Monday, October 17, 2016


Story by James Robinson
Art by Joelle Jones

Well, once again James Robinson hits it out of the ballpark. This entire issue is one long conversation, but Robinson makes it genuinely enthralling. And Joelle Jones once again proves what a great artist she is, and that her work on the upcoming SUPERGIRL mini-series at DC should be quite enjoyable.

Basically, at last, Pietro comes to see Wanda. She is excited to see him, for she has wonderful news about their mother. But he cuts her off before she can say anything about her. He doesn't care about "frivolous matters". Right now, a new Civil War is going on, this time between Tony Stark and Captain Marvel. Pietro needs Wanda's help in assisting Stark and ending the conflict. War Machine is dead. Bruce Banner is dead. She-Hulk is in a coma.

Wanda says no. "Consider me Switzerland."

Pietro is pissed and demands her assistance. Wanda gets pissed, reminded by all the times Pietro has treated her so poorly. In fact, she blames him on one level for everything that has happened to her over the years. His arrogance and selfishness and constant bossing her around made her life uncomfortable, to say the least. But she has changed. She is no longer the woman she once was, subject to the whims of her brother, her allies, Magneto, and her ex-husband. She is no longer defined by them. She has become an independent woman. Though she continues to struggle with coming to terms with what she has done in the past, and with the darkness still within her, each day she is getting better, and Pietro will not ruin this for her.

Finally, Wanda is able to tell Pietro that their mother is Natalya Maximoff, and she would like for him to accompany her to their homeland in Serbia to find out more about her and her possible connection with their adopted parents, Django and Marya Maximoff. Pietro refuses. He doesn't care. Magneto and Magda. Django and Marya. The Whizzer and Miss America. They keep discovering one couple after another to be their parents and then find out they aren't, so why would this be any different? He tells Wanda they only need each other, and are defined by who they are now, not who they were. Wanda is hurt by his callous reaction. She realizes now he will never change. He will always be nothing but arrogant and uncaring, a total jerk. Their argument peaks, and Wanda orders him to leave. Pietro refuses, and she blasts him across the room with a mystical bolt. His response? An attack. He runs around her, stealing her oxygen. Wanda refuses to beg him for mercy and once again blasts her brother across the room.

When it's over, Wanda tells Pietro to get out, that she never wants to see him again. He obliges her and takes off, never to return. The issue ends with Wanda standing out on her balcony, realizing she may have gone too far by cutting ties with her brother.

That is one powerful looking final page. Joelle Jones really captures, I think, how sad she is that she has lost her brother, possibly forever. But you know what? The guy is a total jackass. This is his sister. To him, she's pretty much the only person in his life that loves him, and he just treats her like he always has. He cared more about recruiting her for Tony Stark's side in the Civil War II storyline than he did about discovering the heritage they share.

Robinson is doing so well detailing Wanda's growth as an individual. It's a continuous struggle, but she's come unto her own in this series. She's acknowledging her past, dealing with it, and will hopefully move on to a brighter tomorrow. She is no longer defined by those around her. She wants to discover her true heritage once and for all, and she will do it alone if necessary.

Monday, October 3, 2016


Story by James Robinson
Art by Tula Lotay

Well, this book just keeps getting better. Each issue is a done-in-one story with a different artist that successfully captures the mood Robinson is aiming for with each tale. This one is no different.

Wanda stays home in this issue, and we see her visiting a psychiatrist named Dr. Grand. Each session she hands the man an envelope that contains his required payment, after which she then unburdens herself. This time around Wanda talks about her mother, who we found out in #4 was Natalya Maximoff. This leads into the history of Wanda Maximoff as she knows it. In her own words. Right now, she knows she was that she was the adopted daughter of Django and Marya Maximoff and was taken as an infant by the High Evolutionary to be experimented upon, along with her brother, Pietro. Apparently, the experiments gave Pietro his speed and made Wanda somehow susceptible to magic. But he deemed the experiments a failure and returned them to the elderly Maximoffs. Dr. Grand points out that Natalya's last name is the same as the name of her adopted parents, and Wanda says she's still looking into a connection between them.

Moving on, we learn that Magneto and his wife Magda are still a part of Wanda's past, as the High Evolutionary arranged for her and her brother to think they were their parents. In actuality, they're not, and one has to wonder here what the deal is with Magda since Wanda and Pietro are NOT her children. Magda is known to have arrived pregnant at Wundagore Mountain after having fled from her husband, Magneto. Supposedly, she gave birth to twin children, presumably Wanda and Pietro, and then took off into the night, never to be seen again. But since Wanda and Pietro are not her children, then what happened to the babies Magda gave birth to, and who and where are they?

Another matter is Chthon, the demonic being who placed his essence inside Wanda when she was born and transformed her mutation into the ability to manipulate chaos, probability,and reality itself. Since Wanda is no longer Magda's child, we must assume Chthon infected her during the time she was in the care of the High Evolutionary, and perhaps his influence is what caused the Evolutionary's experiments to fail. This is only speculation, but Wanda's investigation is going to take her to the High Evolutionary himself in SCARLET WITCH #11, which arrives in stores this week, actually.

In any case, back to the main story, Dr. Grand suggests Wanda is trying to ignore her past instead of accepting it and moving on to a brighter future. He suggests she is still subconsciously wanting other people (like her brother and her former teammates in the Avengers) to help her, instead of trying to help herself. He suggests Wanda is afraid to accept her children, Wiccan and Speed of the Young Avengers, when she mentions she barely sees them, that she is afraid to see them.

This gives Wanda things to think about. A week later, she comes to see Dr. Grand again, and she thanks him for his advice. She has thought about everything he said and has come to realize that she needs to accept the things she's done in the past in order to move on to a more positive future. Wanda then tells Dr. Grand that the jig is up. She knows who he really is and what he's been doing to her. She's known since the beginning that he saw her on the street one day, recognized her, and used hypnosis to subtly influence her into seeing a therapist, particularly himself. She knows that he's been subtly influencing her to steal jewelry from all over the world (during her adventures in the previous seven issues) to pay for her sessions, but what he doesn't know is that she had cast spells to make him think the jewelry she gave him was real and not the fake glass junk she's actually been passing on to him. Wanda also tells him she recognized who he was right away, despite him having grown a beard in hopes to change his appearance and fool her. We learn that the psychiatrist is not Roland Grand, but Manyard Toboldt, aka the Ringmaster of the Circus of Crime. He hopes Wanda will let him go since she says he genuinely helped her, but she summons the police officers waiting outside his office to come arrest him. However, Wanda thanks the Ringmaster once again for helping her, as his advice was sound, despite his devious intent. And the Ringmaster surprises us all when he says he's glad she helped her. At least his psychiatric talents were put to good use this time, instead of always being used to manipulate the Circus into doing things for him.

Excellent issue! I was genuinely surprised when the psychiatrist turned out to be the Ringmaster. This is the third time we've seen this villain being used in a story that was well thought out and utilized his talent for therapy, that made him more than just the leader of a criminal circus of thieves. The last time this happened was in the latter half of the third volume of DEATHLOK, when he took on the alias of Martin Thraller and ran for president, only to run afoul of Jack Truman/Deathlok.

Robinson knows how to tap into the vast well of the Marvel Universe, choose a lesser used character, and craft a nice little story around them. His did this twice before in this very series, with the Man-Bull in #2 and Le Peregrine in #6. Instead of creating a new character that would likely never be used again, he chose the Ringmaster and fleshed out a side of the villain we rarely get to see. Well done!

And so, the search for Wanda's true heritage begins with this issue, which acts as a prologue. As mentioned before, Wanda's journey continues in SCARLET WITCH #11, where she returns home to confront the High Evolutionary. This will continue into the next issue, and then Wanda's search continues in #13 when she returns to the Witches Road to try and locate her mother, Natalya Maximoff. I'm looking forward very much to this journey.

I'd be remiss if I didn't mention the art by Tula Lotay. It was very stylish and fit the tone of the story quite well. Perhaps we'll see her art grace these pages again in the future.

One final thought or two: Right now, I think that Natalya may be the lost daughter of Django and Marya Maximoff, which would make them Wanda's natural grandparents, instead of her adopted parents. I am also wondering maybe that Natalya may actually be Magda, Magneto's wife, as the name Magda is very similar to Marya. This would mean that Magda really is Wanda and Pietro's mother, but she changed her name after she left Magneto in order to hide herself better. Along the way, she met someone who is the father of the children, got pregnant, and then made her way to Wundagore Mountain to give birth to them. Then she vanished into the night, possibly returning to the Witches Road to continue hiding from Magneto. This would also explain why Magda and Wanda look almost exactly alike. Just some speculation.