Scarlet’s Way Home In Scarlet #5

by Josh Davison

[**Major Spoilers Ahead!]
A soldier takes Scarlet to the edge of Portland where she meets with a crew of people calling themselves “fans” of hers. They sneak her through the security checkpoint around the city and out of Oregon itself. In Blackfoot, Idaho, Scarlet is brought to her cousin, Cyan aka Sophie. Cyan has been busy in Blackfoot, and she reveals to Scarlet what’s really been happening around the country while Scarlet was leading her revolution in Portland. Meanwhile, the White House is not happy about any of this.

Scarlet #5 cover by Alex Maleev
Scarlet #5 cover by Alex Maleev

Scarlet #5 brings a definitive yet still open ending to this chapter of the Scarlet story. As the warning said, there will be spoilers, so, if you’re interested, you should read the book before reading this review. I will go ahead and say that I like it and recommend reading it.
Scarlet Rue started a revolution in Portland, but she sparked something that spread across all of America. Los Angeles, Atlanta, Blackfoot, Cleveland, Detroit, Chicago and cities across the nation rose up against the oppression and poverty that held them down for so long.
In short, Scarlet was winning.
It’s an upbeat ending to what could have ended with Scarlet being executed by the military. We never learn what happened in Portland after Scarlet was extracted, but we’re lead to assume that it’s not as bad as one would fear. It’s also said that the other revolutions are why the U.S. military didn’t just steamroll or bomb Portland to hell.
There’s something almost fairytale-like to this conclusion. While the blood and body counts are noticeably overlooked in the summary Cyan gives to Scarlet, there’s also the noticeable sense that this is what should happen. I can’t say I disagree, but it is almost strange that this can be put out there through a major comic’s publisher and it feels par for the course in modern fiction. That indicates something far grander than I’m willing to cover in a comic review though.
Also, the New York Times Stan Lee tribute by Brian Michael Bendis, Bill Walko, Howie Noel, and George Gustines is in the back, and it’s wonderful.
Scarlet #5 art by Alex Maleev and letterer Josh Reed
Scarlet #5 art by Alex Maleev and letterer Josh Reed

Alex Maleev finishes this all out with characteristic panache. It’s a gorgeous book full of stylism and high-quality detail work. The climax is a series of postcards from various cities with scenery inserted into the letters of the cities’ names. It’s clever and looks awesome. Maleev’s color work is once again atmospheric and eye-catching too, finishing this minseries strong overall.
Scarlet #5 brings this leg of the Scarlet Rue story to an explosive yet hopeful ending. Like I said, there is something strange about a book ending on an upbeat note considering the conclusion is the collapse of the American nation, but we won’t get into my personal feelings on that as a concept. In any case, this book is a solid read and worth a recommendation. Feel free to check it out.
Scarlet #5 comes to us from writer Brian Michael Bendis, artist and cover artist Alex Maleev, and letterer Josh Reed.

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