Scarlet#1 REVIEW (Is this the third strike for Bendis?)

14 07 2010

Cover art by Alex Maleev

Scarlet#1 

Written by: Brian Michael Bendis 

Drawn by: Alex Maleev 

Price: $3.95 

Publisher: Marvel/Icon Comics 

You know that saying: “three strikes and your out?” Well to me that’s what my feelings toward Bendis have been recently. Avengers was strike one. New Avengers was strike two. So was Scarlet strike three? I can honestly say that Scarlet definitely was not a strikeout. 

(POSSIBLE SPOILERS AHEAD) 

Scarlet is about a girl who is basically trying to right the wrongs of the world, by eliminating the evil-doers. Throughout the entire issue the protagonist breaks the fourth wall constantly to tell the reader her story. To me, as an aspiring comic book writer myself, the technique of breaking the fourth wall is a dangerous one to use. It can either go well and work well with the story or it can fall flat on its face. In this book Bendis does it near-perfect. It’s a very unique way of telling his story and does a nice job of getting you emotionally invested in the character because she’s talking directly to you, the reader. Also the fourth wall breaking is the method of telling the story and not just a gimmick (like when Jessica Jones’ baby looks at you in an issue of New Avengers). There is a part where she and her boyfriend are running away from a policeman, who is a heavy narcotics user. Just when you think they’ve gotten away her boyfriend gets shot from behind by the policeman and is killed. That scene made me feel so bad for the protagonist, where in Bendis’ Avenger books I don’t give two craps about any of the characters in those books and what happens to them. 

The fourth wall breaking was so well done that, at times, I felt that this was based on a true story. I really did. The great thing about this book is that there is a strong female protagonist who reminds me a lot of Deena Pilgrim from Powers, which is another good Bendis book (the new volume is terrible, though). If you go back to my earlier blogs I’d constantly complain about the frequent misogyny in Bendis’ mainstream books. I don’t know why he can’t write all his female characters like this. Clearly he can write them really well, but he has also shown that he can do some pretty nasty things to them as well. Now, some bad things happen to this girl and I’m sure more bad things will happen to her, but when the bad things happened I felt an emotion other than disgust. I felt bad for her. There was also a funny Twilight joke which brought up a good point that all girls want nowadays is a pretty boy who’ll protect them 24/7. 

I can’t finish this review in good conscience without talking about the art. I have never been a huge of Alex Maleev’s art, but this is by far the best art I’ve seen him do. It’s truly a work of art. I’m still no fan of his, but I’m glad he did a nice job on the art chores. Now I do have a couple of complaints about this book. One was that there was no Parental Advisory or Explicit Content warning on the cover OR on the back of the book. This book is definitely NOT for those kids under let’s say 14-15 years of age. There is a ton of swearing, a fair share of violence, and some brief sex scenes. I’m usually ok with this if it doesn’t go overboard or becomes too much, but when you don’t put a warning on the cover of the book, I’m sorry but I’m gonna call the company out on this. The other thing I didn’t like about this book is… that I have to wait a month for the next issue!!! 

All in all it was a very solid issue that sets up the next issue perfectly and I can hardly wait for the next issue. For all of you who bought this last week, I don’t have to wait as long as you, so HAHA! 😀 

This is the Brian Bendis I know and love. I loved AKA Goldfish and his work on Ultimate Spider-Man. Why he can’t write like he does in this book and the stuff that he’s written that I’ve enjoyed, I don’t know. But I certainly hope he stays and I’m glad he’s still capable of writing solid stories.

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