Written by Brian Michael Bendis
Art by Alex Maleev
The first issue of Scarlet painted us a picture of who our lead was and where she’d been and so this second instalment gives us a deep look into where exactly she’s headed from here and why. Here Bendis and Maleev address exactly what everybody complained was missing from the first issue so I wonder if this was satisfy the vocal minority…probably not, but it seemed the logical step to me.
Scarlet kicks off proceedings by having a quiet chat with us, the reader. She wants to give us the story that will bring us up to speed, she wants to tell us exactly what a girl does after her lover is killed and she’s just survived being shot in the head. She wants to explain exact how you go from being that victim to deciding to become the bully.
Through some simple reconnaissance and internet searching, Scarlet is able to track down the partner of the cop who shot her. It seems all too simple but not as easy as getting him to completely spill his guts. This scene gives us plenty of information but it seems too easy. Scarlet doesn’t truly earn anything she comes across and I don’t know why this guy gives it to her. He has quit the force in disgust at the corruption and knows the police obviously don’t trust him but he doesn’t see her as a potential trap or threat, he just breaks it all down for her. It might be a mild complaint but it did feel too easy.
The end of the issue knows how to perfectly slap the reader in the face so that we have to come back in 60 days and read on. There is no way I could pull out of the tale now. I’m intrigued and invested and I want to see how this revolution works for Scarlet. It’s a cool premise, and a great end, but I feel like Bendis was working towards that end and so filled the rest of his pages just to make sure it was the end. I guess I can’t complain, this issue clocks in at about 30 pages, it’s larger than your average comic, so anything extra I get, be it stretched out sequences or wordless moments, is more than Bendis really needed to give us.
Maleev’s art was good in this issue, he does draw a good comic in my eyes, but this was the first time I could understand why people don’t like his photo traced style. In a few panels it all just came off sloppy or without any artistic flair to it, just lines over a photo, but most of the issue looks very nice. He’s also really making Scarlet look like a true character, which I like. I’m also digging his white, red, and yellow panel bars and am wondering if they’ll actually mean anything in the end or if they’re just a cool way to skip some gratuitous violence.
Verdict – Check It. This comic is so very nearly worth owning, I believe, but I’d like to see Bendis continue to take a few more chances like he did in the initial issue. Here he uses some of the standard tricks we’re well used to from him, like the same panel over and over for effect, but it's tired more than it is true. The story is ramping up and I am hoping that the third issue will be a killer set piece because it kind of needs to be, all the sets have been painted, the characters explained, now we need some true action.