SCARLET WITCH #11
Written by James Robinson
Art by Leila Del Duca, Felipe Sobreiro, & Cory Pettit
Published by Marvel Comics
Release Date: October 5, 2016
And thus, history is revealed.
Wanda travels to Serbia, inching closer to finding out more about her mother, Natalya. After facing a sinister man with a deceptive smile, Wanda finds out just how hard her mother fought to find her, eventually coming across two people with important ties to her mother’s past.
Jetsetting Wanda is awesome, but I’ve been waiting for this moment in Scarlet Witch. This issue looks to be the beginning of an incredible journey for Wanda, who’s seen the mystical legacy left behind by other practitioners of witchcraft across the world. I love the parallels to the other stories we’ve seen in the series thus far because Wanda in her own way is doing for herself what she helped others do: make peace with the past. Just like in previous issues, there’s a thematic anchor in the form of characters who are no longer present, at least in the way they were before. These subtle ties amount to an awesome payoff in Scarlet Witch #11 which seems as though it’s only going to get better.
One thing about this issue that strikes me is some of the similarities to Children’s Crusade. Just as Billy and Tommy underwent a challenge to find Wanda, she seems to be doing the same. I don’t know if this connection was intentional, but it adds a layer of depth in that many of the issues surrounding those connected to the Maximoffs tend to play out in a similar manner. Wanda has been established for many years, but she almost feels young and lost, playing on the mother-daughter dynamic that has fueled the series from almost its first issue.
James Robinson has turned a major issue with Wanda’s continuity into a bittersweet story about reunion. The story starts with a swift rising action, leading us to the darker parts of Natalya’s history at the hands of Father Drobnjak. Much of this story involves the truth that underlies what the reader and what Wanda understands, from Drobnjak’s deception to the revelation that Natalya’s fate may not have been final. Robinson’s use of parallels within the story, but also connected to the rest of the series, helps Scarlet Witch to stand out among other books in that the story feels wonderfully crafted and that few to no elements of the entire arc are insular or inconsequential.
Leila Del Duca draws a visual parallel similar to the one in the plot. The first page begins with an idyllic, albeit hushed opening at the outside of a church, leading to a dramatic confrontation between Wanda and the church’s priest. The scene that plays out from here looks like it’s brushed with charcoal, mirroring the darkness that surrounds the priest’s past in relation to Natalya. Del Duca draws Wanda and Serbia beautifully, and I especially love the panels portraying the past. They look like they’re right out of Marvel’s Golden Age, creating a soft frame for a rather serious story.
Felipe Sobreiro’s colors convey an important density in this issue that is important for the emotional tone of the story. Many scenes are thick and murky, to the point that these heavy feelings seem inescapable. Sobreiro’s skill grounds the story in Wanda’s desire to learn more about her mother and in her mother’s desperation in finding her. Such a range of colors is perfect for a story of loss and grief, even if there is a tinge of hope represented in the small areas of warmth and clarity in the issue’s final page.
I’ve long thought that this series has helped to undo some of the damage to Wanda’s character, and Scarlet Witch #11 is no exception. We are finally getting down to the truth about her mother and her past, but this chapter holds within it some of the important elements of the stories that have come before. Just like Wanda has helped people connected to magic previously, the same dynamic is unfolding for her, and it’s awesome to see such a motif so deliberately and carefully carried out.
The Verdict: 10/10