Marvel Comics‘ latest Scarlet Witch run from Steve Orlando and Sara Pichelli lives up to expectations. After the highs of WandaVision, Wanda Maximoff has earned a proper ongoing title that stands up to her current popularity, and Scarlet Witch #3 continues that momentum.
The new concept for Wanda is fairly straight forward—the Scarlet Witch opens a shop where those who need her the most come through a magical door, and she solves their problem. Scarlet Witch #3 takes that ongoing concept, but adds an interesting twist. This time, Wanda Maximoff goes on a quest through the microverse.
*Warning: Spoilers ahead for Scarlet Witch #3
The Scarlet Witch goes full Dungeons and Dragons?
The issue starts with a visit from Polaris, the daughter of Magneto. She is often seen as the sister of Wanda Maximoff because of this connection. Polaris visits Wanda to discuss the mysterious rock that Wanda finds in the first issue, which repels her magical powers.
The Last Door opens and interrupts the rock analysis; yet it seems nobody is on the other side. Upon further inspection, there is somebody—an incredibly small soul that is unnoticeable to the naked eye.
Thanks to the Scarlet Witch’s magic, Wanda and Polaris shrink down and meet this individual named Mardj. Mardj lives in a tiny reality where her home, Tryfa, is taken over by a group called Nillans. She is able to restore her people’s land and power but, to do so, Mardj needs a special sword.
And thus the Scarlet Witch’s quest through the microverse begins.
The pages of the quest portion read like a Dungeon Master’s narration in Dungeons and Dragons. Simply, it is Wanda explaining to herself what is happening, page by page. There are long bodies of text that run over the corners of the beautiful full-page art Pichelli provides.
At times, the story is a bit jarring due to the change in formatting from what we’ve become accustomed to over the last two issues. The lack of dialogue feels very “telling,” not “showing.” Fortunately, the plot is simple enough to follow, so it doesn’t impact the overall reading experience.
Wanda and Polaris travel through this realm, restore the sword that Mardj needs, take on the Nillans, and reclaim the land of Mardj’s people. All of this occurs where full, single-page art takes over for seven pages.
There is no dialogue or onomatopoeia (sound effects). We see stunning snapshots, depicting specific moments in time throughout this quest that is told in the perspective of Wanda speaking to herself. The day is saved, and the two return home.
Upon return to our (larger) world, Wanda and Polaris enjoy a moment together over a cup of coffee. These two sisters enjoying quality time is a rare sighting, but a pleasant one. Alas, when Wanda returns to her shop in New York, she finds it on fire with Darcy trapped inside.
We then see the “big bad” that is teased at the end of issue two—a mysterious, yet terrifying, woman holding Darcy like a rag doll. She claims that Darcy belongs to Scythia, champion of the Bacchae, and that anyone who wants Darcy must face her, even the Scarlet Witch.
Who is this mystery character in Scarlet Witch #3?
This begs the questions:
- Who is this character?
- Is she Scythia?
- Who or what are the Bacchae?
Some answers aren’t quite clear yet, but we can put together some puzzle pieces. There is a chance that this character is referring to herself as Scythia, and she is the leader of the Bacchae (a group of warriors who serve Hippolyta).
There is also a chance that this woman is actually Hippolyta, the daughter of Ares, and Queen of the Amazons (yes, Marvel has them too!). The design of this character and Hippolyta are unparalleled. But it is also possible they share similar war gear.
Scythia could also be a descendant of the Fallen God, Scythian. We already have a history of this series doing this—the daughter of Nightmare, the Dreamqueen, is last issue’s antagonist.
All of these options are possible and add an unexpected twist of characters to this story. The Bacchae have only made around seven appearances in comics canon, Scythian around five, and Hippolyta less than 30.
It would definitely be a deep cut to bring them in to a Scarlet Witch title, out of all things. Nonetheless, it will be interesting to see how these god-like characters fit into this story, with Darcy as the piece holding them together.
Sara Pichelli shines in Scarlet Witch #3
Easily, the stand-out in this issue is artist Sara Pichelli. For seven pages of the microverse quest, Pichelli creates full, single-page pieces that beautifully showcase Wanda and Polaris’ adventure. The characters consistently look flawless from one page to the next. Also, the casual attire Pichelli gives Wanda and her crew is jaw dropping.
Matthew Wilson’s colors vividly compliment Pichelli’s art. The clash of reds and greens on a single-page spread show a stark visual contrast between Wanda and Polaris, at the same time blending them to perfection.
Orlando’s vision for this story works out well, for the most part—though the narrative quickly shifts from being shown to being told during the quest line. Personally, I think some moments within the sword-fetching plot could benefit from some dialogue between the two sisters, as I didn’t seem to have any real connection with Mardj after her introduction.
Nonetheless, the overall point comes across, and the Scarlet Witch faces a rather interesting threat going forward.
Scarlet Witch #3
Writer: Steve Orlando
Artist: Sara Pichelli
Inking Assistant: Elisabetta D’Amico
Color Artist: Matthew Wilson
Letterer: Cory Petit
Cover Artist (A Cover): Russell Dauterman
'Scarlet Witch #3' ReviewScarlet Review #3
- Amazing art from Sara Pichelli
- The plot of "new problem stepping through a magical door" continues to hold up
- The change in narrative structure during the quest plot is a bit jarring