Following its strong debut, the Scarlet Witch’s new series has developed into a reliable pleasure. The potentially risky decision to have a new artist for each issue has proven to be a smart gamble. Each creator brings to the book a different sensibility which conjures a shifting atmosphere for the adventures of Wanda Maximoff. At the same time, these various styles complement each other, blending into a rich magical landscape. The consistent thread throughout has been James Robinson’s strong scripts, which explore Wanda’s heroic role. Her virtuous feats do not come without a cost, yet, she cannot help but continue pursuing them. It is in her nature after all, which is what makes her a true hero. For #6, Robinson takes a different perspective on this theme by offering a touching tale of grief.
Wanda is in Paris furthering her investigations into the current fragile state of mystical forces. While there she comes across a bank robbery, which she handily disrupts. In its aftermath, the police Inspector Marc Joubert volunteers that Paris is presently suffering from a dearth of superpowered protectors. After running through a litany of names, he mentions “Le Peregrine” (or Le Faucon Pelerin as the French tongue prefers). “He doesn’t fly at all,” Marc observes ruefully. So, Wanda locates Le Peregrine on a nearby rooftop, where he is consumed by sorrow.
Alain Racine, aka Peregrine, is in mourning for his beloved wife Adele. They had a deep connection established in disregard to their celebrity status (Adele was a professional model). They bonded on a deep level, intellectually as well as emotionally. This type of union is rare. Robinson implies that Adele’s passionate feelings about politics was one of the things that kept Alain in the air. Her dedication to making the world a better place was contagious and an inspiration. They might not have always seen eye to eye (who does?) but they were there for each other. And now she is gone. Killed in a random car accident. Alain blames himself, saying he was too busy hunting suspects in the aftermath of the November 13th terrorist attacks. His heartbreak is all-consuming; he has lost the will to fly.
Robinson does an excellent job of navigating these emotionally fraught waters. Wanda uses her magical arts to guide Alain through the grieving process, so that he might gradually come to terms with his loss. In the place of sorrow, Robinson offers hope, reminding readers that the best way to celebrate a beloved’s life is by living your own to its fullest. What better way to honor their memory? At the same time, Robinson subtly sets his story in the larger context of a city riven by recent acts of violence. His message of healing being relevant to many beyond a fictional superhero.
Taking up the art duties this issue is Marguerite Sauvage. Sauvage proves to be an excellent choice for this installment, lending a wistful quality to the narrative. The issue opens with a stunning full-page illustration of Wanda striding across the roofs of Paris. She is striking as always in her scarlet garments and flowing black hair, yet only a small detail of the composition. The page is dominated by the sky above, swirling clouds towering over the urban area. Sauvage’s light colors adds a dreamy air to the scene, evoking a sense of twilight. This high visual standard is maintained throughout the book, channeling both the melancholy of mourning and the strength of hope. It is a stunning achievement which constitutes a new highlight in her blossoming career.
In such a way, Robinson and Sauvage craft a memorable, heartfelt issue.