Thursday

Marvel Girl Illustrated

I have my own ideas about how some things “actually” looked in the Original Marvel Universe, despite the way they were often portrayed in the comics themselves. Just as earlier events could be shaped, and sometimes completely changed, by later stories, some visual details can be likewise subject to revision, even when this involves a certain amount of speculation. My only real criterion is that there be some decent reason for making the change.

A prime example of this can be seen in the way I view the costumes of the original team of X-Men, who wore essentially three different versions during their initial run of 66 issues. My interpretation of these costumes will be modeled below by the lovely Jean Grey, a.k.a. Marvel Girl.

As I explained on my other blog, I believe, first off, that the X-Men’s original uniforms were always yellow and black, not yellow and blue. While their costumes may have seemed blue in the early issues, the true color scheme was made clear later on, both when Kitty Pryde adopted one of the original uniforms as she first joined the team, and later in the pages of The New Mutants. See also the flashbacks to the team’s early days presented in Uncanny X-Men #138, drawn by John Byrne and Terry Austin.

Based largely on the way the uniforms appeared in Uncanny X-Men #1, and taking into account the way they looked on Kitty and the members of the New Mutants, particularly in the striking paintings done by Bill Sienkiewicz for that title, I see their original uniforms “actually” looking like this:



The main change is making her belt red from the start, with the X in a white circle. The all-yellow version in the comics struck me as lazy design work. It looks weak, and since the yellow belts never appeared again, I feel they’re best retconned out of existence. The “dark yellow” of their boots is another coloring oddity best dispensed with. In their very first issue, it seems pretty clear the boots are black with a yellow cuff. This changed gradually due primarily to lazy inking.

In Uncanny X-Men #27, the team adopted new uniforms, which they made a big deal out of, despite the fact that they were virtually indistinguishable from the previous version. See the panel below, taken from a copy of the original comic.



Note that Marvel Girl says, “I was getting tired of all that yellow in the old ones.” However, these really have just as much yellow, except that the belts are now red, as indicated by Iceman’s comment. This suggests to me that a more radical change was intended, but was not carried through on for whatever reason. Perhaps since it was not stated what color the uniforms were supposed to be, the colorist (who is uncredited) just continued to make them yellow, changing only the belt.

Since this was the mid-1960s, I believe the costumes were “actually” a bold black-and-white design, which was quite fashionable at that time. So when I look at that scene, I see it this way:



In fact, I take it a step further and refine the design a bit, using aspects of the way Arthur Adams drew the uniforms of the New Mutants. Plus, the X of the belt now appears in a yellow circle for the first time. So, in my visualization of the Original Marvel Universe, Jean’s costume looked like this during this period:



I think this is a much bolder design and a nice transition from the training uniforms to their individual costumes.

Finally, in Uncanny X-Men #39, the team received new costumes that were designed by Ross Andru. As noted by Professor Xavier, the X-Men had proven themselves in combat many times, and were now more a team of individual heroes rather than students. As such, each of them received a unique costume. Marvel Girl displays her self-confidence by choosing to do her adventuring in a stylish mini-skirt:



Although certain artists chose to depict the X-Men in their original uniforms again during some guest-appearances the team made in other titles, I maintain that Marvel Girl wore this costume until she retired from the team at the beginning of Uncanny X-Men #94.

Saturday

OMU: Scarlet Witch -- Part Three

After a very harrowing year, things began to turn around for the Scarlet Witch, and the next three months of her life were so busy that they require an entire post just to describe all that occurs. The most important thing that happens to her during this period, though, is that she meets her future husband, the dark-eyed, crimson-skinned android called the Vision. Used as a pawn by the murderous robot called Ultron, the Vision initially attacked the Avengers, but was able to shake off his mental conditioning and was inducted into the group in Avengers #58. Both he and the Scarlet Witch would be mainstays of the team from this point forward. But it was partly the desire to explain their bizarre marriage that led me to write this chronology in the first place. I was also intrigued by the fact that the events in between the Scarlet Witch’s appearance in the preceding Sentinels storyline and her return to the ranks of the Avengers were never chronicled in great detail, and so afford yet another Untold Tale of the Original Marvel Universe.

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.


Here, then, is the third installment of… The True History of the Scarlet Witch!


October 1964 – The airship carrying the Scarlet Witch, Quicksilver, and the Toad soon streaks low around Wundagore Mountain. Wanda and Pietro have decided to seek out the scientist who helped them a year ago with his diathermatic treatments. Upon reaching his laboratory at the foot of the mountain, however, they find the place wrecked, his equipment utterly destroyed, and the scientist himself gone. Their inquiries in the nearby village reveal that the scientist went mad before he disappeared, not long ago. Wanda has a desperate inspiration, and decides that if science cannot help her, perhaps magic can. The Toad encourages her, saying that, as an expert on castles, he can lead her to the finest libraries of mystic knowledge in the region.

They take their new airship northeast into the Transylvanian Alps until reaching the sinister citadel known as Castle Dracula. They land in the courtyard to find the castle abandoned, the roads leading up to it having long ago become impassable. The Toad is excited to explore, but Pietro refuses to believe that the old tales of vampires have any truth to them. Finding the ancient library, Wanda pours through the dusty books and manuscripts, but finds nothing that will help her. Despite his skepticism, Quicksilver insists they leave the castle before sundown. Although discouraged, Wanda is determined to continue her search.

The Toad directs them westward, and they soon arrive at the remote Castle Mordo. They enter the sorcerer’s inner sanctum with trepidation, but it, too, is deserted. Looking around, they realize the place has been looted, and recently. They surmise that its occupant left suddenly, and no one must expect him to ever return. Many of the bookshelves are empty, the rooms ransacked. Despite hours of careful searching, Wanda finds nothing of value.

From there, they cross the mountain range south into Romania and then down to Bulgaria, stopping at the dwelling of every mystic and mage the Toad has ever read about, but none are able to offer any assistance to the weary mutants. Finally, deep in Bulgaria, they meet an ancient sorceress who seems pleased to help them, offering them her best hospitality. After the tired trio spends the night, the sorceress presents them with new costumes, their old ones having become rather threadbare. Wanda’s new costume is a pink silk leotard under a strapless red bodysuit, with short pointed red gloves and higher, simple red boots. Her new cape is longer and her headdress is slightly redesigned. Wanda is delighted with the gift, seeing it as symbolic of shedding Magneto’s influence over her. Quicksilver’s new costume is no longer green, but is a silvery-blue color with white gloves and boots. He, too, is happy with the changes. The Toad’s new clothes are similar to his old uniform, but simpler and of finer materials. Then, after allowing Wanda to peruse her collection of texts, the ancient sorceress tells them that the greatest repository of magical tomes in all of Europe is, in fact, in Transia, near the north face of Wundagore Mountain. The Toad is surprised, but she explains that the library’s existence is a closely-guarded secret. Wanda offers the sorceress her gratitude for all she has given them, and they are soon winging their way back to Transia.

Quicksilver observes that the Sentinels’ airship is nearly out of fuel, and it is unlikely they will be able to refill the tanks. They manage to reach their destination, however, and land not far from a small cottage nestled into the side of the mountain. They are greeted by a wizened mage, who says he was expecting them. He leads the trio into his library, and helps Wanda and the Toad begin their search through the ancient volumes. Soon growing bored, Quicksilver begins poking around the shelves, and to his surprise he discovers a secret panel, and behind it, a glowing book. Wanda takes the book, and, feeling strangely compelled, recites a spell previously unknown to her. To the trio’s astonishment, a muscular, savage warrior materializes in their midst and announces that his name is Arkon, and that he intends to take the Scarlet Witch as his bride. Quicksilver and the Toad attack, but one of Arkon’s lightning bolts causes the Toad to vanish in a burst of light. Explaining that his world can only be saved by the destruction of the earth, Arkon hurls another lightning bolt at the Scarlet Witch, and in a blinding flash, she disappears from the earth as well.

Wanda suddenly finds herself alone in a small outpost on an alien world. Looking outside, she sees only a barren plain stretching to the horizon in all directions, where noxious vapors rise from amongst strange, gnarled rock formations. She marvels at the alien sky, so different from Earth’s, filled as it is with planetoids and shimmering clouds of energy. A moment later, Arkon appears again in a blinding flash, and bids her welcome to his world, called Polemachus—her new home. Wanda is defiant, but Arkon persists with his intention to make her his bride. He places around her waist a belt of a gleaming metal which resembles stainless steel, closing its jewel-encrusted diamond-shaped clasp with a snap, declaring that it is a sign of their betrothal. Startled, Wanda quickly realizes the belt is locked in place and she cannot remove it. He then produces a simple meal from the larder, but Wanda refuses to eat. Arkon takes little notice of her attitude, and when he is finished he announces that he must continue with his mission, and that she will wait there until he returns to fetch her. A moment later, Wanda finds herself alone again. As the lonely hours pass, she struggles with the metal belt, but to no avail. She realizes she is in Arkon’s power, and, without her mutant abilities, there is little she can do about it. She finally falls into a fitful sleep.

She is awoken by Arkon, who orders her to prepare for the long journey to his capital city. After permitting her to freshen up, Arkon takes her outside and puts her on the back of a large bipedal lizard wearing a harness. He mounts the beast as well, takes the reins, and they set off across the wasteland. As they ride, Wanda insists she could never love a man who would destroy her entire world and keep her a captive against her will, but Arkon will not be swayed, saying that having a queen as beautiful as her is all he cares about. Realizing that further argument is pointless, Wanda just closes her eyes and clings to his mighty muscled frame as their scaly steed lopes along mile after mile. She inhales Arkon’s musky scent, and in many ways he reminds her of Hercules. Could she learn to love him, as he claims? She finds herself wondering. At last they reach the magnificent capital city and enter Arkon’s imperial palace, where Wanda learns Arkon has kidnapped some of Earth’s nuclear scientists to build him an atomic bomb. Arkon and his men go to persuade the scientists to be more cooperative, and Wanda is taken away by some subservient handmaidens. They take her to a wing of sumptuous living quarters and prepare a luxurious perfumed bath. Wanda slips out of her dusty costume, though the steel belt remains locked around her waist. While she bathes and eats a delicious meal, her costume is taken away and laundered. Hours pass, and after putting her clothes back on, Wanda explores the wing, noticing that brawny armed guards close off any possible avenues of escape. From a balcony, she looks out over the city, and must admit to herself that the scene is breathtaking, fantastic beyond her wildest imaginings.

Finally, Arkon enters the wing and announces that the scientists have devised a means to save Polemachus without destroying the earth, and Wanda feels a wave of relief. Her hopes of returning home are quickly dashed, however, when Arkon insists that she remains his chosen bride. He takes her to an ancient courtyard in the very heart of the palace and shows her a delicate flower clinging to the dusty stone wall. He says it is the fabled Flower of Life, meant to be picked by the Imperion’s betrothed and worn on the day of her wedding. Wanda feels overcome by the romantic futility of her situation, and begins to surrender to Arkon’s indomitable will. He is handsome, powerful, rugged, and dynamic, and the strength of his desire erodes her will to resist. She kneels and plucks the flower, reciting a poem while contemplating the simple beauty of the blossom. As she speaks, she detects the faintest hint of tenderness in Arkon’s eyes, and her heart melts. She resigns herself to her fate and accepts that she has no choice, which is incredibly freeing. As she moves in to kiss her new lord and master, a soldier suddenly bursts in to announce that the Avengers are invading the citadel. Wanda is confused and horrified by the jumble of contradictory feelings she is suddenly experiencing, but Arkon storms off to battle. From the ramparts, Wanda sees that it is indeed her erstwhile teammates come to rescue her: Quicksilver, Captain America, Goliath, Iron Man, and Thor, as well as the man in black they had seen on Magneto’s island and yet another stranger, a grim figure in a golden cape. The Avengers smash their way through Arkon’s barbarian hordes and storm the palace. Desperate, Arkon grabs a glowing globe he calls the Atom Sphere, boasting that the Avengers’ triumph will be bitter indeed when he’s destroyed their world. Wanda is horrified that he had lied to her, and she tries to pull away in utter revulsion, but he grabs her. As her rescuers burst into the chamber, Wanda begs Arkon not to kill them, but he pulls her close to him, throws down one of his lightning bolts, and in a flash Wanda finds herself next to Arkon on the roof of the Empire State Building in midtown Manhattan.

The Avengers are hot on their heels, however, and press their attack before Arkon can detonate his nuclear device. Wanda watches helplessly as Arkon shrugs off Quicksilver and his teammates, and she warns the red-faced stranger in green and gold that Arkon is unstoppable. Indeed, Arkon has nearly defeated the Avengers single-handedly when the face of his vizier appears in the clouds and announces that the crisis has been averted and the earth need no longer be destroyed. Arkon is stunned to learn that Iron Man and Thor constructed a device to replenish the life-giving energy rings surrounding Polemachus. He then announces the conflict is ended, and Wanda, confused and trembling, approaches him. Heedless of her conflicted feelings, Arkon tells Wanda that he no longer wishes to force her to marry him, and adds that crossing the dimensional barrier has no doubt restored her mutant powers. Then, he disappears in a sudden flash of light. Iron Man and Thor materialize amongst them, and though she feels she should be overjoyed, Wanda finds herself unaccountably heartbroken.

They return to Avengers Mansion, and Quicksilver announces that he and his sister are ready to rejoin the team. Captain America formally introduces them to the Black Panther and the Vision. They are also surprised to realize that Goliath is Clint Barton rather than Henry Pym. Clearly, a great deal has changed during their long absence. Wanda claims to be exhausted and goes to bed, her room having been quickly prepared for her by Jarvis. Once alone, she breaks down sobbing. She cannot comprehend how she was so ready to surrender herself body and soul to Arkon, and she feels sick at the thought of it. She suddenly finds his hypermasculinity utterly revolting, but at the same time she worries that her fear of sex will keep her from ever finding a husband. She curses Magneto for destroying her life, and wishes she had the power to kill him. This leads to a wave of guilt and shame and self-loathing. She suddenly realizes the steel belt Arkon had locked around her waist is still there, his barbaric version of an engagement ring. She will have to find a way to have it removed, she thinks, but for now it somehow brings her a small level of comfort. She drifts off to sleep feeling its cold embrace.

The next morning, Wanda wriggles back into her costume, a task made more difficult by the snug steel belt. She decides to use the cape, boots, and pink leotard from one of her old spare costumes, until she can have her new outfit cleaned. She heads downstairs and finds her brother with Goliath, the Black Panther, and the Vision, discussing an urgent call the team has received from General Thaddeus Ross at Desert Base in New Mexico. They quickly board a quinjet and are soon rocketing west. During the flight, Wanda becomes intrigued by the Vision and the two begin to talk. She learns that he is an artificial man—a “synthezoid,” as he terms it—and that is the reason for his emotionless, almost mechanical speech patterns, which send a chill down her spine. But when he speaks of the honor he felt when the Avengers accepted him into their ranks, despite his uncertain origins, Wanda wonders to herself if he truly feels such emotions or if he is merely mimicking human figures of speech.

Upon meeting with General Ross, the team learns that the Hulk is moving westward through the Mole Man’s subterranean system of tunnels and must be stopped before he reaches the San Andreas Fault. Immediately, they head northwest in an Air Force VTOL cargo jet, which carries a massive device called a gammatron bombarder, hoping to intercept the Hulk before he can trigger an earthquake. They begin setting up the machinery in a remote clearing in a forest in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains. The Scarlet Witch climbs to the top of one of the massive units to help direct the alignment of its opposite number. Soon they detect the Hulk directly below them, and the Vision passes down through the ground by using his power to alter his body’s density. Moments later, the Vision reappears, with the Hulk in hot pursuit. As her teammates press their attack, trying to draw the Hulk between the two units of the machine, the Scarlet Witch tries in vain to activate her mutant hex powers. She begins to fear that Arkon was wrong. However, as the Hulk grabs a helicopter and turns its whirling blades towards the Avengers, Wanda keeps trying. Suddenly, to her amazement, she feels her powers kick in and a glowing sphere of energy forms around the Hulk, causing the helicopter to inexplicably burst into flames. Then, Goliath is able to lure the Hulk into position, and the Black Panther switches on the gamma radiation. Unfortunately, instead of changing back into Bruce Banner as planned, the Hulk overcomes the energy beams, destroying the bombarder in the process. Tired of fighting, the Hulk then leaps away into the sky and is lost in the distance before the astonished Avengers can react. Though they failed to capture him, the Avengers are satisfied that they prevented a major disaster. They return to Desert Base, pick up their quinjet, and are soon back in New York.

The Scarlet Witch spends the following two days exploring this new manifestation of her powers in the Avengers Mansion training facilities. Describing it as a “hex sphere,” she realizes that even she cannot predict what will happen within its boundaries. She is certain, however, that it is a more potent form of mutant energy than she has ever mustered previously. Wanda also convinces herself that she has neglected to seek having the steel belt removed from around her waist because she’s been training so intensely, though she is aware there are deeper motives that she cannot face. She knows it’s only a matter of time before the other Avengers realize it’s not merely decorative. Then, the team’s quiet evening is interrupted by a visit from Tony Stark, who is fighting off a hostile takeover by an unscrupulous businessman named Cornelius Van Lunt. Stark explains that the Avengers must raise $120,000 in back rent on the mansion immediately to help keep Stark Industries afloat during the crisis. And so, early the next morning, the Avengers use all available means to announce that they are for hire. Wanda and Pietro even agree to appear on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson that very evening to promote their cause. The prospect of appearing on national television makes Wanda realize that she’s being foolish in procrastinating about the belt locked around her waist. After dinner, she approaches the Black Panther and asks his help to remove it. Though the extradimensional alloy proves to be a challenge to the Panther’s technical skills, he finally manages to cut it off without injuring Wanda. She is relieved, though also somewhat sorry, and she realizes wearing it had given her a strange, secret little thrill.

Hours later, Quicksilver and the Scarlet Witch arrive at NBC Studios for the Carson show. After some initial banter, Quicksilver announces the team’s efforts to raise the money as quickly as possible. However, Wanda senses that her brother is growing annoyed with the host’s irreverent attitude, and is thankful when the interview abruptly ends for a commercial break. Though Wanda is keen to stay and meet the other celebrities, Pietro insists they leave immediately. The next morning, a flood of offers pours into Avengers Mansion, and the team spends hours reading the proposals, looking for something that will meet their requirements. They are shocked to find a generous offer from Cornelius Van Lunt himself. Within the hour, the team is in Van Lunt’s ornately-decorated office, where he reveals his financial attack on Stark was a ploy to gain him the services of the Avengers, and if they agree to work on certain projects of his, he will drop his attempts to bankrupt Stark. Reluctantly, the team agrees and signs the contract. And so, the very next morning the Avengers find themselves demolishing a condemned building on one of Van Lunt’s lots in the city. When the financier arrives to inspect their work, the team is annoyed to learn that Van Lunt has maneuvered to make a hefty profit on a playground the city was hoping to build on the lot anyway. Wanda is especially offended by the arrogant profiteer. They work throughout the day on a series of demeaning labors until being summoned to repair a condemned tunnel under the East River. Fearing that they are walking into a trap, Quicksilver arranges to have the Avengers’ submarine standing by near the tunnel. His suspicions are confirmed when, seconds after they sneak out of the tunnel, a series of explosive charges cause it to collapse. Now, the Avengers become convinced that Van Lunt is the mastermind behind a gang of bank robbers that Wanda’s teammates had all encountered in recent weeks, and sure enough, they find the so-called Split-Second Squad attempting to steal a shipment of gold bars. Though they make short work of the second-rate crooks, the Avengers are startled to discover the hooded leader is not Van Lunt after all, but a revenge-minded employee of his seeking to frame the tycoon. Disgusted by the whole affair, the Avengers return home.

The next day, Wanda can’t stop thinking about the metal belt Arkon had given her, and finds she feels almost naked without it. She gets a belt of scarlet leather with a large buckle and draws it tightly around her waist, and immediately feels better. She also fusses over her costume, replacing her pointed gloves with a new pair of red gauntlets. Deep down, though, she is struggling to come to terms with the feelings stirred in her while she was on Polemachus. With no one to confide in, she seeks out the Vision, finding that she at least enjoys his company, though he strikes her as cold and aloof. She begins to realize that the android does not cause her the anxiety she often feels when she’s around men. For his part, the Vision seems to welcome her presence, and does nothing to discourage the curiosity she shows towards him.

Later that evening, the Avengers hear a ruckus on the roof of the mansion and find Captain America battling the Man-Ape, an old foe of the Black Panther’s. Outnumbered, the Man-Ape manages to escape, and the Avengers ponder why he would attack Cap when the two had never met. When the Black Panther drops by to check in, he can provide no answers. However, their communications equipment suddenly crackles to life with the leering face of the Man-Ape, who issues a challenge to the Panther, and reveals that he has kidnapped the African’s hero’s friend Monica Lynne. Wanda warns T’Challa that it is obviously a trap, but he insists on answering the Man-Ape’s challenge alone. Within the hour, Wanda and her teammates are shocked to receive a second transmission from the Man-Ape, as he gloats over having defeated the Black Panther and made him a helpless prisoner. The team spends a fruitless night searching for their captured comrade and return to the mansion shortly after dawn. They are soon joined by Iron Man and Thor to plan a new strategy. Wanda suggests someone should go to the school where T’Challa teaches under the alias “Luke Charles” in order to excuse his absence. The Vision volunteers, and, after disguising himself as a normal man, he sets off. Suddenly, the Black Panther appears on the viewscreen and hurriedly reveals how he was captured by a number of the team’s foes, now banded together as the Lethal Legion: the Grim Reaper, the Swordsman, Power Man, the Living Laser, and the Man-Ape. He has time to roughly outline the villains’ plans before the transmission is cut off. Accordingly, Thor and Iron Man go to search Greenwich Village, Captain America and Quicksilver rush to the power station which services their headquarters, and Goliath and the Scarlet Witch descend to the sewer tunnels deep below the mansion.

After trudging through the dimly-lit tunnels, Wanda and Clint are suddenly dazzled by a high-intensity light beam. Before they can recover their sight, the Swordsman and Power Man attack. The Scarlet Witch manages to cast a hex sphere in the direction of Swordsman’s voice, but it only slows him down. Suddenly, the blindly-flailing Goliath smacks into Wanda with his giant-sized knee and knocks her unconscious. She awakens sometime later to find herself trapped in a huge glass tank alongside Quicksilver, Goliath, Captain America, and the Black Panther, into which is being pumped a toxic gas. The heroes play possum to lull their enemies into overconfidence until the Vision can arrive. The android’s scheme is successful, for he tricks the Grim Reaper into smashing the glass and freeing them. Then, the villains prove no match for the combined might of the Avengers, and they are quickly apprehended. Wanda is dismayed, however, when the Vision suddenly announces that he is resigning from the Avengers, saying a synthetic man has no place among flesh-and-blood people. He departs immediately, leaving his former teammates perplexed by his sudden decision.

Over the next couple of days, Wanda begins to worry that she was somehow to blame for the Vision’s sudden resignation. Could she have offended him in some way with her girlish curiosity? She had peppered him with questions about himself, all of which he patiently answered. She had learned of his apparent creation by the renegade robot Ultron-5, and also of how the Vision’s android brain patterns are based on those of a real man, the late Simon Williams, whom she remembers reading about in the Avengers’ files. She had also noticed the Vision’s tendency to brood, and to question the value of his existence. But she sensed that underneath his grim visage and cold, droning voice, he experienced the same emotions as any man. And yet, something about the artificial quality of his movements and mannerisms—a strange mechanical gracefulness—made him seem non-threatening to her. But now he is gone, and she wonders if she will ever see him again.

Then, while on a routine patrol of the city, the Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver happen upon a gang of hoodlums collecting protection money. During the ensuing altercation, the twins learn that the goons are working for the infamous crime syndicate called the Maggia. The thugs are quickly defeated and the police soon arrive, as well as an intrepid TV camera crew, which manages to get some footage of the superheroic siblings. Afterwards, Wanda begins to think about the problem of organized crime, and whether super-powered teams like the Avengers should do more about it. That evening, during an Avengers strategy session, the Black Panther echoes her concerns, sparking a debate among the teammates as to the best use of their resources. T’Challa challenges Captain America’s assertion that they should hunt down the bizarrely-costumed leaders of the international criminal organization Zodiac, believing that the corrupting influence of inner city crime rings and gangs is a more urgent matter. The issue becomes more complicated when the Vision suddenly enters, carrying a groggy Native American warrior who calls himself Red Wolf. Curious, the Avengers listen to Red Wolf’s story of his origins and his quest for vengeance against Cornelius Van Lunt. The Vision regrets having interfered with Red Wolf’s mission and offers to help him seek justice. Unable to come to a consensus, the Avengers split into factions, each with its own mission. Quicksilver sides with Captain America, Iron Man, and Thor in making Zodiac the top priority. The Black Panther announces that he will pursue his own course in Harlem. Goliath sides with the Vision and Red Wolf in going after Van Lunt. Finally, the Scarlet Witch, who had been in agreement with the Panther, suddenly decides to join the Vision’s group.

At dawn the next morning, Goliath, the Vision, and the Scarlet Witch load up a quinjet for their mission out west. Once Red Wolf and his lupine companion Lobo are aboard, they lift off and set a course for Montana. Silence settles over the cabin as each occupant becomes lost in thought. Wanda ponders what prompted her sudden impulse to join this group, when she had argued the Panther’s case during the debate. Was she moved by Red Wolf’s plight, she wonders, or was there a deeper reason? Before she can explore this avenue of thought, the quinjet comes under attack by an unknown form of jet fighter. The Vision boards the attack ship, but it is too late. The damaged quinjet is going down in flames. In desperation, Goliath grabs the Scarlet Witch and drops her toward a large lake far below. Wanda hits the water hard, but manages to stay afloat. She tries to swim toward shore, and is carried most of the way there by a tremendous wave. Dragging herself to the edge of the water, she collapses from the effort and passes out. She is revived minutes later by the Vision, but they find themselves surrounded by Van Lunt’s gangsters. Although the Vision has nothing to fear from their machine guns, he surrenders for Wanda’s sake, and she is touched by the gesture. She begins to realize he is not as cold and uncaring as his demeanor suggests.

They allow themselves to be taken to Van Lunt’s fabulous hacienda nearby, where the unscrupulous billionaire admits having sent the attack craft to bring down the quinjet. Holding the Scarlet Witch hostage, he forces the Vision to act as his bodyguard. She is still too weak to use her hex powers, and so the heroes can only bide their time. An hour or so later, the hacienda is approached by a mob of angry Indians, led by Goliath and Red Wolf. Having little choice, the Vision goes outside to defend Van Lunt, while his henchmen hold the Scarlet Witch at gunpoint. Then, fearing the Indians are planning to blow up the dam from which Van Lunt’s compound receives its electricity, the gangsters load Wanda into their helicopter and fly to the dam to stop them. The unarmed Indians are defenseless against the gangsters’ machine guns and several are killed before Wanda can wriggle out of the ropes binding her wrists. Once free, she unleashes a hex sphere that causes the helicopter to explode. However, the explosion causes cracks in the dam, which begins to buckle. Leaving Red Wolf locked in mortal combat with Cornelius Van Lunt, Wanda runs to warn her friends of the impending disaster. Just as she reaches the Vision and Goliath, the dam collapses and the valley is suddenly flooded. After hours of searching the area, the Avengers can find no trace of Van Lunt or Red Wolf. However, as the sun begins to set, a young man named Will Talltrees returns home, and the Avengers immediately recognize him as Red Wolf. The exhausted heroes accept the Indians’ hospitality and plan to return to New York first thing in the morning. However, when the Vision tries to check in with Avengers’ Mansion at midnight, he receives no response. Concerned, the three teammates decide to head back east at once.

It is about five o’clock in the morning, local time, when the quinjet carrying the Scarlet Witch, the Vision, and Goliath approaches Manhattan. However, the ship’s sensors detect a force field surrounding the entire island, and they are forced to set down across the river in New Jersey. Despite their best efforts, the three heroes are unable to penetrate the mysterious barrier. A television on display in a nearby shop window soon reveals the grave nature of the situation when Aries, the masked leader of Zodiac, comes on to announce that his forces have taken all of Manhattan prisoner, and unless a ransom of one billion dollars is paid within 24 hours, the island’s entire population will be killed. The three Avengers are alarmed to see that even Thor, Iron Man, Captain America, and Quicksilver have been made helpless prisoners. For nearly two hours, they maintain their tense vigil, waiting for any word. Finally, not long after dawn, they see massive storm clouds suddenly form over the city, and then a huge lightning bolt strikes, causing a mid-air explosion. The force field instantly evaporates, and the three Avengers rush into the city. They find their teammates, joined by the Black Panther and Daredevil, mopping up the defeated mercenary army just outside Madison Square Garden. The Avengers spend the rest of the day trying to undo much of the damage caused by Zodiac, particularly the bridges and tunnels they wrecked, while the police interrogate Zodiac’s footsoldiers. From the criminals’ confessions, the Avengers learn that Cornelius Van Lunt had been financing Zodiac, and that his compound out west was where the mercenary army did its training. They had planned to invade New York on Election Day next week, but when the Scarlet Witch destroyed the dam and flooded the area, it forced Aries to put his operation into effect immediately. Still, if not for Daredevil’s help, the invasion may well have been successful. The Avengers realize that, though it seemed they had gone their separate ways, they were in fact all working different angles of the same case.

Several days later, on Halloween, the Avengers are planning on attending the annual parade in Rutland, Vermont as a charity benefit. They have also learned of a possible kidnapping plot involving the parade’s grand marshal, Professor T.W. Erwin of Miskatonic University. However, as they are getting ready to leave, the Scarlet Witch receives a telegram and suddenly announces to her teammates that she will stay behind. Once the rest of the team is gone, a woman appears at the mansion’s door and Wanda admits her into Avengers’ headquarters. The woman is dressed in a black bodysuit with armored accoutrements; she wears a flowing blue cape and carries a fearsome spear. She announces that she is the Valkyrie, and she has come to deliver Wanda from her servitude to men. The Scarlet Witch finds that the Valkyrie’s words resonate in her mind, and she immediately places her trust the stranger. Moments later, they are joined by the Black Widow and Madame Medusa of the royal family of the Inhumans, and the Valkyrie quickly convinces them to form a new super-team called the Liberators, dedicated to the downfall of all male chauvinists. Suddenly, the Wasp appears in their midst, having returned to the city on personal business. She, too, soon rallies to the cause, and the five women set off for Rutland to battle the male heroes. They travel aboard the Valkyrie’s chariot, led by two stallions that fly as if by magic.

They soon arrive in the small town and discover the Avengers fighting the Masters of Evil: Klaw, the Melter, the Radioactive Man, and the Whirlwind. The Valkyrie is annoyed by this unforeseen development, and orders the Wasp to fly on ahead. But when the mystery woman casually refers to the Wasp as “wench,” alarm bells suddenly go off in Wanda’s mind. As the chariot lands a few blocks from the scene of the battle, the Scarlet Witch suddenly feels her head clearing, and she realizes how unnaturally easy it was for the Valkyrie to turn her against her friends. She puts two and two together and begins to suspect that the Valkyrie may be their old enemy the Enchantress in disguise. Still, Wanda decides to play along for the moment, and she helps the others defeat and capture her male teammates. Then, the Liberators take the shackled heroes, as well as Professor Erwin, to the science labs at Miskatonic. There they find the product of Erwin’s research, an untested parallel-time projector. Having achieved her goal, the Valkyrie sheds her illusory disguise and stands revealed as the Enchantress. Wanda’s hunch was correct, and, as the Asgardian sorceress casts a spell to kill the helpless men, the Scarlet Witch counters it by surrounding the villainess with a hex sphere. The Enchantress’ spell is reflected back on her, and its force smashes her backwards into the parallel-time projector. There is a tremendous explosion, and when the smoke clears, the Avengers find nothing but a smoking crater in the floor. The other women are freed from the spells that ensorcelled them, and Wanda explains that the spell on her was broken when she lost her trust in the Valkyrie. Still, she has become aware that her male teammates could use a dose of feminist enlightenment. They all return to New York, and the Wasp, the Black Widow, and Medusa go on their way.

November 1964 – Wanda is disgusted when she learns that Republican Senator Morris N. Richardson has defeated President Lyndon B. Johnson in the national election. Richardson’s campaign was laced with inflammatory anti-mutant rhetoric, and the entire mood of the country seems to be turning uglier every day. She regrets not being able to vote, both on account of her age and her Transian citizenship, but realizes she will just have to make the best of it. Pietro is even angrier, and says that if the hatred of mutants grows, they should just return to Europe. The mood is lightened some days later when the twins watch the Apollo moon landing on television. They had heard Iron Man speak about the work Stark Industries had contributed to the project, enabling it to be ready years earlier than initially thought. Wanda remembers reading in the newspapers over the summer of the numerous setbacks the project had suffered, and finds herself filled with pride over the achievement of her adopted country. She also takes the time to finally familiarize herself with the Avengers’ files on the menaces they faced during her long absence from the team, including the mysterious Collector, the murderous robot Ultron, the Asgardian monsters Ymir and Surtur, Egghead, the alien Grandmaster, and the Squadron Sinister, as well as new allies like the Black Knight and Captain Marvel. Wanda also regularly seeks out the Vision to spend time with him, which seems to irritate her brother Pietro. She realizes how the android’s level-headed manner makes him quite different from all the other men she’s known in her life.

Weeks later, the Avengers are startled when Hercules returns to the mansion, stricken by a mortal terror. Wanda is disturbed to see the mighty demi-god quaking with fear, but Hercules quickly explains that it has been induced in him as a punishment by his angry father, Zeus. He is being pursued by a dangerous entity known as the Huntsman, who is the instrument of his father’s wrath. The Avengers immediately offer to aid their former teammate, but Hercules says the risk is too great. Suddenly, the sinister Huntsman arrives on the scene, and uses his magical staff to render the Avengers helpless. Hercules, in a mad panic, smashes his way out of the mansion and disappears into the night. Once the Huntsman is gone, the Avengers mount a search, but can find no trace of either the pursuer or the pursued. Some days afterwards, Captain America, Goliath, Quicksilver, the Vision, and the Scarlet Witch sit down to an elaborate Thanksgiving dinner prepared by their faithful servant Jarvis. As the Vision passes Wanda a bowl of consommé, her hand brushes against his, and she feels a tingle of excitement. She blushes, but her other teammates don’t seem to notice. She tries to discern whether the Vision felt something as well and is just being discreet, but as usual she finds his grim features difficult to read.

December 1964 – Over the next couple of weeks, as things are relatively quiet around Avengers Mansion, Wanda tries to sort out her feelings toward the Vision. Could she truly be attracted to this man of synthetic flesh and artificial blood? And if so, is he even capable of returning her affection? He has often claimed that he does not possess true emotions, and yet on numerous occasions, Wanda has seen evidence to the contrary. She can find no easy answers, and, for his part, the taciturn Vision gives her very little to go on. If only he showed some flicker of tenderness toward her, she thinks, but in all the time they spend together, he remains as formal towards her as ever. Of course, it seems insane to think she is falling in love with a robot, but he seems so much more than that, and Wanda cannot deny her feelings. Above all else, he makes her feel safe.

Then, one night, Wanda wakes from a terrifying dream. Having heard her cry out, her teammates burst into her room, and Wanda, distraught, describes her nightmare, in which the Black Knight was slain by Arkon in the middle of a terrifying alien landscape. Leaving her to get dressed, the other Avengers go downstairs to ascertain whether it was just a dream. As she slips into her costume, Wanda is disturbed that she has dreamt about Arkon, after she had convinced herself she had put all that behind her. Joining her teammates, she learns that the Black Knight has indeed gone missing. Deciding they’d best not take any chances, the Avengers contact Thor for a mission back to Polemachus. While waiting for the Black Panther to return with the thunder god, Wanda worries about how she will react when she sees Arkon again.

Suddenly, the mansion is rocked by a mysterious shockwave, and the Avengers are stunned to discover the entire building has been transported to Arkon’s extradimensional world. As they leap into battle against Arkon’s barbarian hordes, the heroes discover their powers have unaccountably failed them. The reason becomes clear when they see the sneering face of the Enchantress. The Scarlet Witch tries to generate a hex sphere, but is overcome by the sorceress’s spells and collapses into unconsciousness. When she revives hours later, she finds herself and her teammates encased in strange cocoons of energy. Before them stand Arkon and the Enchantress, and an ensorcelled Black Knight, gloating over the heroes’ defeat. With heartfelt sincerity, Arkon offers to spare Wanda’s life if she will agree to become his queen. She is relieved that she feels nothing towards Arkon but utter disgust. She throws his offer back in his face and refuses even to look at him. Arkon is enraged, and the captive Avengers are dragged away to a dungeon high in a cold stone tower. There, they find the energy cocoons have dissolved into a glowing aura that saps their wills. Wanda can’t help but feel overcome with hopelessness, convinced that Arkon and his legions are invincible. After a while, the Black Panther suddenly appears outside the window and helps them overcome the effects of the soul-deadening energy. At once, the Avengers smash their way out of the dungeon and rush to aid Thor, who is taking on Arkon and his army single-handedly. Hopelessly outnumbered, the Avengers are on the brink of defeat when the Scarlet Witch attempts to surround Arkon with a hex sphere. The Enchantress counters with one of her most powerful spells. Though the hex sphere is destroyed, the effort causes the Enchantress to lose her hold over the Black Knight. He immediately switches sides and, realizing the Avengers have turned the tide, the Enchantress cuts her losses and disappears. Once he sees he was manipulated by the beautiful sorceress, Arkon declares an end to the fighting. The Avengers are in no mood for his arrogant bluster, however, and they turn to go. Wanda leaves Arkon with some cutting remarks to remember her by. They find the mansion again and Thor whips up a magical vortex that sweeps them all back to Earth.

Unfortunately, the Scarlet Witch, Quicksilver, the Vision, and Goliath find themselves materializing back in their familiar metropolis only as intangible phantoms, invisible to all except each other. Then, they are horrified to discover the sun has apparently gone supernova, and they are witnessing the earth’s final moments. Quicksilver notices a newspaper at his feet, and by the date on the page, he realizes they have somehow slipped several weeks into the future. Out of sheer desperation, Wanda surrounds the group with a hex sphere, pouring all her strength into it. There is a blinding flash, accompanied by a painful jolt, and everything is suddenly normal again. They rush to a newsstand and confirm that they are in the proper time. With a sigh of relief that it is indeed mid-December, they return to their headquarters. Still, things don’t feel quite right, and their fears are confirmed when the mansion turns out to belong to a completely different super-group called the Squadron Supreme. Somehow, the Avengers have landed in a parallel universe.

As the two teams argue, the Avengers learn of the imminent launch of a solar orbiter, which the Vision deduces must be the cause of the sun’s impending destruction. Therefore, the Avengers resolve to stop the launch at all costs, a decision that leads them into combat with the Squadron’s Nighthawk, American Eagle, Tom Thumb, Hawkeye, and Lady Lark. Although the displaced heroes are nearly defeated, they rally at the last and overcome their opponents. Taking the unconscious Nighthawk with them, the Avengers fly to the launch site aboard one of the Squadron’s airships. En route, they convince Nighthawk of the dire crisis his world faces, and he agrees to help abort the launch. Arriving moments before lift-off, the Avengers encounter Nighthawk’s teammates Hyperion, Doctor Spectrum, and the Whizzer, but have no time to convince them of the danger before they initiate the launch. However, the Scarlet Witch manages to surround the rocket with a hex sphere, causing it to misfire. Taking advantage of the delay, the Avengers make their case, and the Squadron members are willing to hear them out. During the discussion, the Avengers learn that the seemingly-innocuous solar rocket was designed by that world’s greatest scientific genius, a hideously-deformed ten-year-old mutant boy nicknamed “Brain Child.” Fearing this freakish youngster may be dangerously embittered, the Avengers and the Squadron Supreme jet out to his island stronghold to investigate.

Upon arrival at Brain Child’s isolated citadel, the heroes are immediately attacked by the boy’s high-tech defensive systems, while over a loudspeaker, the genocidal genius admits that it was his intention to cause the sun to go supernova, thus destroying the earth and himself with it. The heroes decide to pair off in an attempt to breach the citadel’s defenses, and the Scarlet Witch is teamed with Nighthawk. Together, they discover an undefended access tunnel and slip inside the complex, only to encounter a hulking android guardian. The unspeaking brute easily defeats Nighthawk, and then fires an eerie ray from its eyes that encircles the Scarlet Witch before she can cast a hex sphere. Suddenly, Wanda feels her memory slipping away, and within moments she is wandering through the strange complex in a daze. Try as she might, she cannot remember where she is or what she is doing there. Suddenly, the entire building dissolves into nothingness, and Wanda’s mind immediately clears. Finding herself outside on the barren island, she sees her teammates and the Squadron members nearby, as well as a defeated Brain Child, who is crying like a baby. Doctor Spectrum uses his mysterious “power prism” to undo the now-amnesiac boy’s mutations, rendering him normal in appearance. Before the Avengers can celebrate their victory, however, they find themselves swept up in a nimbus of energy, which carries them home to Avengers Mansion, where they are greeted by Thor, Iron Man, and the Black Panther, whose tireless efforts to rescue them have finally succeeded.

Wanda joins her teammates in the living room for some much-needed relaxation, and Jarvis serves up tea and coffee. Iron Man notices the Black Panther is brooding about something, and the African Avenger claims it is a case of simple homesickness. The conversation leads the Vision to again ruminate about his own artificiality, and Wanda quickly changes the subject by asking the Panther to describe his homeland to them. T’Challa accepts her request and relates in detail the story of how he first became the Black Panther, and Chief of all the Wakandas. Finally, he reveals that his somber mood is the result of his having received word that his faithful old regent, who has ruled Wakanda during his absences ever since the death of T’Challa’s father, has finally died. Therefore, the Black Panther must now decide whether his destiny lies with the Avengers or in his remote African homeland. With that, T’Challa excuses himself and leaves the mansion to be alone to think. The weary Avengers decide to call it a night, and Wanda soon slips into her bed. As she drifts off to sleep, she finds herself thinking about how the Vision had demonstrated his natural leadership abilities on the Squadron Supreme’s Earth, and she largely credits him with saving that world. How could such a man not be worthy of her love?

A week or so later, the Avengers receive a request from the United Nations to be on call in case of any trouble while the U.N. tests an experimental weather-controlling machine on a small island in the Caribbean. However, the team is already scheduled to appear on a Christmas charity TV program at the same time. While Thor, Iron Man, and Goliath remain on monitor duty, the Scarlet Witch joins her other teammates at the TV studio. When she returns that evening, she learns that the three Avengers were indeed called to action—against the Sub-Mariner, the Silver Surfer, and the Hulk—but the situation was resolved amicably. Shortly afterwards, Wanda celebrates her first Christmas Day at Avengers Mansion, and participates in the team’s annual charity benefit, at which she meets Captain America’s new partner, the Falcon.


Notes:

October 1964 – The airship reaches Transia on October 1st, the day after the Sentinels were defeated. Actually, the means by which Wanda, Pietro, and the Toad traveled from the Sentinels’ base in upstate New York to Central Europe was never explained, but since the X-Men took one of the Sentinels’ airships, it stands to reason that the former Avengers did so as well. Returning to the laboratory of the unnamed scientist seen in Avengers #32 is a logical first course of action, and seems a reasonable speculation. Since the story demands that he can’t be there to help them, I’m thinking that he was driven insane by the demon Chthon so that Wanda would have little choice but to seek a magical, rather than scientific, solution to her problem.

The trio’s visits to the Transylvanian castles of Dracula and Baron Mordo were not described in the comics, but these are certainly two of the premiere repositories of mystical tomes in the region. Since these events take place about a year or so before Tomb of Dracula #1, they have little to fear from the Lord of Vampires, who is still in a coffin in the cellar with a wooden stake through his heart. Mordo’s castle has been ransacked following his sudden banishment to an otherdimensional limbo in Strange Tales #162. They have good timing, though, since he will return shortly.

The hospitable sorceress is speculation on my part to explain where the Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver got their new costumes, which was never revealed in the comics. She also serves as a counterpoint to the creepy Gandalf-type they meet at their next stop, as seen in Avengers #75. It is in that issue that we learn of their encounter with Arkon, and of Wanda being teleported to Polemachus.

Although the origin and purpose of the fancy belt the Scarlet Witch is seen wearing in Avengers #76 and Hulk #128 is never explained in the comics, she seems to have picked it up while on Polemachus. It disappears at some point during Avengers #77, but due to the poses Wanda is drawn in, it is impossible to determine exactly when. The mystery of this minor detail inspired me to come up with an explanation that added an interesting new dimension to the story, and sheds light on Wanda’s rather bizarre behavior towards Arkon.

It is in Avengers #77 that the team must deal with the convoluted machinations of Cornelius Van Lunt and “Kronus,” leader of the hapless Split-Second Squad. Although Tony Stark says the Avengers’ rent for the luxurious Fifth Avenue mansion is $2000 a month, I believe this amount is incorrect. Using the total sum—$120,000—and dividing by the number of months the Avengers have occupied the mansion on my timeline (24), we see that the monthly rent is a more-realistic $5000 a month. Of course the team doesn’t actually have to pay this amount, but it is probably what Stark deducts from his taxes as his charitable donation to the do-gooding team. It’s worthwhile to note that the Avengers have been operating for two years at this point.

The Avengers battle the Lethal Legion in Avengers #78–79. I believe the Vision’s sudden decision to quit the team is a result of his realizing that he is attracted to the Scarlet Witch, which results in a serious case of cold feet. After all, the Vision has always suffered from low self-esteem. Quicksilver and the Scarlet Witch’s tussle with the Maggia mobsters is seen via the news crew’s film footage in Avengers #83. Next, the adventure out west with Red Wolf is chronicled in Avengers #80–81, with Zodiac’s invasion of Manhattan following immediately in the next issue. The ball-busting Liberators debut in Avengers #83, in Roy Thomas’s ode to the controversial “Women’s Lib” movement of the day. It is also one of several “Rutland, Vermont Halloween Parade” stories published around that time, in which various denizens of the Marvel Bullpen make cameo appearances.

November 1964 – For the full story on Morris N. Richardson, see OMU: POTUS -- Part Three. Hercules returns to the mansion briefly in a bizarre little story published in Ka-Zar Quarterly #1. The quiet dinner-table scene is presented in flashback in Avengers #280.

December 1964 – The Avengers’ return to Polemachus, their subsequent encounter with the Squadron Supreme, and the revelation of the Black Panther’s origin span Avengers #84–87. Finally, their battle with the so-called “Titans Three”—a precursor of the Defenders—occurs in Sub-Mariner #35.



Next Issue: The Golden Age!


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 then 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 Quicksilver 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 Quicksilver steals from a back yard 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. Quicksilver 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 Quicksilver 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, Quicksilver returns, his mission a complete failure. Having learned from Jarvis that the Avengers were in Africa, Pietro 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 Quicksilver, the Scarlet Witch, 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, 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.