Avengers: The Children's Crusade #4

Issue Date: 
March 2011
Story Title: 

Allan Heinberg (writer), Jim Cheung (penciler), Mark Morales & Jim Cheung (inkers), Justin Ponsor (colorist), Virtual Calligraphy’s Cory Petit (letterer), Lauren Sankovitch (associate editor), Tom Brevoort (editor), Joe Quesada (editor in chief), Dan Buckley (publisher), Alan Fine (executive editor)
Cover: Jim Cheung & Justin Ponsor
Variant Cover: Art Adams & Justin Ponsor

Brief Description: 

Wiccan battles Doctor Doom as he believes Wanda is under his control. Doom assures Wiccan that she is not, and claims he has trying to protect everyone. Wiccan tries to trigger Wanda’s memory by telling her about the Scarlet Witch, the Vision and her sons, before Doom takes Wiccan out. Wanda is surprised by Doom’s actions, and Doom tells her that it is not too late to reconsider their marriage tomorrow. The next morning, Magneto, Quicksilver and the rest of the Young Avengers arrive near Doom’s castle, planning to rescue Wanda and Wiccan. But they notice a fleet of ships in the sky - and Wonder Man, who has just arrived. Although the Avengers - Captain America, Iron Man, Ms Marvel, Spider-Man and Luke Cage have tracked their former teammate. Doom revives Wiccan and informs him that Wanda came to him, asking for his help on behalf of her people, and that he found himself unable to refuse her. Doom and Wiccan discuss the situation and Doom points out the similarities between himself and Wiccan, before offering him protection here, to stay as his guest - otherwise his prisoner, before informing Wiccan that when he healed him, he took away his powers. Outside, Magneto has attacked the ships, enabling the Young Avengers the distraction they need - but as they make their plan to enter the castle, the Avengers and Wonder Man appear. Inside, the Scarlet Witch locates Wiccan, who is chanting that he wants his powers back. Dressed in her wedding dress, Wanda tells Wiccan that everything here has been too perfect, and that she wants to know about the Scarlet Witch. Wiccan agrees to tell her what he knows, provided she gets him out of here. They make their way through a tunnel, as Wiccan tells Wanda about her and the Vision, their children, Master Pandemonium, the “Disassembled” fiasco, and about how he joined the Young Avengers and met his apparent twin brother. But as they make their way outside, they find Doom and his Doombots involved in a full scale war with Magneto, the Avengers and Young Avengers. Before they have time to act though, Wolverine appears and captures Wanda, ready to kill her. Wiccan explains that Wanda has no powers and no memory, that she is not a threat to anyone. Wolverine reminds Wanda about “No More Mutants”, and prepares to kill her - before he is blasted away by Iron Lad, who announces that he is here to protect Wiccan as the future depends on it!

Full Summary: 

Billy Kaplan a.k.a. Wiccan is suddenly knocked back by the monarch of Latveria - Doctor Doom! ‘He’s fought the Fantastic Four, the X-Men and the Avengers - sometimes all at the same time - and now Doctor Doom is fighting me!’ Billy thinks to himself as he dodges Doom’s blasts. ‘A high school sophomore whose magic powers essentially come from wishing on stuff really hard. Which, I have to admit, is insanely cool from a fan boy perspective…even if Doctor Doom is about to kill me’ Wiccan thinks to himself, while Wanda Maximoff - the Scarlet Witch - looks on.

‘You should not have come here’ Doom tells Wiccan, who spins around and unleashes magic energy of his own, which clashes with Doom’s. ‘You should not have kidnapped her!’ Billy exclaims, before Doom remarks that he knows this will disappoint him, as he informs Wiccan that Wanda is here of her own free will. ‘Wanda Maximoff is here because you’ve put some kind of spell on her!’ Billy shouts. ‘Wanda Maximoff is in the room and she can speak for herself!’ the Scarlet Witch declares as she shields her eyes from the clash of energies. Doom tells Wanda to get to safety, while Wiccan asks him to tell Wanda the truth, to tell her why he is here and who she really is.

‘Enough!’ Doom shouts, increasing his attack on Wiccan, who moans as he is pushed backwards. ‘Victor, stop this! I beg of you -’ Wanda begins, but Doom tells Wanda that he is trying to protect her - that he is trying to protect them all. ‘Your name is Wanda Maximoff - you are the mutant sorceress known as the Scarlet Witch!’ Billy exclaims. ‘What?’ Wanda asks, confused. Doom tells Wanda that the boy is talking nonsense, but Wiccan continues, informing Wanda that she was married to a synthezoid called the Vision, and that they had two sons - twin boys - Thomas and William. ‘You thought your sons were dead -’ Wiccan begins, before Doom interrupts: ‘I am warning you, boy…’ he declares, while Wiccan continues: ‘But your sons are -’ he remarks, only to be blasted back by Doom who tells him that he is playing with fire.

Wiccan screams as Dooms’ energies strike him, before he falls to the floor, smouldering. ‘Victor! How could you -?’ Wanda asks as she crouches beside Billy. ‘He’ll live’ Doom mutters. ‘He’s a child. He had no intention of harming me’ Wanda exclaims, but Doom calls her his love and tells her that she is too trusting, even of him. Doom helps Wanda to rise from the ground and reminds her that tomorrow she marries the King of Latveria, a man with more enemies than allies - all of who will become her enemies. ‘So, please hear me when I tell you…it is not too late to reconsider’. Doom places a metal hand on Wanda’s cheek, and Wanda replies ‘If you have enemies, it is because they do not know you as I do. You saved me, Victor. You keep saving me. And after the wedding tomorrow…nothing and no one will ever come between us’.

The next morning - the sun rises over Latveria, and standing on a hillside nearby, the Master of Magnetism - Magneto - addresses his son, Pietro “Quicksilver” Maximoff, and Wiccan’s teammates in the Young Avengers: ‘Shall we review the plan?’ he asks. Hands on his hips, Pietro asks what the plan is, and declares that this is not a plan, that it is a stunt. ‘You’re going to create some kind of distraction while we try not to get caught and / or killed searching the corridors of castle Doom for Wanda and Wiccan’ Pietro declares. ‘Sounds like a plan to me’ fellow speedster Thomas “Speed” Shepherd exclaims. ‘That’s because you’re twelve’ Pietro tells his supposed nephew. ‘Fifteen’ Tommy corrects him. ‘Exactly my point’ Pietro adds.

Teddy “Hulkling” Altman interrupts, ‘Guys, can we please just go rescue my idiot boyfriend now?’ he asks. Kate “Hawkeye” Bishop announces that Hulkling is right - that if they are doing this, they have to do it now. Eli “Patriot” Bradley remarks that he guesses Magneto gets his invasion of Latveria, after all. Kate reminds him that this not an invasion, but a search and rescue mission. ‘You don’t have to tell me’ Eli mutters. ‘Apparently, I do’ Kate responds, adding that now all they need is a halfway decent distraction. Suddenly, everyone looks upwards: ‘Um…Kate…? I don’t think that’s going to be a problem’ Teddy announces, as up above they see Simon Williams a.k.a. the inactive Avenger called Wonder Man.

Simon flies into Latverian air space, where a large fleet of aircraft hovers to defend Doom’s castle. The longtime Avenger calls out ‘Avengers, this is Wonder Man. I have no idea whether you people are still using this comm frequency, but if you’re listening, I’mj in Latverian air space and -’, Simon is interrupted by Tony “Iron Man” Stark, who, along with Captain America a.k.a. Steve Rogers, Ms Marvel a.k.a. Carol Danvers, Peter Parker a.k.a. Spider-Man and Luke Cage, are in a Quinjet. ‘And you suddenly realized that the world needs the Avengers after all?’ he asks. Simon replies that he suddenly realized that if the Avengers are following him, and he is pretty sure they are, that they need to turn around before they provoke an international incident of intergalactic proportions.

‘Actually, Simon…’ Tony begins. ‘You’re already here, aren’t you?’ Simon ask. ‘Um…’ Tony begins from inside the Quinjet. ‘Busted’ Spider-Man exclaims. Wonder Man supposes that the Avengers have been tracking his ionic signature ever since he left Avengers Tower. ‘So busted’ Spider-Man adds. But Iron Man tells Simon that he will thank him for this in the end. ‘you don’t want to go up against Doom by yourself’ Iron Man tells his former teammate.

Back inside the castle, ‘My head…’ Wiccan utters as he rubs his forehead, lying on a sofa. Doom stands over him and tells him to be still, while casting some energies down upon Billy, who asks Doom what he is doing. ‘Healing you’ Doom explains. Wiccan sits up - and finds himself restored to health with no injuries from Dooms’ earlier attack, and his costume no longer torn. Doom tells Wiccan that he has no grudge against him. ‘You know who I am?’ Billy asks. ‘Of course’ Doom replies. ‘Doctor Doom knows who I am’ Billy whispers. Doom adds that he knows Wiccan wants what is best for Wanda. ‘So you must understand when I tell you that what’s best for her - what’s best for all of us - is that she remains unaware of her past’ Doom declares.

‘You mean what’s best for you’ Wiccan remarks. ‘Wiccan -’ Doom begins, while Billy hangs his head, then points out that Doom is about to marry a woman with the powers of God. ‘Her powers are gone’ Doom announces, adding that her mind seems to have repressed her memory and her magic to heal itself. ‘Then how did you even find her?’ Wiccan asks. Doom replies that he didn’t, that Wanda found him. Doom explains that Wanda came asking for his help - petitioning him on behalf of her people. ‘And in spite of my reluctance to aid a former enemy…I found it impossible to refuse her’ Doom announces.

‘And now I’m supposed to believe you’re in love with her?’ Wiccan asks. ‘Given my history, even I find it difficult to believe’ Doom announces. ‘That makes two of us’ Billy remarks, to which Doom declares that they have much in common. ‘My mother was a sorceress, just like yours. My powers emerged when I was a child, just like you. We have common enemies as well. I know what you did to the Sons of the Serpent. And I know what the Avengers will do to you, if they find you and Wanda’ Doom announces, before offering Wiccan his protection. He invites Wiccan to come to the wedding today, as a guest of he and his mothers, and then he can remain here, with them, free and safe for as long as he wishes.

‘And if I refuse?’ Billy asks. ‘The choice is yours, Wiccan. You can be my guest…or my prisoner. But know this…the spell I cast to heal you…also relieved you of your powers!’ Doom declares. ‘WHAT?’ Wiccan gasps, wide-eyed, when suddenly, there is a mighty KRRAAAASH heard.

Outside, ‘This is how you create a diversion? There are innocent people on board those ships!’ Patriot exclaims as Magneto casts his power at Doom’s fleet. ‘If they are allies of Doom’s, I assure you, they are far from innocent!’ Magneto replies, while Hawkeye tells Patriot that Magneto is doing this for them, and it is time to go. Eli asks Kate how she is okay with this, and points out that this is terrorism, that people could die. ‘And if we let that happen, then we become terrorists, just like Magneto’.

Magneto continues to hover over the Young Avengers as he exclaims ‘Patriot, do you have any idea how much energy is required to keep these ships from falling and crushing the life out of you when you speak of me with such disrespect. So, if I were you, I’d get going…and proceed with the plan’. ‘What plan?’ Eli mutters. ‘I heard that’ Magneto declares. Kate asks Eli if he trusts her, to which Eli replies ‘Of course, but -’, to which Kate interrupts, telling him to shut up and go and rescue their friend.

An instant later, Quicksilver and Speed lead the way towards the castle, while Hulkling flies behind them, carrying Hawkeye and Patriot, while the Vision flies overhead, carrying a shrunken Cassie “Stature” Lang on his shoulder. Pietro informs the Young Avengers that Doom’s fortress can be accessed through a series of underground passageways that lead in and out of Latveria, the doors to which can only be accessed from the inside. Quicksilver announces that Hawkeye and Hulkling will go with Speed, while Patriot and Stature go with him. The heroes come to a stop as Quicksilver explains that he and Speed will vibrate through the doors to let everyone in, while the Vision phases in on his own and works around Doom’s security system. ‘Are we clear?’ Pietro asks.

‘Are we even listening, children?’ Pietro exclaims as he sees all the Young Avengers staring past him. ‘Well? What are you all gawking at? What has my father done…?…Now?’ Pietro spins around, ‘Looks like you were right, Uncle Pete…we need a better plan’ Speed exclaims as the very unimpressed Avengers and Wonder Man stand over the Young Avengers.

Inside Doom’s castle, Wiccan sits cross-legged on a sofa, and utters ‘I want my powers back, I want my powers back, I want my powers back…’ he opens his eyes when he hears a lock turning - and the door opens, revealing the Scarlet Witch, standing in her wedding dress. ‘Whoa…’ Billy utters. ‘You like it?’ Wanda asks. ‘It’s…perfect’ Wiccan exclaims. ‘It is, isn’t it?’ Wanda remarks, before informing Wiccan that this has all been perfect - meeting Victor, falling in love - the King proposing to the gypsy girl. ‘It’s all been too perfect’ Wanda adds. ‘Until you showed up, and Victor suddenly became someone I didn’t recognize’ Wanda announces.

Wanda tells Wiccan that before she walks down the aisle with Victor, she needs Billy to tell her everything. ‘Please…tell me about this Scarlet Witch’ Wanda begs. ‘On one condition…you have to get me out of here’ Wiccan replies.

Soon, Wiccan holds a lantern as he walks down a flight of stairs in a darkened tunnel, with Wanda following him. Wiccan informs her that the Scarlet Witch was one of the most powerful members of a team of heroes called the Avengers.

Show with flashback illustrations, narrated by Wiccan:
Wiccan explains that the Scarlet Witch fell in love with - and married - another Avenger, the Vision, with whom she had twin boys - Thomas and William, and that from what he heard, they were a happy family, until that is the twins’s souls were captured by a villain named Master Pandemonium, for his master, the demon Mephisto. Wiccan continues, revealing that the Scarlet Witch blamed the Avengers for the loss of her kids and killed three of her teammates and destroyed the team - or so it seems.

But then a young hero called Iron Lad began recruiting a new generation of Avengers - a group of kids with deeply personal connections to the Avengers, even if those connections were not immediately apparent. Wiccan explains that it was not until he met a speedster named Thomas, who just happened to look like his identical twin, that he realized -.

Wiccan’s stops himself mid-sentence, ‘Oh no…’ he gasps as he and Wanda open a panel to the outside. ‘What? What did you realize?’ Wanda asks, before she steps outside and sees the Avengers, Young Avengers, Magneto and Quicksilver engaged in a full-on battle with Doom and his Doombots - and Magneto and Doom at the center of it all. ‘Oh dear God…’ Wanda gasps. ‘What have I done?’ Wiccan exclaims. ‘Everything we told you not to, kid’ a voice remarks, as Wolverine a.k.a. Logan lunges forward, grabbing Wanda.

‘You teamed up with Magneto…you started a war with Doom…and I’ll be damned if I know how…but you actually found the Scarlet Witch…which makes my job so much easier!’ Wolverine exclaims, claws ready to skewer the surprised Wanda. ‘Wolverine, stop! What are you doing?’ Wiccan calls out. ‘What does it look like, kid? I’m saving the world’ Logan replies. ‘As usual’. With Wanda pushed to the ground, Wolverine holds a fist at her neck, ready to pop his claws. ‘Why are you doing this?’ Wanda asks him.

Wolverine tells Wanda that it is not personal, and that if the situations were reversed, if he was as big a threat as she, he would expect her to do the same thing to him. ‘She’s not a threat!’ Wiccan exclaims, lunging at Wolverine, he pushes Logan off Wanda, and quickly informs him that she has no powers and no memory, that she is Wanda Maximoff, but she is not the Scarlet Witch anymore. ‘She’s not a threat to anyone!’ he exclaims. Logan grits his teeth as he thanks Wiccan for letting him know. ‘Without her powers, she’s gonna be much easier to kill’ Logan declares.

‘What is wrong with you? You’re supposed to be one of the good guys!’ Wiccan exclaims. ‘So was she’ Wolverine points out, reminding Wiccan that the Scarlet Witch slaughtered her friends and wiped out an entire species with three little words. “No more mutants”, Wolverine quotes. ‘Right, Wanda? Well, you got your wish, sweetheart. Thanks to you, there’s only a few of us left. And now thanks to me…there’s about to be one less’ Logan declares. The Scarlet Witch listens, almost confused, before Logan brings a clawed hand back, ready to take down the Scarlet Witch, when suddenly, ‘Not if I can help it’ a voice announces, and Logan is blasted away from Wanda.

‘You all right?’ a gleaming red and silver armoured being asks, hovering over Wiccan, Wanda and the motionless Wolverine. ‘IRON LAD!’ Wiccan exclaims. ‘I’m back, Billy. And I’m here to protect you. The future depends on it’ Iron Lad announces cryptically….

Characters Involved: 

Hawkeye III, Hulkling, Patriot, Speed, Stature, Vision II, Wiccan (all Young Avengers)
Iron Lad

Captain America, Iron Man, Luke Cage, Ms Marvel, Spider-Man, Wolverine (all Avengers)
Wonder Man (inactive Avenger)

Scarlet Witch

Doctor Doom


In Flashback:
Scarlet Witch
Doctor Doom


In Flashback:
Scarlet Witch & Vision
William & Thomas
Master Pandemonium
Doctor Strange

Hulkling, Iron Lad, Patriot, Wiccan / Asgardian (all Young Avengers)
Tommy Shepherd

Story Notes: 

This series was planned some time in advance, and as such the costumes of Captain America and Iron Man do not represent the costumes they are supposed to be wearing.

Wiccan decimated the Sons of the Serpent in Avengers: The Children’s Crusade #1

The Scarlet Witch and Vision married in Giant Sized Avengers #4. The Scarlet Witch became pregnant in Vision & Scarlet Witch (2nd series) #3, and gave birth in #12, only for the revelation that her children are actually the lost souls of Mephisto that her powers latched onto and shaped into children in Avengers West Coast #52.

In 2005 an event known as “Avengers Disassembled” shattered the Avengers. Although many things happened in that saga, the cause of the destruction of the Avengers was none other than the Scarlet Witch, who had, after so much suffering and manipulation in her life, not to mention her unmeasurable amount of power, went insane. There is a flashback panel in Avengers (1st series) #503 which shows the Wasp mentioning something about Wanda’s children, then immediately regretting it, while Wanda was very confused at the notion she had children, as her mind had apparently regressed to the time when Agatha had erased the children from her mind. Another flashback panel in that issue shows Wanda going to Agatha Harkness to ask where her children are, though no answer is given. In the present-time Agatha Harkness’ rotting body is found. Additionally, Wanda seemed to have created some reality in her mind where her children were alive.

Following the Immortus fiasco [Avengers West Coast #60-62], it seems that Agatha Harkness restored Wanda’s memories of William and Thomas, for in Avengers West Coast Annual #7, and Avengers West Coast #71, Wanda talked about her “children”. They were also mentioned again in Scarlet Witch #2 when Master Pandemonium returned, and during the uber-saga known as “The Crossing”.

Also during “The Crossing” there were two characters that appeared called Malachi and Tobias. While little was revealed about them, there were several hints and suggestions that they may be adult versions of The Scarlet Witch’s children. However, with so much going on in what was perhaps one of the most confusing saga’s in all of Marvel, the characters were all but forgotten about. Whatever the real intention behind the characters no longer matters, as they were revealed to just be Space Phantoms during the Avengers Forever mini series.

The Scarlet Witch said No More Mutants during “House of M”, rendering most of the world’s mutant population powerless.

Iron Lad is the teenage version of the time travelling villain Kang the Conqueror. After downloading the deceased original Vision’s hardware into his armor, he formed the Young Avengers. He later returned to his timeline, resulting in a new Vision forming from the hardware of the original and Iron Lad’s armor. Iron Lad and the new Vision both appeared simultaneously during Mighty Avengers #33.

Written By: