Avengers: The Children's Crusade #7

Issue Date: 
November 2011
Story Title: 

Allan Heinberg (writer), Jim Cheung (penciler), Mark Morales with Livesay, Vines & Cheung (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: 

At Avengers Mansion, the Scarlet Witch is thanked by Rictor, after she restored his mutant power. However trouble is brewing outside as several X-Men have arrived, and moments later, the Avengers who have been tracking the Scarlet Witch arrive as well with Magneto and Quicksilver. Both teams want the Scarlet Witch - the X-Men to bring her to justice for the genocide of the mutant race, while the Avengers want her for the destruction she caused to the team. Magneto tries to intervene between Cyclops and Captain America, before Rictor demonstrates his re-born power. Flanked by Hawkeye, the Beast, Jessica Jones, the resurrected Ant-Man, and the Young Avengers, the Scarlet Witch is reunited with her father and brother, and announces that she takes full responsibility for what she did, and is prepared for the Avengers to take her away. But the X-Men aren’t having it, and Cyclops continues to argue with Magneto and Captain America. A battle between the X-Men and the Avengers protecting the Scarlet Witch ensues. The White Queen tries to manipulate Wiccan and Speed, the Scarlet Witch’s children, before the Scarlet Witch takes control of the situation, taking out the Avengers and the X-Men with a spell. She teleports herself and the Young Avengers to Latveria. The Scarlet Witch is reunited with Doctor Doom, and the Young Avengers are worried that trouble will come of this. The Scarlet Witch and Doom reveal that when Wanda learned of her sons’ deaths, she sought out Doom’s help, and that he agreed to help her in the darker arts, and that given Wanda’s Nexus Being status, they were able to conjure a life force itself, which imbued the Scarlet Witch with incredible power, only it was not a power that could be controlled, and that it was under this influence that she caused destruction to the Avengers and de-powered the majority of the world’s mutants. The Scarlet Witch only learned some of this now, and asks Doom to divorce her from the power once she has restored the powers of all the de-powered mutants around the world. Patriot tries to stop them, as he believes Doom is up to no good, and Doom reveals that Wiccan had his power all this time. Wanda, Wiccan and Doom unite their power in an attempt to return the powers to the mutants, but Patriot is still not convinced, and fires one of Hawkeye’s arrows into the spell, disrupting the magicians. Wanda is injured, and Doom reveals himself with a handsome, restored appearance, as he now owns the incredible lifeforce!

Full Summary: 

The abandoned Avengers Mansion, where a gathering of powerful heroes has commenced:
Inside, the Young Avengers, Hawkeye, Beast, Jessica Jones and four members of X-Factor are with the recently returned Scarlet Witch. ‘Wanda…I can’t thank you enough’ the young mutant called Rictor of X-Factor exclaims. His teammates Multiple Man and Strong Guy and Shatterstar are nearby. Shatterstar smiles, while Multiple Man reminds Rictor that he doesn’t have to thank the Scarlet Witch, as she is the one who took away his powers in the first place. ‘Madrox is right, Rictor’ the Scarlet Witch points out. Rictor smiles, and tells her ‘Never say that out loud’. ‘Too late’ Madrox remarks.

Wanda announces that all she has to do now is convince the X-Men to allow her to restore all the other de-powered mutants. ‘Then it’s a good thing you have the power to alter reality - because, in reality, that’s never gonna happen’ Multiple Man declares. Wiccan steps forward and asks why the X-Men would have a problem with that. ‘Have you met Scott Summers?’ Madrox asks, while Rictor explains that the X-Men are angry, and justifiably so, and that they are afraid of what else Wanda might do. Strong Guy and Patriot stare out one of the windows, and Strong Guy tells everyone that it is not just the X-Men they have to worry about. ‘It’ Magneto - and the Avengers - and the X-Men!’ he announces.

Indeed, outside on the mansion grounds, the X-Men have already arrived - Cyclops, Storm the White Queen, Iceman, Colossus, Rogue and Gambit. At that moment, Magneto arrives with an assemblage of Avengers, both active and inactive - including Captain America, Iron Man, Spider-Man, Ms Marvel, Wonder Man, Luke Cage, and Wolverine, currently working with the Avengers. Quicksilver is also with them.
‘Is this a social call, Scott? Because now really isn’t the time’ Captain America calls out, but Cyclops quickly replies ‘You know why we’re here, Captain’, and announces that they have come for the Scarlet Witch and that they will not be leaving without her. ‘Then I guess we’ll have even more X-Men becoming Avengers, because you won’t be leaving with her’ Captain America declares. ‘But I should warn you - the Mansion is chock full of super heroes…so you won’t each get your own room’ Captain America jokes, while both groups of heroes stand their ground.

‘The Scarlet Witch is responsible for the genocide of the mutant race…and she will be brought to justice’ Cyclops declares through gritted teeth. ‘Yes she will…but not today…and not by you’ Captain America responds, with Ms Marvel and Iron Man at his side. ‘No matter what she’s done, the Scarlet Witch is an Avenger…and we take care of our own’ Captain America states.
Magneto steps towards the two great leaders and tells them that this doesn’t have to become a turf war. ‘Both teams can work together - with Wanda - to ensure that -’ Magneto begins, but Cyclops tells him to stay out of this. ‘Scott, listen -’ Magneto begins, only for Cyclops to interrupt once more, ‘I trusted you -’ Cyclops exclaims, to which Magneto quickly points out that he has done nothing to betray that trust.

‘You used the Young Avengers to go after Wanda, when I specifically asked you not to -’ Cyclops points out. Magneto remarks ‘You did nothing of the kind’. Raising his voice, Cyclops tells Magneto that he is warning him, when suddenly, ‘ENOUGH!’ a voice shouts, and the ground shakes with tremendous force, knocking the - X-Men and various Avengers off their respective feet. At the front entrance to Avengers Mansion, Rictor stands with Shatterstar at his side, Madrox and Strong Guy are behind them. They are then flanked by the Scarlet Witch, Hawkeye - the original male Hawkeye, that is, the Beast, Jessica Jones and Scott Lang, the second Ant-Man. Behind them, are the Young Avengers: Wiccan, Speed, the female Hawkeye, the new Vision, Patriot, Stature and Hulkling, as well as their recently returned teammate, Iron Lad.

With power charged, Rictor calls out ‘Before you idiots kill each other and rob the world of even more mutants, you should know the Scarlet Witch just gave me back my powers’. He explains that with their help, she is about to do the same for all the mutants who lost their powers on M-Day. ‘If you’ll permit me’ the Scarlet Witch asks, hanging her head, while surrounded by the Young Avengers and the others. ‘Sister…’ Quicksilver exclaims as he speeds over and embraces Wanda. ‘Pietro…’ Wanda utters. Talking at super speed, Pietro tells Wanda that they are going to kill her, so when he gives the signal, they will run. ‘Are you ready?’ he asks her. Wanda thanks her twin brother, but tells him that she is not running.

‘Wanda’ Magneto remarks as he goes over and embraces his daughter. ‘Father…’ Wanda replies, while Magneto tells her that she mustn’t worry, and that he will protect her. ‘You must promise to let me go without a fight’ Wanda tells him. Quicksilver declares that not even their father could make a promise that empty. ‘Wanda…’ Captain America calls out, as he, Iron Man, Ms Marvel, Luke Cage and Spider-Man approach her. ‘Captain…I want you to know, I take full responsibility for what I’ve done…and I don’t care what happens to me…but I’m begging you - please - before you imprison or destroy me - please allow me to alleviate the suffering I’ve caused’ Wanda asks her long-time teammate. ‘You could do that? You could give the mutants back their -’ Iron Man asks Wanda, before Cyclops unleashes an optic blast, knocking the Avengers back.

‘The Avengers don’t get to negotiate on behalf of mutantkind’ Cyclops states, before announcing that the Scarlet Witch is coming with them, and the X-Men will hold her accountable for her crimes. ‘Or I will burn the Witch where she stands’ Cyclops threatens. ‘What is wrong with you, Scott? You’re better than this’ Magneto declares, admitting that Cyclops has every right to his anger, but that he cannot afford to act on it. ‘I hate to say this, but right now, you’re behaving like me…and I wouldn’t wish my mistakes on anyone. Least of all you’ Magneto remarks, but Cyclops isn’t interested, and tells Magneto to spare him the condescension and to stand aside.

Rogue steps forward to Magneto and she tells him to do as Cyclops asks. ‘You’ve worked too hard to become an X-Man -’ Rogue points out, but Magneto interrupts her, and reminds her that Wanda is his family. ‘I thought we were your family now’ Rogue tells him. ‘Then act like it’ Magneto replies, before pointing out that the X-Men didn’t come here to make things right, they came for payback. ‘And they shall have it’ Wanda announces, stepping forward. ‘Wanda -’ Magneto begins, but Wanda tells him that she refuses to be the source of further conflict, and that she will go with the X-Men. ‘Say goodbye, Magneto’ Cyclops declares. ‘Wanda, I beg you -’ Magneto calls out. ‘I said…say goodbye!’ Cyclops shouts, as he blasts a close-range optic blast at Magneto, who throws a force field up.

‘I have to be honest…I’m not a big fan of the super heroes fighting each other’ Spider-Man remarks to Wonder Man, but as he hovers in the air behind the Scarlet Witch, Wonder Man keels backwards, ‘Aggh-’ he calls out. ‘I’m guessing you’re not, either’ Spider-Man mutters as he sees Wonder Man clutching his head, but Wonder Man announces that the White Queen is in his head. ‘That can’t be all bad, can it?’ Spider-Man asks. ‘Father, stop this!’ the Scarlet Witch calls out as she stands behind Magneto’s force field. Magneto tells his daughter that he is merely protecting himself, nothing more.

The X-Men and Avengers have all picked battle partners, as Iron Man tries to get to Cyclops, Storm fries him with lightning bolts. ‘That’s as close as you get!’ Storm orders. ‘Easy, Rogue…’ Ms Marvel begins as both women struggle mid-air. ‘Don’t make me take the gloves off’ Rogue warns Ms Marvel. Quicksilver speeds towards Iceman, but Iceman throws shards of ice at Quicksilver, knocking him backwards. Colossus punches Luke Cage, while Cyclops continues to pour the optic blast at Magneto’s force field. The White Queen stands behind her lover and tells him that he doesn’t have to worry about Wonder Man defending his ex-girlfriend’s honor for the moment. ‘Who’s my next telepathic target?’ Emma asks. ‘The Maximoffs. All of them’ Scott orders.

Nearby, Captain America asks Wolverine to talk to Cyclops. ‘You can stop this’ he tells the long-time X-Man, recently affiliated with the Avengers. ‘Does it look like he’s in a listening mood?’ Wolverine asks, before pointing out that this fight has been a long time coming. ‘And you know as well as I do that there’s no stopping it’ Wolverine adds.

Back at the Mansion entrance:
‘We have to get out there!’ the female Hawkeye gasps. ‘Because that’s what the world needs - more super heroes beating the crap out of each other for no reason’ Jessica Jones mutters. ‘It does seem to happen a lot’ the original Hawkeye points out. Wiccan announces that he has to tell Cyclops that this is his fault, but the Beast tells him that it is not his fault, and warns him that without his powers, he is likely to only get himself killed. ‘Cap!’ Wiccan exclaims when he sees Captain America fall the ground. ‘Billy!’ Patriot calls out after his teammate. ‘Wiccan, no!’ the Beast shouts as Wiccan rushes to Captain America’s side.

‘Don’t worry, I’ve got them!’ Speed calls out as he races over to his brother. ‘You all right?’ Wiccan asks Cap as he helps him up. Suddenly, ‘Well, if it isn’t the Witch’s sons’ the White Queen remarks as she approaches the two young heroes. ‘How would you two fine young mutants like to become X-Men? All you have to do is come along with your Auntie Emma’ the White Queen telepathically suggests. ‘Yes Auntie Emma!’ the twins both exclaim, smiling, under her telepathic influence.

Suddenly, ‘Auntie Emma, you might want to check with their mother, first…because I hear she can be a real bitch!’ the Scarlet Witch exclaims as she rushes towards the White Queen and slams her down with a burst of hex energy. Wanda then begins using her power on the squabbling X-Men and Avengers, stopping all the battles. ‘For the record, I have tried to remain calm through all this. I have tried to accept things as they are…to keep my emotions in check…to remain in control’ Wanda announces. ‘Because we all know what happens when I lose control’ she adds. ‘But right now, you’re as out of control as I was. And if you don’t stop, you’re going to hurt yourselves and each other…and I can’t allow that’. Wanda stands over the bodies of the Avengers and the X-Men, including her father, all felled by her mighty power.

‘What did you do to them?’ Patriot enquires as he and the Young Avengers are all who remain standing. ‘If they’re going to act like children, I thought it best they have a nap’ Wanda explains. ‘They will wake up eventually though, right?’ Stature asks as she kneels beside her father, Ant-Man, who was felled also. Wanda assures Stature that they will wake up, and then will no doubt be at each other’s throats in a moment. ‘But that’s all the time we need…to get to safety’ Wanda declares as she casts another hex spell, transporting herself and the Young Avengers to safety.

‘Where are we?’ Patriot asks. ‘What is this place?’ Iron Lad enquires as he examines their new surroundings. ‘At the risk of sounding redundant, we’re either in Hell…or this is Castle Doom’ Hulkling anounces. The Young Avengers then look up - to see the Scarlet Witch in the arms of Dr Doom! ‘Victor…’ Wanda smiles. ‘You’ve come back’ Dr Doom declares. ‘Of course…but I’m afraid things are a bit more complicated than when we saw each other last’ Wanda tells him. ‘More complicated than the Avengers invading Latveria on what was supposed to be out wedding day?’ Doom asks. ‘Let’s put it this way: if we survive, we should probably elope next time’ Wanda tells him.

‘Billy…’ Hawkeye utters. ‘What have we done?’ Patriot exclaims. ‘Let’s not jump to any hasty super-villain team-up conclusions here, people’ Wiccan suggests. Hulkling agrees: ‘After all, just because the Scarlet Witch took out the Avengers…’ he begins. ‘…and the X-Men…’ Iron Lad points out. ‘…and then immediately ran back into the arms of Doctor Doom’ Patriot adds. ‘…that doesn’t necessarily mean they’re pitting the two teams against each other and plotting to take over the world, does it?’ Hawkeye concludes.

The Scarlet Witch turns to the Young Avengers and tells them that what it means is that she cannot do on her own what it is she has to do, and that Victor is the only one who can help her. ‘I know you don’t trust him, but I assure you, he’s only ever acted in my best interests’ Wanda states. ‘That is true’ Doom agrees, while Wanda points out that Doom may only help her because he knows that if he betrayed her, she has the power to simply wish him out of existence. ‘That is also true, but it’s not why I did it’ Doom adds. Wanda tells the Young Avengers that they need allies now, and that Victor has been one from the start. ‘An unlikely one, I’ll admit, but -’ she adds, before one of the Young Avengers interrupts ‘From the start?’

‘When did it start?’ Wiccan asks, telling Wanda that he wants to know because one day, for some reason, her magic powers suddenly got amped up into reality-warping powers. ‘You murdered your husband and your friends - and then you nearly wiped out an entire species…things the Scarlet Witch would never do…but Doom would’ Wiccan declares. Wanda assures him that it was not Victor, that it was her. ‘Then your memory has returned?’ Doom asks. Wanda replies that there are still some things she cannot remember, or, perhaps doesn’t want to.

Flashback images, narrated in the present by the Scarlet Witch and Dr Doom:
Wanda reveals that when she learned of her sons’ deaths, she became desperate, and sought Victor’s help in bring them back to life. She adds that Doom was her enemy, but that his magicks were more powerful than hers, or Dr Strange’s, and that Doom was certainly less conflicted when it came to practicing the darker arts. Wanda reveals that to her surprise, Doom agreed to help her, but then her memory fades.

Doom continues the history lesson, explaining that since Wanda is a nexus being, a living focal point for Earth’s mystical energies, they were able to combine their magicks to access and capture that life force itself - the only power that could give her back her sons. Doom explains that they were naïve to think the life force could be so easily contained and manipulated. Doom reveals that the life force possessed Wanda and transformed her into an entity with the reality-shaping abilities of a God. Doom explains that the forces they unleashed that day could not be controlled, and resulted in the violence that Wiccan described. Doom adds that it was not until months later that his scouts found Wanda living in Transia, with no memory of who she was or what she had done.

‘But all that time we spent in Latveria together, you never told me!’ Wanda exclaims. Doom replies that he had no intention of telling her, as he couldn’t risk losing her. ‘Or the power you possessed’ Wiccan points out. Doom admits that was true in the beginning, as he couldn’t help but imagine what Wanda and he might have accomplished if they had learned to control the life force. ‘But those who attempt to control that power become consumed by it’ Doom declares. ‘Even so, I have to try…if only one last time’ Wanda remarks, touching Doom on the shoulder, explaining that she needs to restore the rest of the lives she destroyed. ‘And then I need you to divorce me from this power once and for all. Will you do that for me, Victor?’ Wanda asks. ‘I will’ Doom tells her. ‘Do you promise?’ Wanda asks. ‘I do’ Victor assures her.

‘And you’re just going to believe him? I’m sorry, but he’s Doctor Doom!’ Patriot exclaims, annoyed. Patriot declares that Doom doesn’t keep his promises, and that he is not a good guy. ‘You want to know why? Because he’s Doctor Doom’ Patriot exclaims. ‘You think he’s just going to give all that power back? He’s not. He’s going to keep it, and then we’ll all be living in the World of D - which is short for “Doom” - which should give you some idea of what it’s going to be like to live in his world’ Patriot shouts. Wanda smiles and tells Patriot that she appreciates his candor, and agrees that he is nor wrong, as the power of the life force would be tempting for anyone, especially for someone with Victor’s ambitions. ‘Which is why I’ll need Billy to use his powers as a safeguard’ Wanda explains.

‘But I don’t have my powers. Your boyfriend took them’ Wiccan reminds Wanda. Doom tells Wiccan that he should know that no one, not even the Sorcerer Supreme, can ever take away his powers. ‘What they can do, however, is enchant you into believing anything they tell you’ Doom explains as he raises his arm and casts energies around Wiccan. ‘I’ve had my powers the whole time? That’s so “Wizard of Oz”!’ Wiccan exclaims. Doom adds that it is a cheap trick, but an effective one. ‘We shall begin by joining hands and forming a circle -’ Doom remarks, as he, Wanda and Wiccan take hands. ‘Wait. Help me understand what’s happening here’ Patriot exclaims as he rushes over to them.

‘We’re going to give the mutants back their powers’ Wanda explains. ‘But we talked about this. You can’t just do it in one fell swoop and risk ruining these people’s lives all over again. I thought you were going to give them the choice and let them decide their own futures’ Patriot declares. Wanda reminds Patriot what happened at the Mansion - that the Avengers and the X-Men were seconds away from destroying them, and each other, before she even had a chance to explain her plan, let alone execute it. ‘They could arrive here any second, and then I might never get the chance to save the mutant race. So, I share your concerns - believe me, I do - but we have to do this now before it’s too late’ Wanda concludes.

‘Billy, wait -’ Patriot calls out, but Wiccan replies that Wanda is right. ‘You know she is’ he tells his teammate. Wanda apologizes to Patriot, but tells him that this is the only way. ‘Then let us being!’ Doom calls out. ‘We cannot let this happen!’ Patriot shouts. ‘Why not?’ Hawkeye asks him. ‘You want to put the fate of the mutant race in the hands of Doctor Doom?’ Patriot asks. ‘What choice do we have?’ Hawkeye enquires. ‘We can stop them’ Patriot tells his girlfriend. Crimson energy suddenly surrounds Wanda, Wiccan and Doom, and Hawkeye asks Patriot how he proposes they stop the combined powers of the three of them. ‘I don’t think we should’ Stature remarks, and Hulkling agrees. ‘Good, because I don’t think we can’ Hawkeye exclaims.

‘We don’t have to stop them. We just have to stall them long enough for the Avengers and the X-Men to get here and figure things out’ Patriot explains. ‘Because they’re always so calm and rational’ Speed mutters, while Hawkeye asks Patriot how they stall Wanda, Wiccan and Doom. ‘I am just guessing…but an incendiary arrow might do the trick’ Patriot tells her. Hawkeye points out that it also might kill them. ‘Then I’ll be sure to aim it at Doom!’ Patriot exclaims as he snatches Hawkeye’s arrow and a bow. ‘Eli! Eli, no!’ Hawkeye screams as Patriot shoots the arrow into the swirling, crimson energy.

However, the arrow does not strike Doom. It pierces Wanda, landing in her stomach. ‘Unnnh -’ Wanda utters as she falls backwards. ‘No!’ Wiccan screams. ‘WANDA!’ Doom calls out. ‘Eli…’ Hawkeye mutters as she stands behind Patriot, the other Young Avengers gathering around them. ‘Oh, my God…’ Patriot exclaims, before telling Wiccan that it was an accident, that he didn’t meant to hurt the Scarlet Witch. ‘I didn’t mean to hurt anybody!’ he shouts. Wiccan goes over to Wanda’s anguished body and tells Patriot to shut up and let him concentrate. ‘I want her to heal…’ Wiccan whispers over and over as he casts a healing spell on the Scarlet Witch. ‘Is she okay? Please say she’s okay’ Patriot calls out.

Speed goes over to the Scarlet Witch and touches her, announcing that he has a pulse. ‘Wanda…?’ Speed calls out. ‘Wanda…? You okay?’ Wiccan asks as the Scarlet Witch begins to rouse. ‘What happened?’ Wanda asks, wearily. ‘I’m sorry. I’m so sorry. I was trying to stop the spell’ Patriot explains. ‘The spell…I never completed the spell’ Wanda reveals, before explaining that she cannot feel the power, or the life force anymore. ‘It’s gone’ Wanda announces. ‘So all those mutants…?’ Wiccan asks. ‘I can’t help them now’ Wanda reveals. ‘No…’ Patriot utters, shocked. ‘Eli, look out!’ someone calls out to Patriot, who raises his shield to protect the Scarlet Witch. ‘What’s happening?’ Wiccan asks. Patriot explains that it is shrapnel, falling from the sky.

Suddenly, Doom’s mask falls to the ground, and everyone looks at it in shock. ‘Don’t be afraid, children’ a voice from above calls out. They look up, and a handsome man hovers over them in a spectacular costume, he glows with energy. ‘VICTOR is here. And I am going to take care of everything….!’

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, Luke Cage, Captain America, Hawkeye I, Iron Man, Jessica Jones, Ms Marvel, Spider-Man, Wolverine (all Avengers)
Ant-Man II, Wonder Man (both inactive Avengers)

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

Dr Doom

In Flashback images:
Scarlet Witch
Dr Doom

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.

Rictor, along with the majority of mutantkind, was de-powered by the Scarlet Witch on “M-Day”.

The events Wiccan refers to took place in the “Disassembled” storyline.

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

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