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The Untold Truth Of The Scarlet Witch

Scarlet Witch is a classic Marvel Comics character. Thanks to the MCU and WandaVisionshe's more popular than ever. As bizarre and surreal as that show is, it actually fits snugly within Wanda Maximoff's convoluted history: She's been repeatedly smacked with the retcon hammer as different writers have had new ideas about her parentage and what her powers actually do. Wanda has gone from pointing a finger to cast a hex (and then fainting) to becoming one of the most powerful characters in the Marvel universe.

Wanda is often defined by her relationships. First it's her bond with her overprotective twin brother, Quicksilver. Then it's her romance and eventual marriage to the Vision, which spans their years in the Avengers and some memorable times in the suburbs, which may have inspired aspects of WandaVision. Later on, she is shaped by her relationship to her twin sons, who may or may not actually exist. Most recently, she's been defined by the damage she's done to reality. Considering she's built alternate worlds and wiped out most of mutantkind's powers, she has a lot on her plate!

Let's take a look at her long and ever-weirder history, and ask the big questions about this fascinating figure. Mutant or witch? Hero or villain? Chaos magic or "real" magic? These are the most mysterious corners of Scarlet Witch's story, from all the times Wanda's been possessed by others to her engagement to Doctor Doom.

Who's your Daddy ... and your Mommy?

Wanda and Pietro's first origin story painted them as nameless, wandering orphans rescued by Magneto, who becomes a surrogate father. Things get complicated when Captain America's old war buddy, Robert "Whizzer" Frank, is put into the mix. He and his deceased wife, Madeline "Miss America" Frank, had been exposed to radiation (and, in his case, superpower-inducing mongoose blood as well). As a result, their first child, Nuklo, was a radioactive mutant. When Maddy got pregnant again, they visited a super-scientist called the High Evolutionary for help. Maddy died giving birth, but the Evolutionary did manage to deliver Wanda and Pietro into Robert's arms. However, he was too grief-stricken to raise them, and fled. He's a speedster and Maddy was a powerful redhead — makes sense, right?

Wrong. A Romani puppeteer named Django Maximoff subsequently claims fatherhood. To prove his love, he ... he imprisons Wanda and Pietro's spirits in magical puppets. But he does later sacrifice his life for them! It is then revealed that their real mom was a woman named Magda, and their real dad is Magneto. This has major ramifications that echo for a long time. Eventually, however, Magneto is also revealed as a fake. Their real mom is currently Natalya Maximoff, the sister of Django, one in a long line of Scarlet Witches, Wanda being the most recent and powerful. Who's their real dad? We don't know — but we're sure that'll change soon.

Bane of Ultron

One of the Avengers' greatest foes is Ultron, a murderous robot with an Oedipus complex. Yep, you read that right: A 1970s storyline sees him use his "mother's" (Janet Pym) brain patterns to create his bride, Jocasta. He uses mind control to force his "father" (Hank Pym) to help him. 

When Ultron subsequently attacks the Avengers, he has to deal with a member he hasn't met before: the Scarlet Witch. Ultron constructed himself out of adamantium, an unbreakable metal. His body cannot be harmed in any way. However, in order to build his body in the first place, he had to use an internal "molecular rearranger," which is the only thing that can alter adamantium while it's being set. Scarlet Witch hits him with a hex that momentarily causes the device to malfunction, but Captain America gets in the way before she can finish him off, and Ultron nearly kills both of them. 

Jocasta is eventually called to her "husband," and the Avengers follow her to a convent, of all places. A trap is set for Wanda, but she survives it, and causes the molecular rearranger to malfunction so badly that all of the energy in Ultron's armor comes blasting out. Luckily, Thor absorbs it. It is revealed that Ultron hypnotized Tony Stark in the event of his destruction, and so Ultron makes Stark reconstruct him. He also has him kidnap Wanda. Luckily, the Wasp flies in to save the day, and Ultron is trapped in adamantium.

Possession after possession

What happens when you're one of the most powerful magic users alive? Everyone wants to move in! Wanda has been possessed by all sorts of entities over the years — mostly evil ones. When she learns magic from Agatha Harkness, she gets possessed by Dormammu. Good thing the power of love helps her overcome this in the Dark Dimension. When she looks into her past, she is possessed by the elder demon Chthon, who has been waiting years to possess her. He isn't quite able to finish the spell before he is interrupted, however, and his essence is shunted into a magical marionette and buried under an avalanche. 

Immortus manages to manipulate Wanda and the Vision for years, hoping initially that her marrying a synthezoid will prevent them from having children. Instead, she uses her power to magically create children anyway. Immortus later helps engineer her first breakdown, using her status as a Nexus Being (a keystone of her universe, basically) to try to steal power. Luckily, Agatha Harkness helps bring Wanda back to reality.

When Wanda remembers that her children have been taken away from her, she turns to Doctor Doom for help. She ends up possessed by the Life Force itself, which allows her to create the alternate "House of M" reality and eventually decimate mutantkind. Wanda is later brainwashed by the Red Skull to wipe out mutantkind again. Come on, Marvel — let Wanda live alone in her own body for a little while!

Are Billy and Tommy real?

When the Scarlet Witch and the Vision are captured by the witches of New Salem and about to be sacrificed, the Vision escapes and defeats their leader, Vertigo. Wanda channels powerful magic to defeat the witches, and, surrounded by the Vision's love, makes "a little wish." Thanks to her probability-altering powers, she becomes pregnant. In time, her beloved twin sons, William and Thomas, are born. Wanda refers to the boys as Billy and Tommy.

All seems well, until the twins start disappearing whenever Wanda isn't near them. Turns out, they may be lost soul-shards of the actor-turned-demon Master Pandemonium. He takes the boys away and grotesquely joins them with his flesh, replacing his lost arms with their bodies. But even that isn't quite true, which is made clear when Mephisto pops up and claims that the boys are really parts of his soul, lost when he was temporarily destroyed by Franklin Richards. Agatha Harkness tries to make Wanda forget about her children — a decision that ends up having disastrous consequences. 

After Wanda destroys the Avengers out of grief, the Young Avengers appear. They include Billy "Wiccan" Kaplan, an Avengers fanboy who has supernatural abilities. Looking for new members, they bust Tommy "Speed" Shepherd out of prison. Tommy and Billy look so much alike they could be ... twins! After they find the Scarlet Witch, it is eventually revealed that they are, in fact, reincarnations of her actual children's souls

What are Wanda's powers? Whatever you need them to be!

In the beginning, Wanda believes herself to be a mutant, and her powers to be "hexes," which bring bad luck to her opponents. Case in point: In her first battle against the X-Men, she points to a roof above Angel, and it falls on him. 

Of course, it is later revealed that Wanda is not a mutant. Instead, the High Evolutionary experimented on her in a way that wound up making her capable of manipulating magic. Additionally, the demon Chthon accidentally gave her power over chaos magic, and she inherited her mother's own sorcerous abilities. Furthermore, she is also a Nexus Being, making her uniquely attuned to magical power. 

The upshot of all this experimentation and magical mayhem? Wanda is a tank. Manipulating chaos magic gives her the ability to warp reality. Most of the time, this is in a fairly small-scale way, like causing walls to collapse or blasting her foes with energy. However, when possessed of enough energy, she can completely remake the universe.

With regard to her witchiness, Wanda has always used traditional magic to control the elements and use various kinds of magical blasts. After that, things get nuts. Wanda has been able to heal, manipulate time, read minds, absorb massive amounts of energy, fly, and even occasionally raise the dead. For example, she brings Wonder Man back as pure energy from beyond the grave. Basically, she can do anything a story might require.

"No more mutants."

In her rampage against the Avengers after she remembers the non-existence of her sons, Wanda kills the Vision. Doctor Strange arrives, and when he reveals this traumatic memory to her, she goes catatonic. Magneto shows up and takes her to his country of Genosha, then asks Professor Xavier to help her. But he can't, and to make matters worse, the X-Men and Avengers have begun to debate whether or not they should kill her.

This does not sit well with Quicksilver, who begs Magneto to do something. Magneto has no idea what to do ... but Quicksilver does. Sitting with his weeping sister, whom he knows has Charles Xavier's power in her head, he tells her to make a new world, one where they'll be happy. Then the world goes white

Suddenly, everyone is living in a world where mutants are dominant, Magneto and his family are international superstars, Wanda is supposedly human, and every hero has whatever they've always wished for. Peter Parker is married to Gwen Stacy, and his Uncle Ben is still alive. Kitty Pryde is a teacher. Wolverine is head of S.H.I.E.L.D. — and remembers everything from his previous life. 

The heroes slowly regain their memories and take the battle to Magneto, thinking him responsible. A fragile Wanda, playing with her sons, falls apart and declares, "No more mutants." She warps reality once again: Roughly 90 percent of the world's mutant population suddenly lose their powers. Many die. It becomes known as M-Day.

Wanda's long, strange love life

Beyond Wanda's long marriage to the Vision, there's been no shortage of men interested in her. Sometimes, she even feels the same way. When she doesn't, as when Mastermind refuses to stop hitting on her, she isn't afraid to put men in their place. 

Who's had their eye on Wanda at some point in time? Let's go down the list. Upon first meeting her, Angel is wowed and jokes he's ready to fill out an Evil Mutant application. She and the Sub-Mariner are mutually attracted when they meet, but Namor realizes that he is still heartbroken over Sue Storm. When she joins the Avengers, Hawkeye hits on her for years, to no avail. Extradimensional warrior Arkon also nurses an unrequited interest in her. Wanda is interested in Captain America at one point in time, which he reciprocates, but nothing comes of it until she loses her mind during the "Disassembled" event.

Things get weird when it comes to Simon Williams, AKA Wonder Man, as Ultron used Simon's brain to create the Vision, Wanda's most significant love interest. Wanda is actually able to bring him back to life (a second time) because of the love between them. Weirdest of all, Wanda briefly falls in love with Doctor Doom, who accidentally helps get her possessed by the Life Force and subsequently mess with the universe. They are engaged until Doom steals her powers. Oops.

Not-so-evil mutant

At the time of her debut within the Marvel universe, Wanda feels like she owes Magneto her life for saving her from a mutant-hating mob. This is why she agrees to serve him. Her dutiful brother has no love for Magneto, however, and only joins with Magneto to protect her, though he doesn't have much love for humanity either. So begins their tenure in perhaps the most dysfunctional supervillain team of all time, the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants.

Magneto, at his most megalomaniacal, treats the team like pawns. Toad is a bootlicking suck-up who endures Magneto's constant abuse. Mastermind is a straight-up creep who refuses to leave Wanda alone. In their first battle against the X-Men, Magneto goes big, setting a bomb capable of destroying an entire country. However, Quicksilver disarms the bomb, not wanting innocents to die. 

Things unravel from there. During their second battle on Asteroid M, Wanda hexes a control panel to stop Magneto from blasting the X-Men out the airlock. Magneto abandons both of them during their battle with the X-Men and the Sub-Mariner, though he grabs them later. During their next fight, Wanda saves her brother from accidentally being hit by Magneto's torpedoes, defying his orders. Finally, they get fed up with Magneto for good when he tries to recruit the mysterious Stranger. They quit the Brotherhood just as Magneto gets hijacked into space

Force Works

Following the dissolution of Avengers West Coast, Iron Man, US Agent, Spider-Woman, Wonder Man, and the Scarlet Witch all quit the Avengers. Iron Man, at his most overbearing, talks them into forming a new, edgier team that will take a more proactive approach to being superheroes. Based in an ultra high-tech compound called The Works, he particularly wants Wanda on the team. That's because she can interact with the Chaos Computer, using her probability powers to predict problems before they actually arise. 

Things fall apart quickly for the team known as Force Works. Wonder Man is disintegrated by the Kree on their first mission. Then, they're attacked by an alien lifeform known as the Scatter, only to be aided by an amnesiac, dimension-hopping alien named Century. Iron Man names the Scarlet Witch as team leader, although he frequently undermines her as he becomes more and more unstable. 

As it turns out, he is being driven insane by Immortus, disguised as Kang the Conqueror. Under Immortus' control, Stark ends up killing several people and injuring others, in addition to introducing the evil Cybermancer to the team. In the end, other than a few adventures here and there, Wanda never gets to prove herself as a true team leader. After Iron Man's death (quickly remedied by a younger Iron Man arriving from the past to take his place), Force Works dissolves.

The ballad of Wanda and Vision

When Wanda returns to the Avengers after trying to regain her powers (which Chthon has temporarily drained), she meets a new, strange member: the Vision. Wanda always has liked the strong, silent type, and, against all odds, they slowly begin to fall in love. The Vision doesn't feel himself worthy of Wanda, being a synthezoid and all. But Wanda, no stranger to weirdness, doesn't seem to care.

Not everyone is pleased with this development. Quicksilver views the Vision as an abomination unworthy of his sister's love. Hawkeye, having just broken up with Black Widow, pursues Wanda with oafish intensity, but she just isn't interested. Unbeknownst to them, Immortus is subtly pushing the pair together, sending his servant, the Space Phantom, after the team. The Vision reaches out to Wanda after that battle, offering to be there for her as she looks for her missing brother. This is the true start of their long and complex love affair.

Immortus continues to intervene, as the Vision learns of his true origins and comes to understand that he is more human than he thought. After Wanda survives a battle with Dormammu (and new Avenger Mantis tries to hit on Vision), they are married. Vision and Wanda stay together through Wanda being possessed and the Vision trying to take over the world, thanks to a faulty control crystal in his brain. Tragically, however, they are never quite the same after the government kidnaps and vivisects him. Comics!