Bendis is notoriously hit or miss with me. I must admit that his track record is a bit stronger with his creator-owned work than it is with his Marvel stuff. Scarlet follows along that pattern; this is an entertaining book.
It’s odd, I think I like the attitude and the idea behind the series more than the execution. Scarlet Rue is a woman betrayed by the system, and she’s not taking it anymore. After her boyfriend has an extremely unfortunate run-in with a random policeman, Scarlet’s life spirals out of control. The book opens with her trying to even the score with the men who ruined her life. The simple motivation of revenge and revealing corruption are easy to root for, making Scarlet a good protagonist.
This is a Bendis book, so there is a TON of dialogue. Scarlet spends almost every page giving running commentary to the reader. That’s a trick not used very often in comics, though, so it does give the story a unique feeling. It’s worth noting that Scarlet may look like a crazy vigilante type on the covers, but she’s actually a lot more relatable in the interiors. Again, the dialogue is copious, but there are some neat characters here.
The pacing is a bit strange, as entire pages are given over to backstory. When using it on Scarlet or her co-conspirators, the conceit works. But when we lost a few pages to watching Scarlet follow a crooked cop, it is hard to see exactly what we’re supposed to be watching. I think the pacing might have annoyed me if I was paying for the issues individually.
Longtime Bendis-collaborator Alex Maleev provides the art. I’m torn on the guy; I can recognize the great, emotional stuff he puts on the page, but I do get lost with his storytelling. There are multiple pages where I got lost and read the panels out of order. He also loves to use photo-references, to the point of distraction. That said, as a stickler for backgrounds, I certainly appreciate his attention to detail in set-building.
This is an odd comic, not a huge winner for me, but definitely entertaining. Is it time to break out the old rating system and say this comic is FAIR?