Written by Brian Michael Bendis
Art by Alex Maleev
Lettering by Joshua Reed
Designed by Curtis King Jr.
Editing by Michael McCalister
Variant Cover by Michael Gaydos
Scarlet Modeled by Iva
Published by Alisa Bendis
Scarlet (2018) is written by Brian Michael Bendis (Ultimate Spider-Man, Powers), with art by Alex Maleev (Daredevil, Spider-Woman), and is a continuation of a comic series under the same name, originally published in 2010 by Icon Comics, and now being published by DC Comics. The series follows the titular character of Scarlet, a young woman living in Portland, Oregon who fell victim to its corrupt Police Department, as she was gunned down by a detective along with her boyfriend, Gabriel. While he died, she survived, and started a catalytic campaign against the police, gaining monstrous support, which eventually ended up in the city being shut down, leaving her and everyone left to fend for themselves.
After a few rebels from her group went out scouting for supplies, Scarlet reflects on her life and the events that led her and her supporters to this point. However, it ends up being cut short, as a drone sent by the US government starts to attack the city of Portland. Along with a stranger making a dramatic entrance with a message for Scarlet and her team, a question is posed for the group of rebels: how much further should they take their new American revolution?
There’s definitely a lot to like in this issue, especially if you’re a fan of the original comic. It does a good job of recapping for those who have never read the original and quickly establishes its lead character, as well as the stakes involved. The art is great as well, and very much reminds me of the grungy style used for Marvel’s first Jessica Jones series, Alias, which is no coincidence since Bendis wrote it, along with Gaydos providing the art. The complicated thing here is actually Bendis’s writing itself, however. I tend to go back and forth with him, and no matter how much of a soft spot I have for Ultimate Spider-Man, he has a tendency of relishing in his style so much to the point that it’s oversaturated. Unfortunately, that’s demonstrated here, as Scarlet just spews exposition to the audience for the majority of the book, all with Bendis’s writing quirks intact. Some of it I like, some of it I don’t care for and honestly find a bit tone-deaf (including Scarlet comparing her and her team’s plight to others in American history). Scarlet’s fourth-wall-breaking I found to be a bit jarring, honestly. I believe it can work, but it doesn’t seem like the right device to use in a story like this, especially with such a bleak tone. Overall, I think this is a promising new start for the character and her story, but only time will tell if Bendis and co. can deliver an interesting and compelling story.