SCARLET WITCH: Page 8 of 12


Through unknown means, Wanda’s memory was affected such that she forgot the existence of her twins Thomas and William again, just as she did after Agatha Harkness first cast her spell when the twins ceased to exist. Once the memory returned, the pain of their loss was fresh again and Wanda sought the means to restore her children to life. Knowing she was playing with darker magic than her normal allies would be comfortable with, the Scarlet Witch sought out Doctor Doom’s assistance in her endeavors. To tap into a power great enough to accomplish what she wanted, Doom and Wanda used her status as a nexus being to harness the Life Force of the planet Earth itself. Although they were successful, the process disturbed Wanda’s mind and gave her vast reality-altering powers beyond anything she had possessed before. [Avengers: The Children’s Crusade #7]

[Note: While it was not specifically named in the story, the “Life Force” was presumably the power of the Demiurge, the sentient bio-sphere of the planet that gave birth to the Elder Gods like Chthon and Gaea.]

Being able to change reality at will left Wanda with little sense of reality herself. Agatha Harkness, apparently, was the first to encounter Wanda’s wrath, ending her life a second time. The Scarlet Witch began experiencing intense hallucinations and her power started acting out the whims of her subconscious. She also began a relationship with Captain America but periodically forgot about it altogether as her fractured mind continued to degrade. Since at least some part of her blamed the Avengers for the loss of her sons, they suffered the brunt of her madness. Wanda's hex power caused a series of threats and incidents to occur inexplicably, one after the other, ultimately leading to the death and serious injury of many Avengers, including her ex-husband Vision and her close friend, Hawkeye, as well as others such as Ant-Man II and Jack of Hearts. However, Wanda’s teammates only realized that she was the cause of what was happening when Dr. Strange traced the magical attacks back to her. In a final confrontation between the Scarlet Witch and the Avengers, her mind simply shut down, reducing her to a vegetative state. [Avengers (1st series) #500-503]

[Note: Avengers Disassembled was a major retcon at the time, and much of that retcon has since been reversed. In that story, Wanda was identified as a mutant with unchecked reality-altering powers only. Supposedly, she had always been nigh-omnipotent, but subconsciously kept her full potential in check to maintain her sanity, inventing explanations like "hexing probabilities" or "chaos-magic" to limit and define her power. Indeed, the "Agatha Harkness" who revealed Wanda's powers were chaos-magic was meant to be a product of her own mind, tricking her into accepting this new limitation, and the real Agatha had been dead since their encounter with Salem's Seven. Doctor Strange even appeared in Disassembled, expressing surprise at the idea Wanda ever had children (despite delivering them) and told the Avengers there was no such thing as chaos-magic.

Avengers: The Children's Crusade walked back these revelations. Now, Wanda only tapped into an outside source of god-like power shortly before Disassembled, and that was responsible for her breakdown and her reality-altering. Agatha's revelation about Wanda's ability to wield "chaos-magic" is canon again. It was the real Agatha in Avengers West Coast and Avengers Vol. 3, and the Life Force Wanda only killed Agatha shortly before Disassembled. Other stories also hinted that Doctor Strange and white mages often deny the existence of chaos magic because of its ties to Chthon, depriving the Elder God of the worship he feeds on.]

A split-second before, though, she called out for someone to help her and her distress was sensed by her father, Magneto, despite him being half a world away on Genosha. His powers actually being diminished at the time, Magneto suddenly found himself able to create a wormhole, allowing him to travel to New York in time to pick up his mindless daughter and take her to Genosha. Apparently in her despair, Wanda had increased her father‘s abilities to provide him with the means to rescue her. Once back on the island, Magneto asked his old friend, Charles Xavier, to use his telepathic powers to provide some psychic treatment for Wanda’s damaged psyche. [Excalibur (3rd series) #8-14]

However, it seems that Xavier’s attempts were only partially successful, at best. Even in her catatonic state, Wanda was slightly warping reality around herself, and it was only a matter of time before she became a danger to all of Earth, if not the entire universe. Even Doctor Strange, Sorcerer Supreme, proved unable to help Xavier's progress. And so, a summit was called at Stark Tower between the Avengers and the X-Men to discuss what could be done about Wanda, with the implicit purpose of the meeting being to decide whether or not they simply needed to kill her.

Needless to say, a large number of those present were unable even to entertain the notion until they heard from Wanda herself, and so an expedition to Genosha was planned. Their arguments hadn't gone unnoticed, however - Quicksilver had been spying on the meeting, and rushed back to Genosha ahead of the heroes to warn his father and sister of what was coming. Magnus was at a loss for what to do, and so Pietro took his sister aside to speak with her. Wanda was all but willing to die, to be sacrificed for the greater good, but Pietro wouldn't hear of it. In desperation, he conceived of a plan to give Wanda a chance at living, to use his mind and the psychic powers of Charles Xavier to create a perfect world, where everyone would be at peace and their father would have his dream of mutant supremacy realized. Wanda was in little condition to put up an argument against her brother, and so they ambushed Xavier when the heroes arrived, and initiated a chaos wave that reorganized reality to fit Wanda's new world order. [House of M (1st series) #1]

In this new reality, Magneto had successfully championed mutant freedom to the public decades previously, and taken command of the entire world with his newly royal family, the House of Magnus. "Sapiens" were now an underclass, tolerated among the ever-blossoming mutant population as they moved closer to extinction each year. Wanda herself held a unique position within the House of M: she was publicly identified as Magneto's "human daughter,” a non-mutant anomaly in his genetic line. Something of a recluse among the royal family, she was known to have two sons (reincarnations of Thomas and William presumably) but their father in this reality was never named, if indeed they even had one.

Events came to a head when a mysterious girl named Layla Miller unlocked the memories of a large group of heroes, and they organized a strike against the House of Magnus to restore reality to what it once was. Wanda was clearly still in a destabilized state - she had resurrected Clint Barton, Hawkeye, in this new world after causing his death during the first outbreak of her madness, yet erased him from existence again when he confronted her with what she'd done. Things got even uglier once Layla unlocked Magneto's memories, and he was horrified at what Pietro had engineered in his name. After brutally battering his son to the point of death, Wanda emerged from isolation and froze her father in his tracks. She repaired Pietro's injuries with a thought, and began to lash out at Magneto for having abandoned his children in favor of the "mutant cause" and the "mutant race." Wishing to punish Magnus for his failings, Wanda whispered three words... No More Mutants. With that, reality was reconstructed back to what it had been before, except that the mutant population had been decimated - nearly a million mutants had existed prior to the House of M, and now a mere few hundred were left empowered on the entire planet. [House of M (1st series) #4, 6-7]

In the aftermath of her actions, Wanda disappeared from the world view. She returned herself to Wundagore Mountain, and the small Transian villages where she once lived. [House of M (1st series) #8] Whether consciously or subconsciously, she has also completely cut herself off from any of her past memories, or access to her powers. In a brief encounter with Hawkeye, who had been searching for her, Wanda claimed to have been living in her new home her whole life with her suspiciously absent "Aunt Agatha" and had little or no knowledge of the Avengers and the outside world. After he saved her from a pair of local kids who tried to steal her purse, Wanda spent an intimate night with Hawkeye. He ultimately chose to let her be rather than try to restore her memories. [New Avengers (1st series) #26] Hank McCoy had a similar encounter. After months of trying to undo the Decimation spell, Beast found himself drawn to Transia. He met Wanda on the streets and they had a conversation over tea where (in an indirect way) Wanda seemed to warn him off any further investigations into the Decimation or her. [X-Men (2nd series) #204]

A lot happened in the world while Wanda was in seclusion. The Phoenix Force, embodiment of evolution, tried to push back against her Decimation spell. A new mutant was born through the sheer will of the Phoenix and (through the magic of time travel) ascended relatively quickly as a teenage mutant named Hope Summers. Through Hope, the mutant messiah, new mutants slowly began to manifest on Earth. [X-Men: Messiah Complex #1, X-Men: Second Coming #2] Closer to home for Wanda, a team of teenaged super-heroes called the Young Avengers were formed, with members named Wiccan and Speed. These teens' real names were Tommy and Billy, identical boys born to different parents, one with speed and one who wielded a form of magic. They appeared to many people as Wanda's own twins somehow reborn. Wiccan in particular became convinced of the idea but, despite their searching, Tommy and Billy could never find the lost Scarlet Witch to confirm or refute their theory. [Young Avengers (1st series) #10, Young Avengers Presents #3]

Wanda, meanwhile, had been found by Doctor Doom. At some point in her exile, Wanda traveled from Transia to the neighboring Latveria to petition the Roma ruler on behalf of her people. Doom recognized Wanda for who she was, and they began a romance. Wanda came to live in Latveria and eventually consented to marry Victor, but he never confided in her about her true past. Doom replaced her back in Transia with a lifelike Doombot intended to deter anyone who came looking for Wanda. (It’s unknown whether this occurred before or after her encounters with Hawkeye and Beast.) Wiccan and the Young Avengers, joined by the unlikely allies of Magneto and Quicksilver, eventually discovered the Doombot while searching for Wanda.

Wiccan chose to brave Castle Doom himself looking for the real Wanda, and found her on the night before her wedding. Initially tongue-tied over meeting the woman he believed to be his mother, Wiccan was defeated and imprisoned by Doctor Doom before he could explain his intentions. His very presence brought out a side in Victor that Wanda hadn’t seen before, though, and so she freed Billy from his cell to learn more about this “Scarlet Witch.” The wedding festivities were crashed by many parties, including Wonder Man and the Avengers on top of Wiccan’s existing cohorts. Wiccan and Wanda were interrupted again as they emerged from the catacombs into a massive conflict. Wolverine of the X-Men and Avengers had a laser-like focus on Wanda, believing it was justice to kill her for the Decimation, and necessary to prevent her from going wild again. Despite Wiccan’s pleadings that she was powerless, Wolverine was prepared to deliver the killing blow when Wanda was saved by the time-traveler Iron Lad. [Avengers: The Children’s Crusade #3-4]

Although Iron Lad saved Wanda from jeopardy, Doom then came for Wiccan for endangering Wanda. Wanda didn’t truly believe Wiccan’s story but she became increasingly concerned over seeing the darker side of Victor. While Magneto and Doctor Doom engaged each other, Iron Lad swept up Wanda and the Young Avengers in his time matrix, exiting the timestream altogether. They brought her back to the day she first went mad, hoping to jog her memory and restore her powers. The intent was for the time-travelers to remain out of sync and unable to affect the past, but Iron Lad’s tech failed and Young Avenger Cassie Lang was reunited with her father Ant-Man just before he became one of the first casualties of Wanda’s machinations. The resurrected Jack of Hearts arrived to detonate his zero energy explosion, and Wanda saw the events she had set in motion. Her memories were restored, along with her powers. She transported herself, the Young Avengers and Ant-Man back to the present and out of range of Jack’s final blast. [Avengers: The Children’s Crusade #5]

As Wanda’s memories returned, so too did the mental state she was in at the time the Avengers disassembled. Wracked with guilt over the lives lost at her hands, Wanda was prepared to end her own life with the forces conjured by her powers. It was Wiccan who stepped in and finally finished the conversation he had been interrupted from several times after meeting Wanda. He explained his theory about Thomas and William somehow being reincarnated as Wiccan and Speed to an incredulous Wanda, and challenged her to use her powers to determine whether what he suspected was true. The Scarlet Witch did just that and, to her everlasting joy, discovered that what Billy said was true: he and Tommy did contain the souls of her children, magically preserved and existing in new bodies through a process not even her powers could explain. It seemed that, during the brief period where she was fully in possession of the Life Force, Wanda somehow subconsciously and retroactively snatched the souls of her twins from the ether and deposited them into the bodies of Billy Kaplan and Tommy Shepherd.

Hank McCoy was on-scene at Avengers Mansion as Wanda regained her senses, and approached her about the effects of her Decimation spell. He pressed Wanda to discover whether it was truly possible for her power to reverse what it had done to the mutant community. They agreed it would be just as wrong to restore mutants against their will as it had been to take their powers, so a test would need to be done on a willing participant first. Scarlet Witch, the Young Avengers and their entourage traveled to X-Factor Investigations in New York to meet with Rictor, a prominent former mutant working with the agency. Rictor agreed to be Wanda’s guinea pig and successfully had his earthquake powers restored by her magic. [Avengers: The Children’s Crusade #6]