue #0 was unexpected, a story about the return of the exiled Scarlet Witch and the coming of age of a mutant youngster named Hope, both characters whose paths are in a state of flux.  With Issue #7, AvX is now honing in on this initial focus again, raising questions like “How will Scarlet Witch fit back into the Marvel Universe?”  “Is Hope really the key to the fate of the Phoenix?”  “Is Jean Grey gone for good, or is this all leading up to some kind of return?”

If you haven’t been reading the series, a lot has happened, yet nothing substantial or Earth-shattering to alter any key characters for their own ongoing stories, except the death of Hawkeye (more on that later).  The strange, classical, fiery, mythical Phoenix slams into Earth from beyond the stars.  This Phoenix Force was supposedly destined for the girl Hope, who is being over-trained for her destiny at the Utopia coastal base by Cyclops’s Scott Summers, doing his best Jillian Michaels impersonation.  But you press a kid too far and what do you expect as a result?

The Avengers–including X-Man Wolverine–believe that they must take Hope into their protective custody, thinking that no one entity can be trusted to harness this Phoenix Force and use it for the good of mankind.  But Summers won’t hear of it.  More and more over the series it seems that his feelings for Jean Grey, killed by the Phoenix years before, are causing him to make poor decisions.  He is a poor leader.  His actions take all the superheroes farther away from a solution.  Ultimately Wolverine’s inside knowledge allows the Avengers to track down Hope.  The conflict ends with a face-off on the “blue side” of the Moon.

Iron Man Tony Stark builds powerful “Phoenix Killer” armor that is somehow both effective and a failure in the attempt to ward off the Phoenix Force.  Stark’s suit divides the force, and instead of it being absorbed by Hope, five X-Men take it on: Cyclops, Colossus, Magik, Prince Namor and Emma Frost.  Now armed with this strange new power, they’re determined to alter the world for the better–at least as they see it.  We’re left with Cyclops’s unsettling declaration, “No more Avengers!”  He believes the mutants will never be safe without their elimination.  And the pursuit continues.  The battle is the same as found in countless other stories, fiction and non-fiction–seemingly unlimited power in the possession of a single being or a handful of beings cannot be allowed to continue because it always ends badly.

The frustration that must be felt by readers is that all of these powerful beings, including geniuses like the Beast and Iron Man, cannot sit down and work out a plan.  Of course we don’t pull a Marvel Comic to read about mediation of disputes.  And so with Issue #7 battle after battle ensues on all parts of the globe.  A smoke and mirrors, cat and mouse global chase occurs, hiding Hope, hiding the Scarlet Witch.  This includes the Avengers using amulets that allow several people to pose as the Scarlet Witch, in turn causing the X-Men to be unable to find the real Wanda Maximoff.   There is also a scene where Hawkeye is fried by the power of the Phoenix and he is dead, and you finally think some stakes have been raised, then Cyclops brings him back to life and it was all a bit of a tease.  The story is choppy here–Tony Stark seems out of character, not the typical tough guy but a bit wimpy, including a scene where Black Panther slaps him.  It just seems out-of-place (but still a bit funny).  The Scarlet Witch’s presence saves the day again–the X-Men really fear her and so we see some real conflict as they back away from her, leaving an opening for Namor to move in to strike.

The various writers and artists at Marvel have put a lot into this series so far and it shows.  It’s hard for a reader to get his/her arms around all that’s happening with so many characters in each issue, yet various scenes work well and keep you hanging in there and coming back for more.  But there are a number of threads that will need to be tied up in the remaining issues and it continues to be interesting finding out where the story is heading.  Is there too much going on?  Yes.  Too many characters?  Yes, the opening pages show a roster of so many and most don’t have any real presence.  For all the action occurring, the story is moving pretty slowly forward, and you can only hope the payoff is not saved for the last issue as often happens with highly promoted mini-series.

C.J. Bunce
Editor
borg.com

Review by C.J. Bunce

The world needs more Frank Cho.  Frank Cho got me interested in Ms. Marvel and The Mighty Avengers when I hadn’t bought a Marvel comic book in years.  And now Frank Cho has caused me to want to read more about the Scarlet Witch, Spider Woman, and a more recent X-Woman named Hope (actually they call her an X-Man, but that doesn’t quite work for me).

I was immediately surprised and pleased when I saw the display for the new prologue to Avengers vs. X-Men, Issue #0, because it is reminiscent of one of Frank Cho’s all-time best covers, that of the Scarlet Witch in the trade edition of Ultimates 3; Who Killed the Scarlet Witch, which I have not managed to pick up yet to read from the back issue stack.

So what I hope is that Avengers vs. X-Men will focus heavily on the focus of this prologue–equal parts redemption of the Scarlet Witch, who betrayed her husband Vision when we last saw her and devastated the mutant community, and the rest about a girl named Hope Summers, the so-called Mutant Messiah, whose story here follows a coming of age, breakaway from the status quo that feels very similar to Batgirl’s journey in DC Comics’ New 52 line-up.

What I thought this issue would cover is a lot of over-the-top brawling between Thor and Hulk and Iron Man and Wolverine, etc.  I was very happily surprised that wasn’t the case.  Since it does not appear that Frank Cho will be doing all the interiors for the actual AvX series, I just hope I am not disappointed in what comes next.

AvX #0 sold out practically instantly Wednesday across the country but no doubt the reprints will follow soon enough if you missed it.  It is a nice standalone issue, and can go firmly on the shelf next to the best of Cho’s Marvel pages.  You hear that writers write to the strength of the artists that they partner with, and it seems unlikely that Brian Michael Bendis and Jason Aaron didn’t also follow suit here.   This book is chock full of what Cho draws best–not just voluptuous women, but superhero females in action, acting smart, acting tough, being cool in every way.  As I mentioned above, that means Scarlet Witch, Hope Summer, and Spider Woman, but it also means Ms. Marvel and Emma Frost make a solid appearance.  It also means that Bendis sent Cho a few lay-ups, with some dinosaur-tipped rockets fired at the Scarlet Witch courtesy of M.O.D.O.K. (that’s Mobile Organism Designed Only for Killing).  I think only Cho could pull that off, and he did it here.  If this work is what partially delayed Cho’s Guns & Dinos series, there was a great reason for the diversion, and his fans will be pleased with this latest entry.

There is some alpha and omega, yin and yang going on here, as Hope was the first mutant born after the Scarlet Witch turned all the mutants (except 198) into mere mortals.  Will these two get to deal with each other in the pages of AvX going forward?  I hope so.

In this issue, we had split writing duties, with Jason Aaron taking on the frustration of Hope against the always whiny and wimpy (and often annoying) Cyclops.  Brian Michael Bendis wrote the story of Scarlet Witch in her return to Marvel’s pages from a bit of a hiatus.  Both writers balance the story well and Cho’s art further keeps the issue cohesive.  It would be great if this trio took the reins for the entire series, but that is not the case.

What’s the coolest thing about Hope?  Along with having an interesting character voice, she has one of the best powers around–she can mimic the powers of others.  I remember thinking this was a great ability when I watched Peter use this power in the Heroes TV series.  Hope uses these powers to both use Cyclops’s rays against himself and to take out a motley group of baddies at the end of the book.  She also uses the classic head-butt maneuver to good effect in a classic scene found in this issue.  Aaron’s writing includes a number of funny and quirky moments for Hope–she is endearing.  And you instantly must side with Hope Summers against Scott Summers.  It’s the same style of writing that makes Aaron’s Wolverine and the X-Men successful.

Cho's original cover art is sadly partially obliterated by the AvX logo. Check out the angel in the background. Doesn't it look like the angel from the Fearless series?

Scarlet Witch–Wanda–never looked better (you just know she wears a Beltsville shirt in her down time).  She is back but wants to stay away from the Avengers.  But Carol Danvers aka Ms. Marvel insists she accompany her and Spider-Woman back to their friends.  The result is a long-and-coming encounter with her husband who turns her away, to the anger of Ms. Marvel, but the acceptance of Logan and Tony Stark.  Bendis is really good–you really feel bad for Wanda here in a short number of pages, both from the story and Cho’s visual portrayal.  And we are left with this prophecy that Hope will have to face the Phoenix… that she senses is coming toward her from far away.  Cho shows us that it is not just a prophecy but will be addressed in issues to come.

For AvX, this is a great start, using the powerhouse writing and art trio of Bendis/Aaron/Cho upfront.  Hopefully the rest of the creators at Marvel Comics will keep the momentum going as we will find out with the premiere of Issue #1 next week.  And more than anything this issue has made me want to catch up on past Cho trade books: Ultimate Comics New Ultimates: Thor Reborn, Fear Itself: The Fearless, and The New Avengers.