Wanda Maximoff, the Scarlet Witch, is a rising star in the Marvel Cinematic Universe thanks to her hit Disney Plus streaming series WandaVision and an appearance in the upcoming movie sequel Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness.
And as complex as Wanda’s MCU history is, with reality-warping experiments, Infinity Stones, and love affairs with advanced androids, her comic book status quo has just as many twists and turns as her movie narrative – if not more.
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For some time, Wanda has been on the outs from her fellow Avengers and even the X-Men thanks to the events of the story House of M, in which she cast a spell that deactivated the X-gene of thousands of mutants, making her an enemy of mutantkind.
Even though she’s since undone the spell herself and reunited with the Avengers in a return to heroism, tensions have remained between Wanda and her fellow heroes – especially since the subsequent reveal that Wanda Maximoff and her brother Pietro/Quicksilver aren’t mutants as they long believed, but rather the products of genetic experimentation by the High Evolutionary, a mad scientist who is obsessed with advancing human evolution via mutation and superpowers.
The Trial of Magneto
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Most recently, Wanda took another step forward in healing her relationships with the Avengers and X-Men – though at a strange cost to herself. In the just-concluded limited series X-Men: The Trial of Magneto (opens in new tab), Wanda is murdered while visiting the mutant island of Krakoa.
Though she’s no longer considered a mutant, Wanda is still surreptitiously brought back to life through the mutant Resurrection Protocols, with a younger body and a memory of her life that stops short of the events of House of M (opens in new tab).
In the course of the story, it’s revealed that Wanda manipulated her own death, which is eventually blamed on Toad to cover up her machinations. However, the true purpose of Wanda’s scheme is revealed as an elaborate spell to set up a way for mutants whose memories and genetic records are not in the Krakoan resurrection database to be brought back to life through magical means.
With some help from the Avengers and X-Men, who restore the memories she lost in her resurrection, Wanda is put back together stronger and more whole than she’s been in some time, with a refreshed relationship with her fellow heroes to boot.
At the same time, Wanda has been embroiled in the Darkhold comic event, which, though published concurrently to The Trial of Magneto, actually takes place prior to that story, according to Marvel. In the event, Wanda has been on a new magical mission with a thematic connection to her most recent MCU appearances, taking on the power of the tome of evil magic known as the Darkhold.
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In the appropriately titled crossover Darkhold (opens in new tab), Wanda gathers a team of heroes including Iron Man, Blade, Wasp, Spider-Man, and Black Bolt to engage with the magic of the cursed tome, transforming into magical versions of themselves.
But the Darkhold also twists the heroes, forcing Wanda to team up with none other than Doctor Doom, himself a powerful sorcerer who once manipulated Wanda in his own magical schemes, to defeat Chthon (the lord of chaos who created the Darkhold) and free the heroes.
Ultimately, Wanda doesn’t just defeat Chthon, she fully absorbs the demonic entity’s power, dissipating his essence and freeing herself from his magical influence which has followed her from birth, leaving her more powerful than ever, and less susceptible to the manipulation of others.
Wanda Maximoff’s next comic book appearance hasn’t yet been announced, with Marvel having revealed all of its titles going on sale through April. And while The Trial of Magneto and Darkhold did not connect or refer to one another, together they seemingly leave the Scarlet Witch in a better position than she’s been in for some time, with a new lease on life, amped-up abilities, and a path to reconciliation with her allies in the Avengers and X-Men.
All of this adds up to Wanda being perfectly poised to step into the Marvel Comics spotlight, likely around the same time she’s showing up again on screen in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness.
Now is a perfect time to catch up on the best Wanda Maximoff/Scarlet Witch stories of all time.