What Dreams May Come: Reviewing ‘Scarlet Witch’ #02

by Scott Redmond


Wanda Maximoff’s magical return to the realms of heroism continues as the second issue of ‘Scarlet Witch’ doesn’t lose a beat following that fantastic debut issue, continuing to redefine the character and showcase a deep love for the Marvel Universe as a whole. Simply a delight from start to finish, colorful and gorgeous work that propels the character to the heights she deserves.


Family is an extremely complicated and often confusing thing. Some Marvel Universe families take the cake when it comes to confusion. They don’t have family trees; they have what looks like a wad of tangled-up cords left in a drawer for years. No clue where it starts or begins really, but it’s somehow all connected.

Many stories approach these relations, but the best ones just make them seem pretty easy or nonchalant and focus on capturing great character dynamics. That’s exactly what comes out of Scarlet Witch #2 as Wanda Maximoff rises to the magical occasion to bring Viv Vision, the daughter of her ex-synthezoid husband Vision and his second wife Virginia who was also a synthezoid with a mind based on Wanda’s brain patterns, some peace. See, that family connection isn’t complicated at all (insert mark of sarcasm here).

Honestly, I love comic book family dynamics that are just wild and all over the place. Where the almost elderly Cable is the son of never reaches middle age Cyclops and Madelyne Pryor who is a clone of Jean Grey or how technically Viv Vision’s great grandfather is Hank Pym (since he begat Ultron who begat Vision) and Nadia Pym who is the same age as her just about is her great aunt. All that being said, the family aspect is just a small kernel of stuff here, but I love how Steve Orlando doesn’t avoid it but instead uses it to give us a glimpse of each character’s views on their connection. Like how Wanda calls Virginia a sister of sorts, and Viv semi-pushes back on that because they’re not and never knew one another.

Both characters have a well of trauma that follows them but they have found their avenues to escape it, and when Viv is being besieged by outside forces forcing her to relive it in her dreams Wanda doesn’t’ hesitate to help her. I love the interplay between the characters, as Orlando just smoothly gets both and nails their voices, but also love the magical dream elements at play. It’s so nice to really explore the various realms and see how Wanda can push the boundaries and do the superhero thing in different elements.

What has defined Wanda as a character for far too long is her trauma, a majority inflicted upon her by various other major Marvel character, and how she was basically persecuted for it while others who did similar things to her were forgiven. While this run puts her back in a heroic space (after the work done over in The Trial of Magneto essentially reset her in a sense), Orlando didn’t just magically wave away all those traumatic things. Wanda is in a healthier place where she accepts what has happened and who she is and doesn’t let it define her, and we see that when she uses her own pain in a way to trick and defeat Dreamqueen (which the twisted nature of the defeat was quite delicious).

Also, I 100% love that Orlando isn’t just pitting Wanda against your typical run of the mill always used big-time Marvel threats but is really combing the depth of Marvel’s toybox to find foes that are lesser used but perfect for a Wanda story. From Doctor Hydro to Corruptor to now Dreamqueen and soon a trip to Sub-Atomica, this is a fantastic appreciation of the Marvel Universe’s depth.

If one is going to be traveling to all these various spaces and locales, it’s great to have along Sara Pichelli, Elisabetta D’Amico, and Matthew Wilson to bring those places to gorgeous, energetic, and vivid life. In the first issue review, I gushed about the work these three are putting into the series and that’s going to be the case here too.

Pichelli has such a powerful visual style that captures all the emotion from the characters while giving us a variety of weight and depth in any given panel, filling any space to make it feel like an actual space. All that detail though is something that is easily cast aside when it’s a character reaction or emotion that needs the focus, the background washing away to give us regular or even extreme close-ups so that we can see and perfectly feel whatever the character is because we’re not in their space too. D’Amico’s inks help bring more of that weight and depth, pairing perfectly with Pichelli’s pencils to create these living breathing powerful spaces.

In the last issue, we had Quicksilver appearing and his motions helped lend a feeling of kinetic energy and movement across the pages, but even without his presence that is just inherently part of the magic of this artwork. While I love classic paneling from comics, the current choices to go with such varied and shifting panel styles from so many artists is something I deeply love. These changes are so dynamic and happen so often that it causes the overall imagery to have that motion feeling, as our eyes bounce in a direct pattern from panel to panel, guided that way naturally or through other means, feeling like the world is passing by quickly. It’s through these panel styles that we get those aforementioned close-ups or heavier emotional/character-beat panels that make the issue so great.

Marvel stories inherently come with that mixture of realistic (right outside your window) style elements and the more fantastical. Wilson creates that dynamic with some really fun color palette styles that create a mixture of very toned-down almost natural style colors with far more vivid befitting of superheroics/magic style of colors. A perfect example is the scenes within Wanda’s shop to kick off the issue. While the space is very brown and other pretty common normal colors, Viv Vision by design is a bright pink character who wears bright colors and has bright green hair, making her stand out while still not being so vivid that she feels unreal or strange in the setting.

We see that more too in the dream sequences (which are rendered so awesomely, shifting us through the spaces at a very quick but calculated speed) where some elements are far brighter, and others are darker and toned down. This allows for Wanda and Dreamqueen to pop even more compared to the backgrounds that in some cases are already quite colorful. Without losing any of that brightness, the color choices allow other elements of the supernatural or fantastical variety within a panel to take the color lead over the characters or other things that are focused on at that moment.

Visually captured emotions in a comic are accompanied by needing to capture those same emotions or feelings within the lettering, which Cory Petit always completes. Creating a sort of natural level for the lettering that can shift and change depending on the tone/volume or type of emotion on display is exactly how that sort of emotional reading can work. We see what is normal and then by playing with those elements Petit can make us hear in our head just what that character would sound like no matter what they are expressing emotionally. Books that have these sorts of supernatural/fantastical elements also mean plenty of room to play with colors or shapes of speech bubbles and font colors among other things, and I love the way it’s done here. White regular bubbles are classic and good, but colorful bubbles that take on some jagged shape are even more fun.

In this issue, we’re treated to a really fun backup story from Stephanie Williams, Chris Allen, Dee Cunniffe, and Petit that brings Storm to Wanda’s shop. Within the story, Williams addresses the recent death of Magneto, which Storm was present for his final moments, since Wanda was one of his children while also pivoting into a fun adventure between the two. Seeing Wanda being pals with the X-Men/Mutants after everything they were put through almost two decades ago is a relief. Give me far more of Marvel heroes actually teaming up and being chummy rather than those many years we have of them in conflict constantly with one another.

Back to the story though. Williams has such a great voice for these characters and tackles so much history and lore and just great character dynamics in these few pages. I would love to see far more Williams stories with either character and just at Marvel in general. This fun energy pairs nicely with Allen’s artwork which has that sort of realism meets animated sort of feeling to it, where the characters have weight and depth, and the world feels heavy but there is an air of lightness and fun to it all though. Really intrigued to see this style applied to the new Black Panther series coming this summer.

Just like the main story, the colors here create that bright and more natural mixture quite well. There is a bit more lightness to Cunniffe’s colors here, giving us some lighter browns and tans, and greens in parts of the world, allowing for the reds and purples, and blacks that Wanda and Storm are adorned with stand out. There is a nice heaviness found in the darker pages, where they naturally stand out against the perfectly captured darkness they are fighting within.

Scarlet Witch #2 is now available from Marvel Comics.

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