Scarlet Thoughts

Now I’m not a fan of a lot of Icon’s offerings, nor believe it or not does the name of Brian Michael Bendis automatically incite me to buy. (Avengers Disassembled anyone? Not the greatest of masterpieces in my eyes.)

Scarlet made me eat my words however.

The first few pages made me more irritated than not, going from a scene of vengeance driven death (yawn) to breaking the fourth wall by the third page. Oh my I thought.  Yet more pretentious, potentially decompressed waste of my time.

Having paid my money however, I stuck with it, and within another ten pages, Scarlet had stolen my heart.

Scarlet is presented giving her own testimony, and I rather hope that this introductory issue is the only one where the audience is addressed directly. Yet even though there was no real sense of dialogue, no point where I felt the writer had coerced me into responding. What had occurred though was that this girls story had been told to me, laying her soul bare, and suddenly the random vengeful death on page one that had so alienated me not only made sense, it was eminently logical.   This was a superhero origin with a total absence of super (and for that matter quite the absence of hero as well.) It had a reality to it that did not need any suspension of disbelief, an archetypal tragedy masterfully executed. Dick Grayson, eat your heart out, this is gold plated raison d’etre.

(Although surely the bicycle thief could have had a better incentive to steal than simple pot! How about a real addictive drug? Not that I support bicycle thieves, I detest them, but could we not have had some crack as a motive?)

So I need to wind my neck in, and posit that maybe Bendis is worth the money he is allegedly paid. I only wish he had treated Wanda Maximoff with the same love and attention.

Zenescope launched a title as well, encouragingly called Science Fiction and Fantasy Illustrated. After the masterpieces of Wonderland and Grimm Fairy Tales, I had high hopes. The cover was more than a little T&A, but I thought, why not? So was Wonderland.  For that matter, so was Vampirella, and I always enjoyed that. The title inspired dreams of classic pulp, the breeding grounds of what later became leading sci-fi writer who proceeded to help bring me into adulthood.

So I was sorely disappointed to read a story that seemed little more than a fourteen year old boy’s fantasy (I don’t need to explain that one, surely), with an eighties style Masters Of The Universe ‘moral of the story’ ending.

I would have expected more from Joe Brusha, even if it was reminiscent of the old Eerie horror. Maybe I want more? Or maybe such stories are destined for the eight-page format, not forty six. It was well written for what it was, but nonetheless unsatisfying.

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Darren Burr

A devoted follower of the comics industry and their characters since a child, Darren now plays in many media but always returns to characters in skin-tight costumes beating each other up on the page. Radio host, blogger, fanfic author and producer of You Tube content, Darren idles away his days until his digital conquest of the world is complete.

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