…Magneto’s resurrection after X-Men #3?

This fix, contributed by Paty Cockrum, ex-Marvel artist and colourist, and wife of the late Dave Cockrum, creator of the All-New, All-Different X-Men, takes place sometime after X-Men #3, Chris Claremont’s last issue on his first run which saw Magneto and the Acolytes sent on a fiery fall and proposes a more intellectually-satisfying way he could have been brought back as opposed to the one plotted for the execrable Fatal Attractions…

After realising his views and those of his friend Charles Xavier were incompatible, the mutant calling himself Magnus went on to became the infamous master of magnetism, Magneto. As he increased the usage of his mutant abilities, Magnus began to suffer brain seizures that would lead to debilitating pain wracking his whole body. His lover, Isabelle, before her death, theorised that manipulating the Earth’s planetary magnetic field through his body, specifically his central nervous system, could very well be affecting his brain via the seizures. During the time Magneto was regressed to infancy, Dr Moira MacTaggert attempted to modify his genetic matrix in an effort to eliminate the unstable overload of energy and prevent a progressive degradation that would affect the electrochemical balance in his brain. Some years following his restoration to adulthood and after he had broken his ties with humanity, Magneto finally discovered that Moira had performed said procedure on him in an attempt to save her own son. Believing his primacy of judgement had been compromised, and thus his reform period was not the result of free will, Magneto took Moira captive and forced her to perform her procedure on half of the X-Men, pitting them against their teammates. But the fight ended as the suborned X-Men regained their true natures. The revelation that Moira’s procedure was a failure because every use of a mutant’s power restored that person’s “default” state came too late for the master of magnetism. The toll of the recent battles he had waged left Magneto seemingly dying, his last act being to maintain Asteroid M’s structural integrity to enable the X-Men to escape, after which it exploded in space. As for Magneto… the self-styled master of magnetism is Missing-In-Action and presumed dead… unless you know him well…

DEEP PURPLE

by Paty Cockrum

The sea was a piece of red glass fading, on the eastern horizon, to a deep purple as night approached.

“His colors,” thought the scarlet clad woman in the small rowboat.

She maneuvered the boat towards the ancient and oddly carved jetty. The rocks were encrusted with old, dead deep sea detritus and had a weird, thrumming sensation under her gloved hand. After attaching the rope from the bow to a weathered ring, she clambored onto the large slab that led to the front gates of the citadel.

From her vantage point on the jetty, she surveyed the island. It wasn’t big, and most of it was taken up by an immense citadel of outrageous proportions and esoteric design. No human hand built this citadel.  Theory amongst the superheroes she interacted with was that it was a forgotten race of giants that constructed it. It had vanished under the waves long ago and had only been raised by her father a few years ago. He had made it one of his fortresses… his hidey holes. He had been missing for some time now, but if he were still alive, he might just be here.

She looked out to sea. Tonight it was like glass, with only a few shallow ripples to pick up the westering sun’s crimson and gold light.

“False calm…” she whispered to herself. She knew the sea was a bit more turbulent outside the electromagnetic shield that safeguarded the island… through which she had passed a short while ago. Even with a hurricane howling outside the shield, the waters herein would have only moderate waves and breezes. Her father’s doing. And obviously his devices were still active. No unsynchronized or unshielded mechanical device could operate within the shield. The Avenger’s yacht had cut out when it crossed the boundary… and had to be maneuvered back to the outside of it while they still had momentum. The Vision waited there for her, keeping the boat well clear of the shield interface.  She had had to row to the island… and would have to row back, she assumed… but this mission was too important to her to abandon it.

She looked up at the gold and crimson spangled walls. Something was different from the last visuals she had had of the island.

“Foliage!” she muttered to herself. “There’s plants all over the walls!” That was odd, for, even though the island was situated in the Bermuda Triangle and was tropical, it had gone for years without much, if any, foliage softening its exterior and lending a feeling of life and warmth to the eerie coldness of the stones. But the island, this night, was lush with tropical growth. Greens fading to blue in the shadows, reds deepening into the rich purple that reflected the sea’s deep swells. Golds that flitted like fireflies across the rich tropical growth that hung on the walls and dangled from overhead parapets and walkways.

She strode up to the towering and heavy gates and placed a scarlet gloved hand on the alien metal. It vibrated at her touch, and a darkly robed and cowled figure appeared just inside its ornamental grille.

“Who goes there?” A deep and vibrant challenge.

“The Scarlet Witch… Avenger…” a slight pause, and then she added “…Magneto’s daughter!”

The gate swung silently open a few inches… enough for her to slip in. “If you are truly our Lord’s daughter, then you are welcome here.”

She slid into the inner courtyard and heard the gate clang shut behind her.

A flash of white sparkled under the purple cowl of the imposing figure who had granted her admission.

“Father?”

A vibrant chuckle as the tall mutant rearranged his enveloping wings that had looked so much like robes and cowl. “No, Magnus daughter… if that is who you are…” the iridescent blue/purple veined and leathery wings fell back and she saw the shock of white hair that shimmered from a scaled head and tumbled in soft waves down the mutant’s back.

“Oh, sorry… the hair…”

“Often a side effect of mutation, I believe.” He turned from her to greet a diminutive figure approaching. “Greensleeves, this woman says she is Wanda, our Lord’s daughter. Speaks she truly?”

The diminutive figure, clad in purple and red samite, stretched out a hand that was opalescent in its beauty. Fire red and shimmering greens played across its surface like mother of pearl. “May I touch you, lady? It will not harm nor hurt you, but if you have our Lord’s gene structure, I will know it immediately… it is my power to know all living things… and to command some of them.”

“I thought my father had everyone else’s power turned off on this island.” Wanda removed one of her scarlet gauntlets and held out her hand to the faerie like creature.

A cool, almost icy touch, like a snowflake, and the tiny woman sank to her knees and bowed her head. “Mistress Wanda… I bid you welcome.”

The tall, dragon-like gatesman sank to one knee,  bowed his head and rumbled “I bid you welcome, Magnus daughter.”

“Oh for God’s sake… get up!” Wanda shook her head. “Stop all this bowing and kowtowing… is my father here?”

“Sadly, no.” the giant flowed like purple water to his full height of well over seven feet. He stretched the iridescent bat like wings above him and the crimson light of the sun made them glow with jewelled color.

“Then what are YOU doing here?”

“We were not on the satellite when it fell. We heard about it… and decided that if Magneto survived, he would come to one of his other strongholds. We knew of this island, so we came to make it comfortable for him if he should choose to come here. Your father is a survivor, Mistress, we do not think he died in that fiery fall.”

“Nor do I… which is why I am here.” Wanda frowned, then looked around her. “You have done a good job… the place is lovely, what I have seen of it. It used to be so… stark. He’ll be pleased… he likes green things. There were so few living things in Auschwitz.”

“Thank you my Lady.” the crystal like voice of Greensleeves danced merrily. “I have fashioned the gardens specifically for him… although, until he comes, we enjoy them too. They provide color and food to sustain us here. Will you bide a while with us even though your father is not here? It would be our greatest pleasure to serve you.”

“I think not.” Wanda shook her head and smiled at the two. “But I thank you for the offer of hospitality. I guess you don’t get many visitors out this way, do you?”

“Not hardly…” Dragon rumbled. “I almost never get to say ‘who goes there?’ It was kinda fun…”

“I have to get back… the Vision is waiting for me in a boat outside the shield wall. Night is coming and it’s a long row out.”

“You do not wish to try it in the dark.. You can get lost on the sea at night… and it is dark of the moon. Bide here with us this night. and we will have one of the merfolk tow you to your boat.”

“If daddy dearest isn’t here, I should get back…Vision will worry.” Wanda smiled wistfully.  “But thank you anyway…”

“Dragon, go fetch Fishface while you can still find him… I will let her rest herself in the temple and see that she has some refreshment. Go on… hurry up… you haven’t much light left.”

The dragonesque creature with the flowing white hair sighed deeply. ” He’s going to be out to sea… you know how he is with a storm coming…”

“Try.”

“My Lady…” a bow to Wanda and the incredible wings spread and he lifted into the sultry air, shimmering iridescently as he rose into the stronger sunlight.

“Wow… couldn’t he have just towed me out?” Wanda watched the flying man disappear almost straight up.

“Nah… he hates flying over water. He will go straight up and look down for Fishface. Come, let me show you the gardens.”

Greensleves led down a pathway towards an interior area that, because it was sheltered by the walls, was beginning to go blue and mauve with the fading sunlight.

Lush greenery spread before Wanda in generous profusion. Shimmering walkways cut through the verdant green like multicolored brick roads. All paths led to a round, Grecian temple in the center of the gardens, where a small light flickered in the growing shadows.

“How lovely… did you do all this?”

“Only the plants… they grow at my command.  Granit did the stone…” the tiny lady sighed deeply… “Granit was one of us. He actually knew our Lord… for a short while. He worshipped him and built the temple for him. It contains a resting place for his body if we should find out that he has died.  Beside it is a tomb for the remains of his wife, Magda, which we brought here to rest beside him.  Granit died making the temple and we interred him there, to be near the master he so loved. We keep vigil there praying for the return of our Lord… one way or another.”

“Dear God! You do this for…Magneto?”

“You do not understand what he means to us, dear.  He is our guiding light, for he is right about many things when it comes to mutants and humans. We know you and your brother may not believe this.  It is, however, a truth that the prophet is never respected in his own house.” she chuckled.  “Familiarity breeds contempt… happens in every family, don’t you know?”

“Right… uh… who is that?” Wanda pointed to a monk like figure, clad also in deep purple robes, entering the temple.

“That is Regis. He came here one night and we allowed him to stay because he had the mark.”

“The mark?”

“The mark that identified him as a Holocaust survivor… the numbers tattooed on his arm. He said he knew Magnus in the camp. He doesn’t sleep well at night, so he takes the night-time vigil to tend the flame. He is a sad man.”

“Ah… is he a mutant, too?”

“Not that we can tell… He has an aversion to being touched, so I have never scanned him. The mark is his passage and instant acceptance here. He is a quiet man. I cannot imagine what he and our Lord went through in that horrible place when they were children!”

The diminutive woman led Wanda to the temple. ”  There are benches to sit and rest and meditate here.  The light is always burning, so please rest and I will fetch you some refreshments while we wait for Dragon and Fishface to come. Regis may or may not speak with you.  Don’t push him, he is frail and mostly silent… and I think he waits for death to release him from his body and his memories.”

“How tragic… I will not disturb him if he does not wish company. I’ll just sit here and rest. This whole building is Granit’s work? He was a genius and an artist.”

The faerie smiled sadly. “He was only twelve.”

“Dear God… and he did THIS? For my FATHER?”

“Yes…” and she was gone, disappearing into the twilight like the magickal creature she so closely resembled.

Wanda sat and looked at the glistening sheen of polished marble. Pearly white and shimmering black and green marble. Cascades of sparkling amethyst crystals clustered and grew around the foot of a greater than life-sized figure of her father.  What love created this beauty? What effort from a child, done to please someone that she, his daughter, considered arrogant and overbearing and sometimes crazy!

“What did you see in him, I wonder…” she murmured to herself as she contemplated the artistry before her. She looked around and saw the old monk seated in the shadows. Maybe he could explain the dedication these people showed the very memory of her father. She didn’t want to bother him… but… he would have an outsiders view of everything. She had to ask… to try to understand.

“Excuse me, sir… I don’t want to intrude on your meditations… or prayers… but … um… you knew my father?”

“As well as anyone…” the voice was almost a whisper but had once been a pleasant one, Wanda thought.

“You were in Auschwitz…?” She didn’t know quite how to proceed.

“Yes… a hateful place. You do not want to hear of it… even if I could bring myself to talk about it.”

“Ah… no… I have studied the history books and photographs. It is better left to the dead…”

“But not forgotten… If it is forgotten, it will happen again… to people like you.. and your brother… and the children who keep this island .”

Wanda gulped… might as well ask… “What was he like… my father? What do you remember of him? You sit here every night and look at that statue and it must mean something to you… what?”

The man gathered his robes around him and shrank deeper into the shadows and Wanda thought she had gone too far… pressed too hard…

“They think of him as a God. He never wanted to be thought of as a god… only as a man. He… wanted to die so many times… but he knew it would happen again… and he had to survive to keep it from happening again. He never wanted to rule the world… his power just ran away with him. Do you understand?  He couldn’t control it when he needed to in Auschwitz… and later, it grew so big that it nearly killed him every time he used it. But he still had to use it because he feared it would happen again.” The old man drew in on himself. “All he tried to do was to save his people.”

“He did it the wrong way. He was arrogant and treated those beneath him as things to use and throw away. My brother and I…”

“He did not know who you were, did he? Your mother saw to that. He did not know you existed. Family was the most important thing in his life… because he had none. He lived only to help his people. And his vaunted power ate him alive.” The man’s whispery voice was almost a sob in the darkness. “He didn’t know you were his children. When he found out, he wept… both for joy, at the miracle of your existence… and for sorrow, at his treatment of you in the days of his madness.”

Wanda was silent for a moment. “His madness… the backup of power that made him act insane. Moira MacTaggert corrected his gene anomaly and opened the floodgates of his power. Why did he hate her?”

“It was not what she did… it was how and why she did it. She experimented on him to see if she could help her child. It wasn’t done for him… the benefit to him was a by-product of her experiments.  Do you know how much that smacks of Mengele? Of experiments performed on him before he was a sonderkommando? Before he had the relative safety of that hated position?” the voice was stronger now… low and growling… a voice with outrage and pain in it.

“I can’t even imagine what you… and he… went through in Auschwitz.  I do know it warped him terribly.”

A low chuckle. “Warped? Yes, maybe you are right. But the same fires that destroy can temper, too. So many died. Weaker willed men bent and were not as… warped… as the strong ones. But the weaker ones are all dead, now… some of them from suicide… some from the infirmities that broke them. Not your father. He may have been warped, but he knew he had to survive… to fight…”

“You think he is alive?”

Silence.

“Look, if you know him so well, and you think he is alive, can you tell me where he is or might be?”

“Why would you want to know? You and your brother have written him off as a mindless terrorist…”

“I just… need… to talk to him… to see if there is any glimmer of intellect there that I could reach… because I think we have found out what may be driving him crazy these days.”

“And you would like to give him this information? A man you consider arrogant and insane? A terrorist? Why would you do that?”

It’s not that simple. I have to talk to him… to gauge if what I know could be used wrongly. It would give him so much more power… and if I  couldn’t be sure he would use the knowledge wisely…”

“More power? The power he has now drives him mad at times… even with MacTaggert’s tampering. What could possibly be the benefit of giving him more? Do you want him to go totally insane?”

“It’s not like that. The Vision and I have been doing some research… and if what we think is true, it would explain all the aberrations of his behavior.  It could let him control his power… and power he hasn’t even dreamed of. I just don’t know if I can trust him with the power that the knowledge would open up to him. I have got to know how he really IS. I have to know how he thinks and what he thinks… and what he really wants to do.

“He wants to save his people from another Holocaust… that is what he wants. He is not Emperor of the World material… it would bore him silly.”  The monk slumped back into the seat from which he had almost risen. “His people, his followers, know what he wants. That is what this island… this shrine… is all about. They may treat him like a god… but they know he is not one. They know your father better than you will ever know him… because your heart is hardened against him.”

“His own fault…”

“Possibly true… but you still see him as more than he ever wanted to be… and less than he is.”

“You like him, don’t you?”

“I respect what I know of him… what I understand of him…”

“OK… let me run this by you… but you have to promise that no matter what, you will never tell him. I have to be the one to do that…OK?”

“He will never hear a word of what passes between us from me in any way shape or form. Are you sure you wish to tell me this?”

“You might know how he would react… whether I SHOULD tell him what we found out… or not.” I just don’t know what to do with it… that’s why I wanted to talk with him.”

“I understand your quandary. If this information is as potent as you say…”

“You tell me.” She heaved a great sigh. “The Vision and I did a graph to find out what might possibly  influence Magneto’s rampages… social factors, laws against mutants, you name it, we looked and looked to no avail. I believe some wanted us to succeed so they could use the information to set a trap for him.  Long after others had written off our studies, we found it. Simple, really, if you consider his basic power. Wonder is that no one thought of it before…”

The man shuffled listlessly… striving for a comfortable seat on the cushioned granite. It seemed as if he didn’t really care if she told him or not.

“So simple… my father’s power is to channel and use the magnetic flux of the earth.”

“This is well known…”

“But every once in a while, he goes off the deep end… we thought at first it was emotional trauma from Auschwitz. Making him go nuts and trip himself up… put roadblocks on his own power…”

“That could well be… Auschwitz traumatized many beyond all measure…”

“No… it has everything to do with the nature of his power. If there is too much of it, it backs up and causes an overload… a short circuit of the mind, as it were.”

“Yes… and this causes him to lose control and act irrationally.”

“Exactly. Moira should have fixed that… the flow of the earth’s magnetosphere is steady and strong… no great surprises there…”

“So why does he still go crazy at times?”

Wanda smiled. “Sunspots! He’s drawing power from the sun and when the sun flares in those huge magnetic storms called sunspots, they overload him.  He doesn’t know he can draw power from the sun… y’see? If he did, he might be able to control how the sunspots affect him! He might be able to know when one of them is going to happen and adjust his ability to deal with it or channel it. But that’s a lot of power… and to let him know he could possibly do that… you see my problem?”

Silence.

“Yes… you DO see my problem. What do I do when and if I find him? How can I judge whether to clue him in to this potential solution to his problems? Or do we just let him run around like a nutball and never understand what he could DO … or control? Is it better for him to be less powerful with no control or more powerful with control of all that power?”

Silence.

Was the old guy even awake? “Uh… Mr. Regis…?”

“I am here…”

“So what do you think?”

“I think you have a very difficult choice to make when you find your father.”

“You think he’s alive?”

“Yes…”

Wanda slumped where she sat.  “I just don’t know what to do. I am almost glad he wasn’t here. I don’t know if I’m ready to face him with this… y’know? I am afraid he would roar out BWAHAHAHAHA and go dancing around like a demented loon! He’s done that, you know…”

A small chuckle from the shadows. “Yes… I know…”

“You know, sir, you have been a great help to me… even if you haven’t said much. Sometimes you just have to get things out on the table…and when you explain them to others, you see them a lot clearer yourself. Thanks.”

“For what?”

“For just being here and letting me sort this out in my own mind.”

“And when you find your father, what are you going to do? What will you tell him?”

“That will depend on him, won’t it?” She looked up to see Greensleeves hurrying towards the temple in the deepening dusk. Beside her was an even smaller figure. “I think my ride is here. It was nice talking to you, sir. I could wish my father was as gentle a person as you are. I wouldn’t have a problem then, would I?”

“Who knows… it was nice talking to you, too. You have brightened my evening.”

“Wanda, this is Fishface…”  Greensleves glided in as if she were walking on air… and a wet, very fishy appearing youngster sloshed beside her. “…he will pull your boat back to your yacht, so you don’t have to row. You’d best come along…it is already quite dark… but that won’t bother Fishface any… he already knows where your friend is waiting and watching for you. He will have you there in no time… and I have some fruit and something to drink for you to take with you.”

“Thank you Greensleeves…” she turned to the shadowed figure on the other end of the marble seat…” and thank you, Mr Regis for your help.”

“I did nothing…”

“You listened. Your promise…?”

“Not a word from my lips.”  She smiled and turned to leave with Greensleeves and Fishface. Soon they were all lost in the deep purple haze of evening.

The monk got up, stretched and walked to the front of the statue. He adjusted the brazier so that it would not go out in the middle of the night. He swept the concealing cowl back from his face and looked up at his own marble visage.

Magneto smiled to himself. “Bwahahahaha, indeed.”  He settled back on the cushioned slab… He WOULD sleep tonight… and tomorrow, he would greet his newfound compatriot… the sun.

###

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…the Scarlet Witch’s Insanity?

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Well it’s time again for my Guest Poster while I’m once again distracted by health issues, this time Tony from the Net’s sole bastion for the Original Marvel Universe, The Wastebasket, who has graciously prepared the following exceptional fix about the Scarlet Witch.  Over to Tony…

Since at least 2004, when Marvel published its “Avengers Disassembled” storyline, the Scarlet Witch has been consistently portrayed as being mentally ill and dangerously unstable. Her psychosis generally seems to be traced back to the loss of the children she conceived, through highly unorthodox means, with her husband at the time, the artificial man known as the Vision. However, this cannot account for the craziest thing the Scarlet Witch ever did, which was marrying the Vision in the first place. I’ve always felt there must be some deeper, underlying trauma that motivated Wanda Maximoff to make the bizarre life-choices that she did. While looking through the character’s early appearances for clues as to what this might have been, a single panel in her debut issue, Uncanny X-Men #4, inspired an answer. I believe that Wanda was sexually abused by Magneto during the time she and her brother Quicksilver were under the arch-villain’s power. The Scarlet Witch was left with a pathological aversion to sex that only the Vision, by the very nature of his artificiality, was able to circumvent.

When we first meet the Scarlet Witch, she is at Magneto’s island fortress, watching her fellow members of the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants eat dinner. The Toad is stuffing his face like a pig and Mastermind is making lewd comments about Wanda. She is disgusted with both of them, and says so. She is proud, even haughty, and shows complete confidence in her own power and in her brother Quicksilver. A fight nearly breaks out, but Mastermind clearly fears being punished by Magneto. Later, after Magneto returns, he storms in demanding the twins’ attention. Quicksilver remains defiant, but Wanda’s confident façade crumbles as soon as Magneto touches her. With her shoulders hunched, her arms hanging stiffly at her sides, her head bowed, she looks like a total victim. She meekly agrees with Magneto that she must remain in his service until her debt to him (for saving her from an angry mob) is repaid. But it doesn’t look like gratitude that keeps her there. Her body language says it all.

During the early years, before she falls in love with the Vision, we see glimpses of Wanda’s emerging sexuality. As early as Uncanny X-Men #6, she is ogling the Sub-Mariner’s physique. Magneto sends her to basically seduce Namor into joining the Brotherhood. Looking at the Speedo-wearing Prince of Atlantis, Wanda thinks, “How noble he looks… how slim, yet muscular! He’s fascinating!” She goes on to wonder why someone so “fine” and “masterful” would ally himself with a villain like Magneto.

Later, after breaking away from Magneto and joining the Avengers, Wanda develops a crush on Captain America.  Right away, on page 2 of Avengers #17, Wanda thinks, “Captain America is no weakling! I shall enjoy being an Avenger!” During a training session in Avengers #21, Cap puts a hand on Wanda’s shoulder while lecturing her, prompting her to think, “His touch! So strong—and yet, so gentle…!” And after Cap angrily quits the team in Avengers #23, a tearful Wanda pines for him, thinking, “How I miss the sight of him working out in our private gymnasium! So confident… so handsome! To me, he was every inch an Avenger!” Sounds like she’s got it pretty bad. And yet, even after Cap returns to the team, Wanda never really pursues a relationship with him. In fact, in Avengers #25, she seems to be trying to talk herself out of it. She muses, “What is it about Steve Rogers that makes him so appealing to me? Is it the fact that he seems to harbor some tragic secret… some hidden sorrow? Or am I just confusing pity with the dawning of love?” Wanda never acts on her feelings for Cap and soon loses him to the blonde S.H.I.E.L.D. agent Sharon Carter.

Wanda appears to have a brief crush on Hercules, for in Avengers #46, she seems almost giddy when the Lion of Olympus asks her on a double-date with Hawkeye and the Black Widow. However, almost immediately afterwards, she and Quicksilver once more fall into Magneto’s clutches, and they stay away from the Avengers for quite a while. By the time the twins return, the Vision has joined up, and Wanda falls for her android teammate pretty quickly. At that point, Wanda drops all pretense of trying to establish a normal, healthy sexuality. As time goes on, she becomes more visibly uncomfortable around virile men.  On page 2 of Avengers #242, Wanda looks like she’s been goosed when Starfox puts his hand on her shoulder and intimates that he finds her attractive. She-Hulk, who’s sitting right next to them, takes it in stride and chalks Wanda’s silence up to being worried about the Vision, who was paralyzed at the time. Once again, Wanda’s body language tells the tale, this time showing alarm rather than concern. Wanda looks rather shocked and alarmed again in Avengers #252 when Hercules’ costume is completely destroyed while battling the Blood Brothers, exposing his manhood for all to see (all except the reader, of course). She lends him her cape, but doesn’t seem to find any humor in the situation. After the Vision’s personality is erased, his marriage to Wanda rapidly falls apart. Wonder Man, on whose brain patterns the Vision’s mind had been based, has also fallen in love with Wanda and sees an opportunity to try to win her for himself. But in Avengers West Coast #69, Wanda tries to let him down gently, hoping they can “just be friends.” Perhaps Simon Williams was just a little too real for her.

Wanda’s first serious suitor is actually the semi-barbaric Arkon, ruler of the extradimensional realm of Polemachus, in a story that spans Avengers #75–76. In this tale, Wanda’s behavior can only be described as bizarre. Arkon is a Conan-type who seeks to cause a nuclear catastrophe on Earth in order to save his own world in a parallel universe. He spent years observing the Earth, seeking some means to cross the dimensional boundary, and in the course of his research he became enamored of the Scarlet Witch. Being of the hit-‘em-with-a-club-and-drag-‘em-by-the-hair school of romance, he decides to kidnap Wanda and make her his bride. Though he is pretty ruthless in achieving his objectives, he is not malicious toward Wanda, and seems to have a genuine desire to marry her. Wanda, of course, resists at first, but, strangely, he seems to wear her resolve down pretty fast. At one point, he shows her a sacred flower, telling her it is to be picked by the betrothed of the Imperion and worn on the day of her wedding. So what does Wanda do? She picks the flower. Instead of fighting with Arkon or trying to escape from the palace, she recites to him a poem by Lord Tennyson. Then she says, “Perhaps I could love you… could be happy as queen of your world… if only you weren’t so cold… as distant as the stars…!” Arkon seems willing to give it a go, so Wanda moves in to kiss him. Suddenly, the moment is spoiled as the Avengers storm in to rescue Wanda, which seems to shock her back to her senses. Still, even after Arkon is defeated, Wanda looks almost disappointed as she clutches the fabled flower. It was an intense, surreal situation that clearly messed with Wanda’s head. Having “no choice” in the matter may have been a major contributing factor, as she was bereft of her mutant powers and had given up hope of being rescued. Yielding to Arkon may have been a form of self-preservation. But Arkon did possess the grim, unsmiling demeanor that Wanda seems to respond to. And he was hypermasculine to such an absurd degree that he may have seemed, in his own way, as “unreal” as an android.

Wanda barely notices the Vision when they first meet, during the battle with Arkon. It was hardly a case of love at first sight. She pays scant attention to him at all until Avengers #81, when he surrenders to some heavily-armed crooks to save her life. But over the next ten issues, she slowly comes to realize he is the perfect man for her. In Avengers #91, they nearly kiss while held captive by Ronan the Accuser, though the Vision chickens out—again. (I believe that when the Vision suddenly quit the team at the end of Avengers #79, it was because he realized he was falling in love with Wanda and didn’t know how to handle it.) The Vision would continually be plagued by self-doubt and fears about the worth of his artificial existence. It would prove to be the major stumbling block to their relationship. But in Avengers #102, when Hawkeye finally makes a play for Wanda, she admits for the first time that she’s in love with the Vision. Hawkeye responds with shock and confusion, and the rest of their teammates see the relationship as something to worry about rather than celebrate. (Even a hopeless romantic like the Wasp finally admits, in Avengers West Coast Annual #4, that she never knew what “poor Wanda” saw in the Vision, likens their relationship to a woman marrying a toaster, and says the Vision gives her the “heebie-jeebies.”) When Quicksilver finally finds out in Avengers #110, he is outraged and disgusted. His sentiments are echoed by the general public when the news finally leaks out in Avengers #113. Still, the unlikely couple perseveres through all troubles and setbacks and finally gets married in Giant-Size Avengers #4. The happy event was made possible primarily through the intervention of Immortus, who convinced the Vision that he had been built out of the remains of the original Human Torch. Once the Vision considered himself to have been created by a man (Phineas T. Horton) and to have been a hero of World War II, rather than constructed by a robot (Ultron) to be a weapon against the Avengers, he was able to overcome his self-image problems and finally ask Wanda to marry him. Naturally, the conniving Immortus had reasons of his own and was hardly being beneficent. Eventually, the Vision and the Scarlet Witch retire from the Avengers, move to suburban New Jersey, and try to live a normal life.

Wanda’s dream of domestic bliss is first seriously undermined when she finally discovers that Magneto is her father. As early as Uncanny X-Men #62, Neal Adams revealed that Magneto, without his helmet, bears a striking resemblance to Quicksilver. When we first see Wanda’s mother, in a flashback in Avengers #186, she looks just like her daughter. We learn that Magda’s husband “had gained strange abilities, powers that had sent him raving with a desire to rule the world.” Fearful, Magda fled from this man without even telling him she was pregnant. One month later, in Uncanny X-Men #125, we see Magda again and learn that her husband was none other than Magneto. The true parentage of the Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver had been revealed at last, though only for the benefit of sharp-eyed readers. The characters themselves did not learn of their familial bond until the last issue of the first Vision and the Scarlet Witch limited series about three and a half years later. In that tale, Magneto comes upon the midwife who delivered the twins and learns from her of Magda’s fate. Magneto then tracks his unsuspecting children down and informs them that he is their father. Wanda is nearly overwhelmed with conflicting emotions. The scene is continued in a flashback in Avengers #234, where Quicksilver rails against Magneto while Wanda looks on silently. In the present, she confides to the Wasp and Captain Marvel that “I barely left the house for days, so chilled was I by the thought that I was Magneto’s daughter. Even now I can hardly begin to express the horror, the shame! It’s as if I suddenly discovered Hitler lurking in my family tree!” Noting Magneto’s claims to be reassessing his war against homo sapiens, Wanda says, “that can never excuse his past crimes… nothing can!”

While it is never suggested outright that Magneto molested Wanda, it would not have been out of character for him during the days of the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants. Magneto is frequently depicted as being physically abusive to his lackeys, and is often threatening them with punishment for disobedience. In Uncanny X-Men #6, we see Magneto hurting Mastermind on two separate occasions, and he also threatens Wanda. In the following issue, Magneto roughs up Mastermind again after the illusionist tries to rape Wanda. In Avengers #53, the Toad becomes so sick of Magneto’s abuse that he finally turns against him, causing Magneto to seemingly fall to his death. While Magneto is shown to be ruthless and cruel in his first few appearances, as time goes on it becomes increasingly clear that he is completely insane. By the time he faces off against Black Bolt and the Royal Family of the Inhumans in Amazing Adventures #9–10, Magneto is practically a gibbering lunatic. He only begins to reclaim a measure of sanity after being reduced to infancy and then restored to adulthood, and it is shortly after that that he starts to seek redemption for his past crimes. It is eventually suggested in Classic X-Men #19 that Magneto’s use of his mutant powers negatively impacts his own body; and that they will slowly, inevitably drive him mad is finally explained in Chris Claremont & Jim Lee’s X-Men #2. In the heat of such madness, it is not hard to believe that Magneto would see Wanda, the spitting image of his lost wife, as a target for his sexual urges. As revealed in the Classic X-Men back-up story, Magneto’s last lover was brutally murdered, apparently by the CIA. He would certainly have some sexual frustrations built up by the time he found Wanda and dressed her up in a skintight costume with opera gloves.

In the second Vision and the Scarlet Witch limited series, Wanda and the Vision decide to try to have children, even though Wanda is convinced it is impossible for the Vision to be a father. In the third issue, during an encounter with Salem’s Seven, Wanda channels the rampant arcane energies of the witches of New Salem, coupled with her own mutant power to alter probabilities, to apparently achieve this impossible feat. After a normal pregnancy, Wanda gives birth to twin boys. At this point, Magneto attempts to rebuild his relationship with Wanda, though she wants nothing to do with him. However, things take a darker turn after the new family moves out to California to join the Avengers’ west coast contingent. Wanda fires a succession of nannies who claim her babies vanish into thin air from time to time when their mother is away. Finally, Agatha Harkness resurfaces to get to the bottom of it, and in Avengers West Coast #51, she informs Wanda that her children are anything but normal. In the following issue we discover that the boys were basically magical constructs containing fragments of Mephisto’s being, ripped from him when he was blasted to smithereens by Franklin Richards in Fantastic Four #277. Mephisto reclaims the missing pieces of his essence, forcing Agatha Harkness to erase all memory of the children from Wanda’s mind. Almost immediately afterward, Wanda slips into a catatonic state.

At this point, Magneto re-enters the picture, abducting the unresponsive Wanda from the Avengers Compound in the middle of Loki’s “Acts of Vengeance” scheme. When she comes to, her powers have been amplified to an astonishing degree, giving her almost complete control over probabilities, and therefore, reality itself. Unfortunately, her mind has snapped and she takes on a villainous persona to rival Magneto at his worst. She chops off her hair, adopts a new costume, and attacks the Avengers. Magneto accompanies her, seeing this change in his daughter as an opportunity to gain her powers for his side in the inevitable war between humans and mutants. Though he is curious about Wanda’s heightened powers, Magneto doesn’t seem overly concerned about the radical change in her personality. As long as he can use her to further his goals, he doesn’t seem to care about her mental health, as he basically admits in Avengers West Coast #60. With a little help from Quicksilver, the Avengers manage to separate Magneto and the Scarlet Witch, only to have Immortus finally play his hand.

Over the next two issues, Immortus finally reveals his grand master plan, which he’s apparently been working on since his first appearance way back in Avengers #10. Not content with being the ruler of Limbo, Immortus intends to use Wanda’s ability to control probabilities to give him complete mastery over the timeline of Earth, allowing him to direct what path reality will take at moments of divergence. In order to prepare Wanda for her role as his puppet, Immortus has been manipulating her life since even before she joined the Avengers. This is why he lied to the Vision about the origins of his android body, to ensure that they would get married. He obviously believed such a marriage would make Wanda more emotionally vulnerable. Immortus claims to have been subtly influencing nearly everything that’s happened to the Scarlet Witch since the start of her career, and his chief aim was to “undermine her confidence by making her fear she was doomed, always to be a victim of circumstances beyond her control.” If we also take into account Quicksilver’s thoughts on the subject, that “for once in his life, my father was being manipulated by one even more powerful than himself,” it’s not a stretch to say that Immortus had been manipulating Magneto into making Wanda feel like a helpless victim, and what could accomplish that evil aim better than sexual abuse?

Interestingly, it’s soon after this that Magneto goes into a profound depression. We should remember that Hank Pym was careful not to discuss their strategy against Magneto with the Wasp at their headquarters, as he was convinced Magneto had the place bugged. Thus, it stands to reason that Magneto may have overheard Immortus’ shade explaining his master plan to Agatha Harkness, and he may also have heard the Avengers discussing what happened in Limbo after the fact. We can assume, then, that Magneto became aware of Immortus’ manipulations of Wanda’s life, including whatever manipulations involved Magneto himself. So what does Magneto do? He retreats to one of his hidden bases in the Savage Land, and before long, he hooks up with another beautiful young auburn-haired mutant girl—Rogue, barely out of her teens at this point. Magneto senses a sexual “spark” between them. Rogue is definitely interested, but Magneto is too depressed to pursue it. After murdering Zaladane for trying to steal his magnetic powers, Magneto returns to Asteroid M alone. When we next see him, in X-Men #1, he has become a recluse, a disillusioned shell of a man, and a shadow of his former self. He is again manipulated into what appears to be a “final confrontation” with the X-Men, which leaves him practically suicidal. We could attribute all this to Magneto struggling to deal with what he did—or perhaps was made to do—to Wanda many years before.

At any rate, if we accept that Wanda was sexually abused by Magneto, it is clear she kept this trauma a secret from everyone, including her twin brother and, later, her husband. Thus, she never got the help she needed to recover from the emotional scars that resulted, leaving her unprepared for the later ordeals she would endure. She was on a downward spiral that, it would seem, led her to become the totally insane mass-murderer of “Avengers Disassembled,” “House of M,” and subsequent stories set in Marvel’s current continuity. I can think of no better explanation.