One of the strongest beings and superheroes of Marvel Comics is Wanda Maximoff, known as Scarlet Witch. Her life was filled with tragedy and people who wanted to use her only for her powers. Wanda and her brother Pietro, known as Quicksilver, were used by their alleged father Magneto for his fight against Professor Xavier and people who threatened mutants. Both characters soon had a change of heart and joined Avengers.
Of course, Scarlet Witch hasn’t had it easy in Marvel Comics, and because of her powers and sometimes emotional instability caused by her bad childhood, Wanda was never safe. At the same time, she was dangerous to her allies and the whole timeline because her emotional triggers would cause chaos to everything and everyone. Her magic and powers were targets to many villains, making her a jaded and vulnerable superhero of Marvel Comics. In this article, we will discuss if Scarlet Witch is a villain and mention each time that happened in Marvel Comics. If you are interested, stay with us until the end.
1. When Scarlet Witch first appeared in Marvel Comics in The X-Men #4 in 1964, she was meant to be a villain.
Scarlet Witch debuted in Marvel Comics in 1964, together with her brother Quicksilver. From the first comic book issue, she has shown how powerful she is. Despite being known as a good character that was part of multiple superhero groups, like Avengers, Wanda Maximoff and her brother Pietro were introduced as villains.
In the comics, Magneto recruits Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch to first the original villain group, the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants. Of course, the siblings impress and intimidate the Avengers and X-Men but eventually have a change of heart when the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants disbands. Twins initially seek help from Avengers when Magneto is abducted by a cosmic entity, Stranger. Scarlet Witch joins Avengers when she and Quicksilver realize they don’t share the same ideology as Magneto.
Wanda was introduced as a villain in Marvel Comics, and from her debut, fans could sense that her character would be important in the grand scheme of things – maybe too important.
2. Avengers Disassembled shows grief-ridden Wanda turning against the Avengers to avenge her children.
In Avengers Disassembled, Wanda loses memories of her children as well as the memories of her grief after she lost them. However, one mention of twins by Janet Van Dyne, combined with already insecure and emotionally unstable but powerful Wanda, causes her a mental breakdown. She realizes that Agatha Harkness erased her memories. Flooding traumatic memories made Wanda distraught and angry at fellow Avengers, whom she blamed for allowing her mind to be tampered with.
Enraged, Wanda seeks help from Dr. Doom to help her return her children, but they fail. Full of anger and sorrow, Wanda tampers with the Avengers’ minds and causes She-Hulk to viciously kill Vision, Hawkeye dies due to Kree Soldier simulation in his head, and Scott Lang dies in the explosion. Dr. Strange defeats Scarlet Witch, who falls into a coma but is taken away from Magneto. This leads us to the next storyline, considered one of the best Marvel Comics events in a very long time.
3. House of M event sees Wanda using her powers to change reality and erase the mutant from the world.
The Avengers Disassembled directly leads us to the House of M storyline, which presents us with unthinkable moments, and the Scarlet Witch, who fully expresses her powers. In the aftermath of the previous storyline that killed important characters, Wanda is still in hiding. When Pietro realizes the Avengers are plotting to really kill his sister, he begs her to use her powers to alter reality where everyone’s heart desires are fulfilled, and two of them, with, Magneto, rule the world.
The reality warp is called House of M, and it is mostly successful, but some superheroes restore their memories and plan on how to reset reality. When he discovers he is in a false reality, Magneto kills Quicksilver, whom Wanda immediately revives. Eventually, Wanda focuses her rage on humans who refuse to welcome mutants in their lives and are prosecuting innocent mutants daily. She declares, “No more mutants,” and causes “M-Day,” with most of Earth’s mutants losing mutant genes.
Scarlet Witch is extremely powerful, but her emotional state makes her act out and cause chaos for everyone. She isn’t necessarily evil but a villain in this story because she destroyed other people’s lives.
4. In the Avengers West Coast from 1990, Wanda is brainwashed by Immortus and attacks the Avengers.
In this comic book storyline, we need to go back to the 1990s, when Wanda is once again brainwashed. As you can see, Wanda has a mental breakdown, or villains brainwash her to use her powers to destroy the world, which paints her as a villain. At that moment, Wanda is part of the West Coast Avengers and suffers from brainwashing and losing her children. She does turn against Avengers in the same comic book but in earlier issues, but Scarlet Witch is mostly a victim there, so we won’t specifically mention that time.
Wanda is brainwashed by a time villain, Immortus, who frees her of magic control and makes her frantic and catatonic in her wielding of powers. This event causes Vision and Wanda separate, her departing Western Avengers, which propels her change of personality – she hates humans and finds joy in their suffering. In this comic book storyline, Wanda is really controversial because, in her brainwashed state, she sexually abuses Wonder Man, who actually has feelings for her.
With the help of Agatha Harkness, the Scarlet Witch awakens from her brainwashed state and starts to “clean” the mess she caused. After she stops being a Nexus being, Wanda tries everything to make everything right – she starts a romantic relationship with Wonder Man (!!!) and returns as a member of West Coast Avengers. This comic book was a mess, to say the least.
5. Doctor Doom brainwashed Wanda in Avengers vs. X-Men: Axis storyline, where she morally inverted every hero and villain in the vicinity.
This next storyline is part of the big comic book event where the Avengers and X-Men are in the middle of a war when they disagree on what to do with Phoenix Force, continuously causing chaos for the superheroes and the human population. As you can imagine, mutants want to keep the Phoenix Force and use it in protection, while Avengers decide to banish it from Earth. Of course, there is more to it, but that’s the “gist” of it.
Wanda doesn’t join anyone directly but joins her powers with Hope Summers, Cyclops’ daughter, and drives away Phoenix Force away from Earth by saying, “No more Phoenix.” Despite the good deed she did, Wanda is still hated by mutants and her teammates after the events of M-Day.
In the same comic book, but this time AXIS storyline, Red Skull steals Professor Xavier’s mutant telepathy. Wanda works with Dr. Strange to draw Xavier’s essence in Red Skull, which he can use to return his powers. However, Dr. Doom replaces Strange in the middle of the spell, which causes everyone in the vicinity to have their moral compass inverted – of course, Wanda included.
Scarlet Witch is unhinged once again, and this time Magneto and Quicksilver try to reason with her, but villainous Wanda has the upper hand and casts a magic curse that punishes her bloodline. She realizes Magneto isn’t her and Pietro’s father (part of their remade origins). Doom and Brother Voodoo (Jericho Drumm) stop her by undoing the spell using Daniel, Jericho’s deceased brother’s spirit, and restore everyone’s morals. Wanda returns to normal and faces the truth about her childhood and actions.
6. Secret Empire storyline sees Scarlet Witch being brainwashed by Chthom again.
Finally, we have Scarlet Witch, you guessed it, brainwashed, but this time by a foe who already did it to her – Chthon. In the Secret Empire storyline, the alternate version of Captain America is created, totally different from what we know of the character – he is loyal to Hydra. “Hydra Cap” wants to take over the United States, and every member of the notorious group is now Captain America’s ally.
Of course, the Avengers are mortified by what transpired and join their powers to destroy compromised Steve Rogers, and Wanda is one of them, but they fail, and Chthon once again brainwashes Wanda. I assume you already picked up on the recurring theme here… yeah.
Anyway, the reason why Chthon has been brainwashed is simple, is because he wanted to use vulnerable Avengers to regain control over Wanda and her powers. However, Dr. Strange helps Wanda stabilize her and free her of the enemy this time.
In the end, real Cap returns and saves everyone.
Of course, there are instances where Wanda is briefly brainwashed or causes trouble for her allies, but she is never the full-pledged villain. Some people paint Scarlet Witch as an antihero of Marvel Comics, but I disagree. She is a superhero whose powers mostly bring her misfortune. She is one of the most powerful being in the Marvel Universe, and Wanda still feels like one of the unhappiest characters of all Avengers. The pattern of her villainous ways is seen clearly, and most distress and chaos are caused by emotional instability caused by trauma.
Wanda is a character who wants to be a mother and wants to live her life to the fullest, but she cannot always because she has the burden of her powers always looming over her. Nevertheless, Wanda Maximoff is an amazing and deeply complex character who was part of the successful and great storylines of Marvel Comics. Hopefully, we will see more of that in the future.