Sunday, September 18, 2011

Avengers: Which is Witch? The origin of the Scarlet Witch

So the movie going public has met Captain America, Thor, and Iron Man, as well as the Black Widow (and, quietly in Thor this summer, Hawkeye), all gathering in the Avengers movie coming next summer. Two characters I foresee appearing in any future sequels of that movie are the Vision and the Scarlet Witch, who you may never have seen or heard about before. You're welcome to click on my blogs from this summer and meet them in their original stories!A couple of days after reading the origin of the Scarlet Witch---my last comic books for the foreseeable future---I am struck by a similarity with the origin of the Vision.The Vision, after the last epic new telling of his origin, married the Scarlet Witch in Giant Sized Avengers #4, 1975. In 1979, new writers Mark Gruenwald and Steven Grant plotted the origin of the Scarlet Witch. The mystery of her parentage---and twin brother Pietro's---was a regular Avengers sub-plot in the years leading up to these issues, which were #'s 185-187. Her father figure, hinted in glimpses for over a year of stories, uses magical dolls to reclaim Wanda and Pietro.
Because they are also the Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver, mutant members of the Avengers, his plans are thwarted. Django Maximoff seems to warp reality, but in the end he can do the Avengers no harm. Pitying him---a man named Django Maximoff--- the two go back to their Balkan gypsy homeland, still baffled by the incongruent memories of their childhoods, which cross over with his reminiscences---but why does he remember them as Mateo and Ana? And what does their birth have to do with Wundagore Mountain?
I have asked Steven Grant tonight via e-mail : "did you deliberately court the similarity with the Vision's origin, in that he was touched by the pinnacle of technological evil at birth, while Wanda was touched by the pinnacle of primordial evil at birth?" The Vision is an android created by the villainous robot Ultron, who did not create, but did re-fashion the Vision into his present body and mind. The Scarlet Witch, at birth, was touched by an Elder God, a being named Chton who was one of the two original gods of Earth. The other is his sister, who infused her life with the planet and became known as Mother Earth. Chton, however, hid in a nether dimension, and bound his return to a spot on the mountain, and gave the directions subliminally through an indestructible book, the Darkhold. This book has yielded secrets of power to men throughout time. Only the scientists who owned Wundagore Mountain in the 20th century, with their creations, the evolved Ani-Men, fended off his last advance. For centuries now, a magician named Magus has guarded mankind against Chton's return in various guises, including one of the two scientists who created the Knights of Wundagore...and the midwife of Wanda and Pietro, a cow woman named Bova, who returns to heal and nurse Pietro, and explains the circumstances of the night of their birth. Her explanation also includes the man they thought was their father, Robert Frank the Whizzer, another speedster from an earlier age. The other scientist, Herbert Wyndam, became the High Evolutionary.
After a magician named Modred, a heroic mage who's been possessed by the Darkhold, gains Wanda's confidence, he then sacrifices her to be a vessel for Chton. Her brother Quicksilver and her father Django fall victim to her newly unleashed powers. When the Avengers face her, they, too become her powerless prisoners, after an intense round of combat between Modred and the possessed Witch and her team mates, who end up floating upside down in a circle above her.Through her, Chton explains his touch upon her life at birth. In her he senses a nexus for science-based mutant powers and sorcery. He suggests that he lowered her science-born abilities for a time, so that she might accept the tutelage of the witch Agatha Harkness (as depicted in AVENGERS 128-136). Now, her capacity for magic grew, helping to fashion her into the pawn he needs.

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