The Scarlet Witch has always been one of my favorite Avengers. I recall the first issue I read – issue #221 of the original series and published in July 1982 – featuring featuring a scene with The Wasp, She-Hulk, and the woman I would come to know as Wanda Maximoff, the Scarlet Witch. I found the character captivating even as a child. She remained so as I grew from child to teen to adult. I remained a fan even during the many years where the storyline dictated she be removed from the printed page. Today, I witnessed Wanda Maximoff move from the printed page to the silver screen. While her powers differed, the character’s appearance was nothing less than magical.
Scarlet Witch: Spoiler Free Warning
The following does not reveal anything that could be considered as a spoiler from Avengers: Age of Ultron. I only reference Wanda’s powers, as they were portrayed within the context of the movie. Nothing else is included as the remainder are a comparison to the comic book version.
Scarlet Witch: The 1960s
The Scarlet Witch and her twin brother, Pietro, were introduced in X-MEN #4, dated 1964, as original members of Magneto’s Brotherhood of Evil Mutants. The duo did not remain “evil” for long when they joined The Avengers in issue #16, dated May 1965. She remained as such for the remainder of the decade.
Scarlet Witch: The 1970s
The 1970s was a decade that saw much character development as many stories explored she and Pietro’s origins. They believed themselves to be the children of two heroes of the 1940s – The Whizzer and Miss America. Wanda developed an affection for and began a romance with (SPOILER) – against her brother’s wishes.
Scarlet Witch: The 1980s
The 1980s revealed a reason why Magneto chose Wanda and Pietro as members of the original Brotherhood – even if he didn’t realize it. Magneto was revealed as the twins father. It made sense – Pietro and Magneto both had white hair while Wanda shared a strong resemblance with Magda, Magneto’s deceased wife.
Scarlet Witch: The 1990s
Wanda joined the spinoff team, the West Coast Avengers until the team morphed into Force Works. She then returned to the main team after the dissolution of her marriage.
Scarlet Witch: The 2000s
Wanda was a key player in the Avengers Disassembled storyline followed by the House of M event. Her powers, constantly changing over the decades as (in my opinion) different writers chose to portray them differently, caused her to lose touch with reality. At this point, she could impact reality and changed reality to one where mutants were not persecuted – but ruled. Ruled by a royal family – and the reason it was called House of M – Magneto’s family.
Reality snapped back with Wanda’s utterance of three words…NO…MORE…MUTANTS.
Fans saw very little of her for the remainder of the decade.
I was not happy to see her go!
Scarlet Witch: The 2010s – The Return
She finally returned in Young Avengers: The Children’s Crusade. The story revealed that Wanda was not in control of her actions during the Disassembled storyline as well as her actions that led to wiping out 99% of the world’s mutant population with NO..MORE…MUTANTS.
I couldn’t have been happier.
The Movie Vs. The Comic
As I understand it, Marvel Comics does not have the rights to mutants within the Marvel cinematic universe. Those belong to Fox. (This is why there was one version of Quicksilver who appeared in X-MEN: Days of Future Past and another in Avengers: Age of Ultron.) Use of the twins in Avengers resulted, in my opinion, in the retcon of their origins.
Magneto was revealed to not be their father after all. This revelation brought into question whether or not they were mutants after all.
I am not a fan of the retcon. Their origin worked – it didn’t need changing.
Wanda was never a witch. Her mutant powers allowed her to affect probability via “hex bolts” that were fired from her hands. As I stated above, different writers raised and lowered them over the years.
Kurt Busiek redefined her powers as chaos magic. She could actually change reality on a whim by the Disassembled storyline.
The Scarlet Witch in Age of Ultron has a different powerset.
According to Cinemablend.com:
For starters, she has the ability to “manipulate energy” and fire it from her hands, which is the red stuff we see her blasting at Ultron robots and Iron Man in the various Avengers: Age of Ultron trailers and promos. The other half of the power set is what she personally finds really interesting, however, and it’s the fact that she can literally get into the minds of others.
I still debate whether or not i like her powers as shown in the movie; however, I am a fan of Elizabeth Olson, the actress who brought Wanda to life for all to see.