Scarlet Witch (3rd series) #3

Issue Date: 
May 2023
Story Title: 

Steve Orlando (writer), Sara Pichelli (artist), Elisabetta D'Amico (inking assistant), Mattew Wilson (colorist), Virtual Calligraphy's Cory Petit (letterer), Anthony Gambino (production designer & illustrator), Russell Dauterman (cover artist), Alex Ross; Carmen Carnero & Nolan Woodard; David Nakayama; Nabetse Zitro & Federico Blee (variant cover artists), Kaitlyn Lindtvedt (assistant editor), Alana Smith (editor), Wil Moss (senior editor), CB Cebulski (editor-in-chief)

Scarlet Witch created by Stan Lee & Jack Kirby


Brief Description: 

The Scarlet Witch is visited by her sister, Polaris, who analyzes the mysterious worry stone in Wanda's possession. Polaris reports on what she has discovered about the stone, and while she is at the Emporium with Wanda someone walks through the Last Door – only they can't see anyone. Wanda casts a spell and detects that the visitor is microscopic in size. She and Polaris enter the Tinyverse with a warrior called Mardj, who had left Sub-Atomica seeking assistance after her home, Tryfa, was conquered by the Nillans. Mardj wants to liberate the remainder of her people and ensure that those lost are properly honored. The Scarlet Witch and Polaris accompany Mardj into Sub-Atomica, where they battle a haggard witch and her rabid pets, pass through a strange gate and locate the altar where they had hoped to find the Sword in the Star, a powerful weapon which would enable Mardj to defeat her enemy. The sword is gone, and Mardj is desperate, so Wanda and Polaris combine their abilities to forge a new sword, which Mardj gratefully accepts. The trio then battle the remaining oppressors, before ensuring that those who have been lost receive the appropriate funeral. With the sword in the star, Mardj has freed her home of Tryfa, and is celebrated as a true hero by her people. The Scarlet Witch and Polaris return to Earth and visit Krakoa, where the sisters share a tender moment. But when Wanda returns to the Emporium, she is shocked to discover it is on fire – and Darcy has been captured by Scythia!

Full Summary: 

Lotkill, New York, 'So why am I putting down for three lattes from my lush shopkeeper's salary?' Darcy Lewis complains as she walks alongside Wanda Maximoff the Scarlet Witch. 'I mean, it's cool, Wanda – as long as the next thing you pull out of your hat's a raise' Darcy adds. 'Alakazam, you're rich, Darcy. But wait, where did I put that hat?' Wanda smiles as they approach The Emporium, her shop. 'Almost funny! No, listen, you've been great – ever since I tripped through the Last Door. Which, yeah, honestly, it's been nice to think about. Comfortably nice. Too nice' Darcy adds. Wanda reminds Darcy that it is her story, and that she can tell it on her schedule. 'As for the coffee – the micro-omens were clear. Sky trails, a flutter in my blood's iron. The god Hadur's laughter in the air. In other words... my sister's in town' Wanda announces.

Indeed, lounging over a chair inside the Emporium is Lorna Dane a.k.a. Polaris, who spins the mysterious worry stone around a flurry of magnetic energy. 'Fun little rock you found, Wanda' Lorna remarks, before asking 'You had questions?' The sisters embrace, and Wanda tells Lorna that she has many questions, and that it is good to see her. 'It's good to see you, too' Lorna responds. 'Sunglasses indoors? Pretty cool' Darcy remarks. 'Who knew Wanda had such a fashion rebel in the family?' Darcy adds. 'Why call me when you've got such a wise intern – was it my doctorate in geophysics?' Lorna asks, before informing Wanda that she analyzed her stone, and, it's not actually stone, but ore, an unstable ore, with magnetic properties like mysterium, but way less  refined. 'That's all I could get without java' the caffeine-addicted  Lorna announces.

'So it like your mutant metal but not. A real gold rush of actionable intel, Doc' the sarcastic Darcy remarks. 'And what'd you pan up on your own?' Lorna snaps. 'I'm a reporter, She-Hulk. I'm still panning' Darcy jokes, referring to Lorna's green hair and costume. Wanda explains that Darcy helps in the shop with smaller problems so that she can be out there for the larger ones. 'Sure, as long as she didn't put anything in my -' Lorna begins, when suddenly, there is a creaking noise. Wanda, Lorna and Darcy turn to the door, and there is another creaking – it's not the front door, but the Last Door. 'Wise intern left your door open, Wanda' Lorna points as she lowers her sunglasses. 'No. The Last Door only opens...for those who need it' Wanda explains. 'So where are they?' Darcy asks, as one is standing in the doorway.

'Is it the Invisible Woman? Bumped into her once, at least, I think -' Darcy jokes, while Lorna reveals that she does feel an electromagnetic field, but that it is infinitesimal, like a gnat buzzing in an ocean. Wanda remarks that Darcy is right, there is a new presence in the room, invisible or not. Her eyes suddenly glow as she decides to let the Eyes of Hodomuria reveal the truth, no matter the size, and it's then that she detects an astral signature at the door – smaller than small, but alive. 'So, microscopic. I assume there's a spell for that. Are we doing this?' Lorna asks as she and Wanda begin to glow. 'Hey, witches and scientists? Maybe tell me what “this” is?' Darcy exclaims. 'Honestly, Darcy, it's only Sise-neg's shrinking charm' Wanda explains as she and Lorna seemingly vanish. 'Right. Sure. I'll watch the shop. While you and Doctor Magnetic blip off into the Tinyverse' Darcy mutters.

Elsewhere, a woman with short pink hair, wearing a strange blue costume with gold accents and a cape frowns as she remarks 'This must be a dream. I should be dead. I remember – backed against a bombed-out home, my hand on a fallen doorframe...the sound of the enemy's targetting nodes, their looks of righteous hate, and then...I was here, so very much not dead'. The woman reveals that this is not Sub-Atomica, that this is somehow the great above. 'Who are you? How am I speaking this language?' the woman asks. Wanda explains that, thanks to the last few guests she had, she has added a linguistic enchantment to her special door. She introduces herself and Polaris, and reports that to those with no place left to turn, any door becomes this door – the Last Door – a portal to safety.

The woman drops to her knees and declares that safe is a long-forgotten idea, and introduces herself as Mardj, that her home, Tryfa, is so small, that it was only just discovered by the Nillans, nomadic conquerors who plague Sub-Atomica, that the Nillans long for a home, and their invasion was immediate. Mardj reveals that hers was a world of folklore, and that they failed to overcome Nillan technology, that she is her city's last survivor, unable even to honor their dead. She adds that she would have given up, if not for the myth – the Sword in the Star. Mardj reports that it is a living blade that once carved their world, only few believe that it still exists – but she does. She hopes that she can find it, show her people that their myth is real, then she could rally Tryfa to fight back, to repel the Nillans and honor their lost. Mardj explains that she had nearly found the sword's supposed resting place, but that she was beset by Nillan scouts. Wanda smiles and helps Mardj stand up, assuring her that she is beset no longer. 'And if this sword will help save your people...then it sounds like we've all got a quest on our hands'.

The adventure begins, with the Scarlet Wich leading Polaris and Mardj through a forest, guided by crimson energy. Guilt is an old friend to the Scarlet Witch, a pain that she would move mountains to save others from, and so she hurls herself into the dark, with a newhound sister and a tired liberator at her side. There, in the night wilds of a microscopic universe, the journey begins. The fate of Tryfa, a world so small it was beneath notice until it could be pillaged, rests on a myth. For the sword in the star, to liberagte Tryfa, it must first be discovered. And to be discovered, it must be real. And if real... it would not be unguarded.

Mardj knows Tryfa well, with the Mistress of Magnetism at her side, the Scarlet Witch is the power that acts on Mardj's knowledge, the willing means, the very ally she herself so often wishes she had. As warriors three, they face down the witch called Lich Duke Yaga Dyara and his army of death and recruitment. At Wanda's will, probability bends, and what was once a suicide mission transforms into one of triumph. Wanda defeats the witch, while Polaris casts out the vile rat-like Wolves of Interstellar Rot, and clear the way for Mardj's destiny.

They continue on the adventure, before them looms the Carrion Gate, built into the body of a long-dead sentry who buried the fabled sword in their chest, a final act of protection for a star system's most holy relic. Polaris flicks her wrist and the gate's locks crack open. Wanda is impressed, and infused with a tear from Mardj, her spell greases the ancient hinges. They enter through the head of a sun's guardian angel, and proceed to the heart. There, Wanda discovers nothing but dust. A barren altar. But she is Wanda Maximoff, no stranger to lies, deception and disappointment. The sight of another so struck but such poison cuts her deep. If the sword in the star ever was real, it is long gone, and Mardj's last hope stands as a false myth. For ages, she has fought on faith alone, and now that faith lays dashed on Mardj's only reality is one of defeat. Wanda tries to comfort Mardj, while Polaris stands nearby, the chamber littered with all sorts of treasures.

Wanda Maximoff is the Scarlet Witch, and so she changes that reality – for all the times her faith was ever shattered, Mardj's must be rewarded. The sword must be  real. So Wanda calls to Polaris, heralded this same day by omens of Hadur, a godly weaponsmith, together, their gifts become a forge of both science and sorcery. Between their hands, forces burn like a miniature star, with particles compressed through mutant magnetism, condensed from higher realms by magic – a new blade is born! Spark by spark, belief is myth becomes matter, and Mardj holds the blade overhead, while two sisters with a bond more powerful than blood look on at the sword they crafted, knowing that only its master can give it purpose, only its mother can give it life, as in the tales long whispered around Tryfan campfires, they know this last step is Mardj's alone. Every true victory Wanda has had has come from within. Once, she retook her life by chaining Chthon, her demonic oppressor, to her soul. Now, she watches proudly as Mardj makes her own sacrifice to retake her world.

Born in blood, the sword in the star wakes...and goes to work. The Scarlet Witch has long been an outsider. She has gone from pretender to redeemer in the eyes of Polaris' people, all by learning the truth of power. Heroism must not be about thre recognition of the savior, but the elevation of the saved. So, as the Tryfans witness their city cleansed of invaders, they see a Tryfan leading. They see one of their own wielding the sword in the star. They see Mardj, proving their most sacred myth true with every stroke of her blade as she flight side-by-side with the Scarlet Witch to defeat the Nillans, as Polaris destroys several with a magnetic pulse.

Past the space wall, in the smallest of solar systems, Wanda has witnessed a hero being born. Finally, Tryfa's lost can be mourned. In that, Wanda witnesses a funeral rite like no other. Though few survive from Mardj's region, they gather to pay their respects to their beloved dead. The Scarlet Witch is honored to be welcomed into such a private tradition. For Tryfans, the very lightning that obliterates the bodies of their lost ferries their souls to the great above. Polaris stands at the funeral also, a boquet of flowers in hand, while Madrj is on her hands and knees, bowing before the dead.

An act of destruction is also an act of deliverance, a fitting omen for what is to come. Mardj's city is free, but Nillans still hold most of Tryfa. The Scarlet Witch has given the world a fighting chance, but she wants to do more. It is only natural, she wants to fight for Tryfa, cast out the Nillans and strike down their conquering fleet. But what will happen to Tryfa when she leaves? She wants to do more, but Mardj asks that she allow her people to fight for themselves, to reclaim their dignity along with their freedom. Wanda's own sovereignty has been challenged so foten, she cannot ignore Mardj's wish, even if it is painful – she knows Tryfa will be freed by its own hands – but first, a celebration.

The Tryfans raise Mardj up on their shoulders, while Wanda looks on and smiles, and Polaris checks her watch. Freshly unbound from her own past, Wanda watches a joyous people with a wise and learned gaze. Only she and Polaris could craft the sword in the star, but only Mardj could raise it. A war awaits, there may be losses, but Wanda has been talked over before. She has too often been told what is best. It hurts, but she knows Tryfa must be given the help it wants, not the help she believes it needs. Anything else is to just become another shackle, and the Scarlet Witch is long past through with iron. And so, with a full and heavy heart, she returns to the great above.

Krakoa, where Wanda sits next to Lorna on a ledge overlooking the ocean surrounding the mutant nation. Lorna reveals that she read a paper on Sub-Atomica once, by Phillip Prometheus, but that seeing it is another thing. 'It was know, spending time with you' Lorna adds, cup of coffee in hand. Wanda acknowledges that they haven't always been close, and that she wants to change that – the sword quest was a bonus. 'Life's like that sometimes' Lorna replies. 'It's certainly been a day, but your coffee is resurrecting me' Wanda smiles. 'Good' Lorna tells her sister, revealing that she lifted the mugs from an old haunt in Greenwich, before adding that Darcy seems all right. 'I challenged her and she didn't flinch. I like that'. Wanda lies back and notes that Darcy is integral. 'I've let too many people down, Lorna. The move. The shop.'s all been to ensure I don't fail anyone else. But helping everyone how they want it – takes its toll. Even for me'. Polaris then assures her sister that she is enough. 'Trust me... I'm a doctor' Lorna adds as the sisters hug.

Shortly, Wanda returns to Lotkill, hovering over the town when someone shouts 'HELP – SOMEONE! FIRE!' Wanda turns and is in shock as she sees The Emporium ablaze. 'No. The's...' Wanda utters, as several civilians gather nearby, 'Ikt's going up like a match!' a woman calls out. 'Darcy!' Wanda screams, when suddenly, 'What's this? Another would-be protector?' a voice asks. Wanda turns to see Hippolyta the Warrior Woman looking mad, and carrying an unmoving Darcy under her arm. Hippolyta declares that Darcy Lewis has evaded justice long enough, that her cowardly flesh belongs to Scythia, Champion of the Bacchae. 'And any who would dare defend her must face me... even a Scarlet Witch!' Scythia narrows her eyes and tells Wanda Maximoff that it is her move.



Characters Involved: 

Scarlet Witch


Darcy Lewis





Lich Duke Yaga Dyara

Wolves of Interstellar Rot

Unnamed Nillans

Unnamed Tryfans



Story Notes: 

Wanda was given the mysterious worry stone in Scarlet Witch (3rd series) #1.

Sub-Atomica is a part of the Microverse and first appeared in Fantastic Four (1st series) #16.

First appearance of Mardj.

During the adventure in Tryfa, there is no dialogue, only full page illustrations and a text box.

Hippolyta a.k.a. Warrior Woman and now known as Scythia last appeared in any form of significance back in Fearless Defenders #12. 

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