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'Scarlet Witch Annual' #1 is a great chapter in the fabulous ongoing by Steve Orlando
Marvel

Comic Books

‘Scarlet Witch Annual’ #1 is a great chapter in the fabulous ongoing by Steve Orlando

A good extra-sized issue with plenty of magic and character moments.

It’s crazy to think just a few short years ago, Scarlet Witch was off the board and, in many fans’ opinions, broken. Now she’s back with a must-read monthly solo series and a bonafide annual issue. Scarlet Witch Annual #1 continues to show Steve Orlando has an incredible handle of the character, and it also pulls double duty as the prelude to the “Contest of Chaos” summer epic. Can it pull off the ongoing greatness of the series and set up an event? Yes, with some caveats.

In an extra-sized issue, Orlando and artist Carlos Nieto get to explore Agatha Harkness and Scarlet Witch’s relationship a bit in this issue. A bit breezy with its pacing, the creative team delivers a great slice-of-life issue showcasing Scarlet Witch’s day-to-day amongst the community. It opens with a cool concept involving terrariums and threats Scarlet Witch once had to tussle with, but now it’s fairly easy to vanquish them. These in-between scenes are a highlight, showcasing a superhero in a casual way we just never see.

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The meat of this issue involves Agatha, who pays Scarlet Witch a visit after doing some awful damage to a threat in New Salem, Colorado. Orlando crafts a battle between the two that’s not an overt spell vs. spell, but a little more cunning. Agatha poisons Scarlet Witch’s tea, for instance, as a test. As her former teacher, there’s an interesting dynamic at play here. That allows Scarlet Witch to toss her magical tricks at Agatha, leading to an epic montage as they teleport to incredible places. One might think poisoning someone to near death is a rather serious situation, but Scarlet Witch takes it in stride. A witch’s life, I guess.

Scarlet Witch Annual #1

Ever heard of a chair, Agatha?
Credit: Marvel

This issue also packs in a little moment for Darcy, which should please fans of the series. Orlando could have easily had this be a fight comic between Scarlet Witch and Agatha, but thankfully some character work is done here and there.

This issue has everything you’d want regarding art, especially with what Sara Pichelli has established in the main series. Color artist Triona Farrell delivers the right tones when it comes to Scarlet Witch’s emporium, which is slightly subdued and warm. Character acting is fabulous throughout, and Nieto does a bang-up job with the epic battle when Agatha and Scarlet Witch throw down. From magical spell effects to the different locations, there’s a lot to love in that sequence.

As far as a prelude to “Contest of Chaos,” I’d argue this issue doesn’t do much. The final page is the lead-in, but I wasn’t sure what to expect of that event after reading this. Maybe if they used a different word than prelude, but it’s mostly a one-shot reminding us Agatha is young and back—no more, no less.

Scarlet Witch Annual is a robust character study with a witch throwdown to satiate superhero fans. It’s not the strongest “Contest of Chaos” prelude, though, but if you’re picking this up as a Scarlet Witch fan, you get everything you want and more.

'Scarlet Witch Annual' #1 is a great chapter in the fabulous ongoing by Steve Orlando
‘Scarlet Witch Annual’ #1 is a great chapter in the fabulous ongoing by Steve Orlando
Scarlet Witch Annual #1
Scarlet Witch Annual is a robust character study with a witch throwdown to satiate superhero fans. It's not the strongest "Contest of Chaos" prelude, though, but if you're picking this up as a Scarlet Witch fan, you get everything you want and more.
Reader Rating1 Votes
8.5
Continues to show Orlando has a great handle in developing characters
Great character acting throughout
Fun to see Agatha and Scarlet Witch fight, but are still respecting each other
Not much of a prelude to Contest of Chaos
9
Great
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