Brian Michael Bendis and Alex Maleev, the duo who brought “Daredevil” to new heights a couple of years ago and who are also responsible for the mini-series “Spider-Woman”; now they are teaming up with the folks (Icon, a division of Marvel comics) who released the acclaimed mini-series “Kick Ass” with the new comic series “SCARLET”. For those of you familiar with the comics released under “Icon”, they are anything but for kids. This comic book is very dark, gritty and comes out with a bang with this fabulous first issue.
It is difficult to describe the plot in this debut issue as it is more or less a monologue of the main character. The reader finds the titular character speaking to them, describing her past while filling in the blanks as to why she had just killed a cop.
I’ll let SCARLET describe issue # 1 herself: “GOOD people are victims. Bad people are heroes. Dumb is a virtue. Food is poison. Corruption is a national past time. Rapists rape. The poor are left to rot. Religion is business. No one is safe and everyone thinks it’s funny. Why is the world allowed to be this way? Why doesn’t anyone do anything?”
“I am going to stop it…all of it. But the thing of it is…YOU’RE GOING TO HELP ME.”
Whoa. Pretty strong words aren’t they? It is hard to judge whether the series is going to be awesome but I can assure you, Bendis and Maleev have never failed me when it comes to insanely dark, intense, entertaining comic book storytelling. Issue number one comes out pretty strong, (I usually don’t review single issues but this is special) and comes out with all guns blazing to entice new readers. The style of the comic is quite different, as it is an issue that focuses on Scarlet speaking to the reader directly as if she knows she is being watched. It is a clever approach for sure as we see her kill a police officer and then things become a lot clearer from there.
The reader is kept guessing just what are the motivations behind Scarlet’s actions. Who is she…an assassin or a government operative….or is she something else entirely? Well, one thing’s for sure, she is a woman with a very special skill and she slowly narrates what got her into this position. This is a woman who is very angry and don’t mistake her for being crazy or “looney“--she has good cause to be this angry. The reasons come in the form of flashbacks, as she gives us the details of her life in a quick fast-replay as in “Birth”, First Kiss and Boyfriend”, “First Disappointment”, “First Orgasm”, and so forth. Then once that one life changing event comes, it isn’t so much as original or different, but the way it was laid out for the readers.
The comic book’s dialogue is real mature and the illustrations show a hint of nudity. The script is rich with real gritty dialogue and tons of F-bombs and language that express rage and anger. Maleev’s art is gorgeous as always; he maintains that style that made him who he is today. Nope, Scarlet is no super-heroine who looks like a super-model; she looks like a regular woman who wears a simple half-cut tank top and leather pants. Don’t get me wrong, she is sexy, but she looks real. Bendis and Maleev always knew how to make each other’s work complement the other and “Scarlet” is no different. As I’ve said, it is hard to say if this new series is going to be a top-seller; but let’s just say that “Scarlet” has my full attention. For a debut issue, this has all the elements I usually look for in a book. It is dark, it is hot and it sure seems very exciting!
“Scarlet” is part of my monthly buying list for sure. I await the next issue with bated breath.
Highly Recommended! [4 ½ Out of 5 Stars]
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