Scarlet #2 Is Breezy But Heavy

by Josh Davison

Scarlet reminisces on the battle of Portland that ended in the city becoming seceding from the U.S. as she faces the soldier who has been sent to make a peace offering to Scarlet and Portland. Elsewhere, Kit and Gloria watch the river that separates that makes up the border of Portland.

Scarlet #2 cover by Alex Maleev
Scarlet #2 cover by Alex Maleev

Scarlet #2 advances the plot quite slowly, but it partly makes up for that slowness with some emotionality and conveying the mental state of Scarlet herself.

The overall comic is a breezy read and could easily be finished in less than five minutes. That doesn’t couple well with how little happen; I couldn’t blame anyone for feeling shortchanged by this book.

That said, there is enjoyment to get out of it. Scarlet is a very likable character. She’s an essential Brian Michael Bendis character like Jessica Jones or Spider Woman. She makes jokes, is very cynical, carries a lot of baggage, and is a fearless badass when she needs to be.

The highlight of the comic is Scarlet browbeating the U.S. soldier over what Scarlet perceives as obvious emotional manipulation being attempted by the government. The aftermath to this encounter is a well-constructed emotional breakdown brought beautifully to life by artist Alex Maleev. There is an encounter after this that is quite endearing too.

Scarlet #2 art by Alex Maleev
Scarlet #2 art by Alex Maleev

Maleev performs most of the legwork in the final product. That’s not to say the writing is bad, but, when so little feels like it’s being conveyed by the plot, the art is what you’re left with. Thankfully, Maleev is a great talent and creates an impeccably atmospheric world with Scarlet. His style crafts a barren landscape, and the color work leaves the reader feeling cold and uneasy. It’s great.

Scarlet #2 is a decent read. While little story progression transpires, the character of Scarlet is expanded upon, and Alex Maleev’s artwork continues to be fantastic. I can tentatively recommend it, though I wouldn’t quite call it required reading among this week’s releases.

Scarlet #2 comes to you from writer Brian Michael Bendis, artist Alex Maleev, letterer Josh Reed, and cover artist Alex Maleev.

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