Writer: Steve Orlando
Art: Russell Dauterman
Inking Assist: Elisabetta D’Amico
Colors: Matthew Wilson
Letters: VC’s Cory Petit
Cover: Russell Dauterman
Variant Covers: Dustin Nguyen; Joshua “Sway” Swaby; Marc Aspinall; Martin Coccolo & Jesus Aburtov
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Release Date: May 3rd, 2023
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Wanda’s magic bought Darcy a reprieve. But Scythia is still out there and no less bent on revenge. SCARLET WITCH #5 delivers the series’ biggest action sequence to date. This issue is exciting. And it maintains the the successful character centric story structure.
Scythia is still pursuing Darcy when SCARLET WITCH #5 begins. Thanks to armor that’s immune to Wanda’s magic, Scythia escaped the dome Wanda sought to trap her in and returned to the already wrecked town where they fought for the first time. Round two between Scythia and Wanda is a no holds barred slugfest between the two characters. Wanda doesn’t fare nearly as well this time. Scyhthia appears more than capable of winning which will doom Darcy.
SCARLET WITCH #5 establishes how far Wanda will go for people who walk through the Last Door. So far people who need Wanda’s help have more personal, relatively basic matters that need to be fixed. Darcy faces a life and death situation. And in defending her, Wanda is putting her own life at risk. Orlando made a good choice waiting a few issues to put Wanda in this kind of danger. By now we’re invested in Wanda as a character and what she’s trying to do with the Last Door. We understand the premise. We also understand that in a lot of ways this is a different Wanda. And it makes her willingness to fight this hard for someone who came to her for help believable.
The resolution between Wanda and Scythia feels a little too easy. It’s not unearned necessarily. But given the weakness that Wanda exploits to make it work, it’s unclear why she couldn’t have made the same point earlier in this issue. That said, the end of the fight does demonstrate Wanda’s power level (whether it’s the full extent is still unclear). This is useful exposition for future fights that Wanda finds herself in.
Orlando includes a very brief moment near the end when Darcy talks both about her fear and her surprise that Wanda helped her. Wanda responds with a very vague allusion to what she has gone through in the past. Orlando has largely avoided specifics about Wanda’s past, and this simple response works on two levels. Readers who are familiar with the character will know what she’s talking about. Readers not familiar will take it as basic character development and likely not linger.
The Art & Letters
Dauterman replaces Pichelli and D’Amico on art duties for SCARLET WITCH #5. It is unfortunate that the change in art team happened in the middle of the two issue story arc. But Dauterman’s work is no less impressive for being slightly different in style. He uses less shading, especially on the characters, than Pichelli and D’Amico. It gives everyone a softer look, especially Wanda. She never appears truly enraged during the fight which ultimately helps sell the ending. His work has a similar effect on Scythia’s appearance for most of the issue which doesn’t work quite as well.
The action sequences are chaotic with a lot of asymmetrical panels and closeups on the blows each character is delivering to the other. It’s a visceral encounter that plays into Wanda’s apparent willingness to sacrifice herself to save Darcy. Wilson’s coloring plays heavily into these fight sequences with most of the action communicated by various shades of red consistent with Wanda’s overall look. He doesn’t provide Scythia with a similar effect when she lands blows on Wanda. However, Scythia’s not quite black armor provides a nice contrast to Wanda and the power she wields.
Petit’s lettering is surprisingly creative. Most Marvel books seem to play it safe and conservative with the lettering, but Petit delivers a number of sound effects that organically radiate from the art. His color choices contrast Wilson’s coloring, standing out without stealing the show. The sound effects’ layouts add to the overall visual composition.
SCARLET WITCH #5 is an action packed issue. It’s exciting and high energy throughout. Orlando still finds time to deliver strong character interaction. This series’ strength is in heartfelt character exploration, and it’s relieving to see that Orlando can deliver that even in a heavy action issue. As long as that balance is maintained this will remain one of Marvel’s best books.