Name: Wanda Maximoff
Alias: Scarlet Witch
Powers: The Scarlet Witch possesses the mutant power of affecting probability fields. By a combination of gestures and mental concentration, she creates a hex-sphere, a finite pocket of reality-disrupting quasi-psionic force, which upon reaching its intended target, causes disturbance in the molecular-level probability field surrounding the target. Thus, unlikely phenomena will occur. Among the many phenomena she is able to cause are: the sudden melting of gun barrels, the spontaneous combustion of any flammable object, the rapid rust or decay of various organic and inorganic materials, the poltergeist-like deflection of an object in flight, the sudden evacuation of air from a given volume, the disruption of energy transmissions and fields, and so on. These phenomena occur practically instantaneously after the completion of her hex. Her range of hex-casting is limited by her line of sight. Wanda is also a living focal point for the earth's magic. Her sorcerous training with Agatha Harkness is separate from her mutant ability of probability (science). But the mixture of the two makes her considerably more powerful than just using her probability powers. She has a special affinity for the natural elements and materials that true witches utilize in their spells: the four alchemical elements, wood, organic substances, etc. The reliability factor of her hex-casting ability is also limited by her physical condition: when well rested, in good health and mentally and emotionally alert Scarlet Witch can cast numerous hex-spheres in rapid succession and attain desirable results for almost an hour.
First Appearance: The X-Men #4 (1964)
The Scarlet Witch (real name Wanda Maximoff) is the daughter of the mutant Magneto and his late wife Magda. Wanda is also the fraternal twin sister of Pietro ( Quicksilver) ; she was born first of the two. Shortly after Magda became pregnant, she witnessed her husband use his magnetic powers and realized that he was a mutant. Being terrified of mutants, Magda did not tell him of her pregnancy and fled from their home at the first opportunity. Magda eventually found refuge with a benevolent cow-like humanoid named Bova, who lived on Mount Wundagore in Transia. The twins were born on Mt. Wundagore, and due to the mountain's mystical energy, it gave Wanda the ability to use magic in addition to her mutant powers. Shortly after the birth, Magda was driven mad with fear that Magneto might come for her and discover the twins. Despite Bova's attempts to reassure her, she fled the mountain during a blizzard in order to protect the twins, and apparently died of exposure soon afterward.
The motherless twins became the responsibility of Bova. A short time later, Bova helped a World War II heroine named Miss America give birth to a child fathered by her superhero husband, the Whizzer, but unfortunately both child and mother died from radiation poisoning soon afterward. After Whizzer arrived, Bova only told him that Miss America had died, and gave him Pietro and Wanda, claiming they were his children. Whizzer initially took the twins with him, but once he discovered they were not his own, he immediately returned them to Bova on Mt. Wundagore.
Bova then found another set of foster parents for Wanda and Pietro named Django and Marya Maximoff, who had just lost two children of their own. Django and Marya were Roma (gypsies), and unfortunately suffered from prejudice and persecution in Transia. Django worked as a doll-maker, but it was hard for him to find customers due to him being Roma. Django eventually had to steal food to keep his family from starving. When Wanda grew older, she was sexually molested by a boy her age, and was forced to use her powers to keep him away before running to safety. The villagers, however, accused Wanda of seducing the boy and attacked the Maximoffs, setting fire to the family’s wagon. Marya was still inside and burned to death. They clubbed Django unconscious, but Wanda and Pietro were able to escape. Wanda and Pietro now believed that they were the only members of their family left. The two twins grew up together taking care of themselves, and Pietro grew very protective of Wanda.
Eventually Wanda and Pietro used their powers in public again, resulting in their being attacked by a superstitious mob. Magneto arrived and saved their lives, and in returned they agreed to join his Brotherhood of Evil Mutants. Wanda became known as the Scarlet Witch, and Pietro, due to his power of super-speed, took the name Quicksilver. They were the first members of the Brotherhood, but neither Magneto nor the twins were aware that Magneto was their father.
Wanda was now a beautiful young woman and two male members of the Brotherhood, Toad and Mastermind, often tried to seduce her, but Magneto always protected her from them. However, Magneto would also inflict pain on Wanda whenever she thought of leaving the Brotherhood. Magneto recruited more powerful beings to aid the Brotherhood, such as Namor, after Wanda failed her objectives during certain missions. Namor eventually quit the Brotherhood after witnessing Wanda being abused by Magneto for her disloyalty. After Magneto was taken from Earth by the cosmic entity called the Stranger, the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants effectively disbanded. The American superhero Iron Man then asked Wanda and Pietro to join his team of heroes, the Avengers.
The twins briefly went back to Europe to consider the offer, but soon returned to America and joined the Avengers. They wanted to redeem themselves for their past actions when they were with the Brotherhood. Captain America trained them as Avengers, and Hawkeye became Wanda’s closest friend in the team. During her stay with the Avengers, Wanda became attracted to the android Avenger known as the Vision, and the two began dating romantically.
Both Pietro and Hawkeye were very vocal in their disagreement with the relationship. Pietro felt dating an android was beneath Wanda, and Hawkeye also disapproved because he had developed his own feelings for Wanda. Eventually Hawkeye got over his jealousy and gave Wanda and Vision his blessing. Pietro, on the other hand, denounced his sister’s love. Later, during an argument with Hawkeye, a telepath named Moondragon erased Pietro’s hate for the Vision.
Also during her time with the Avengers, Wanda was tutored by a true witch named Agatha Harkness. Harkness helped her to understand and employ her powers more efficiently. She disciplined Wanda’s magical ability and taught her to control her mutant hex power.
Wanda's romance with the Vision culminated in the two getting married. This important event in her life caused her to wonder who her real father was. For a time she believed that the Whizzer was her biological father. Wanda eventually learned that Magneto was her real father, which made her even angrier at Magneto because of his abusive behavior during her time in the Brotherhood. Later, after Agatha Harkness died, Wanda became infused with magic powers that made her pregnant with twins, whom she named Thomas and William. Wanda and Vision decided to retire as Avengers in order to raise their children.
Vision and Wanda eventually came out of retirement and joined a depleted West Coast Avengers. Vision was kidnapped by other countries that were still angered with his attempt to take over the world years earlier. Vision's memories were eventually wiped clean, leaving him completely robotic and logic driven and with no emotional attachment to anything, including Wanda. She decided to find a way to restore the Vision's memories and personality.
Wanda sought out Wonder Man, who was considered the Vision’s 'brother,' since the android's personality and memories had originally been created from Wonder Man's own. But since they shared the same psychic template, Wonder Man also loved Wanda and had always been jealous of the Vision. He wanted Wanda to marry him instead. Wonder Man was counseled by Wasp (who could not have children of her own and questioned the existence of Wanda’s children), who convinced him to not allow anyone to use his memories to restore the Vision’s.
Wanda’s children began to fade in and out of existence. It was eventually revealed that Agatha Harkness was still alive, and had used mystical energies containing parts of Mephisto’s soul, turning them into Wanda’s children in order to hide them. One of Mephisto’s minions kidnapped Wanda’s children and reabsorbed them back into Mephisto. The Avengers attempted to rescue the children but failed. Agatha erased a grief-stricken Wanda’s memories of her twins and helped the Avengers escape from Mephisto’s realm.
Everyone’s life went on, with Vision still having no memories and showing little concern for Wanda on the battlefield. Vision eventually decided to leave the West Coast team to join the East Coast roster. Wanda begged Vision to stay by her side, but he told her that the East Coast needed him more then she did. This led to Wanda having a nervous breakdown and helping found a new Brotherhood of Evil Mutants, along with Magneto (who had returned to Earth) and Quicksilver. Pietro soon revealed that he only joined Magneto to take back his fragile sister. The West Coast Avengers tried to save Wanda but she was then kidnapped by Immortus. Immortus revealed that he had manipulated Wanda’s relationship with Vision in order to destroy the android, and this process made Wanda emotionally fragile.
During the process, Wanda’s mutant power connected her to multiple parallel universes. She was then rescued by the West Coast Avengers and rejoined the team. Wanda stayed on the West Coast Avengers for a long time. Hawkeye helped her deal with the loss of her husband and twins. Wanda became the leader of the West Coast Avengers, but soon left to become a founding member of a new team called Force Works. The ill-fated team did not last long, and Wonder Man died on the first Force Works mission. The group disbanded and Wanda rejoined the West Coast Avengers. Around this time, Vision began to regain his past memories and emotions for Wanda, and the couple tried to reconcile. The were interrupted when they had to battle Onslaught. Eventually, they died alongside other heroes and were put in an alternate universe for some time.
Wanda was kidnapped by the sorceress Morgan Le Fey but was able to escape, and resurrected Wonder Man to ghost form in the process. Le Fey battled Vision and wounded him badly. Vision tells Wanda not to visit him because of his current status and her fragile mind. Wanda revisited Agatha Harkness where she learns that her mutant powers were still evolving. She is able to now channel Chaos Magic which is considered very dangerous by professional magicians. Wanda also learns that she can resurrect the dead now. After she was rejected by Vision so much, she decided to revive Wonder Man and pursue a relationship with him. They began having an obvious affair right in front of Vision who had his entire memories restored. However, their relationship would go nowhere after Wonder Man reveals that he does not want to get married and have children. Wanda dumped Wonder Man right after that. Soon Wanda and Vision would reconcile and try to rebuild their relationship. Wanda began using her Chaos Magic more and it started to consume her with chaos energy.
When the Wasp began a romantic relationship with Hawkeye, she would constantly talk to Wanda about it. One day after Wasp had a few drinks, she revealed to Wanda that she once had children that were hidden to her. This triggered something deep inside Wanda’s mind. She sought out her former teacher, Agatha Harkness to learn the truth, and murdered Agatha for the betrayal. She went on to exact her revenge on her fellow Avengers. She hit each of them unexpectedly. At this point Wanda was believed not to be in her right mind, driven mad by her immense power and the memory of the children she lost. It is highly likely that what she did to the other Avengers was unknown even to her, and their destruction was created on a subconscious level.
First the corpse of Jack Of Hearts was raised from the grave and blew up the Avengers Mansion, killing Scott Lang. It is not fully known whether this was actually Scott Lang's body, if his mind was in the body at the time of the attack, or if it was simply a construct generated by Wanda's magics which was meant to resemble the former Avenger. Next during a U.N. meeting where Iron Man was speaking, the unmasked Tony Stark became overwhelmed with the sensation of drunkenness despite his long term sobriety. He called out the Latverian ambassador, talking about how the entire country should be wiped off the map, and threatening to kill the politician where he stood. Before Hank Pym was able to lecture Tony, Wanda's Avengers communicator signaled a code white, signaling that they were needed at the Mansion. As Stark flew off the United States Chief of Staff called him, informing him that he was being forced to resign from his position within the government.
Back at the mansion, SHIELD had arrived at the scene to lend assistance and investigate. The Vision flew in on an Avengers Quinjet, crashing into the side of the building. An apologetic Vision emerged from the rubble and ejected several metal orbs which grew into Ultron robots. The Ultrons attacked the Avengers, sending She-Hulk into a blind rage. After the Ultron robots were defeated She-Hulk ripped the body of the Vision in half, destroying him. Iron Man arrived just in time to incapacitate her, but not before she had severely injured both Wasp and Lionheart.
At this point Wanda had either killed or taken several of her teammates out of action, most likely still not even realizing that she was behind the attacks. The remaining Avengers had little time to try to figure out what was happening or who was attacking them before returning to the Mansion. When they returned they found Nick Fury as well as many past members who were close enough to assemble, and a few friends of the team. Fury was trying to get the superheroes who had arrived to leave so that they didn't mess up his investigation when a group of Kree warriors (generated by Wanda's magic) flew in to attack. During the attack on the Avengers, Hawkeye sacrificed himself to bring down the Kree warship.
After the destruction of the ship the remaining Kree fled and Doctor Strange arrived to inform them that the attacks on the Avengers were magic based. He declared Wanda to be insane due to her possession of reality altering abilities that were beyond her comprehension or control. He was aghast that she had been allowed to live her life without checks and balances, saying anyone who had such a powerful control over probability would have a lost their grasp on reality. He scolded the Avengers for not consulting with him about Wanda’s past. He also reveals that there is no such thing as “Chaos Magic.”
Strange led the Avengers to Wanda who had began creating a fake reality around her composed of those she cared for. The arrival of the Avengers threatened this peace, and the existence of the children that she had once again willed into being. Wanda summoned new constructs of heroes and villains to battle the group of superheroes, and created demons to battle Strange. She was no match for Strange's power, and she was immobilized by him. It was then that Magneto, hearing of his daughter's mental break, arrived to rescue her. Magneto took Wanda back to Genosha in hopes of healing her broken mind.
While in Genosha, Magneto asked Professor X to help Wanda but he refuses to do so. Instead, Xavier put Wanda in a coma. She was trying to restore her husband’s life and undo the harm she has caused. Xavier then calls a meeting with the Avengers and the X-Men to decide whether they should allow Wanda to live or not. A horrified Pietro immediately came to Wanda and told her of this. He convinced her, while she was in this fragile mental state, to distort probability to create a new reality, called House of M. In this new reality, the mutant:human ratio was reversed, and Magneto was the supreme ruler (hence, House of M). Wanda was also not a mutant in this reality and she had children.
However, Layla Miller used her powers to restore the memories of a few mutants, who created an assault force to try and re-establish the correct reality. This militia assumed it was Magneto who convinced Wanda to create the House of M. They attacked the House of M with a full army and in the process, Layla was able to restore Magneto’s memories. Wanda confessed it was Pietro that convinced her to warp reality.
Infuriated, Magneto yelled at his son for using his name in this and killed Pietro. Wanda then revived Pietro, angered that Magneto placed mutants over his own children. To remedy the problem, Wanda conjured all her powers and uttered the 3 most impacting words in all of the Marvel Universe: "No more mutants". This sling-shotted reality to where it was before with only a select few remembering what happened, and 99% of the mutant population had lost their powers. From that time onward the events were referred to as M-Day.
It is later revealed, that not only does Wanda not remember House of M or have her powers, she does not have any recollection of who she was, and has created a new life for herself. She currently resides in an unknown village in Europe. Later, Hawkeye was able to track Wanda down to a city near Wundagore Mountain. Hawkeye saves Wanda from thieves but Wanda reveals that she has no memories of her past and believes that she has lived in the village her entire life. She thanks Hawkeye and calls him her hero. The two begin to get close and eventually they sleep together.
After that Hawkeye awoke and tried to enter Aunt Agatha's room, but when he tried to grab the door knob, it disappeared as if by magic. Hawkeye looked at Wanda but she seems still asleep. Beast has also tried to get Wanda to undo the damage she caused the mutant race. Instead, she tells him a story about the fisherman and the mermaid, after informing Beast his watch was a fake. He asks her questions about magic in the hopes it would trigger her memories, but she simply states she waiting for her Aunt Agatha (who many suspect to be Agatha Harkness) and does not believe in magic.
Beast dreams of having a conversation with Wanda, who tells him "Sand is sand" and that he shouldn't mourn the passing of what passes, that she didn't invent death. When he tells her she delivered a death sentence she reminds him that she spoke her mind and brought about change, not death. No more mutants, no more pain. However, when he brings up the valid point of asking about the mutants who were happy with their gifts, Wanda points out that he's still dreaming.
The Young Avengers Wiccan and Speed, convinced that The Scarlet Witch is their biological mother, go in search of the real Wanda. Along the way they encounter both Magneto and Quicksilver, who are quickly drawn into a fight as Pietro attempts to kill his father Magneto. Wiccan transports the Young Avengers, Magneto and Quicksilver to Transia to begin their search. In the midst of a fight, Wanda suddenly reappears, only to be 'killed' by Quicksilver, who had hurled some wooden stakes at Magneto but hit Wanda instead. This 'Wanda' is revealed to be a Doombot, suggesting to the gathered group that Wanda is being held captive by Dr. Doom. After teleporting solo into Castle Doom, Wiccan encounters Wanda inside her private quarters. Hoping for a nice reunion with his mother, Wiccan attempts to tell her that he is her son. Unfortunately, Wanda has no knowledge of him or anything about her past life. She tells him she is set to marry Doom in a day.
Before Wiccan can do anything, Doom bursts into the room and knocks him out with a blast from his suit. Doom reveals to Wiccan (after healing him and removing his powers) that he didn't find Wanda, instead Wanda found him. She has lost her powers and has no recollection of her previous past. He also claimed that he loves her. On her wedding day Wanda frees Wiccan from his chains and tells him that Victor wasn't acting in his usual way when he saw Wiccan and she asks Wiccan to tell her everything.
Wiccan tells her about Scarlet Witch up till the event when he meets Speed. He cuts off in his mid sentence "and I realized (that Speed and I are your lost twin sons)-" when he sees that the Avengers as well as the Young Avengers and Magneto have arrived to battle Doom and Wanda. Wolverine sees Wanda and attacks her and is about to kill her when he gets hit from a laser beam from Iron Lad.
While the rest of the Avengers and Young Avengers reunite with Iron Lad, Doom slips away to Wanda and Wiccan and attempts to kill Billy. Wanda begs him to stop and says she doesn't believe Wiccan's story but wonders why Doom is so concerns she might have. Magneto burst through the wall and attacks Doom, while Billy slips away with Wanda saying they have to get her somewhere safe. Iron Lad appears and says he can help and transports all the Young Avengers and Wanda to his safe haven in the Timestream. Iron Lad says that to try and job Wanda's memory they should go back to the day it started, when Wanda resurrected Jack of Hearts and murdered her teammates. Everyone is worried about them (especially Cassie) changing the past but Iron Lad assures then that with his technology, they can inhabit the past without affecting it. He transports them all to the Avengers Mansion, the day of Wanda's breakdown, but she still doesn't recognize or recall anything. Cassie sees her deceased father, Scott Lang, and runs to him. To everyone's surprise, she is able to touch him and he can see her. Suddenly Jack of Hearts appears and the Young Avengers (with Scott in tow) run from him. Wanda stays behind and walks up to Jack, and he pleads with her about why she's making him do this. As Speed, grabs Wanda to escape, Jack exploded. They appear in the present with Scott Lang, but in this reality he is still dead, as he stand in front of his own memorial statue. They ask Iron Lad how that is possible and how he brought them and Scott there without changing the past. He replied that he didn't and then Wanda appears behind them saying that she did it. They turn to see Wanda, in her Scarlet Witch costume, telling them that Billy was right, she is the Scarlet Witch and she remembers everything.
Feeling guilty about her past misdeeds, Wanda attempts to commit suicide. Billy is able to talk her out of it by revealing that he believes himself and Speed to be her reincarnated children. He then requests that she use her powers to reveal whether or not he and Thomas are her children, to which she agrees. She realizes that they are in fact her children and she, Billy, and Thomas tearfully embrace each other. Beast suggests that Wanda absolve herself of her crimes by attempting to reverse the effects of M-Day. She is successfully able to restore the powers of the mutant known as Rictor, just as a team of X-Men show up to confront her. As the X-Men try to take Wanda into their custody both Magneto and the Avenger's defend her which leads to a battle between both teams. During the battle Emma Frost use's her telepathy to influence the thoughts of both Wiccan and Speed until Wanda interferes and cause's each member of both teams to fall asleep before teleporting herself and the Young Avengers to Doctor Doom's castle. There Doctor Doom and Wanda convince the Young Avengers into using a spell to separate Wanda from her powers. Combining the power's of Wanda, Wiccan and Doctor Doom they began their spell until it was interrupted by Patriot who fired an explosive arrow at Wanda which interrupted the spell before it could be complete and thereby gave Doctor Doom all the power's that they were trying to harness.
Wanda herself possesses vast magical abilities shown to even cause the Phoenix force pain. Eye-Scream should run, far, far away as fast as his oozing ice cream self can take him. All he could do here is maybe offer her a cup of vanilla and hope for the best.
The Scarlet Witch has become a very controversial character in the last years since Brian Michael Bendis took over the Avengers line. While I may not necessarily agree with his stories regarding her, he did manage to elevate Wanda's status as not only a powerful member of the Avengers but also a noteworthy story aspect. Like Jean Grey in the X-Books, Wanda has become someone the Avengers themselves mention constantly and reference as something they either regret, pity or hate. I'd like to think that the Scarlet Witch has finally been redeemed after the whole debacle that was Dissassembled and has started to slowly reshape her life and I am looking forward to seeing where that takes her. Also, like Polaris, Wanda is not at all sane and her years of manipulation by various villains as well as her relationship with her father has damaged her mind incredibly. Seeing her slowly heal from these wounds will be very interesting to see.