Writer: Steve Orlando; Juan Ponce
Art: Lorenzo Tammetta & Sara Pichelli; Ig Guara
Colors: Frank William; Triona Farrell
Letters: VC’s Cory Petit
Cover: Russell Dauterman
Variant Covers: Jen Bartel; Ernanda Souza; Tiago Da Silva
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Release Date: October 18, 2023
SCARLET WITCH’s recent issues saw Wanda and Joseph get closer. This issue pays off that growing relationship. But where much of this series has been rooted in character development and examination of Wanda, SCARLET WITCH #9 is a less complex experience. Joseph meets up with Wanda as SCARLET WITCH #9 begins. He’s been trying to help people since his return–he raised a shipwreck from the Hudson, gave out free MRIs, and stopped a carjacking among other things. But more than once he was met with distrust and bigotry thanks to Orchis’ influence. The conversation turns lighter, but before it can go very far into assuaging Joseph’s concerns, Wanda offers to show Joseph what a week in her life is like.
Orlando makes a surprising choice early in SCARLET WITCH #9. When Joseph first makes an appearance, Wanda refers to him as “Iosif” which is consistent with her native dialect. While this plays into the ending in a small way, it’s a very abrupt decision–even strange. In previous issues, Wanda called him Joseph which is what he calls himself. Further, we haven’t seen Wanda use her dialect to this point. She justifies it by saying she doesn’t see Magneto when she looks at Joseph. Beyond that, Orlando doesn’t make a big deal of the moment. But it does come off somewhat presumptuous–a kind of alteration of his identity to conform to what she thinks he is.
The issue’s “a week in the life” structure allows for a wide variety of situations that an ordinary issue doesn’t. Almost every issue of SCARLET WITCH to this point has been a single, issue-long story that Orlando uses to further explore a facet of Wanda herself. The combination of introducing a person that needs help, dealing with the problem at hand, and exploring Wanda’s character along the way typically fills a whole issue. SCARLET WITCH #9 largely dispenses with the first two parts of that framework in favor of action vignettes. This story structure results in an issue that, while fun, is relatively shallow. Ostensibly it’s about Wanda showing Joseph what her life is like, though very little of that actually factors into the plot. And there’s virtually no character development to speak of. Ultimately it’s the mysterium investigation, which began in the first issue and only appears here briefly, that adds weight to the issue.
The Art & Letters
SCARLET WITCH #9’s story may not live up to issues that have come before, but the art definitely does. Tammetta and Pichelli deliver high energy action sequences. Most of the characters display intense emotion, especially Joseph whose face is more detailed with slightly more liberal use of lines. His emotions are by far the most obvious throughout the issue. Wanda’s appearance is frequently in contrast with everyone else. She typically has the almost-but-not-quite smile that is practically a trademark of the series. Her appearance underscores the implication early in the issue that these are somewhat casual encounters.
William’s colors reinforce the issue’s action sequences. The early sequences are lively, and William emphasizes the spells and weapons that Wanda and the other magic oriented characters conjure. Though there are not many heavy dialogue panels and pages, Petit’s placement makes it easy to follow. He also makes the few sound effects blend easily into the art they’re added to.
SCARLET WITCH #9 is a fine issue. It advances multiple plot threads, and delivers amusing sequences along the way. At times it feels two-dimensional, though for the most part it stays fun. But of the issues in SCARLET WITCH to this point, this isn’t the best one to highlight as an example of what the series can do.