For my reviews on issue numbers one, two and three, please click on the links.
To those of you who’ve read my issue-per-issue reviews of the comic book maxi-series by Brian Michael Bendis and Alex Maleev, you would know that I consider “Scarlet” to quite possibly be the most original, one of the boldest and one of the most ambitious comic book projects I have seen in a long time. Since this review series has been going on for a few months, allow me to say that I’ve always enjoyed Bendis’ crime noir stories. They’ve worked wonders with DAREDEVIL (anyone want me to review their run? Send me a message) and SPIDER-WOMAN. They’ve worked on several projects that pushed the envelope in comic book publishing. Icon Publications is the independent division of Marvel Comics and were the ones who gave us the ultra-violent comic series “KICK ASS” and so they are the ones perfectly fit to publish with the ambition of this project.
As with my other reviews, I will allow Scarlet Rue to give a small summary of what happens in this issue as the comic continues to break the fourth wall and this is the precursor to the last episode to the series’ first act.
“Brandon is going to tell me that showing up in public will antagonize the police more than I have already antagonized them. He’s going to tell me that there’s a good chance that I am going to get shot and killed the minute I show up. All valid points. “
“But this is what I wanted. This is what I want the world to do. I wanted them to stand up and say NO. How the hell can I ask people to stand up and then not stand up myself? I can’t. I have to go. And about what he said before: I don’t want to die.”
I’ve said in my review of the series' second issue that it was just too early to say that Scarlet Rue was an anti-hero; and issue number three proves that she isn’t. Scarlet stands for something; she stands for those of us who are tired of turning the other cheek in the face of all the corruption, greed and injustice. Those people who have been victimized by the system and those who have been intimidated to silence, those who are tired of cover ups for the common good…Scarlet stands for your right to live a life not influenced by the fuckers out there.
I’ve said that issue three was the transitional stages of the story as characters were introduced and it seemed to slow down its pace a little. Well, issue four appears to be the build up to the end game or the calm before the storm. New characters are introduced as a fed named Nathan Daemonakos proclaims Scarlet as one of the FBI’s most wanted list so early in her “criminal career“. The politics in City Hall are revealed as the mayor finally gets involved after the events of issue three. Scarlet’s mother also gets introduced as she pays a visit to our main protagonist. What I liked was the fact that a certain possible arch-nemesis or a friend to Scarlet Rue becomes more fleshed out as Detective Going makes her case past the fourth wall:
“I’m the one holding the dead chief of police. I’m the one she let live. It proves that I’m a good cop. A Smarter detective would’ve realized that there was smoke coming out of the fire. There is a reason those cops were murdered by Scarlet Rue and I put myself into it.”
“Damn you, Scarlet. What did I do to deserve this?”
Bendis has also injected several subtle hints of feminism as the leaders of this revolution, the ones who have opened their eyes and those who are leading those who had opened their eyes are women. This seems to be a great thread in mature comics these days, women are no longer the damsels in distress; they have power and they are much more aware of the realities of this world. Alex Maleev’s art is as gorgeous as ever, for some reason he illustrates the panels much darker than usual as if to convey the coming end game. Again, this is a comic for mature readers, the language is pretty strong and edgy, it truly is fitting to the comic’s dark and bold premise.
I know what you are thinking, how can a woman who seems imbalanced be the voice of revolution? Well, Scarlet Rue is not crazy….she knows the risks but she is willing to take a stand. Anger is definitely a very dangerous weapon. This is Bendis' statement that such a hero may be what is needed to ROCK THIS WORLD.
I am very excited to read issue five and hopefully, Hollywood will get their act together and adapt this for the big screen. Each issue has been sold out so far….that is saying something.
Highly Recommended!! [4 ½ Out of 5 Stars] This issue contains a preview of Bendis’ next project and a special announcement.
Comic Summary: Written by BRIAN MICHAEL BENDIS Cover by ALEX MALEEV Variant Covers by ALEX MALEEV & MICHAEL AVON OEMING The comic book revolution continues!! As Scarlet's controversial and violent actions are made known to the public the fallout is immediate, insane and worldwide. This is when the revolution kicks into high gear! Hop on board the unqualified brand-new hit creator-owned book from the award-winning team of Bendis and Maleev (DAREDEVIL, HALO, AVENGERS). 40 PGS./Mature �$3.95