Scarlet Witch is a problem. I, a filthy millennial, started reading comics in the heyday of House of M and Young Avengers, which means Wanda Maximoff was introduced to me as an unstable reality-warping monster who could – and did – commit genocide with three little words. In the 16 years since Brian Bendis and Olivier Coipel, Mavel has tragically done very little to shake off this stigma. The 21st century has not been kind to the resident hex-wielding sorceress of the Avengers, as Wanda’s had her mutant heritage erased in favor of a High Evolutionary retcon no one liked, been the spark that caused the MCU’s Civil War, and raised an army of zombies in an attempt to undo her past crimes. With WandaVision currently airing on Disney+ and casting her, once again, as an apparent villain whose inability to control herself has harmed others and broken reality, I am left with one question: How the hell do you fix Wanda Maximoff? [Read more…] about The Great Pretenders: The Three-Wanda Problem
The Great Pretenders: The Complications of Wanda’s Marvel Continuity!
In the Marvel Universe, everything is supposed to be “canon” – everything that’s happened did happen and is supposed to count. And yet — and yet — some events have much more staying power than others, as if their gravitational pull on the fabric of the Marvel Universe cancelled out or diminished the effects of any later story that was supposed to amend their course. Brian Michael Bendis’s “Avengers: Disassembled” and “House of M” are such stories for Wanda Maximoff, whose blame for those events has never been absolved despite many attempts.
But before we get to that, let’s travel back to 1989: In John Byrne’s West Coast Avengers, the twin children of Wanda and Vision were revealed to have been purely magical creations of Wanda, brought to life with pieces of Mephisto’s soul yet maintained in existence solely by Wanda’s will — so much so that, whenever Wanda wasn’t thinking about them, they vanished from reality. (Incidentally, this happened just after Scarlet Witch had essentially lost her husband Vision, who’d been disassembled by the AI-fearful governments of the world and reassembled into an unfeeling machine.)
At the end of this sad turn of events, Mephisto gets his soul fragments back and little Tommy and Billy cease to exist. Wanda’s trauma is such that Agatha Harkness, her mentor in witchcraft, decides to erase all knowledge of the boys from her mind. Even at the time, it’s clear this is probably not the best idea this old Salem witch ever had. [Read more…] about The Great Pretenders: The Complications of Wanda’s Marvel Continuity!
The Great Pretenders: Regarding Wanda | A Look at the Character of the Scarlet Witch
Do you believe in magic in a young girl’s heart
How the music can free her whenever it starts? (…)
I’ll tell you about the magic, and it’ll free your soul (…)
If you believe in magic, don’t bother to choose
The Lovin’ Spoonful
Do You Believe in Magic
For decades, the Scarlet Witch has been an enigmatic character. Her “hex powers” have made stories more interesting, her life is filled with drama, and she has got hands-down the best of Jack Kirby’s “weird headgear and stage performer” aesthetics going. But she’s also been a runaway powerhouse, smashing through the Marvel universe, its laws, and her own good-will with fans. She’s a character that can do seemingly anything… so why is it these pitfalls happen? Why can’t Scarlet Witch’s character get out of this madness-shame-power-up pattern? And how could it be fixed?
We’ll take a deep-dive into Wanda and find out. I’ll be citing my references, but fans may still want to take a crack at our reading order for the Scarlet Witch before we begin. [Read more…] about The Great Pretenders: Regarding Wanda | A Look at the Character of the Scarlet Witch
The Best of the Scarlet Witch!
Despite making hundreds of appearances in Marvel comics over many decades, Wanda Maximoff is a difficult character to make a best-of list for. Even a serious Wanda fan will find themselves pressed. There are huge swaths of Avengers lore in which she’s either quietly hanging out in the background or the emphasis is on her relationship with The Vision or her complicated dynamic with Magneto and Quicksilver.
In short, most of Wanda’s stories aren’t really her own, including many of the ones that are important to read to understand her evolution. There are many stories like Avengers Disassembled, which changed the course of her life forever, but in which she barely makes an appearance. Here, we’ve left out some of the more infamous Wanda stories to emphasize those that give a better idea of who she is and what makes her tick. [Read more…] about The Best of the Scarlet Witch!
The Great Pretenders: Looking Back at the Scarlet Witch in Uncanny Avengers
As the Disney+ series WandaVision is released, Comic Book Herald critics will explore Wanda Maximoff’s comic book history, and where the character may be going moving forward, in an ongoing weekly series we’re calling “The Great Pretenders: What To Do With Marvel’s Scarlet Witch?!”
Wanda Maximoff’s fall from grace was more gradual than is generally acknowledged, but for our purposes, it mostly took place through the stories Avengers Disassembled, House of M, and Decimation. After causing countless calamities with her infamous “no more mutants” line, an amnesiac Wanda ended up in Wundagore, then engaged to Doctor Doom in Latveria, before regaining her memories in The Children’s Crusade.
As such, though Wanda seemed to be on a path to healing as far back as 2010, it’s been quite an uphill battle. As recently as the Empyre crossover, her mix of good intentions with an apparent inability to take prudent advice once again combined to create catastrophe, which could leave a lot of fans wondering if she learned anything at all in the many years that took place between these arcs. The answer to that, of course, is – kind of. It’s complicated. [Read more…] about The Great Pretenders: Looking Back at the Scarlet Witch in Uncanny Avengers