Avengers VS X-Men

Week of the Witch: Brian Michael Bendis Q&A

The man who disassembled the Avengers discusses the fall of Wanda Maximoff and how she will rise again

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By Ben Morse

At her best, Wanda Maximoff stood proud as one of the greatest heroes in the Marvel Universe; at her worst, The Scarlet Witch nearly destroyed the Avengers once and for all.

With the events of Avengers Disassembled and House of M in her past—though hardly forgotten—and having taken the first tentative steps toward redemption in AVENGERS: THE CHILDREN’S CRUSADE, The Scarlet Witch stands poised to play a pivotal role in Avengers Vs. X-Men. Will she make up for the pain she has caused in the past or once again find herself at the center of tragedy?

All this week, we will be looking at Wanda Maximoff’s life of triumph and tragedy, reliving her tumultuous history and speaking with the creators who know her best. As we draw ever closer to Avengers Vs. X-Men, prepare yourself with this Week of the Witch.

When Brian Michael Bendis took over the Avengers franchise in 2004, The Scarlet Witch underwent a drastic fall.

Revealing Wanda Maximoff as the mastermind behind “Avengers Disassembled” and the fall of the team, the writer played on the tragedy and instability omnipresent in the Scarlet Witch’s life to that point. She attempted to put the world at peace during House of M, but instead ended up decimating the mutant race before fading into the background.

With The Scarlet Witch finally back on the scene and seeking to atone for her past misdeeds in Avengers Vs. X-Men, we spoke to Bendis about the path he set Wanda Maximoff down nearly a decade ago and his plans for her in the near future.

Marvel.com: You were the one who wrote Wanda Maximoff’s fall back in “Avengers Disassembled”; what prompted the story back then, and how do you feel about the development looking back?

Brian Michael Bendis: The story was prompted from my enthusiasm towards the character and the many dark areas other writers had pulled her into including John Byrne. I thought it was an organic but surprising twist on the character. I knew it would be somewhat controversial but nowhere near as controversial as it ended up being. In many ways it solidified my reputation as an Avengers writer for both people who dig what I'm doing and those who adamantly do not.

Marvel.com: As an outside observer of Wanda’s first steps toward “rehabilitation” in AVENGERS: THE CHILDREN’S CRUSADE, what have your thoughts been?

Brian Michael Bendis: That's the great thing about the Marvel Universe. The characters evolve.

Marvel.com: How do you feel The Scarlet Witch heading into AvX is a different character than the one from before her breakdown? What has changed about her and what prompted those changes?

Brian Michael Bendis: One of the challenges of [putting] a character like Wanda that far down into the abyss is the challenge for all of us to pull her back out of it and then trying to discover what kind of character she is once she's back in the game. The Avengers Vs. X-Men event is the perfect platform for a character like Wanda to discover or rediscover who she is and what she's capable of.

Marvel.com: Deep down, is Wanda a hero? What makes her so?

Brian Michael Bendis: She is a hero on every conceivable level. Because of her choices. When in control of herself her choices are selfless and heroic. She is a disciple of Captain America. People always think of her as just the daughter of Magneto but the person who trained her to be a hero in the earliest issues of AVENGERS was Captain America. Captain America inspired her to be the best she could be. The only downside was that sometimes that let her down the path to self-destruction.

Marvel.com: How do Wanda’s relationships shape her? How do Magneto, Quicksilver, The Vision, Wonder Man and so on influence her as a person? Who are the most important people in her life?

Brian Michael Bendis: I think you just listed them. And I would also include Captain America, as I described above, Carol Danvers and Janet Van Dyne. There was something about their friendships and all those issues that made you just like Wanda. She seemed to be one of the most appealing people on the team. Everybody liked her. And a lot of people loved her.

And I think that most people really like that she was able to rise above Magneto's influence of her and become something better than she was raised to be.

Marvel.com: What do you feel is essential to The Scarlet Witch as far as her core character and what do you like about her?

Brian Michael Bendis: I think that now she has to remember that the nature of her power and her psyche can lead her down a dark path and that she must work harder than almost anyone to keep control of herself. And she has to earn the love and respect of some of the people she most loves and respects

Marvel.com: How does your story in AVENGERS VS. X-MEN #0 set Wanda up going into the larger event?

Brian Michael Bendis: On the plus side it [brings] her [back] into the Marvel Universe with a very spectacular action sequence that also reintroduces her to some of her for old friends. On the downside it also reintroduces her to The Vision who is still very hurt on numerous levels

Come back tomorrow as Week of the Witch continues. And remember to pick up AVENGERS VS. X-MEN #0 on March 28 and AVENGERS VS. X-MEN #1 on April 4, in stores and on the Marvel Comics app!

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