High Five! Comics

Scarlet #1: Has Icon Finally Grown Up?

Posted on: July 9, 2010

Back when it was announced that Spider-Woman #7 would be the end of the series, Bendis mentioned in his press statement that he and frequent collaborator Alex Maleev had been working on a project for Icon Comics. I got extremely excited for this mystery book before I completely forgot about it (as I’m wont to do). And I have to admit, when it comes to the creator-owned properties of Brian Michael Bendis, I’m pretty much clueless. I’ve never read Powers or any of the Jinxworld books (which is apparently blasphemy). When I picked up Scarlet #1, I did it while blindly thinking of Spider-Woman rather than Sam and Twitch. I know, I’m a terrible person.

Scarlet tells the story of the titular character, a young girl who is sick of getting fucked over by a hopelessly corrupt world. After a horrific event in her life, she decides to take up arms and start a revolution, using her own brand of vigilantism to try and clean up the mess starting with her own hometown of Portland, Oregon.

I have to admit, I’ve never seen a book quite like Scarlet and, as weird as it sounds, I couldn’t help but think of old episodes of Mister Roger’s Neighborhood. Bendis has smashed the fourth wall and, much like Rogers singing to you while putting on a sweater, Scarlet addresses you directly while strangling a cop to death. For the entire duration of the first issue, she speaks to nobody else but you in a sort of stream of consciousness way, explaining why she has decided to take this path.

Alex Maleev (in his first creator-owned project ever!) also takes the opportunity to experiment in Scarlet. At one point she discusses why her life was so normal and it is presented with a slideshow of the same milestones every kid goes through (which, to Bendis’ credit, came across as the perfect way to make somebody identify with the protagonist). And, much like Rucka and Southworth’s Stumptown, Maleev helps present Portland as a character rather than just a setting, including landmarks and settings from all over town. It’s somewhat refreshing to see similar styles Maleev has used in his Marvel superhero projects in a much more realistic setting.

No shit, I recommend this book. While most books have at least one glaring flaw, I was hard pressed to find anything I didn’t like about this one. I mean, aside from an awkward reference to Twilight. That was kind of weird. But I’ll let it slide.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m gonna stop being a pretentious dumbass and go buy as much Powers as I can get my hands on.

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6 Responses to "Scarlet #1: Has Icon Finally Grown Up?"

For the record, I had Powers too low on my decade list (at #19 overall). Also for the record, I was the ONLY PERSON WHO READ IT. You will all be sooo embarrassed.

Shut up. Fuck you. I hate you. Also, you were right.

For the record, I had Powers at number 4 on my (incomplete and woefully tardy) list. Because I read it… after you lent it to me. Ya know, for the record.

I don’t think I ever saw your list, D.

Incorrect. I’d read a few volumes and Powers was on my list, if I recall correctly. So quit puffing up.

I agree, I’m definitely dipping a toe into Powers now, Scarlet has me won over completely.

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