Wednesday

OMU: Scarlet Witch -- Part Two

After an initial stint with the Avengers, following their unwilling service in Magneto’s Brotherhood of Evil Mutants, the Scarlet Witch and her brother Quicksilver endured two extended leaves of absence from their careers as superheroes. Wanda unaccountably lost the use of her mutant powers twice during this time, and the twins seemed to have trouble getting out from under the shadow of Magneto. During these periods, their characters were used very infrequently, which led me to wonder what they were doing “behind the scenes” all that time. I have considered the evidence and present reasonable, character-based speculations in the following timeline.

The next twelve months experienced by the Scarlet Witch prove to be extremely distressing for her, as she endures imprisonment, abuse, and exile, finally reaching the edge of total despair. Much of the time she is bereft of her mutant powers and cut off from her friends. Even her relationship with Pietro becomes strained, as he is unable to offer her any real emotional support. She also struggles with her emerging sexuality, for which no healthy outlet is available. A truly dark time, for the most part—yet somehow she perseveres.

Note: The following timeline depicts the Original Marvel Universe (anchored to November 1961 as the first appearance of the Fantastic Four and proceeding forward from there. See previous posts for a detailed explanation of my rationale.) Some information presented on the timeline is speculative and some is based on historical accounts. See the Notes section at the end for clarifications.


Onward to the second installment of… The True History of the Scarlet Witch!


October 1963 – The weeks pass as Wanda and Pietro enjoy the peaceful countryside of Transia. Wanda receives a trained falcon as a gift from the village authorities, and she spends much of her time with it. Naturally, Pietro begins to feel restless, and to miss the excitement of life in the Avengers. However, he believes they must wait for some unknown quality of the air here in their native land to restore their powers. Wanda, not understanding the cause of her condition, agrees to be patient. After several more weeks, however, they decide to explore other options to recovery.

November 1963 – Wanda and Pietro seek the help of an eccentric scientist who has set up his own laboratory in the village at the foot of Wundagore Mountain. Although they attempt to hide their true identities, the scientist is, of course, not fooled and immediately recognizes them as the famous Avengers Quicksilver and the Scarlet Witch. The scientist begins them on a regimen of diathermatic treatments, which he insists will restore their powers. Sure enough, Wanda’s mutant abilities begin to return. Excited by the prospect of soon returning to active duty, Wanda redesigns her costume’s headdress to make it less cumbersome. Shortly afterwards, the twins are invited to the Transian capital, Dragorin, where they are feted by the President of the small nation. He gives them the use of his personal Lamborghini, in which Wanda enjoys tearing around the countryside. On one such jaunt, during which Pietro runs alongside her, they are startled to see strange lights high atop Wundagore Mountain. They remember the tales of such lights being seen the night they were born, and other legends of the mountain that their Gypsy parents had told them when they were little. Wanda wonders if the strange phenomenon has any connection to their mutant powers. While exercising a few days later, Wanda and Pietro are contacted telepathically by Professor X. He asks them to join the X-Men to bolster their ranks, but the twins insist their first duty is to the Avengers.

The morning of their departure, Wanda and Pietro are bid farewell by a large gathering of the villagers, and the burgomeister himself wishes them well. Suddenly, all present are shocked when a huge flying saucer swoops from the clouds and lands in a field just beyond the village. Thrilled by this unexpected chance to go into action again, the twins don their costumes, and the villagers cheer as Quicksilver and the Scarlet Witch go forth to protect them. However, upon boarding the otherworldly vessel, the heroes are overwhelmed by an army of androids, upon whom their powers have no effect. Defeated, Wanda and Pietro are placed into stasis tubes—transparent cylinders in which they are suspended, fully conscious but completely paralyzed. Struggle as they might, Wanda soon realizes she and her brother are trapped and helpless.

December 1963 – Within the stasis tube, Wanda’s mind begins to wander. She loses all sense of time as her view of the ship’s interior never changes. There is no day or night, no routine activity save the random fluctuations of energy through the ship’s massive systems. Unable to turn her head, she can only catch glimpses in the corner of her eye of the stasis tube containing her brother. She feels weightless but immobile, strange sensations washing over her body from time to time. She soon begins to hallucinate, seeing terrifying images of Magneto, of the blazing torches of the angry mob, of the Avengers and X-Men transformed in horrifying ways. Occasionally, she feels her mind being probed by the alien intelligence controlling the ship, but to what purpose she cannot begin to guess. She tries to speak to Pietro, which she finds she can manage with great difficulty, but his muffled responses are too often incoherent. She talks to herself, sings to herself, recites whatever bits of poetry and plays she can remember, anything to stay focused, but more and more reality begins slipping away from her in the unrelenting sameness of each moment. She fades in and out of consciousness, trying desperately to hold on to her sanity, to hold out even a shred of hope that they may be rescued, that the endless hours of waiting will end, that this waking nightmare will not destroy her. But she remains unable to move, unable to scream, unable to weep.

January 1964 – Eventually, Wanda becomes aware that it seems the Avengers are fighting the ship’s android army. She hears voices, sees flashes of light and movement, but it is all as a dream or hallucination. She can no longer distinguish between fantasy and reality—until Captain America’s shield slams into her stasis tube and cracks it. She stares hard at that crack until the fragments of her mind all fall into place, and she is once again fully aware of the world around her. But her heart sinks as she sees the Avengers, too, have been defeated by the androids. As her teammates are placed into adjoining stasis tubes as well, Wanda finally learns the purpose of her imprisonment—to have her powers, her very life force absorbed by the androids to further their never-ending intergalactic war. The Avengers—Captain America, Hawkeye, Goliath, the Wasp, and, to Wanda’s surprise, the Black Widow—remain defiant, although her fears mount as the ship lifts off and speeds into deep space.

Suddenly, Goliath has freed himself. He frees Captain America, then Hawkeye, and as the android army attacks once again, Wanda finds herself at long last free. Ready to lash out with her mutant hex power, she is astonished that the androids suddenly surrender. Hawkeye goes off to find the missing Black Widow, when the alien intelligence, calling itself Ixar, reveals that he holds the village burgomeister hostage. It is merely a delaying tactic, however, as the android army is suddenly assimilated into a single gigantic fighting machine. The Avengers attack in force, and the Scarlet Witch lets loose her mutant powers. Quicksilver is the first to fall, then Goliath. The tide of battle begins to turn in Ixar’s favor. Captain America is soon defeated, then the Wasp, until the Scarlet Witch is left to battle the giant android alone. She focuses her mutant power upon the interior mechanisms of Ixar’s android body, causing them to go haywire. The giant collapses into a heap, and Wanda rushes to tend to her unconscious brother. Ixar recovers sooner than expected, however, and slams a disconnected stasis tube down over Wanda, trapping her. Suddenly, Hawkeye and the Black Widow appear. Hawkeye draws a blast arrow, suddenly aiming it at the burgomeister. He has deduced that the burgomeister is really Ixar himself. But at this tense standoff, Wanda feels herself losing consciousness. She is revived later to find that Hawkeye and the Black Widow have somehow secured Ixar’s surrender. The ship lands once again outside the tiny village, and the Avengers disembark. As Ixar and his flying saucer disappear into the night sky, Wanda is overjoyed to feel the cool breeze, to smell the grass, and to see the stars once again—and to be reunited with her friends. By daybreak, they are back in Avengers Mansion in New York City.

Once back in the United States, Wanda is horrified to learn that President Kennedy has been assassinated, and that groups like the Sons of the Serpent have been stirring up bigotry and intolerance. The entire mood of the country has changed during her imprisonment, and the Avengers seem more willing than ever to fight amongst themselves. A particular point of contention is Hawkeye’s motion that the Black Widow be inducted into the team, and Goliath’s strong opposition to the idea. The Avengers hold a special meeting to discuss the matter, but the Black Widow doesn’t show up. Later, after Captain America has left on a solo mission, the Black Widow finally arrives and Hawkeye is furious. All present are shocked when the Widow unceremoniously dumps Hawkeye and announces she is leaving America and returning to Communist China. After she departs, Goliath’s apparent cold-hearted attitude infuriates Hawkeye and offends the Wasp and they storm out as well. Wanda is depressed.

She has little time to reflect on this sudden turn of events, however, when the mansion wall is breached by a powerful strongman claiming to be none other than Hercules, accompanied by the Enchantress. While Quicksilver and Goliath leap into battle with Hercules, the Scarlet Witch manages to activate the Avengers’ alert signal. However, her mutant hex power proves no match for the spells of the Enchantress. But as she loses consciousness, Wanda sees the Wasp dive-bombing their enemies. She revives moments later to see Hercules a changed man, speaking angrily to a dejected Enchantress, who departs. Suddenly, the angry visage of Zeus fills the room, sentencing Hercules to a year-long exile on Earth. Astonished, Pietro and Wanda immediately offer Hercules the Avengers’ hospitality and the demi-god graciously accepts. Later, Wanda helps him settle into his room, quite taken with this paragon of masculinity.

A week later, the Avengers attend a benefit in Central Park. While walking back to the mansion, they see headlines in the evening papers branding the Black Widow a Communist spy. Hawkeye goes off by himself and Wanda reads to her teammates the paper’s account of the Black Widow stealing the plans for a new atomic submarine from a defense installation in Arizona. Although uncertain, Goliath and the Wasp hope there is more to the Widow’s actions than meets the eye. Later that evening, the Avengers receive a distress call from Hawkeye. Goliath and the Wasp go to investigate, leaving Wanda and Pietro on monitor duty at the mansion. Just over an hour later, the twins are shocked to see two intruders materialize in the communications room—the Mad Thinker and his lackey, Thunderboot. Within minutes, both Quicksilver and the Scarlet Witch are brutally knocked unconscious. She is soon revived by the sounds of a furious battle as Hercules takes on the Thinker’s three minions, Thunderboot, Pile-Driver, and Hammerhead. Groggy, Wanda realizes she and the other Avengers have been shackled to a large device recently installed by Stark Industries called the electro-rod. Once freed by Hercules, the Avengers make short work of the hapless criminals, though the Mad Thinker teleports to safety. After their prisoners are taken into custody, the Avengers begin cleaning up their wrecked laboratory. However, Wanda is overcome by dizziness and suddenly passes out. Her concerned teammates put her to bed to recover, but it soon becomes clear Wanda has fallen ill. A day or two later, she is still too sick to join the team on their next mission, during which they battle the Sub-Mariner.

After a week of bed rest, and with the constant administrations of Pietro and their butler, Edwin Jarvis, Wanda recovers from her illness and resumes training with her teammates, although she feels a bit breathless whenever Hercules is in the room. She is concerned by the brooding demi-god’s loneliness, as well as Hawkeye’s increasing anguish over the Black Widow’s apparent defection. Such thoughts are put aside, however, when they are called to Hank Pym’s home laboratory in Cresskill, New Jersey, where Diablo has reanimated the Dragon Man, which Pym was studying. The ensuing battle demolishes the entire house, and the villains escape with Goliath and the Wasp their prisoners. The remaining Avengers return to their headquarters and contact the Fantastic Four, who provide them with the coordinates of Diablo’s castle in Transylvania. Hours later, Hawkeye, Quicksilver, and the Scarlet Witch storm the castle while Hercules battles Dragon Man in the caves below. An impenetrable force field seems to have given Diablo the upper hand when Captain America suddenly appears and knocks him out. Once Hercules defeats the Dragon Man, the Avengers’ victory is complete. With Diablo in custody, the Avengers blow up his castle and return to New York.

February 1964 – The Avengers learn that the Black Widow was working as a double-agent for S.H.I.E.L.D., but has been taken prisoner in Red China. After Hawkeye and Hercules rush off to the rescue, the rest of the team decides to risk an international incident and follow their two headstrong teammates behind the Bamboo Curtain. Within hours, Captain America, Goliath, the Wasp, Quicksilver, and the Scarlet Witch are smashing their way into a high-tech weapons center in the desolate wastes of Western China. In the process of rescuing the Black Widow, the Avengers cause the total destruction of the installation and all its sinister weaponry. The Black Widow, however, is gravely wounded, so the Avengers fly immediately to a military hospital in Hawaii, where the doctors are able to save her life. Wanda is relieved that their heroic comrade will recover, and that the Avengers triumphed even in the realm of international espionage. While talking to the bedridden Black Widow, Wanda begins to feel that she and Natasha have a lot in common.

March 1964 – Back at Avengers Mansion, Wanda and Pietro celebrate their fourteenth birthday with a lavish celebration thrown by their teammates. Wanda is deeply touched by the thoughtfulness and generosity of her friends. She becomes concerned about Captain America when he checks in over the Avengers’ visi-phone, trying a bit too hard to sound cheerful, but she knows there’s nothing she can do for him. Some days later, the team is surprised when Iron Man calls an emergency session. Wanda and Pietro arrive for the meeting to find Thor, too, has come with a warning of his own. Several of their old enemies are once again on the loose, it seems, and may be planning an attack. Their suspicions are confirmed by a call from S.H.I.E.L.D. director Nick Fury, who asks the Avengers’ aid in dealing with a globe-spanning attack by the Living Laser, Power Man, the Swordsman, the Executioner, and the Enchantress. Captain America draws up a battle plan that sends Iron Man, Goliath, and the Wasp to Brasília, Brazil; Thor and Hawkeye to Léopoldville, the capital of the Democratic Republic of the Congo; and Hercules and the Scarlet Witch to India. Cap and Quicksilver remain at Avengers Mansion to coordinate, and to try to track down the diabolical mastermind behind the attacks.

Upon arriving in the foothills of the Himalayas, Wanda and Hercules find the area under siege by an army of Asgardian Trolls, under the command of the Executioner. When the Trolls are unable to overcome the two heroes, the Executioner banishes them back to their domain and challenges Hercules to personal combat. The Executioner receives an urgent transmission from the Mandarin, who thus reveals himself to be the group’s leader, but the Asgardians ignore his orders and proceed to transport the four of them to another dimension. To the Scarlet Witch’s utter astonishment, they suddenly find themselves in a vast, deserted structure of alien design, which the Executioner calls the Citadel of Silence. As Hercules and the Executioner leap into battle, Wanda finds herself in a rematch against the spells of the Enchantress. However, Wanda feels that her mutant powers are far stronger than they were two months ago, and she is able to use her hex bolts to keep the Enchantress off balance. The Asgardian sorceress gains the upper hand, however, when she creates a monstrous creature from the enchanted rubble of the mystical citadel. Discovering her hex power is useless against the creature, Wanda flees in terror. Hercules comes to the rescue by hurling the Executioner at the creature. The impact renders both villains unconscious. Leaving their enemies trapped, Hercules uses the Executioner’s magic battle-axe to return Wanda and himself to India.

Returning to their vehicle, the two heroes discover a set of coordinates sent by Captain America, which leads them up to the Mandarin’s orbiting space station headquarters. Wanda feels a twinge of trepidation upon entering the station, which reminds her of her time aboard Asteroid M. However, she soon joins the rest of her teammates in the Mandarin’s inner sanctum, where the villain boasts of his plan to blanket the earth with “hate rays.” As a demonstration, he is able to expose the Avengers to the rays, and Wanda suddenly feels a wave of intense hatred well up inside her, directed at her brother, Pietro. She lashes out at him with her hex power, but his super-speed enables him to wrap her up in her own cape. He is about to pummel her senseless when the effect suddenly vanishes, the sinister device having been damaged by the Wasp. The Mandarin’s next attack goes awry, blowing a hole in the station’s hull. The resulting explosive decompression sends the Mandarin hurtling into space before Thor and Hercules seal the breach. The Avengers rig the station to self-destruct, and as they pull away in their rocket, Wanda feels a sense of satisfaction as she watches the Mandarin’s headquarters explode into a million pieces.

Over the next week, Wanda finds she can’t help but fantasize about making love to Hercules in the Citadel of Silence, and she wonders if she could attract the attentions of the handsome immortal. Deep down, however, she knows a relationship with Hercules is impossible. That weekend, the City of New York throws a festival in Central Park to honor the Avengers for defeating the Mandarin and his cronies, as well as their other charitable deeds. While getting ready, Wanda is disturbed by Pietro’s anti-Homo sapiens rhetoric, saying that she finally feels she has put their days with Magneto behind her. She feels she has found a home with the Avengers, where she is safe from the specters of her past, and she is filled with optimism and confidence. The festival is a media circus, and has drawn a large crowd. However, the Avengers find themselves waiting around for Captain America to show up. When Hercules starts showing off, Wanda joins the Wasp in ogling the Olympian. Then, Captain America finally arrives, and the Avengers take their seats on the stage. After lengthy speeches by several politicians, Goliath announces the team’s offer of membership to Hercules. As he heartily accepts, Wanda’s lustful thoughts are interrupted by the sudden appearance of the Super-Adaptoid. As the crowds flee in sheer panic, a furious battle erupts. Wanda gets in a few good hex blasts before the android is defeated. Then, the festivities resume, although Wanda is troubled by the growing bitterness—even racism—she detects in Pietro’s attitude.

Towards the end of the month, Wanda is pleased when Natasha is finally released from the hospital. Hawkeye brings her by the mansion to see everyone, and she announces that she has given up her Black Widow identity once and for all. Hawkeye invites Wanda and Hercules out on the town with them, and Wanda is thrilled when Hercules begins to flirt with her. She goes off to change, her thoughts awhirl with images of love and romance. To her surprise, she rejoins her friends to find that Hercules has shaved off his beard and put on a suit. Wanda is giddy the entire day, and she is floating on air when she finally returns to the mansion that night. She is nearly convinced that she is in love, and even learning of Pietro’s battle with the villain Whirlwind that day cannot dampen her spirits.

April 1964 – Captain America makes a surprise announcement—he’s quitting the Avengers. Wanda is distressed after Cap leaves in a flash of anger, but the others convince her he was just trying to hide his feelings. Soon, after Hawkeye goes to spend time with Natasha, Hank Pym and Janet van Dyne leave for a week in Las Vegas, and Hercules borrows an aero-car for a trip to Mount Olympus in Greece, the Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver find themselves alone in Avengers Mansion on monitor duty. Later that evening, the twins receive a coded message that leads them to a gloomy castle on the north shore of Long Island, where they are suddenly attacked by a huge robot. No sooner is the robot destroyed than Wanda’s worst fears are realized: Magneto emerges from the shadows and demands they rejoin his Mutant Brotherhood. Having believed Magneto was gone forever, Wanda and Pietro are thrown off balance and easily defeated. After knocking out Quicksilver with a blow from behind, Magneto causes a heavy chain to wrap itself around the Scarlet Witch, the sudden, violent constriction causing her to black out.

Regaining consciousness hours later, Wanda is alarmed to find Quicksilver and herself shackled to a steel girder bolted to a platform. Magneto rants at them while the Toad urges Magneto to kill them. The twins remain defiant, however, and after they are left alone, Wanda’s hopes rise as Pietro manages to get his hand free and contact the Avengers on a miniature microphone. After several frantic minutes, he is able to reach Jarvis, but their conversation is cut short when Magneto enters. Furious, Magneto knocks out the helpless Quicksilver with a single punch. Her struggling useless, Wanda’s fears build as Magneto loads them into his aircraft and speeds off over the Atlantic Ocean. Only when they reach Magneto’s long-abandoned island fortress hours later are the twins finally released from their shackles. For the first time, Magneto leads them deep into the bowels of the island, into a fantastic complex of underground machinery he had constructed. Then, suddenly treating them more like guests than prisoners, Magneto tries to convince Wanda and Pietro that his goals have changed; that he now wishes only for mutants to have a separate nation of their own. Wanda dismisses his claims, but Pietro offers Magneto a chance to prove himself, and, reluctantly, Wanda defers to her brother. They retire to bed in their former quarters, but Wanda is too terrified to sleep.

The next morning, Wanda and Pietro accompany Magneto and the Toad back to New York, heading directly for the headquarters of the United Nations. Using his Avengers priority card, Quicksilver gains them entrance to the building, where they encounter television news camera crews. Magneto forces his way into the assembly chamber and interrupts the proceedings to address the delegates. He issues his demands, but the angry delegates shout him down. Suddenly, the Avengers attack, but before the Scarlet Witch can make a move, shots ring out and a bullet ricochets off her headdress, knocking her out. When she comes to, she is groggy, suffering from a concussion, and they are once again aboard Magneto’s airship, hurtling over the Atlantic Ocean. With an overwhelming sense of despair, Wanda slips into unconsciousness.

Over the next several days, Wanda sinks into a profound depression as she recovers from her injury within Magneto’s island fortress. She learns from Pietro that she was shot by two human policemen and that the Avengers themselves had attacked them. Quicksilver has finally turned against the human race, she realizes, and joined Magneto’s crusade. Then, as her strength slowly returns, Wanda is horrified to discover that her mutant power has faded once more. She is overwhelmed with a sense of isolation and helplessness. Every attempt to use her hex power leaves her dizzy and weakened, and she is further nauseated by the fawning attentions of the Toad. It is with a sense of hopeless inevitability, then, that she faces Magneto as he enters her room one night and begins molesting her again.

May 1964 – As the weeks pass and the Avengers make no rescue attempt, Wanda begins to believe Pietro’s assertions that their former teammates have abandoned them. Desperate to escape Magneto’s nightly abuses, Wanda tells Pietro that her head injury has robbed her of her mutant powers, and begs him to find the one man she believes can help her—Professor Charles Xavier. Finally, Quicksilver agrees to go, and he steals one of Magneto’s airships. Hours later, however, Quicksilver returns, only to announce that Professor Xavier is dead. Wanda fears all hope is gone. Magneto is readying a new plan to enslave mankind, which the twins learn when he hijacks a passing cargo freighter. Aboard the ship, however, are the X-Men, waiting to attack. Burdened by their grief, the X-Men are easily defeated and imprisoned. Wanda’s heart sinks when she hears Pietro trying to convince the captive X-Men to join Magneto’s crusade against humanity. The Angel manages to escape and is soon winging his way from the island. Strangely, Magneto makes no attempt to recapture him.

Several hours later, Wanda learns that Cyclops has escaped the dungeon as well and is at large within the complex. Quicksilver and the Toad go to hunt him down, and Wanda heads for Magneto’s command center. There, she witnesses her brother’s battle with Cyclops on Magneto’s surveillance monitors. She becomes frightened when Cyclops manages to strike Quicksilver with an optic blast, knocking him out. Then, to her surprise, she sees the Avengers storming the complex as well. Inexplicably, Cyclops attacks Hawkeye, Goliath, the Wasp, and a black-garbed man Wanda does not recognize. While the battle rages on, Magneto’s anger grows and he lashes out at the Toad. Wanda feels a surge of pity for the ugly little sycophant and speaks out in his defense. Then, as Magneto’s plan proceeds and the Avengers and the X-Men engage in a pitched battle within the island complex, Wanda becomes fearful for Pietro’s safety and goes to find him. He is groggy when she reaches him, and she helps him to his feet. Suddenly, the Toad appears in a panic, and urges them to board an airship with him, quickly. Quicksilver agrees, and as Wanda helps him aboard, the Toad announces that the island will be destroyed in seconds. As the ship lifts off, Magneto tries to join them, but the Toad turns against him at last. He knocks Magneto away, sending him plummeting into the ocean far below. Then, in a tremendous explosion, Magneto’s island fortress is completely obliterated.

Wanda is relieved to be free of Magneto at last, but deeply shaken at how easily she fell under his power again, and even the Avengers were unable to save her. She also feels overcome with shame at the thought that the Avengers must believe she joined Magneto of her own free will, which, she realizes, is why she couldn’t face them during the battle. Overcome with emotion, she breaks down, crying uncontrollably. The Toad at once tries to comfort her, but Pietro becomes enraged by the Toad’s overly-sexual approach. A fight breaks out, and the next thing they know, the airship is in a nose-dive. They are able to pull up at the last moment, but the ship nevertheless crash-lands somewhere in the Appalachian Mountains. The three mutants emerge, unhurt but stranded. With only limited provisions in the ship, they realize they must find their way to the nearest town. Wanda proposes that Pietro return to New York and explain to the Avengers what happened, but he angrily refuses, convinced that their former teammates have turned against them. They decide they have no choice but to live on the lam.

The next morning, Wanda, Pietro, and the Toad leave the wrecked vehicle and hike down out of the mountains. During the long, arduous trek, Wanda and the Toad, who reveals that his name is Mortimer Toynbee, spend much of the time talking, and Wanda begins to truly feel sorry for him and to overcome some of her aversion to his habits and appearance. For the first time, she sees the person he really is. Finally, the trio comes upon a small West Virginia town. Not wanting to draw attention to themselves, they ditch their costumes in favor of clothes Pietro steals from a backyard clothesline. Then, using the small amount of cash in the ship’s emergency kit, they rent a dingy room above a storefront. The people of the town eye them suspiciously, pegging them not as mutants, but as gypsies.

June 1964 – The Toad is able to secure janitorial work at a nearby textile mill, earning enough to allow the trio to keep to themselves. Deciding they are harmless, the townsfolk leave them be. Wanda sews new clothes for them all and insists Pietro return the outfits they had stolen. Pietro refuses to get a job, and Wanda and the Toad agree that it may be for the best.

July 1964 – Pietro becomes irritable and depressed and spends most of the day watching the small black & white television set in their room. His nights he spends racing around the countryside, causing a rash of “will o’ the wisp” sightings to stir up the locals. The Toad works long hours at the mill, but doesn’t seem to mind supporting them. The twins are disturbed by the fact that when he is there, though, the Toad seems to masturbate incessantly. Growing bored, Wanda begins to take in some sewing work, which a number of the townsfolk are only too willing to take advantage of. Pietro is angered by the situation and warns his sister that they must keep a low profile. Wanda convinces him that she needs to earn extra money in order to pay for another round of diathermatic treatments to restore her powers. Pietro relents, promising to take her back to Transia as soon as they can afford it, but he insists she remain wary of the humans. While doing the shopping and the laundry, Wanda becomes aware that they are indeed a constant subject of local gossip.

August 1964 – Wanda overhears some of the townsfolk discussing the latest strange occurrence: some boys, while hiking in the nearby hills, discovered the wreckage of Magneto’s airship and assumed it must be an alien spacecraft. The local mechanic examined some of the wreckage and said it was like nothing he had ever seen. This is followed by a spate of UFO sightings, which are exacerbated by Pietro’s nightly jaunts. Wanda and the Toad both try to convince Pietro not to go running until things cool down, but he refuses to listen. The whole town soon becomes gripped by paranoia, and Wanda worries that they may become targets. She tries being more friendly and outgoing, but becomes aware that the locals think there’s something strange about the trio of gypsies that live above the hardware store.

September 1964 – The heat and humidity keep the town on edge as the new school year begins. Some boys become curious about the mysterious gypsies and try to spy on them. The Toad scares them off, but one of the boys is injured, and Wanda worries that they may soon have to move on to another town. Then, during a trip to the grocery, Wanda gets depressed when she sees a magazine story about the lavish wedding of Janet Van Dyne to Henry Pym, which was attended by a number of super-heroes and even featured a battle with the Ringmaster and his Circus of Crime. Engrossed in the article on her way back to the apartment, she lets her guard down and is suddenly accosted by a group of idle young men. They taunt her and knock her groceries to the ground, but she escapes with only getting groped. Without her mutant abilities, Wanda is powerless to retaliate. Pietro is furious, but Wanda begs him not to do anything rash. They must not draw attention to themselves.

After this incident, Wanda finally convinces Pietro to return to New York and explain to the Avengers the circumstances of their five weeks with Magneto. Warning the Toad to leave Wanda alone, he streaks off. The Toad does his best to cheer Wanda up, but he knows she has nearly hit bottom. Two days later, Pietro returns, his mission a complete failure. Having learned from Jarvis that the Avengers were in Africa, Quicksilver started a fight with Spider-Man but lost. Worried about his sister, he then decided to give up and return to her. Wanda feels she has reached the end and hovers on the brink of despair.

Suddenly, the locals’ paranoid fears are realized when the town comes under attack by giant mutant-hunting robot Sentinels. Realizing they are the targets, the three mutants don their costumes again and face the threat as the Scarlet Witch, Quicksilver, and the Toad. In the course of the brief battle, the building they had been living in is completely demolished, and several others are damaged as well. The mutants prove no match for the Sentinels and are captured, shackled, and flown to the robots’ mountain fortress in upstate New York. Upon arrival, however, they are rescued by three of the X-Men: Cyclops, Marvel Girl, and the Beast. The X-Men ask them to exchange costumes and also to promise to stay out of the way while they fight the Sentinels. Wanda convinces Pietro to agree, and she is soon slipping on Marvel Girl’s green mini-dress. Within half an hour, the X-Men have tricked the Sentinels into flying off to attack the sun itself. The X-Men switch costumes again with Wanda, Pietro, and the Toad before rushing the injured Havok to a doctor.

Reaching the central chamber of the complex, the tired trio finds a man who introduces himself as Judge Robert Chalmers, who is freeing several other mutants from stasis tubes. Wanda and Pietro are annoyed to find themselves once again in the company of Mastermind and the Blob, as well as several others they do not know. They nearly come to blows, but the Toad intervenes, playing peacemaker. A nearly comatose man is revealed to be Larry Trask, son of the creator of the Sentinels, and a mutant himself. Judge Chalmers asks the mutants to depart as quickly as possible, and they all agree for their own reasons. The Toad elects to stay with Wanda and Pietro, and, taking one of the Sentinels’ airships, the three of them are soon airborne. Wanda is convinced that without her powers, she will never feel safe, and that they must do whatever they can to restore them as soon as possible. With no reason to return to West Virginia or New York City, Pietro sets a course across the Atlantic Ocean to Transia.

Notes:

October 1963 – Wanda and Pietro can be seen during the early days of their leave of absence in Avengers #31.

November 1963 – Wanda’s diathermatic treatments are on display in Avengers #32. They see the lights atop Wundagore Mountain in Thor #134. Professor Xavier contacts them in Uncanny X-Men #27, in which Wanda is seen playing with her trained falcon. A partially fictionalized account of Wanda and Pietro’s encounter with the UFO is given in Avengers #36. I feel the fact that the twins were held prisoner for at least two months qualifies this as another Untold Tale of the Original Marvel Universe. Their ordeal was pretty much glossed over in the original comics.

January 1964 – The Avengers’ rescue of Quicksilver and the Scarlet Witch from the clutches of Ixar was related in Avengers #36–37. The Black Widow secured Ixar’s surrender by convincing him that she would make good on her threat to murder him in cold blood, as she was not bound by the Avengers’ moral code—something Hawkeye wanted to keep a secret from his unconscious teammates. Hercules arrives in the following issue. The reference to the Kennedy assassination is not in the original story, but is suggested by the date. Then, the team’s battles with the Mad Thinker’s “Triumvirate of Terror,” the Sub-Mariner, and Diablo span Avengers #39–42. It is during this time that the Scarlet Witch has a brief cameo appearance in the S.H.I.E.L.D. story in Strange Tales #156.

February 1964 – The Scarlet Witch joins her teammates on their mission to rescue the Black Widow from the sinister Communists in Avengers #43–44.

March 1964 – The Scarlet Witch makes a brief appearance in the Captain America story in Tales of Suspense #92. Then, Earth’s Mightiest Heroes foil the monstrous master plan of the Mandarin in Avengers Annual #1. The cities were not actually named in the comic, but in 1964 these were the chief diamond-producing centers of the regions described in the story. I imagine Wanda enjoys watching the destruction of the Mandarin’s space station because she can pretend it is Asteroid M blowing up instead. The celebration in Central Park follows in Avengers #45, with her “date” with Hercules occurring in the issue after that.

April 1964 – Magneto captures Wanda and Pietro in Avengers #47–48, and takes them to the United Nations in the following issue. The arch-demon Chthon is finally revealed as the cause of Wanda’s frequent power losses in Avengers #187. As explained in the previous post, Magneto’s sexual abuse is my attempt to explain why the Scarlet Witch would eventually marry the android Vision rather than a real, flesh-and-blood man.

May–August 1964 – The Scarlet Witch witnesses Magneto’s defeat of the bereaved X-Men in Uncanny X-Men #43–45 (of course, Professor X is not really dead), and the story then concludes in Avengers #53. The crash of the airship carrying Wanda, Pietro, and the Toad is revealed in flashback in Amazing Spider-Man #71, although Quicksilver’s encounter with the web-slinger actually takes place four months later (during Avengers #62). These four months comprise a substantial Untold Tale of the Original Marvel Universe, and I was intrigued to try to figure out how the trio of misfits managed to get by all that time on their own.

September 1964 – The wedding of Yellowjacket and the Wasp, which Wanda would surely have read accounts of, was featured in Avengers #60. The capture of the Scarlet Witch, Quicksilver, and the Toad by the mutant-hunting Sentinels is shown in Uncanny X-Men #59. Their meeting with Judge Chalmers in the aftermath of the Sentinels’ defeat is shown briefly in Uncanny X-Men #60 and then continued in a flashback in Avengers #103. This story actually takes place on September 30th, the last day of the month.





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