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Scarlet Witch
Scarlet witch perez.jpg
The Scarlet Witch as drawn by George Pérez.
Publication information
Publisher Marvel Comics
First appearance X-Men #4 (March 1964)
Created by Stan Lee
Jack Kirby
In-story information
Alter ego Wanda Maximoff
Species Human Mutant
Team affiliations Brotherhood of Evil Mutants
Avengers
Lady Liberators
West Coast Avengers
Defenders
Secret Defenders
Force Works
Notable aliases Wanda Frank, Ana Maximoff, Wanda Magnus
Abilities Reality warping, Hex energy

The Scarlet Witch (Wanda Maximoff) is a fictional character that appears in publications published by Marvel Comics. The character first appears in X-Men #4 (March 1964) and was created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby.

Debuting in the Silver Age of comic books, the Scarlet Witch has featured in four decades of Marvel continuity, starring in two self-titled limited series with husband the Vision and as a regular team member in superhero title the Avengers. The character has also appeared in other Marvel-endorsed products such as animated films; arcade and video games; television series and merchandise such as action figures and trading cards.

The Scarlet Witch was ranked 97th Greatest Comic Book Character Ever in Wizard Magazine's 200 Greatest Comic Book Characters of all Time list.[1]

Contents

Publication history

The Scarlet Witch debuted, together with her brother, Quicksilver, as a part of the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants in X-Men #4 (March 1964). After several brief appearances as a villain in issues #5 (May 1964); #6 (July 1964); #7 (Sept. 1964); & #11 (May 1965), Wanda and her brother were added to the cast of the superhero team the Avengers in Avengers #16 (May 1965). The Scarlet Witch was a semi-regular member of the team until issue #49 (Feb. 1968), and then returned in issue #75 (April 1970) and was a perennial member until Avengers #503 (Dec. 2004), the final issue of the first volume. The Scarlet Witch also starred in two limited series with husband and fellow Avenger the Vision: Vision and the Scarlet Witch #1 - 4 (Nov. 1982 - Feb. 1983), by writer Bill Mantlo and penciller Rick Leonardi, and a second volume of the same title numbered #1 - 12 (Oct. 1985 - Sept. 1986), written by Steve Englehart and penciled by Richard Howell.

The character was also played a pivotal role in the Avengers Disassembled storyline and related limited series House of M and Son of M.

Don Markstein also asserted that the character was unlike another, and stated that "...The Scarlet Witch is unique among superheroes, and not just because she's the only one who wears a wimple. Her super power is unlike any other — she can alter probability so as to cause mishaps for her foes. In other words, she "hexes" them."[2]

Biography

Magda — pregnant with the Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver — takes sanctuary at Mount Wundagore in Transia, the home of the High Evolutionary, after seeing her husband Magnus use his magnetic powers for the first time. The twins are born, and as Mt. Wundagore is the prison of the Elder God Chthon, his residual energies alter Wanda and will later give her the ability to use magic in addition to her mutant abilities. Fearing that Magnus would discover the children, Magda leaves the sanctuary and dies of exposure to the elements. The twins are attended by Bova. Bova soon assists the World War II superheroine Miss America through labor, but the birth results in a stillborn child and Miss America loses her own life in the process. These complications are thought to be due to radiation poisoning deliberately caused by the villain Isbisa, the enemy of Miss America's husband Robert Frank, AKA Whizzer. Bova hides the truth from Frank and claims that only the mother has died, and that he now has twin children. Frank is shocked at the death of his wife and flees at super speed.[3] As Wundagore was no place for human infants, the High Evolutionary places them in the care of the gypsies Django and Marya Maximoff, who raise the twins as their own children. The twins are forced to flee a mob when Wanda uses her powers to protect herself and accidentally causes a fire that kills their adoptive gypsy mother.[4]

Once Pietro (Quicksilver) and Wanda (The Scarlet Witch) reach adolescence, they discover that they are in fact mutants. Pietro possesses superhuman speed, while Wanda learns that she can control probability. When the pair display their powers in public, and are again attacked by a superstitious crowd, they are saved by their father — now the supervillain Magneto — although neither Magneto nor his children are aware of their connection. Magneto then recruits the pair for the first incarnation of the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants. The Brotherhood battles the X-Men on several occasions,[5] and the twins become reluctant members of the Brotherhood and only remain because of their obligation to Magneto. When Magneto and his lackey Toad are abducted by the cosmic entity Stranger, the Brotherhood dissolves and the twins declare that their debt to Magneto has been paid.[6]

Avengers

Soon after Magneto's abduction, Quicksilver and the Scarlet Witch are recruited by the hero Iron Man to join The Avengers. Along with Captain America as leader, and former villain Hawkeye, the four become the second generation of The Avengers and are later dubbed as "Cap's Kooky Quartet".[7]

Cover of Avengers #104 (Oct. 1972), featuring the Scarlet Witch and the Avengers. Art by Rick Buckler.

Wanda becomes close friends with Hawkeye and a loyal member of the team until she is accidentally shot on a mission against Magneto. Quicksilver then flees from the Avengers with his wounded sister.[8] The pair accompany Magneto back to his mid-Atlantic base,[9] and Wanda spends the next few weeks recovering from her wound. She watches as Magneto captures the X-Men[10] and Pietro skirmishes with Cyclops, one of the X-Men,[11] and later Spider-Man.[12] After these encounters, the twins finally realize that Magneto is the true villain. Wanda and Pietro are then kidnapped along with several other mutants by the Sentinels, but are subsequently freed by the X-Men.[13]

Quicksilver later returns to the Avengers and advises them that Wanda has been kidnapped and taken to another dimension by the warlord Arkon.[14] After being rescued, Wanda — together with Pietro — rejoins the team. The Scarlet Witch then falls in love with teammate Vision, an android originally created as a weapon by Avenger's foe Ultron. Before long, the two develop a romantic relationship.[15] Their relationship has a tumultuous start as both Quicksilver and Hawkeye object — Quicksilver cannot accept the idea that his sister loves a robot while Hawkeye loves Wanda himself.[15] Despite this, the pair eventually marry with the blessing of the entire team.[16]

The Scarlet Witch begins to become frustrated with the fluctuating level of her mutant ability, and is tutored by a true witch, Agatha Harkness. The training allows Wanda even greater control over her hexes[17] and this proves invaluable in battle against foes such as Ultron.[18] Wanda and Pietro also met Robert Frank, who briefly joins the Avengers, believing them to be his children.[19] This is later disproved when Wanda and Pietro are abducted by Django Maximoff and taken to Wundagore. Wanda is temporarily possessed by the demon Chthon, but after being released is advised by Bova that neither Frank nor Maximoff is their biological father.[20] Soon after, while trying to track down Magda one last time, Magneto would learn that he was the father of the twins. He immediately informed them of their relationship shortly after the birth of Pietro's daughter Luna.[21] The Scarlet Witch and Vision take a leave of absence from the Avengers,[22] and courtesy of Wanda's enhanced power conceive twin boys named Thomas and William.[23] Wanda gives birth,[24] and, with Vision, eventually joins the West Coast Avengers,[25] needing some time away from the main team after Vision becomes unbalanced and tries to take over the world's computers.[26]

Their relationship is almost ended when Vision is abducted by a coalition of the world governments and dismantled to ensure that he is no longer a threat. Although rebuilt, Vision is recreated as a colorless, emotionless synthezoid.[27] Wanda's agitation is increased when Wonder Man - whose brain patterns were the model for the Vision - refuses to repeat the process and "humanize" Vision, as he is secretly in love with the Scarlet Witch and sees an opportunity for himself.[28] Now desperate, the Scarlet Witch consults a Dean of Robotics in the state of Texas, who secretly manages a mutant research facility. The Scarlet Witch is bonded with a sentient symbiotic substance, with the Dean intending to use Wanda as a prototype to replace mankind. Wanda is, however, rescued by her teammates with the assistance of Captain America and She-Hulk.[29]

Another personal setback follows when it is revealed that Wanda's children are in fact two missing shards of the soul of the demonic entity Mephisto. In an act of kindness, Agatha Harkness then erases all trace of the children from Wanda's memory.[30] Despite this, the Scarlet Witch retreats from reality and falls into a catatonic state. Vision, now guided by cold logic, decides in the wake of recent developments on the East coast to return to the main team, and is apparently oblivious to the condition of his wife.[31] Wanda's weakened state over the loss of her children and changes in her husband makes her susceptible to the mental commands of Magneto, who is also apparently being aided by Quicksilver. Adopting a new evil persona, Wanda turns against the Avengers as she and her family battle the Avengers West Coast team,[32] until it is revealed that Pietro was only waiting for the right moment to stop his father and helps drive Magneto off. During the battle, Wanda again reverts back to a catatonic state, with this being caused by the time entity Immortus; although he is later defeated and Wanda is rescued by the Avengers and restored to sanity.[33]

Quicksilver and the Scarlet Witch discover their origin in Avengers #185 (Jul. 1979). Art by George Pérez.

Despite Vision's absence, the Scarlet Witch remains with the team. When the West Coast team is dissolved by the main team due to internal disputes and mistakes in the field,[34] Wanda goes on to lead a breakaway team called Force Works.[35] The team suffers several setbacks, including the death of Wonder Man on the first mission.[36] When the team splinters after the last mission involving Kang the Conqueror,[37] the Scarlet Witch and Hawkeye return to the main team.[38] Vision and Scarlet Witch reconcile shortly before sacrificing themselves with the other Avengers and the Fantastic Four to stop the mutant villain Onslaught.[39] Due to the intervention of Franklin Richards, Scarlet Witch and her teammates exist in a parallel universe for a year,[40] until being returned to the mainstream universe by Franklin.[41]

Shortly after the heroes return, Scarlet Witch is kidnapped by the sorceress Morgan le Fay, with the intention of using Wanda's powers to warp reality in le Fay's image. Although successful, Wanda retaliates by restoring Captain America's memories, who in turn is able to restore several Avengers' memories. Wanda also accidentally resurrects Wonder Man, who assists in her escape. Although the Avengers defeat le Fay, Vision is damaged in the final battle when Le Fay destroys the lower half of his body. Vision is placed in a surgical repair device, and via hologram communicates with Wanda and asks her not to visit him while he heals.[42]

An upset Wanda visits Agatha Harkness and learns that she is now able to channel chaos magic, which will allow her to change reality. After much deliberation and still hurting from Vision's rejection, Wanda resurrects Wonder Man and the two become lovers.[43] Vision is eventually repaired and has a confrontation with Wonder Man, though they part on amicable terms.[44] During the war against Kang, Wanda and Wonder Man separate, as they realize that theirs is a relationship of passion with no interest in a normal future.[45] Wanda later reconciles with Vision, and becomes energized with chaos magic when the villain Scorpio splits the cosmic entity the In-Betweener into his separate order and chaos personas.[46]

Avengers Disassembled

Avengers Disassembled is a crossover event between several Marvel Comics series. The active members of the Avengers team during the event included the Scarlet Witch. The Avengers are depicted returning from events in England, and Janet Van Dyne, the Wasp, enters into a romantic tryst with the wounded, but recovering, Hawkeye. While discussing the affair with Wanda, a slightly tipsy Wasp confesses to a pregnancy scare and inadvertently mentions Wanda's own children.[47] This causes Wanda to suffer a mental breakdown, and she starts rewriting reality, causing a series of threats and incidents to inexplicably occur one after the other, including the deaths of Vision, Scott Lang, and Hawkeye. She also proceeds to recreate her children. The Avengers confront her and Doctor Strange shuts down her mind. Wanda is then retrieved by her father Magneto, and taken to Genosha.[48]

House of M and Decimation

Variant cover to House of M #1 (June 2005)
Art by Joe Quesada and Danny Miki.

After the events of the House of M, a newly resurrected Hawkeye seeks out and becomes intimate with Wanda, who is now living a normal life with no apparent mutant abilities and no memory of her past.[49] The mutant Beast later finds Wanda and seeks her help to deal with the aftermath of Decimation, but she has no memory of him.[50] Young Avengers members Wiccan and Speed attempt - unsuccessfully - to find her, though the issue depicts her continuing to lead a normal and secluded life in Wundagore.[51]

Loki has masqueraded as Scarlet Witch to form and subsequently manipulate a new team of Avengers in Mighty Avengers.[52]

Powers and abilities

Initially, the Scarlet Witch had the mutant ability to manipulate probability via "hexes". Visually, these hexes could manifest as "hex spheres" or "hex bolts" and increased the probability of various unlikely phenomena, including spontaneous combustion of inflammable objects, rapid rust or decay of organic or inorganic materials, deflection of objects and powers in flight, and disruption of energy transmissions or fields. These hexes were relatively short range and limited to line of sight. Casting a hex requires a gesture and concentration on her part, though the gestures are largely a focus for the concentration. Despite this precision, the hexes are not necessarily guaranteed to work, particularly if Wanda is tired or using her powers excessively. If overextended, Wanda's hexes can backfire, causing probability to work against her wishes or to undo previous hexes. The effects are varied but almost always detrimental to opponents, such as causing the artifact the Evil Eye to work against inter-dimensional warlord Dormammu,[53] the robot Ultron to short circuit,[54] or a gas main underneath the Brotherhood of Mutants to explode.[55] Wanda is an expert combatant having been trained by both Captain America and Hawkeye, as well as being an adept tactician due to her years of experience working as an Avenger and her experience in a variety of combat situations.

Writer Kurt Busiek redefined the Scarlet Witch's powers, and maintained that it was in fact an ability to manipulate chaos magic, activated when she was born. Busiek's redefinition upgraded Wanda's powers substantially, and she is shown as being capable of feats such as the resurrection of Wonder Man. She was here described as the "nexus being" of the Marvel Universe, capable of birthing children with power enough to challenge avatars of Eternity.[56]

Writer Brian Michael Bendis revamped Wanda's powers yet again, with Doctor Strange stating that there was in fact no such thing as chaos magic, and that Wanda had been altering reality all along. Her power was here depicted as sufficient to rewrite her entire universe,[57] and cause multiverse-threatening ripples.[58]

Other versions

Heroes Reborn

The Scarlet Witch is one of the Avengers participating in the defeat of the entity Onslaught, and is subsequently trapped in the Heroes Reborn universe. In this artificial reality, Wanda was raised by Agatha Harkness, with the Asgardian sorceress the Enchantress falsely claiming to be her mother.[59]

The Ultimate Scarlet Witch on the cover of Ultimate Power #6 (Sep. 2007). Art by Greg Land.

Ultimate Marvel

In the Ultimate Marvel imprint title Ultimates, the Scarlet Witch and her brother Quicksilver defect from Magneto's Brotherhood of Mutant Supremacy, to the Ultimates in exchange for the release of imprisoned Brotherhood members. The siblings also share an incestuous relationship. The Ultimate version's powers differ from the mainstream version in that the character has to "do the math" in order to use her powers — she must calculate the mathematical probability that the effect she intends to create will actually happen, with the more unlikely the effect, the more complex the mathematical formula.[60]

Age of Apocalypse

During the Age of Apocalypse storyline, the Scarlet Witch is a member of Magneto's version of the X-Men, dying to defend the X-Men's base on Wundagore Mountain from an attack by Nemesis.[61]

MC2

An older version of the Scarlet Witch appears in the MC2 title A-Next, having been placed in a coma during the original Avengers final battle.[62]

Marvel Zombies

In the Marvel Zombies storyline, an alternate universe version of the Scarlet Witch helps Ash find the Necronomicon Ex-Mortis. Wanda is eventually attacked and infected by zombified vigilante the Punisher.[63] The character reappears, still "zombified" in the third installment in the series, Marvel Zombies 3. She works with the Kingpin, using Vision to block enemy radio signals.[64]

Marvel Noir

In the limited series X-Men Noir, Wanda Magnus is a wealthy socialite and the daughter of Chief of Detectives Eric Magnus.[65]

Marvel 1602

In Marvel 1602, Sister Wanda and her brother, Petros, are followers of Enrique, High Inquisitor of the Spanish Catholic Church.[66]

Exiles

The title Exiles features an alternate version from Earth-8823 with the call sign "Witch". The character joins the inter-dimensional superhero team[67] but is killed in action, and is replaced - without the knowledge of her team mates - by yet another alternate version of herself.[68]

In other media

The Scarlet Witch appears in select episodes of the Captain America segment of the animated television series The Marvel Super Heroes (1966); X-Men animated series voiced by Susan Roman; Iron Man voiced by Katherine Moffat in Season One and Jennifer Darling in Season Two; Avengers voiced by Stavroula Logothettis; X-Men: Evolution voiced by Kelly Sheridan; Wolverine and the X-Men voiced by Kate Higgins and The Super Hero Squad Show voiced by Tara Strong.

The Scarlet Witch is a playable character in the video game X-Men Legends II: Rise of Apocalypse (2005) voiced by Jennifer Hale.

The Scarlet Witch was part of the Avengers toy line released by Toy Biz in 1996, and was part of Marvel Legends, Series 11.

Footnotes

  1. ^ [1]
  2. ^ http://www.toonopedia.com/scwitch.htm
  3. ^ Avengers #185 - 187 (Jul. - Sep. 1979)
  4. ^ Recounted in Vision and the Scarlet Witch vol. 2, #1 - 12 (Oct. 1985 - Sep. 1986)
  5. ^ X-Men #5 (May 1964); #6 (July 1964) & #7 (Sept. 1964)
  6. ^ X-Men #11 (May 1965)
  7. ^ "Avengers #16 (May 1965)
  8. ^ Avengers #49 (Feb. 1968)
  9. ^ Uncanny X-Men #43 (Apr. 1968)
  10. ^ Uncanny X-Men #44 (May 1968)
  11. ^ Uncanny X-Men #45 (Jun. 1968)
  12. ^ Spider-Man #71 (Apr. 1969)
  13. ^ Uncanny X-Men #59 - 60 (Aug - Sep. 1969)
  14. ^ Avengers #75 - 76 (Apr. - May 1970)
  15. ^ a b Avengers #109 (Mar. 1973)
  16. ^ Giant-Size Avengers #4 (June 1975)
  17. ^ Avengers #128 - 137 (Oct. 1974 - Jul. 1975)
  18. ^ Avengers #161 (Jul. 1977)
  19. ^ Whizzer joins unofficially as of Giant-Size Avengers #1 (1974)
  20. ^ Avengers #185 - 187 (July - Sep. 1979)
  21. ^ Vision and Scarlet Witch #4 ()
  22. ^ Avengers #211 (Sep. 1981)
  23. ^ Vision and the Scarlet Witch Vol. 2 #3 (Dec. 1985)
  24. ^ Vision and the Scarlet Witch vol. 2 #12 (Sep. 1986)
  25. ^ West Coast Avengers #34 (Aug. 1988)
  26. ^ Climaxed in Avengers #254 (Apr. 1985)
  27. ^ West Coast Avengers #42 - 45 (Mar. - Jun. 1989)
  28. ^ West Coast Avengers #45 (Jun. 1989)
  29. ^ Avengers West Coast #47 - 49 (Aug. - Sep. 1989)
  30. ^ Avengers West Coast #51-52 (Nov. - Dec. 1989)
  31. ^ Avengers West Coast #53 (Mid Dec. 1989)
  32. ^ Avengers West Coast #55 - 57 (Feb. - Apr. 1990)
  33. ^ Avengers West Coast #60 - 63 (Jul. - Sep. 1990)
  34. ^ Avengers West Coast #102 (Jan. 1994)
  35. ^ Force Works #1 (Jul. 1994)
  36. ^ Force Works #2 (Aug. 1994)
  37. ^ Force Works #22 (Apr. 1996)
  38. ^ Avengers #397 (Apr. 1996)
  39. ^ Onslaught: Marvel Universe (1996)
  40. ^ Avengers vol. 2, #1 - 13 (Nov. 1996 - Dec. 1997)
  41. ^ Heroes Reborn: The Return #1 - 4 (Sep. - Dec. 1997)
  42. ^ Avengers vol. 3, #1 - 4 (Feb. - Apr. 1998)
  43. ^ Avengers vol. 3, #10 (Nov. 1997)
  44. ^ Avengers vol. 3, #23 (Dec. 1998)
  45. ^ Avengers vol. 3, #51 (Apr. 2002)
  46. ^ Avengers vol. 3, #58 - 60 (Jun. - Aug. 2002)
  47. ^ Avengers #503 (Dec. 2004)
  48. ^ Avengers #500 - 503 (Sept. - Dec. 2004); Avengers Finale (Jan. 2005)
  49. ^ New Avengers #26 (Jan. 2007)
  50. ^ X-Men: Endangered Species (Oct. 2007)
  51. ^ Young Avengers Presents #3 (2008)
  52. ^ Mighty Avengers #21-23 (2009)
  53. ^ Avengers #118 (Dec. 1973)
  54. ^ Avengers #162 (Jul. 1977)
  55. ^ Avengers Annual #10 (1981)
  56. ^ Avengers Forever #1-12 (1997)
  57. ^ House of M #1-8 (2005)
  58. ^ Uncanny X-Men #462-465
  59. ^ Avengers Reborn #1 vol. 2, (Nov. 1996)
  60. ^ Ultimates #1 - 13 (March 2002 - April 2004)
  61. ^ X-Men Chronicles #1 (March 1995)
  62. ^ A-Next #1 (Oct. 1998)
  63. ^ Marvel Zombies #1 - 6 (Dec. 2005 - Apr. 2006)
  64. ^ Marvel Zombies 3 #1 - 4 (Dec. 2008 - Mar 2009)
  65. ^ X-Men Noir #1 (Feb. 2009)
  66. ^ Marvel 1602 #1 - 8 (Nov. 2003 - June 2004)
  67. ^ Exiles vol. 3, #1 (Apr. 2009)
  68. ^ Exiles vol. 3, #6 (Sept. 2009)

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