Numbercrunching: Scarlet #1 by Brian Bendis and Alex Maleev

Scarlet #1, the new Marvel Icon book from Brian Bendis and Alex Maleev is out. So what’s it all about? Time for a little… numbercrunching!

Cost: $3.95

$3.95? Yes.

Not $3.99? No.

So… it’s 4 cents cheaper than New Avengers? Exactly.

Story pages:29

Pages of script: 2

Text pages: 5

Pin ups: 3

Splash pages: 6

How many of which make up a double splash page with only one speech balloon: 2

Cost per story page: 13.6 cents

Deaths: 2

Panels where lead character directly breaks the fourth wall: 33

So it’s a bit like She-Hulk then? Not really.

So what is it a bit like then? It’s a bit like V For Vendetta.

In what way? One person against the system, trying through a series of isolated events to bring the whole system crashing down. However in Scarlet, we’re following the protagonist, privy to her spoken thoughts as she directs them to her, an an origin as her world view is shifted and then followed to its logical conclusion.

Which is? Not quite sure yet. Possibly reform of the Portland police force through directed violence? We’ll probably be finding out. Like I said this is an origin.

Which kind of female protagonist is she? What do you mean?

There are two kinds of female protagonists in action genres right now. Long haired with figure hugging clothes and leather boots. Or scruffy short haired girls in T-shirts, gothesque tendencies and bovver boots. The latter definitely.

So she’s a sexy-but-not-traditionally-so, open, frank, psychologically flawed, sarcastic and not a natural authority figure. Bingo.

Girl with a dragon tattoo? More girl with a circle on one nipple and a cross on the other.

Close enough. Lesbian tendencies but ends up with the man? You’re really good at this.

Thank you. Best bit? Series of nine panel grids barrelling through the “firsts” in “Scarlet”‘s life.

Worst bit.Realising that I really missed this Brian Bendis, the one who created Torso, AKA Goldfish, Jinx and the like. And that Alex Maleev created a photorealistic comic that’s perfectly accomplishes what Bendis was trying to achieve with his art back then.  And feeling aggrieved that he’s been writing Avengers, Secret Invasion, Ultimate Spider-Man, even Daredevil, when we could have been having more of this.

Calm down man. I’m just saying.

I know. I mean, you know?

I know. Pass me that copy of X-Women.

There you go. Thanks.

Where are you going? Back in five minutes.

You disgust me. I know.


About Rich Johnston

Chief writer and founder of Bleeding Cool. Father of two. Comic book clairvoyant. Political cartoonist.