Superhero Breakdown: Scarlet Witch

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Depending on the writer, Marvel’s Scarlet Witch’s powers can range from ‘being able to shoot bad luck curses out of her hands’ to ‘being able to rewrite the entire universe’.

Scarlet Witch: A Brief Overview

Believing herself to be Magneto’s daughter, Wanda Maximoff (Scarlet Witch) was originally a villain, using her ‘hex bolts’ (energy bursts which curse her foes with bad luck) to fight for his cause.

However, she soon saw the folly of her ways, and now she prefers to use her powers to help people.

Eventually being accepted as an official Avengers team member, she fell in love with her Avengers team-mate Vision, and they began a family together, having two children (Thomas and William, who sadly passed away).

Another important person in her life is her twin brother, the speedster Pietro Maximoff (Quicksilver).

Scarlet Witch: Origins

Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver, like many twins, formed a strong emotional bond from growing up together.

Seemingly cursed with mutant abilities, they rarely used their powers until they met Magneto. As Scarlet Witch was being attacked by a mob (which was why they rarely used their powers), Magneto stepped in and saved her. Feeling as though she owed Magneto a debt, she joined his mutant supremacist group, the Brotherhood of Mutants. Quicksilver, untrusting of Magneto and suspicious of his motives, also joined the Brotherhood – so he could watch over his sister.

Discovering evidence that Magneto was their father, they both came to share his worldview, and doubled down on their villainy. They would both, however, eventually turn away from Magneto’s terrorist activities and become well-respected superheroes. Not just superheroes, but they would both become Avengers as well.

It has recently been discovered that Magneto isn’t their father. In fact, neither Scarlet Witch nor Quicksilver are even mutants – they’re both genetically enhanced humans, changed at birth by a cosmic-level entity known as the High Evolutionary. The High Evolutionary had changed their genetic code and their memories (along with Magneto’s memory), all as part of his experiment on them.

Scarlet Witch: Powers

Scarlet Witch’s powers seem to depend on number of factors, but simply put: She has the ability to create bad luck.

The more scientific of the superheroes (Reed Richards, Tony Stark, etc.) who’ve studied her powers say that she has the ability to affect probabilities on a quantum level.

So, for instance, if she wishes to bring a ceiling down on her foes, she uses chaos magic on the ceiling, which gives the ceiling a 100% chance to fall on them.

In other words: Scarlet Witch can literally make anything happen, which means she’s possibly a cosmic-level entity herself.

Scarlet Witch: Equipment

Unlike many superheroes, Scarlet Witch doesn’t have any particular equipment she likes to use. However, she’s often seen wearing her iconic headgear, and tends to dress in red-hued colours – hence her name.

Scarlet Witch: Allies

Scarlet Witch has always had a lot of trust issues, and finding out that her life was a lie hasn’t made things any easier for her.

While she’s usually ready to help her fellow Avengers whenever she can, and is always friendly, she prefers working on her own or with Vision and/or Quicksilver.

Due to her belief that she was a mutant for most of her life (and defecting from Magneto), she’s also on friendly terms with most of the various X-Men-related groups.

Scarlet Witch: Rogues Gallery

As more of a team player than a solo act, Scarlet Witch doesn’t real have a rogues gallery, or even an archnemesis – although the High Evolutionary comes to mind.

If someone is an enemy of The Avengers or The X-Men, there’s a large chance they’re her enemy too.

Scarlet Witch: Common Themes

Stories which focus on Scarlet Witch tend to concentrate on themes relating to the importance of family, power imbalances in social dynamics, and psychological trauma.

Scarlet Witch: Cultural Impact

Although it’s not immediately obvious, Scarlet Witch has arguably had a larger impact on the current Marvel universe than the rest of the Avengers combined.

She has, for instance, rewritten the universe multiple times.

It all began when she realised that she could bring her two children back to life, and she began the long process of changing the timeline in order to achieve this goal. Other superheroes began to notice what was happening, and began to fight against her. Quicksilver told her to change the universe so that every single person on Earth was happy, so that they wouldn’t fight her.

She did this, which caused her to forget that she’d done it (because she wouldn’t be happy if she knew what she’d done).

Eventually, several superheroes began to remember what she’d done, and they eventually convinced her to remember it as well. She was so upset about this that she wished, just for a second, for a universe with no more mutants (so that nobody else would ever had to deal with the issues she’s dealt with).

Due to her powers, she’d accidentally created a universe which was exactly the same as it was before she’d first changed it – except that 90% of the mutant population was now de-powered.

To this day, only a few hundred mutants still have their powers. Some survived the original de-powering, and others have regained their powers by various means.

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