Written by Brian Michael Bendis
Art by Alex Maleev
Letters by Joshua Reed
After the dramatic events at the end of the first issue, we get our first look at some of the events that led to the government cutting off Portland from the rest of the country. As the soldier sent in to deliver a message to Scarlet and the people of the city, the woman herself has to consider what she and the rest of the people under her need. Scarlet knows that at this point, she is operating in new territory, but she isn’t dumb and her resolve asserts itself when she realizes what trick the government is using with this soldier.
As she and the rest of the people following her contemplate what they are going to do next, Scarlet takes the time to think about the circumstances that led her to the leader of an armed resistance movement. Circumstances that took the man she loved from her and set her on a collision course with her destiny. At the same time, a young follower is edging closer to a decision that could escalate the situation in ways that could be deadly for everyone involved.
There is palpable tension in this issue as the reader doesn’t know what decision Scarlet will make or what the agendas of both the government and Scarlet are. The fact that Bendis finds a way to skirt the subject of demands would indicate that there is a deeper plot at work. One that will continue to make this story engaging. I like the character of Scarlet and the narrative tools that are being used with her to tell the story. I like that she addresses her own insecurities and fears. It helps to ground the character with a sense of realism as well as make her more human.
Maleev’s art complements this story in both tone and style. I really enjoy the look of this series and the gritty, detailed art. There’s a sense of immediacy to it that amplifies the drama.