Scarlet Witch (3rd series) #10

Issue Date: 
January 2024
Story Title: 

Steve Orlando (writer), Sara Pichelli (artist), Frank William (colorist), Virtual Calligraphy's Cory Petit (letterer), Anthony Gambino (production designer & illustrator), Russell Dauterman (cover artist), Felipe Massafera; Marc Aspinall; Elizabeth Torque (variant cover artists), Kaitlyn Lindtvedt (assistant editor), Alanna Smith (editor), Wil Moss (senior editor), CB Cebulski (editor-in-chief)

Scarlet Witch created by Stan Lee & Jack Kirby

Brief Description: 

Hexfinder reveals her origin to the Scarlet Witch and of how she came about to track the Scarlet witch down while killing other witches along the way. Despite being injured, the Scarlet Witch fights back against Hexfinder. Hexfinder forces Joseph to trap the Scarlet Witch in a circle of Mysterium, weakening the Scarlet Witch, Darcy Lewis tries to get through to Joseph, but he offers no response for his actions. The Scarlet Witch and Hexfinder seemingly counter each other's attacks at each opportunnity, Joseph eventually intervenes and helps the Scarlet Witch. Hexfinder is furious at his betrayal. The Scarlet Witch does have some physical combat training and battles Hexfinder hand-to-hand. Joseph uses his powers to destroy the Mysterium but is weakened in the process. Hexfinder is about to kill him, but the Scarlet Witch stops her and banishes her foe, despite Hexfinder gleefully boasting that the Scarlet Witch continues to fail those in her life. Darcy helps Joseph up, and as he dies, Joseph apologizes to the Scarlet Witch for betraying him. Darcy blames herself for Joseph's death, before the Scarlet Witch sees what else Joseph has done – transformed the Mysterium into a new form of matter with healing properties. The Scarlet Witch transports the new matter, which she names Iozium, after Joseph, to a park so it can be enjoyed by everyone in Lotkill. Joseph is reborn, and the Scarlet Witch and Darcy celebrate being alive.

Full Summary: 

The Emporium, Lotkill, New York, where Wanda Maximoff a.k.a. the Scarlet Witch has been wounded by an intruder. 'You violate my home, poison people against me. Why, Hexfinder?' Wanda asks her newfound enemy, while blood drips from her hand to the floor. Darcy Lewis, Wanda's shop assistant, looks on in horror, while Hexfinder remarks 'I've also taken your proxy, of course. That's just the start. But, yes, right – the why. Because Joseph has no choice. And because I hate you' Hexfinder declares. She recalls the ancient past as she scowls and informs Wanda that they have hated her for over a millennium, and reveals that her ancestors were mountain witches, guardians of an eldritch mine. It was a mine that Kierrok the Damned so desired, so he set his N'Garai legions upon them. Kierrok and the N'Garai were elderspawn, born of Chthon, the very elder god Wanda holds chained in her soul. She recalls that there was a battle, but their own spells failed them, and so they prayed to witchcraft, their goddess – but heard no reply. She had left them to the slaughter. Her people were abandoned, betrayed. 'Hell, warlock means oathbreaker – that is what witchcraft is. Who witches are. Hexes...a curse, one I know how to break, though you're not just any witch'. Hexfinder declares.

Hexfinder looks over to Joseph as she remarks that orchestrating the killing blow took work, took time for Wanda to flinch, but then – there was the death of her chosen father. 'Magneto was no puppet, but that is all Joseph has ever been' Hexfinder declares, revealing that she rebuilt his body, plucked his essence from the Krakoan waiting room, and with a biochemical jolt, her staff woke Joseph's mind. Wanda looks over to Joseph: 'I trusted you, even knowing the danger. I saw your face. Read your intent. Your remorse was wanted to start again' she reminds him. 'I did' Joseph responds as he uses his powers to levitate a metal chest, which he hurls at Wanda and sends her crashing through the wall of the Emporium. 'But that's the rub, witch. I restarted his life, not you. Alchemy besparked his brain. It mended his flesh and blood. All to deceive you. After all, my Joseph wasn't lying. His story was false, but his heart was true. True and irrelevant – it's my power keeping him alive' Hexfinder claims.

Hexfinder and Joseph step outside, joining Wanda on the sidewalk, as Hexfinder reveals that her ancestors did not die – instead, they retreated to their mine, and there, the first five Hexfinders forged the five sacred tools. She explains how they emerged and repelled the N'Garai with a power that would not waiver, and the gift, to change what is real, to transform what is there, without faith, a gift passed from teacher to student – of which she is the last. She reveals her name is Nicola Zosimos, and Wanda recognizes the name, realizing her foe is an alchemist, and that the low mysterium was her creation. 'Temporal transmutation. A chance in the present that echoes into the past. With the right touch from the philosopher's staff, the stone was always beneath Lotkill' Hexfinder reveals. Hexfinder holds her staff towards Wanda's face and remarks that the low mysterium is a magic-opaque element, a boon for killing witches. 'And I have been busy' she boasts.

'You killed Heinrich von Hate to what – intimidate me? Let him rot. He's a Nazi' Wanda responds. 'He's a statement. All witches are targets. And you? You're Chthon's witch jailer – our betrayer and our attacker in one!' Hexfinder exclaims. She claims that the Scarlet Witch has always been on her list, and that her play with the true Darkhold brought her to the top. 'Who's playing, Maleficent?' a voice asks. Wanda, Joseph and Hexfinder turn to see Darcy standing nearby, holding a pillow. 'One move and I unleash the pillow of life and death!' Darcy exclaims. 'That's right, clones and conjurers – Darcy's been digging in storage!' Darcy boats. She admits that the pillow doesn't look like much, but that the threat is in the name. 'One touch. One friggin’ touch and my fluffy girl heals the worthy and kills the evil. So come on. Who wants to find out? Who wants to roll the dice? Who's up for the last pillow fight of their lives?' Darcy goes on.

'No me' Hexfinder responds as she puts her staff against the pillow, transforming it. 'Is that lead? Son of a -' Darcy begins as she struggles to hold the now lead pillow up, and drops it to the ground. 'I'm out of deadly pillows here, much time do you need?' Darcy asks. Wanda's hand has healed, and she flicks her fingers: 'NONE' she responds as she conjures a powerful surge of energy that rises up from the ground and smacks Hexfinder and Joseph skyward. Hexfinder gathers herself and hovers mid-air, while Joseph has fallen back to the ground. Hexfinder instructs Joseph to ready what is next. 'Remember who put your head back on' she warns him, before deciding that they have danced enough. 'This is now a fight' she calls out. 'I agree!' Wanda responds as she casts energy towards Hexfinder, which engulfs her staff. 'Please. We'd be extinct if we couldn't transmute spells' Hexfinder responds calmly, cleansing her staff of Wanda's energy.

'You're still human. Humans breathe' Wanda remarks as she snaps her fingers again. 'Ruthless, witch. But my staff creates air just as fast as you steal it' Hexfinder declares as she breathes through the air created by her staff. 'There's more than one way to choke' Wanda decides as she clenches a fist, and as she does, a large hand rises up from the ground beneath Hexfinder. 'You should've come for me, Hexfinder. Come direct – but, no. You came for my family – you made this so much worse! For yourself!' Wanda calls out as her hex energy surrounds Hexfinder and the hand – which suddenly grabs Hexfinder. 'Joseph! The cage – NOW!' Hexfinder shrieks at Joseph, who responds by raising a barrier of low mysterium up from beneath the street, surrounding himself, Wanda, Darcy and Hexfinder, who is freed from the giant hand in the process. 'The low mysterium's been waiting below. A transmuted mine – it felt appropriate' Hexfinder declares, before warning the Scarlet Witch that these walls won't just contain her – but dull her power.

Indeed, Wanda attempts to conjure a hex, but nothing happens. 'You're cornered. Alone. There's no escape' Hexfinder boasts. 'You think that makes me less dangerous?' Wanda asks. 'Yes!' Hexfinder responds as she fires a blue energy towards Wanda, while exclaiming 'Complete combustion hellfire rounds. We're alchemists. Not luddites'. Darcy turns to Joseph: 'So, don't tell anyone Joe... but I hate being right. Especially about low-body-fat clones playing on my friend's guilt. Still...' her voice trails off, as Wanda casts a hex which destroys Hexfinder's weapon and tells her to stick to her staff. 'These modern weapons just don't hold together' she jokes. Joseph looks at Darcy and tells her not to get more involved. 'No can do' Darcy responds. 'You could stop me though – it'd be easy' she claims. Darcy points out that she is no master of magnetism, 'You could kill me, for real. I mean, all I've got's a lit hat...and a question' Darcy remarks. She tells Joseph that she gets it: 'Step out of line and it's back to the grave. Hexfinder's in control, right? But, oh yeah – my question. What's it like not risking your life for someone who'd die to save yours?' she asks, but Joseph does not respond.

'Don't you feel it, witch?' Hexfinder asks as she pulls her staff out of the ground, and as she does, the ground around Wanda turns into a pool of water, which Wanda struggles to get out of. 'The ground's disappearing beneath you' Hexfinder points out. 'Lucky I'm not beholden to it!' Wanda exclaims as she manifests a large bird around herself and flies out of the water. 'All this over a thousand-year-old slight? You think witchcraft is deceitful? Who offered Joseph an open hand – who put their boot on his neck?' Wanda asks as she drops down on Hexfinder, knocking her foe backwards. 'He's just a -' Hexfinder begins, before Wanda pins her down with the magic bird's claws: 'It was rhetorical. Resurrection is a gift – not a leash' she states, noting that Hexfinder toys with a man's life, not for duty, but for a grudge. 'I am not happy!' Wanda shouts as she shoves the energy claws into Hexfinder's mouth and eyes.

'Then you know how I feel!' Hexfinder retorts as she raises her staff, shattering the magic bird and causing Wanda to fall backwards. Wanda gasps as Hexfinder transmutes Wanda's body into gold. 'Now look at that. I wouldn't struggle. Your lungs aren't lungs anymore. They're gold'. Hexfinder stands over Wanda and tells her that all she has is her last breath. 'Normally I turn the whole body. It's quick, humane. I reforge the metal into a nice little trophy' Hexfinder reveals, before leaning in close to Wanda and telling her that she wanted her to see it coming. She then raises her staff and notes that she can always melt down the pieces later. 'No' Wanda calls out. 'Yes, witch. Always yes' Hexfinder smirks – but as she brings her staff down towards Wanda in an attempt to shatter her, the golden Wanda is pulled backwards.

'Statues don't move on their own – JOSEPH!' Hexfinder shrieks. Joseph points at Hexfinder and tells her that she is betrayed, but not by a witch. Wanda's body begins to revert to normal as Joseph goes over and helps her up. He tells her that they don't have long, but he has one more favor – a last request: 'Go hand this woman her ass!' Joseph exclaims, to which Wanda tells him that it will be her pleasure. She lunges towards Hexfinder, who boasts 'This is still my arena, witch!' As she slams her head against Hexfinder's, Wanda points out that it doesn't feel like it. 'Cute. Hexfinders have killed witches for centuries -' Hexfinder boasts as she shoves her boot into Wanda's stomach. 'Past tense' Wanda smirks as she grabs Hexfinder by her neck, and forces a hex into her mouth. 'The pasts' a great weapon. Wisdom... passed from adept to apprentice. Each kill informs the next' Hexfinder declares as she knocks Wanda backwards with a flare of energy from her staff. Wanda fires back with a hex, then Hexfinder releashes shards of energy towards Wanda: 'Yours will be a master class!' she boasts.

'I'm not done yet' Wanda responds, while Hexfinder reveals that energy shards are actually poison ice, and tells Wanda that she is dead. 'You just haven't hit the – dirt -' Hexfinder begins, when suddenly there is a rumbling, and Wanda and Hexfinder turn to see Joseph nearby on his knees, 'ENOUGH!' he roars, and there is a shattering sound as he transforms the low mysterium trapping Wanda in Hexfinder's arena into crimson shards. Joseph collapses: 'Wanda... Wanda... the mysterium it... it's gone... the floor is yours' he utters. 'My mysteriuym – gone? Changed!?' a furious Hexfinder shrieks, before warning Joseph that this will cost him his head. 'I'll take that deal – bring it on' Joseph replies, wary after exhausting his powers. Hexfinder hurls her staff towards Joseph, but before it can strike him, Wanda grabs it: 'Deal's off' she announces, while Darcy helps Joseph to his feet.

Wanda smirks and tells Hexfinder that it is almost impressive – in one act, she mocked Magneto's death and Joseph's life. 'I'll do more than mock. The stone was a crutch! You think I won't still kill you?' Hexfinder exclaims, boasting that she will bleed dry everyone that Wanda knows. 'You'll beg me to stop!' she shrieks. 'Oh, I won't be begging' Wanda responds, as she flicks her fingers, and a massive surge of crimson energy manifests around Hexfinder. 'You disrespected my father. You damaged my friend. Now I can avenge both' Wanda frowns. 'Avenge? You've done nothing, witch! Nothing! You've failed the same man twice! Enjoy it!' Hexfinder grins wickedly as she vanishes within the surge of crimson energy.

'Whew' Wanda utters, touching her head. Darcy helps Joseph to stand and tells him that it is okay, and that whatever he did he wore himself out, but that he did good. Darcy calls Wanda over, and Joseph collapses into Wanda's arms. 'It’s okay. I've got him' Wanda utters. 'Do something! Magic him!' Darcy pleads. Wanda lays Joseph on the ground, and Joseph tells Wanda that he is sorry. Wanda tries to tell him not to talk, but he admits to lying to her, even though she welcomed him. 'You could've died... for me, even...even knowing what I did. I couldn't... couldn't allow that. Not you. Never you. I just... just once... I had to be... who you've always said I was' Joseph explains, before he succumbs to his injuries. Wanda leans into Joseph, and calling him Iosif, as she has done lately, bids him goodbye.

Darcy tells Wanda that she questioned Joseph and pushed him, got him killed. 'This isn't... it's not like with the Bacchae. He should be here, Wanda. He should... you can do something, right? You always can' Darcy exclaims. 'I can't raise the dead, Darcy. Ask Genosha' Wanda responds. She explains that Joseph changed the low mysterium, rearranged its atoms into something new, freed her – and it took everything, now his body has nothing left. 'But his soul. I promise you...his soul is finally where it belongs' Wanda assures Darcy. Not long ago, Wanda told a friend that she died for redemption – and he listened.

Later, the Scarlet Witch is relocating the crimson gems that replaced the low mysterium barrier. She informs Darcy that she sent Polaris a sample, and that it turns out the gems are a transparent metal, like aluminium oxynitride, but with unique healing properties. 'Sweet. Like the crystals they sell at the mall?' Darcy asks. 'A bit more potent than that' Wanda responds. The gems now stand tall on a green field, and Wanda informs Darcy that Magneto once called mutants Earth's new gods. She adds that, in Hebrew, “Yoseph” means “God will give”, and so this is Joseph's gift, which she has taken to calling Iozium. 'People will come here to be well... and remember him'.

Now, Joseph lives on, reborn, but not the same. He has been changed by the alchemy of the moment, and in that, he may not be alone. Now, Joseph sits on a wall, overlooking a body of water. As long as he is changing, he is alive.

Back at the Emporium, his copy of Magneto's helmet sits among other artefacts on Wanda's shelves, while Wanda and Darcy sit atop the Emporium and share a drink.


Characters Involved: 

Scarlet Witch



Darcy Lewis


Hexfinder/Nicola Zosimos



(in flashback)



Civilians including Hexfinder's ancestors

Story Notes: 

Final issue of Scarlet Witch (3rd series). This series is followed by Scarlet Witch & Quicksilver #1.

Written By: