By Jim Beard
At her best, Wanda Maximoff stood proud as one of the grea
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.
Two forces define the story of Wanda Maximoff, The Scarlet Witch: magic and chaos. From a troubled beginning, Wanda has been pulled in more than one direction, too often into tragic alliances and cataclysmic confrontations. Her incredible powers and abilities make her a target for manipulation, but she’s fought valiantly against such outside pressures her entire life, and to this day resists their advances. This, and her long service as an Avenger, makes her one of the most unique super heroes in the Marvel Universe.
The birthplace of Wanda and her twin brother Pietro—later the super speedster Quicksilver—Wundagore Mountain, endowed her with a propensity to wield magic in addition to her natural mutant ability to affect probability. The twins believed their parents to be first a Romani couple and then the Golden Age heroes The Whizzer and Miss America, but in truth their births stemmed from a darker source: Magneto, one of the most powerful mutants of all.
Once their mutant powers manifested in adolescence the twins founds themselves recruited into Magneto’s Brotherhood of Evil Mutants. Unaware of their connection to the villain, they fought alongside him against the X-Men, not fully comprehending their leader’s purposes. Magneto then disappeared for a time and with the Brotherhood disbanded, Wanda and Pietro joined the heroic Avengers at the recommendation of founding member Iron Man.
With the Avengers, The Scarlet Witch came into a place that would eventually prove to be life-altering. There, she grew into the role of a hero under the tutelage of Captain America and also began to explore her talent at magic with the aid of Agatha Harkness, a true witch. Wanda also met and fell in love with The Vision, an android; this of course caused a stir throughout the ranks of the team, but the two lovers married and Wanda manipulated probabilities to give birth to twins of her own.
After these happy times, tragedy and tumult entered the picture. The Scarlet Witch learned of her relationship to Magneto while The Vision encountered many trials and tribulations as he first attempted to take over the world’s computers and then found himself dismantled by a clandestine group of governments. With a newly reassembled and emotionless Vision for a husband, Wanda’s children remained her last refuge for sanity. But the ultimate tragedy sprung up when she learned that her two babies never truly existed as anything but soul shards of a demon. With her family gone, the Scarlet Witch’s life followed a trail of capture and possession by various entities, all for their own personal gain—and the ruination of Wanda’s mind.
Strange times ensued from that point forward: Wanda’s on-again-off again Avengers membership; the death of Wonder Man, Wanda’s forlorn admirer; her attempt to resurrect her children and to reconcile with The Vision; and the revelation of the Scarlet Witch’s true nature as a conduit for chaos magic, one of the strongest forces in the universe.
During this tumultuous period, a mysterious otherworldly entity took refuge in Wanda’s body and, in doing so, drove her slowly to the brink of madness. The now-crazed Scarlet Witch settled it in her disturbed mind that her teammates failed to help her save her children and so she committed herself to an ultimate act of destruction on everything the Avengers held dear. The resulting firestorm left The Vision destroyed and Wanda’s friends Hawkeye, Jack of Hearts and Scott Lang dead.
Still possessed by the entity, The Scarlet Witch, at the suggestion of her brother Quicksilver, created a fantasy world wherein all the heroes found their ultimate happiness. When that world eventually unraveled, Wanda decided her father Magneto—and by extension, mutants—caused the most misery on Earth and proceeded to rip away the powers and abilities of the vast majority of the race. The Scarlet Witch then spirited herself away, back to Wundagore Mountain and hopeful seclusion from the her former friends and the life she knew. Inside her, the strange entity stirred and caused Wanda to forget her past and her identity.
But what of her children, whom she attempted to recreate at one time? Now the teenage super heroes Wiccan and Speed, both members of the Young Avengers, they sought out their mother and discovered her still amnesiac but about to be married to none other than Doctor Doom, one of the world’s worst tyrants. Soon, her memory returned, but so too did the Avengers and the X-Men into her life and the hatred and loathing for the judgment she passed on the Earth’s mutants. Doom attempted to take control of the powerful entity within Wanda and she managed to talk him out of an attempt at global conquest, but not before Stature of the Young Avengers sacrificed her life.
The X-Men ultimately elected to leave Wanda alone in hopes that she would find a way to repower the mutant race, but Cyclops warned her deeds had not been forgotten or forgiven. Captain America offered a place back with the Avengers, but for now, The Scarlet Witch walks alone.
Come back tomorrow for an exclusive interview with AVENGERS: THE CHILDREN’S CRUSADE writer Allan Heinberg 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!