Avengers VS X-Men

Week of the Witch: Allan Heinberg Q&A

The writer of Avengers: The Children’s Crusade discusses Wanda Maximoff’s quest for redemption

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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.

With his work on YOUNG AVENGERS and more recently AVENGERS: THE CHILDREN’S CRUSADE with artist Jim Cheung, Allan Heinberg has proven himself one of the most capable writers in comics, but first and foremost he remains a fan—a fan of comics, a fan of Marvel, a fan of the Avengers and certainly a fan of The Scarlet Witch.

While CHILDREN’S CRUSADE closed a chapter in the lives the Young Avengers, it also provided a springboard for Wanda Maximoff that will launch her directly into the thick of Avengers Vs. X-Men. Over the course of nine issues, Heinberg brought The Scarlet Witch back to prominence, answered many questions over her recent actions while posing new ones, and got her started down the long, rocky road to redemption.

As Wanda prepares to move on to the next stage in her search for absolution, we talked with Heinberg about his love for the character, why he made the decisions he did with her, and what he hopes happens next.

Marvel.com: What made you a fan of The Scarlet Witch?

Allan Heinberg: The Scarlet Witch has one of the most psychologically rich backstories in the Marvel Universe. She's a twin who was adopted by a demagogue and then warped into a terrorist. Yet she ultimately had the strength of character to leave and then combat him, only to have that man turn out to be her biological father.  Then she had the courage to fall in love with a synthezoid—to marry him in spite of her brother's objections—and to find a way to have children with him. The Scarlet Witch has always been an unfathomably powerful character with a formidable dark side who has had to learn to be as compassionate as she is strong.  

Marvel.com: Despite all she’s been through, why do you feel Wanda Maximoff is a hero at the end of the day?

Allan Heinberg: Because to me everything she does, she does out of love for the people in her life. Even when those people—Magneto, Quicksilver, Doctor Doom—are on morally questionable—if not objectionable—ground, her love for them comes first. And that kind of unconditional love seems all too rare and heroic to me.  

Marvel.com: What are Wanda’s greatest flaws and how have they influenced things like her Brotherhood of Evil Mutants tenure, her breakdown with Avengers Disassembled, and so forth?

Allan Heinberg: I don't think Wanda's ever had to stand on her own until now. She's always had the Brotherhood or the Avengers or The Vision to lean on. She hasn't been called upon to define herself outside of those relationships; as a result, when those relationships shift, Wanda's whole sense of self shifts—which can be extremely dangerous.  

Marvel.com: Conversely, what are Wanda’s greatest strengths? What are her core values?

Allan Heinberg: I think her greatest strength is her pure, generous, fiercely loving heart. And her core values seem to revolve around love and a strong sense of family.    

Marvel.com: What do the Avengers mean to Wanda? How integral are they and her membership to her as a person?

Allan Heinberg: The Avengers are Wanda's true family. The Mansion is the one place she finally felt at home in the world. But I think there comes a time in everyone's life where we need to define themselves independent of our families. And that time has come for Wanda.

Marvel.com: What is your take on Wanda and the Vision’s love story? Would you like to see it continue? Has it reached its logical conclusion?

Allan Heinberg: I've always been a fan of the Wanda/Vision love story, but that story has been told. Those characters will always have a volatile chemistry together, but as a longtime fan, I'm eager to see Wanda explore new relationships.

Marvel.com: In AVENGERS: THE CHILDREN’S CRUSADE, what story did you set out to tell in regards to The Scarlet Witch? Where did you want to get her and how did you want to leave her?

Allan Heinberg: I wanted to tell the story of a fundamentally good woman who loved her children so much, and was so grief stricken when she lost them, that she made a regrettable decision that cost her everything. To me that doesn't make her a villain. That doesn't erase her countless acts of heroism; the principles she fought for, the worlds she helped save. To me, Wanda's story feels very relatable. Who among us hasn't made mistakes and hurt the people we love? But how do we come back from that? How do we not waste the gift of life we've been given by being paralyzed by self-loathing and regret?  

Marvel.com: How does having Wiccan and Speed in her life change Wanda?

Allan Heinberg: I hope Wiccan and Speed will be able to help save Wanda from her own remorse. With them around, she's won't be able to wallow in self-hatred, because her kids are there counting on her. And she won't be able to take a single moment with them for granted because she spent so much time thinking she'd lost them forever. I think Wanda's kids will be crucial to her growth as an individual—and they'll turn out to be the key to the redemption she's seeking. 

Marvel.com: As an outside observer, what are you looking forward to seeing with and from Wanda in AvX and beyond? Where would you like to see her land?

Allan Heinberg: I would love to see the character continue to grow, to further explore her dark side, and to fully inhabit her role as one of the most loving, soulful, and powerful characters—male or female—in the Marvel Universe.  

Come back tomorrow for an exclusive interview with Brian Michael Bendis 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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