Scarlet Witch #2
SCARLET WITCH BATTLES DREAMQUEEN! Wanda Maximoff is no stranger to grief, so when Viv Vision stumbles through Wanda's door, exhausted and terrified of the nightmares playing her mother's death on repeat, Wanda dives into Viv's dreams to find the cause of the android's suffering. And it turns out Viv isn't alone in her mind… Scarlet Witch faces off against DREAMQUEEN in a reality-bending battle for Viv's freedom! PLUS! This issue includes a special super-heroic back-up story featuring Scarlet Witch and Storm celebrating Black History Month!
I can’t believe it’s been four weeks already, but here we are, and we get a new Scarlet Witch issue by Orlando and Pichelli, with a backup by Stephanie Williams and 2023 Stormbreaker artist Chris Allen! In this issue, we get a tender moment between Wanda and Viv Vision, reintroduced to the succubus, Dreamqueen, further hints at what Darcy’s role is, what she is hiding, and a team-up with Storm. It’s almost an entire-length novel! It’s just a big issue. Still, I’m okay with it because I’ve had a severe lack of Scarlet Witch material since the end of the Trial of Magneto/Darkhold mini events from last year, but not much else in the way of Witchy content. So without further ado, let’s get on to the issue, shall we?
Orlando and Pichelli’s mission statement with this series is focusing on character development, and building Wanda a supporting cast, while also building on relationships with characters like Viv Vision, who’s tangentially already affiliated with (Viv’s mom, Virginia, had Wanda’s brain engrams, as seen in the now classic Vision 2015 series by Tom King and Gabriel Hernandez Walta). It’s…not dealt with, but we will see them tied together moving forward. That’s a smart move on Orlando’s part since one of the most significant ongoing threads that Orlando and Pichelli are going forward is family, and building up Wanda’s family with Viv in this issue, Polaris’s next issue, and Billy and Tommy in the coming months, so the team seems to be building it up with a strong foundation as seen in this issue.
I applaud Orlando and Pichelli on their reintroduction of Dreamqueen, an old Alpha Flight villain who just so happens to be the daughter of Doctor Strange villain Nightmare, so seeing her here filled me with utter glee when I saw the preview art. Still, unfortunately, she was taken off the board far too quickly, in my opinion. Wanda’s one of the most powerful magic users in the Marvel Universe. She is the 616’s nexus being, so you’ll be hard-pressed to find villains who could pose a challenge to her, but the way she was taken care of this issue was unsatisfying, and I hope that when next we see her, she’ll be a more imposing threat. What’s the point in dusting off this obscure character if she’s taken out in just a few panels and in an underwhelming way?
Sara Pichelli’s artwork here is magnificent. Whether it’s Wanda in her apothecary, getting snarky and witty banter with Darcy, as she ingratiates herself into Wanda’s life, to Viv, and the Dreamscape that resides within Viv’s brain. It’s something to behold. Wanda’s sparkling glitter hair is done in a far better capacity here than in the first issue, where it added to the story’s mood as opposed to being distracting, and the best of all is Dreamqueen’s redesign here. She oozes dominance and sexuality, mixed with some fetish, while not being over-sexualized or used as a classic Bad Girls trope throwback; it’s just a shame we didn’t get that in the story. Sara’s style here is effervescent, as Wanda and her world are swirling with this mystical, cloudy haze that permeates this little world that Wanda’s building for herself in this series.
All this, plus a backup feature by Stephanie Williams and Chris Allen, that features a little diddy involving Queen of Sol, the X-Woman Storm, and the hunt for some scarce ingredients that Wanda needs to, well, I’m just going to say you’ll have to read it to believe it, and it didn’t disappoint. The two begin to develop a familiarity between the two very imposing and powerful women, who are also some of the biggest guns in Marvel’s stable. Wanda urges Ororo to tap into her heritage, as she belongs to a very long and mystically astute lineage, a little continuity nod to a storyline that Chris Claremont and Steve Leialoha introduced in an old New Mutants arc back in the mid ’80s, so Williams using that to tie these two women together was quite brilliant. Unfortunately, it wasn’t a home run. The story lacked any emotional gravitas needed here as Wanda and Ororo discuss Erik’s (Magneto) recent death during the Judgment Day event last year. It just felt so…impersonal, even though Wanda and Erik had decided to begin to build a relationship as father and daughter after her resurrection in the Trial of Magneto mini. I hope her grief and feelings are dealt with in a far more significant way as this series progresses.
This is the first project I’ve seen from Chris Allen, but what I see here is quite pleasant to the eye. These two women are larger than life, and Allen delivers that here. Allen is one of this year’s Stormbreaker artists. As such, Marvel has made it their mission to use these characters in very high-profile titles to help raise their profile and develop them into being the next wave of superstars, so having him here means that Marvel wants to make this book a success, so hopefully, him being here is a step in a more significant direction. Of the current class of Stormbreakers, we have Martin Coccolo on the recently launched Deadpool series with writer Alyssa Wong; C.F. Villa’s just been announced as the upcoming Avengers artist relaunch with current Marvel wunderkind Jed MacKay, to name a few, so where this role leads Chris is going to be a project to keep an eye on.
Steve Orlando serves up a solid issue, stacked with character development, while Sara Pichelli’s work here elevates the story. This issue might not have landed as deftly as it did with an artist not of Sara’s caliber. The team’s creating an atmosphere that’s rich, and full of intrigue, as they give Wanda this new role in the greater universe. Hopefully we’ll see some action in the coming issues, as that’s been missing with these first two issues. We also get a Scarlet Witch and Storm team up by Stephanie Williams and Chris Allen that’s bound to impress old and new fans of these two very formidable women.
Scarlet Witch #2: Which Witch Is Bewitched?
- Writing - 8/108/10
- Storyline - 9/109/10
- Art - 9/109/10
- Color - 8.5/108.5/10
- Cover Art - 8.5/108.5/10
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