Those who’ve followed my activities in Lunch.com’s comic book community “Reality Inked” (join here now!) know that I promised issue per issue coverage of Brian Michael Bendis and Alex Maleev’s ultra-violent, super-gritty comic book maxi-series called “Scarlet” (click here for my reviews of issues one and two). The comic book is on a bi-monthly run and has experienced some delays due to reasons unknown. Some have said that Scarlet is an anti-hero (I still say that it remains to be seen) and many have said that she is a woman blinded by anger, hatred and vengeance. Scarlet is a woman destroyed by violence and corruption and this is the story where she has chosen to fight back…“Scarlet” feels very real.
As usual, I will allow Scarlet to describe what happens in her own words, as the comic breaks the fourth wall…
“….and yes, there’s tragedy in the world and of course there’s pain. It’s part of the human condition I know. I’m not stupid. But everyone in this world should have what’s coming to them by the natural order of things. And the natural order of things does not include corrupt fucks destroying your life and other fucks letting them get away with it.”
“ ...I speak for everyone who would like you to know that we will no longer tolerate anything like what brought us here today. It’s not as easy as it looks…now we show the world what they can do.” (about it)
Issue three may be the one issue that while it is no less shocking (arguably it may be the more shocking of the three issues), it tends to slow down a bit. Issue three is something that many may call the transition stage to storytelling. Some new characters are introduced while the effects of the events in issue one and two begin to take hold as people have become more aware of the existence of this woman driven by anger and fueled by vengeance. Cops are now in the look out for a red head wanted for the murder of their colleagues.
New characters are introduced as Scarlet meets up with her deceased boyfriend’s best friend and his background is told in the form of fast-flashbacks. The police chief, the uncle of one of Scarlet’s victims share a little heart to heart with our lead character and a certain detective Going may play a huge part in the series. These are all in the transitional stages and the reader is kept in suspense as to what part these characters will play in future issues. (though Brandon’s role seems pretty clear). The $ 700,000+ (revealed in issue 2) will be used by Scarlet to wreak havoc upon the people behind all the corruption.
While the issue feels like it is on the ‘building stages’ the last few pages of the comic reveal more about Scarlet’s state of mind. I’ve said that it was too early to say if she is in fact an anti-hero, and this is still true; but now I wonder if she has fallen into madness. I know she appears quite cold, calculating and ruthless in past issues, but here, she seems colder than usual but still as clever as ever the way she covers her tracks. The comic has strong scenes of violence and brutality and the comic is rightly labeled “MATURE” and it has not been approved by the comics code. The dialogue is as tough and edgy as ever, the dialogue reflects the emotions and their state of mind. There is a lot of anger, insecurities and sadness in the pages; the art by Alex Maleev mimics that over-saturated film look to exude the raw gritty attitude of the book.
My one complaint would be the comic feels a little rushed and Bendis may have intentionally left his readers hanging, almost half of the pages contain an interview of him talking about his projects; both upcoming and past endeavors. Yeah, go ahead and anticipate the overdone gimmicks Disney and Marvel have cooked up for Fantastic Four and Amazing Spider-man, and DC’s Wonder Woman…I’ll read Scarlet over those titles.
Again, “Scarlet” feels very real. Bendis and Maleev have created a character that may reflect what is happening in this world. Maybe this is a way for a character to make a commentary that we don’t have to take all the bullshit in this world. Probably why the series is being sold out in most stores. Comic fans have always adored a protagonist that feels like someone they can easily relate to.
Highly Recommended! [4- Out of 5 stars]
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Get your first look at Scarlet #3, the newest issue of the acclaimed creator-owned comic from the Eisner Award winning team of writer Brian Michael Bendis and artist Alex Maleev.
Scarlet has set out to fix the world but there are those who would see her mission crash and burn. Find out who they are in Scarlet #3! And for readers who missed out on the last pulse-pounding issue ofScarlet, be sure to check out Scarlet #2 Second Printing Variant featuring an all new cover from series artist, Alex Maleev!