Scarlet Witch is the third of the ever-more-impressive titles coming from Marvel’s All-New, All-Different launch I’ll be following, and is a character that has been long overdue for a solo title. But she is a character that, like Vision, has always worked well in a supporting role but has been problematic when attempting to star in her own book.

The reason for that is, I believe, the lack of clarification of what it is she can actually do. Scarlet Witch is able to enhance any team book she appears in by adding a little weirdness with all of her cool powers. But the exact definition of what those cool powers are? Well, that’s a bit hazy. Her power set has been described over the years as: Hex Power, Energy Power, Reality-Altering and Probability-Changing. which is all a bit vague to be honest.

And she’s a mutant, or not a mutant, Inhuman maybe? I don’t know. Her origin has been futzed with so many times over the years you need a flow chart to keep up and even then you might end up scratching your head. So as a protagonist of a story it is kinda hard to get on-board with someone when you don’t know what they are and what they can do. Like I said, Scarlet Witch is problematic. But she looks cool, so there’s that.

The All New, All Different version has sort of attempted to deal with this issue by simply making her magic. What is her power-set exactly? Magic. Is she a mutant? An Inhuman? Something else? Doesn’t matter…magic. Its all a bit a of a hand wave and I’m actually okay with that. Rather than tie itself in knots over these things and spending an inordinate amount of time retconning her existence it just says “magic” and gets on with telling a story.

And she still looks really cool.

Minor Spoilers Ahead (if you care about such things)

When the story starts we find Wanda, AKA: Scarlet Witch, in New York feeling the weight of a lifetime of magic use. Joining Wanda is the ghost of Agatha Harkness, one-time fantastic Four nanny and now full-time dead person apparently. They reminisce and ruminate over old times and discuss who-killed-who before Wanda leaves to do her job.

The story then turns into a police procedural/murder mystery at this point with a healthy dose of exorcism. And Wanda is left to contemplate a mysterious “awareness” and the realizations that witchcraft is sick.

James Robinson: writer
Vanesa Del Rey: art
Jordie Bellaire: colors
Cory Petit: letters
David Aja: cover

In this regard it is like the new Doctor Strange and the two books will probably crossover at some point or at least parallel one another. Unlike that book, Scarlet Witch is missing the casual playfulness, the sense of fun. Too much time is spent on setup and exposition, not nearly enough on action. What action we do get, in the form of a demon exorcism, is great but there is far too little of this. Hopefully this will change as the series progresses.

The interesting this about this series is that every issues is meant to have a different artist. This is an experiment that could end up making this extremely unique and helping this book stand out from the pack; or it could cause it to seem like a disjointed mess that has no direction. Tough call, too early to tell.

At first I’m not too keen on the different artist thing for no other reason than I think Vanesa Del Rey’s art is beautiful and add a moody, grim tone that accentuates the story and helps to beef up the long exposition scenes.

So, as a first issue goes, its okay. Scarlet Witch has an intriguing premise and a lot of promise and I’m glad she has her own title finally. Here’s hoping it picks up next issue.