Avengers: The Children's Crusade #6

Issue Date: 
August 2011
Story Title: 

Allan Heinberg (writer), Jim Cheung (penciler), Mark Morales with John Livesay & Dave Meikis (inkers), Justin Ponsor (colorist), Virtual Calligraphy’s Cory Petit (letterer), Lauren Sankovitch (associate editor), Tom Brevoort (editor), Axel Alonso (editor in chief), Joe Quesada (chief creative officer), Dan Buckley (publisher), Alan Fine (executive editor)
Cover: Jim Cheung & Justin Ponsor

Brief Description: 

The Scarlet Witch hovers over Avengers Mansion and recalls various events that led up to the infamous destruction of the Avengers. She brings forth an army of Ultrons and several Kree warships, while the Young Avengers, Iron Lad and Ant-Man are unsure about what to do. Hawkeye, the Beast and Jessica Jones arrive on scene, and Hawkeye and the Beast both reveal that they recently encountered the Scarlet Witch in Transia. After a brief reunion between Ant-Man and Jessica, the Beast and Hawkeye learn that the Scarlet Witch they encountered was a Doombot. The Young Avengers fill the others in on what has been going on up until this point, and take down all of the Ultrons and Kree warships. Wiccan has an idea but needs Hulkling to take him up to the Scarlet Witch, however Hulkling refuses, fearing for his boyfriend’s safety. Stature offers to take Wiccan up, and reveals to Ant-Man, her father, that she borrowed his Pym Particles. Wiccan begins talking to the Scarlet Witch, and they discuss her children, revealing that he and Speed are William and Thomas. The Scarlet Witch uses her powers on Wiccan to uncover the truth, and calms down when she sees that they are in fact her sons. The Scarlet Witch meets Speed, who is unsure of how to take her, while Hawkeye is in contact with Iron Man, Captain America, Wolverine, Wonder Man, Magneto and Quicksilver. They are an hour away, but Quicksilver is anxious to see his sister, while Iron Man wants Hawkeye to make sure the Scarlet Witch stays put. The Scarlet Witch assures everyone that she is not going anywhere. The Beast and the Scarlet Witch discuss how she de-powered the majority of mutantkind, and whether she could re-power them. Jessica Jones phones X-Factor, and soon Multiple Man, Strong Guy, Shatterstar and the de-powered Rictor show up. They discuss the proposal for the Scarlet Witch to re-power mutants, and eventually Rictor offers himself as the test-subject, despite Shatterstar’s protests for his boyfriend’s safety. The Scarlet Witch uses her power on Rictor, and an instant later, there is a large rumbling, which Rictor reveals he made, that his powers are back. The Scarlet Witch wonders how she will ever find a million other mutants, when the several of the X-Men show up, looking very unhappy. The Scarlet Witch informs the Young Avengers, X-Factor, Hawkeye, the Beast, Jessica Jones, Iron Lad and Ant-Man that her plan is to give the X-Men what they want - more mutants!

Full Summary: 

Avengers Mansion, New York City. A crimson hue has overtaken the Mansion grounds and the surrounding area, as a powerful mutant hovers in the air. ‘My name is Wanda Maximoff. They call me the SCARLET WITCH!’ she announces, before remarking that her husband, the Vision, and she had twin sons - Thomas and William, two lost souls she made flesh and blood using magic. Two lost souls that she was forced to set free. ‘And for that I blamed the Avengers!’ Wanda declares as standing below her are several very engrossed beings - Wiccan, Speed, Hulkling, Stature, the new Vision, the new Hawkeye and Patriot - collectively known as the Young Avengers, as well as their comrade Iron Lad, and the recently resurrected Scott Lang, better known as the second Ant-Man, Stature’s father.

Energy surges around the Scarlet Witch as she announces that she wanted the Avengers to experience loss, that she wanted them to face the sins of their past the way she had to face hers, so she confronted them with their failures, their addictions and their mistakes - with a fleet of Kree warships seeking revenge for the Kree-Shi’ar war, and an army of Ultron robots. Several warships and Ultron robots appear before the Young Avengers, Suddenly, a voice calls out ‘This is how I died…and now it’s all happening again…thanks to a temper tantrum by the Young Avengers!’ the original Hawkeye a.k.a. Clint Barton announces as he stands beside the Mansion, bow and arrow ready. At his side are Jessica Jones and the Beast. ‘You’ve got to give the kids credit. They at least found her. Nobody else could’ Jessica points out.

‘That’s not entirely true’ the Beast announces. ‘You found her, too?’ Hawkeye asks. ‘In Transia. We had tea’ the Beast reveals. ‘Same here. We had…tea, too’ Hawkeye announces. Jessica turns to Hawkeye and exclaims ‘Oh, my God, Clint! You had sex with her?!’ The Beast turns to Clint as well, ‘WHAT?’ he gasps. Hawkeye asks if they can focus on the impending catastrophe here - the Kree, the Ultrons, the Scarlet Witch. Jessica asks if the Ultrons shouldn’t be trying to kill them by now, to which the Beast suggests that perhaps history is not repeating itself, but repairing itself.

Suddenly, ‘Jessica Jones…you look like you’ve seen a ghost!’ Ant-Man exclaims as he approaches Jessica. ‘He’s been waiting all day to say that’ Stature remarks, smiling as she stands by her father. ‘Scott Lang?’ Jessica asks. ‘Back from the dead, apparently’ Scott replies. ‘But…how?’ Jessica asks before they hug. Scott tells her that they keep trying to explain it to him, but that he is just happy to be here. The female Hawkeye a.k.a. Kate Bishop, leader of the Young Avengers, announces that they took an unexpected detour into the Timestream and accidentally ended up altering the course of history again. ‘Was this before or after you started a war in Latveria?’ Clint asks. ‘After. Thanks for asking’ Kate replies.

Scott and Clint shake hands, and Scott remarks that he heard Wanda killed Clint, too. ‘Gotta love magic, right?’ Jessica asks, to which Clint remarks that he is actually a little freaked out by magic at the moment. ‘As am I’ the Beast announces as he looks up at the sky. ‘What is Wanda doing up there?’ he wonders. Speed explains that she is remembering it all, reliving it, and Wiccan reveals that Wanda had amnesia when they found her. ‘You found her in Transia?’ Clint asks. But Wiccan reveals that the Wanda they found in Transia turned out to be a Doombot. ‘WHAT?’ Clint shouts. ‘You’re joking’ the Beast mutters. ‘Please. Don’t be joking’ Jessica smirks.

Wiccan explains that Doom replaced the real Wanda with a Doombot so that he could marry her. ‘Wanda married Doom?’ Jessica asks. Kate reveals that Wanda was about too, until Iron Lad gave her a tour of her past. ‘And now…’ her voice trails off, before Clint declares that it has all come back to haunt them. But the Beast tells him ‘Not exactly’, and motions to the Ultrons and Kree warships, pointing out that they are not aiming at them. ‘They’re aiming at Wanda!’ Clint realizes. ‘She’s trying to kill herself’ Jessica exclaims. Wiccan declares that they have to stop her, to which Kate tells him that she doesn’t know if they can stop her, but they sure can distract her, and calls out to Speed, who races across the grounds, knocking out all of the Ultrons. ‘I’m way ahead of you, Hawkette!’ Speed boasts.

‘Call me that again and I’ll use you for target practice’ Kate replies. ‘I kind of like “Hawkette”!’ Clint tells her. ‘You would’ Kate mutters, before declaring that all they have to do is take out the magical Kree warships. Clint announces that he has experience doing that, and asks Kate how many explosive arrows she has on her. ‘Not enough’ Kate replies. ‘Then it’s a good thing there are two Hawkeyes in the world’ Clint tells her. Kate replies that she cannot tell him how relieved she is to hear him say that, to which Clint asks if she has told Scott that there is a new Ant-Man. ‘I thought he’d appreciate it from the guy who used to be the only Hawkeye’ Kate replies as they both begin to fire the explosive arrows at the Kree warships. ‘Passing the buck like a born leader, Hawkeye’ Clint tells Kate, who asks Clint if he wants to take over, as she has no idea what to do next.

‘I do!’ Wiccan announces. ‘You have to fly me up there so I can talk to her!’ Wiccan tells his boyfriend, Hulkling, who tells Wiccan that he is not flying him up there. ‘And she does not look like she’s in the mood to talk’ Hulking adds. The Beast asks Wiccan what happened to his powers, to which Hulkling explains that he lost them the last time he did something he told him not to. Wiccan turns to Stature and asks her if she will take him. Stature replies that she could, but that Hulkling might kill her. Scott is confused, and asks his daughter how she could take Wiccan, and Stature increases her mass, ‘Actually, Dad…there’s something I’ve been meaning to tell you…’ she remarks.

‘Cassie -’ Scott gasps. As she holds Wiccan in her hand, Stature informs Ant-Man that she borrowed his Pym Particles when he wasn’t looking. ‘And by borrow, I mean steal’ she adds, before asking him if he is mad. ‘Mad? Are you kidding? My daughter’s a super hero’ Scott exclaims, while Jessica tells him that she is a good one, too, so she guesses it runs in the family. Stature has grown in size enough so that she can hold Wiccan up alongside the Scarlet Witch. ‘It’s like she’s possessed’ Wiccan calls out. ‘Like some outside force is controlling her’ he explains. Stature tells her teammate that she knows he wants to think that, before asking ‘What if it’s not? What if the Avengers were right about her?’ ‘You mean that she’s too powerful? That she needs to be put down?’ Wiccan asks, before reminding Cassie that they said the same things about him.

Suddenly, the Scarlet Witch calls out to them, telling them not to come any closer. ‘Please. My friends…my husband…my children…they’re all dead because of me!’ she announces. Wiccan calls out to her, asking her to listen to him as he tells her that her friends are alive, and so is her husband - sort of. ‘And I know this may be hard to believe…but I think your children are alive, too’ he tells her. ‘WHAT?’ Wanda gasps. ‘How else do you explain identical twin boys named William and Thomas who just happen to have magic powers and super speed?’ Wiccan asks, smiling. ‘Wiccan…that’s what this has been about?’ Wanda asks. ‘That’s why you traveled the world to find me? That’s why you started a war with Doom? That’s why you’ve awakened this power in me!?’ Wanda demands.

The Scarlet Witch continues, ‘Because you thought maybe - somehow - I might be your mother?’ she asks. ‘You are. I know you are’ Wiccan declares, before telling Wanda to use her powers, as they will tell her whether or not he is her son. Wanda casts her power over Wiccan, who is knocked backwards in a surge of scarlet energy. ‘Well…?’ Wiccan asks when the energy begins to fade. ‘I’m sorry, Billy’ Wanda replies. ‘You mean…?’ Wiccan asks. ‘What kind of mother doesn’t even recognize her own son?’ Wanda utters, before the two embrace, as the crimson hue that had surrounded the Mansion and nearby area disappears. Wanda and Wiccan both begin to cry, as Wanda asks Wiccan to forgive her. ‘There’s nothing to forgive’ Wiccan replies. ‘There’s quite a lot, I’m afraid’ Wanda tells him, before Wiccan suggests that she needs to meet the rest of the family.

Wanda and Wiccan drop down beside Speed. ‘Thomas…’ Wanda utters. Wiccan tells Speed that he knows he doesn’t believe in any of this, to which Speed exclaims ‘It’s not that I don’t believe it…it’s that I don’t see the point. Because, even if she is our mother or whatever, it doesn’t change anything’. Speed continues, pointing out that the Scarlet Witch betrayed her friends and murdered people - almost wiping out an entire race. Speed declares that she is going to have to pay for that. ‘Which means now that we’ve found her, she’s just going to disappear again…sp what’s the point?’ he asks.

Wanda puts a hand on Speed’s arm and tells him that the point is, he was doing his job when he came looking for her. ‘You brought a known criminal to justice. But more than that…you’ve given me a chance to see what extraordinary men you’ve become. I only wish I were worthy of you’. Wanda and Speed them hug, while suddenly, ‘She’s here, Tony’ Hawkeye reports to Iron Man via a communicator. ‘Can you talk? How is she?’ Iron Man replies. Clint assures Iron Man that she is fine, that she is Wanda, before asking them where they are. Inside a Quinjet with Captain America, Wolverine, Wonder Man as well as Wanda’s brother Quicksilver and their father Magneto, Iron Man replies that they are an hour away, and asks Clint if he can keep the Scarlet Witch where she is.

‘How is she? Is she all right? I must speak with my sister at once!’ Quicksilver demands at super-speed. ‘What is that noise?’ Clint asks over the communicator. Iron Man replies that it is the noise Quicksilver makes right before he is tossed out of the airlock. Iron Man asks if there is any update on the kids, to which Clint tells hi that they are here, and brought Scott Lang with them. ‘WHAT?’ Iron Man asks. Clint remarks that he is expecting Jack of Hearts to show up any minute. Iron Man orders Hawkeye to make sure he stays there and that no one leaves the compound. ‘Do whatever you have to do’ he declares. ‘What the hell does that mean? Tony?’ Clint replies, but gets no response.

‘That was Tony’ Clint tells Wanda, who replies that she heard, before assuring her friend that she is not going anywhere. ‘But you can’t stay here. The Avengers will kill you’ Speed points out. ‘Nobody’s killing anybody. Avengers don’t kill. We avenge. Which is different. I think’ Clint declares. ‘Tell that to Wolverine’ Wiccan exclaims. ‘He won’t stop until Wanda’s dead’ Billy adds, to which Wanda remarks that Wolverine should not deserve to die for what she has done. ‘Which begs the question…what if you un-do it?’ the Beast suggests. ‘Henry -’ Wanda begins, but the Beast asks her to hear him out. The Beast reminds Wanda that in a moment of psychological instability she said three words that robbed nearly every mutant on the planet, and perhaps even the omniverse, of his or her mutant abilities.

“No more mutants” Wanda quotes herself, as she hangs her head. ‘Three words which cast a spell that can only be reversed by you. I learned that the hard way’ the Beast tells Wanda, referring to his own adventure in which he tried to find a way to restore mutant powers. Wanda reminds Henry that her powers can be difficult to control, to which the Beast suggests that there is no harm in trying. ‘So, what - Wanda’s just going to say the three words backwards and re-power the entire mutant race?’ Hawkeye asks. The Beast explains that each former mutant should be given the choice, and they just have to find one who is willing and conduct a test. ‘So who do we know who’s desperate enough and / or stupid enough to be our former mutant guinea pig?’ Hawkeye asks. ‘I know just who to call…Jamie Madrox and X-Factor!’ Jessica Jones announces.

Soon, The Multiple Man and three of his X-Factor teammates - Strong Guy, Shatterstar and the de-powered Rictor are meeting with the large assemblage of Avengers, young, old and former. ‘How desperate and / or stupid do you think we are?’ Multiple Man asks, frowning. ‘Well -’ Jessica begins, until Madrox interrupts her, telling her that was a rhetorical question and she knows it. ‘Why did you call us?’ he asks. Jessica explains that when he decided to cut into her PI business by starting X-Factor Investigations, he told her that her clients were mostly former mutants who were hiring him to find out why they were suddenly former mutants.

‘And now you want us to round them all up so Wanda can do even more damage?’ Madrox asks. ‘We’re trying to undo the damage’ someone tells him, to which Madrox points out that is exactly what Quicksilver said when he showed up asking for their help. Strong Guy remarks that the Scarlet Witch’s brother claimed he could give people their powers back, too, but it turned out he was doing it with stolen Terrigen Crystals. ‘And it almost worked…didn’t it, Rictor?’ Strong Guy declares. ‘For a while…until the mutants Quicksilver “restored” couldn’t take the strain on their bodies anymore…and they exploded’ Rictor explains.

Wanda looks shocked, while Madrox announces that they will be leaving now and will pretend that they never had this conversation. But before the quartet leaves the Mansion, Wanda steps forward and asks Madrox to wait, telling him that she will not be using Terrigen Crystals, and will not be casting any new spells. ‘The only thing I’ll be doing is trying to reverse -’ but Madrox interrupts her, declaring that it will not work, because the minute she shows her face out there, the minute the mutant community hears that she is alive and that she was the one responsible for M-Day, they are going to tear her limb from limb. ‘And I won’t blame them’ Madrox adds. ‘So good luck finding any mutant who’ll be able to keep from killing you long enough for you to cure them’ Madrox tells her.

Suddenly, ‘I’ll do it!’ Rictor announces. Strong Guy tells him not to be an idiot, while Rictor’s boyfriend, Shatterstar, points out that it is too risky. ‘It’s not happening. Besides, you’ve already proven you don’t need your powers to -’ Madrox begins, but Rictor interrupts, ‘To what, Madrox?’ he asks. ‘To be a third-rate detective who gets his ass kicked every time we go up against anybody with powers? Which is all the time, but the way’ Rictor remarks, before declaring that he wants his powers back. Shatterstar goes over to Rictor and puts a hand to his face, as he asks ‘What about everything else in your life? Are you willing to lose that, too?’ he asks. ‘How do I make you understand? I was born with the power to move mountains literally. My connection to the earth was like…breathing. And I’ve been holding my breath for a very long time’ Rictor replies.

Rictor turns to the Scarlet Witch, ‘So, let’s do this. Say the magic words. Or unsay them’ he tells her, while Shatterstar stands behind him and warns Wanda that if she harms Rictor in any way, he will kill her. Wanda tells Shatterstar that if she harms Rictor in any way, se will beg him to kill her. As Wanda places her hands at Rictor’s head, she asks him if he is absolutely sure about this. ‘Just do it’ Rictor tells her, before crying out in pain as Wanda unleashes her power on him. ‘Stop! You’re killing him!’ Shatterstar calls out. ‘I’m sorry…’ Wanda whispers. ‘WANDA!’ Wiccan cries out. But he and Rictor are both knocked backwards as the Scarlet Witch’s power surges upwards.

Suddenly, there is a massive rumbling noise. ‘What have I done?’ Wanda gasps. ‘You’ve brought the whole building down. You’ll kill us all!’ Madrox shouts. But slumped against a nearby wall with crimson energy residue fading around him, Rictor calls out that it wasn’t Wanda, it was him. ‘That tremor was me. Whatever Wanda did, it worked. My powers are back!’ he announces, smiling. Shatterstar rushes over and hugs Rictor, while Madrox tells Wanda “Congratulations”. ‘One down…only a million more to go’ he remarks. ‘A million mutants?’ Wanda asks. ‘A million former mutants’ Madrox reminds her. ‘But…how will I ever find them all?’ Wanda asks. ‘Maybe they’ll let you borrow Cerebra’ Strong Guy suggests, before looking out the window and telling her ‘That is, if the X-Men’ don’t kill you first’.

Standing outside on the Avengers Mansion grounds are several of the senior X-Men - Cyclops, Storm, the White Queen, Iceman, Colossus, Rogue and Gambit. Madrox tells Wanda that is not a very friendly-looking crew they have waiting for them. X-Factor, the Young Avengers, Beast, Hawkeye, Jessica Jones, Iron Lad and Ant-Man gather around the Scarlet Witch, as Madrox asks her what her plan is. ‘My plan…is to give the X-Men what they want’ Wanda announces, before smiling, she declares ‘More mutants’.

Characters Involved: 

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

Scarlet Witch

Multiple Man, Rictor, Shatterstar, Strong Guy (all X-Factor)

Beast, Captain America, Hawkeye I, Iron Man, Wolverine (all Avengers)
Ant-Man II, Wonder Man (both inactive Avengers)
Jessica Jones

Colossus, Cyclops, Gambit, Iceman, Rogue, Storm, White Queen (all X-Men)

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.

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.

The Scarlet Witch sought revenge on the Avengers during the “Disassembled” storyline.

Hawkeye found the Scarlet Witch in New Avengers (1st series) #26, while the Beast found her during the “Endangered Species” storyline.

The Scarlet Witch resurrected Ant-Man II in Avengers: The Children’s Crusade #5.

The new Ant-Man is Eric O’Grady.

Wiccan was rendered powerless by Doom in Avengers: The Children’s Crusade #4.

Jack of Hearts did briefly return in Avengers: The Children’s Crusade #5, before re-appearing in Marvel Zombes Supreme #3.

The Scarlet Witch uttered the famous words “No more mutants” in House of M #7.

The Beast’s attempt to find a way to restore mutant powers took place in the “Endangered Species” story.

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