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I Liked Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch More When They Were Magneto’s Bastards

I Liked Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch More When They Were Magneto’s Bastards

The lunar landing, the origin of Pepsi, and the true paternity of Ronan Farrow.  These are only a few of the more popular conspiracy theories that have circulated throughout society.  And like the majority of all conspiracy theories, they all seem pretty baseless.  One such conspiracy theory that originally seemed like a crackpot notion, but has since gained steam, is that Marvel is slowly trying to phase out the X-Men in a misguided, and totally James Dolan-esque attempt to spite 20th Century Fox, the studio that owns the film rights of the X-Men (What it comes down to, is that Fox refuses to sell back the X-Men film rights to Marvel, and now that the movies are making money, Marvel wants the mutants back).  If someone tried to make this claim back in 1995, not only would this person be the most incorrect person on the planet, but no one would ever listen to another word that this person said for as long as they lived.  20 years later, in 2015, with all the evidence provided, this idea that Marvel is trying to snuff out the mutants doesn’t seem so crazy.

By this point, there’s a mound of evidence to support this theory, most of which have been analyzed and theorized about ad nasueam.  There’s been the death of Wolverine, the slow and quiet cancelation of (literally) dozens of X-books, the hiring of Brian Michael Bendis (the ultimate Marvel company man), the lack of marketing and promotion of any X-book, and finally the completely unnecessary and suspicious delay of Uncanny X-Men #600.  The most overt act of corporate terrorism waged against the X-Men ,however, has been the retconning of Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch’s origin, an origin which was originally a retcon in itself.

There was no purpose or benefit of negating the Maximoff twins’ origins, besides for the overt and gross sake of corporate synergy.  Marvel Studios only has the loosest rights to use Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch in their movies; and in an attempt to make the comics more in line with their movies, Marvel decided to re-write their origins to make them genetically modified Homo Sapiens…exactly as their origin in Avengers: Age of Ultron, instead of being mutants…as they originally were.

High octane 90s comic book drama.


No longer are Pietro and Wanda Maximoff the children of Magneto. They are the children of Marya and Django Maximoff.  The pair’s original origin explained that they were the children of Marya and Django until it was retconned (for the much better origin) in favor of them being Magneto’s children.  Not only are they not Magneto’s children anymore, the Maximoffs’ parents are exactly who they originally were.  No twist, or alternate origin, it’s just the truth that was thought to be a lie turns out to be the truth.  It’s the comic book equivalent of a paternity test reveal on Jerry Springer.  No one could think of anything better than “We made a mistake with Magneto, your parents are the same people you originally thought they were until we mixed up the lab results…sorry”.  With such an anti-climactic and utterly useless retcon, clearly the editors and Joe Quesada don’t really care about proper storytelling, and instead are more focused on continuing their war of attrition with 20th Century Fox at the expense of their own most popular and beloved franchise.

Changing Wanda’s and Pietro’s origin so that they are no longer the children of Magneto takes away a large portion of who these characters are.  Magneto’s fractured relationship with his children, especially his only begotten son, is just another failure of one of the world’s most powerful mutants.  He wants to be the leader of his people, but he can’t even look after his own children.  His failure as a father serves as a paradigm for the misapplied use of his powers, charisma, and natural capacity for good.  Magneto had become so twisted by his goals, and so disenchanted by the events of his life that he’s incapable of loving his own children.  By taking away Magneto’s children, Marvel is doing away with his biggest failure, one of the character’s most distinct features, and for a character as well-defined and multi-faceted as Magneto, it’s almost as crass as having him open up crematoria in the middle of Manhattan.

While not as oft-explored as the relationship between Magneto and her brother, Wanda’s relationship with her father has proved to be just as damning.  House of M and the whole “No More Mutants” thing (the first sign that Marvel had it out for the mutants) were all motivated by her irreparable relationship with Magneto.  His demented messianic complex spurred Wanda, already in a fragile mental state, to reshape reality, while her repressed anger towards her father manifested itself in her decimation of mutantkind.  With the recent retcon, that emotional tether is gone, as is Wanda’s motivation for going crazy and creating this alternate reality.  Instead of having a real reason to be angry with her father, Scarlet Witch was essentially venting completely unrelated issues to some guy who blackmailed her years ago.  As a result, all of Wanda’s mental problems are cheapened as they now seem completely misdirected and misguided.  It’s one thing to be abused and mistreated, but it’s another thing entirely to be abused and mistreated by a parent.

Commit genocide in three words: Here’s how!


Even though Quicksilver never went as crazy as his twin sister, he still has his own fair share of daddy issues brought about by being the sole male scion of Magneto.  Theirs is a relationship that has been notoriously underdeveloped or overlooked (depending on your point of view) despite the plethora of feelings to examine.  No other duo in comics shares their paradigm; Quicksilver is trapped in his father’s shadow, and despite his own best attempts to be better than his old man, he is forever smothered by the dastardly deeds and wicked charisma of his father.  He’s someone who strives to be better, but is so often brought down by the very same force he seeks to escape.  Quicksilver is the Luke Skywalker that failed, and now Marvel has turned him into Steve Buscemi’s character from Big Daddy.

No matter how fast Quicksilver runs, he will never escape his father’s disapproving scowl, nor will he ever escape the demons in his head telling him that he is not good enough or deserving enough.  Theirs is a reversed oedipal relationship where the father imposes his will on the son who tries, but fails to usurp his father.  In fact, when done properly, there’s been hints that Pietro feels emasculated by his father.  His father and younger sister can manipulate magnetism, his twin can warp reality on the largest scale, and all Pietro can do is run fast.  He got the shit end of the genetic stick and he knows it.  He’ll never escape his need to prove himself to Magneto by beating him, as Oedipus did to Laius, and as a result Pietro has probably the shortest temper in the Marvel Universe, behind Bruce Banner.

You can guess which parent was the disciplinarian.


More realistically, Pietro’s unresolved issues with his father manifest themselves in his anger and self-loathing.  He believes that he will never be good enough because that was the idea implanted in him by his father, Magneto.  Try as he might, Pietro will never be a loving husband or father (a fact made evident by the multitude of trysts his wife, Crystal, has engaged in) because he can’t.  The speedster doesn’t know how to convey those feelings as they were never conveyed to him, and what makes it even more frustrating and infuriating for him is that he desperately wants to be better than the old man, but doesn’t even know how to go about that either.  Like his father, Pietro too is a failure as he cannot become the man his father isn’t.  X-Men #25 summarized this idea in a way that hasn’t really been explored since, and because of Marvel’s recent decision to reverse what was originally a stroke of genius storytelling, it can never be explored again.

While not as egregious as One More Day, or as bombastic as The New 52, the (newest) revelation regarding the lineage of Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch is a disservice to the characters as the cornerstone of their being lies in them being the children of Magneto and the burden that it brings.  Now, they have been robbed of this identity for the sake of screwing over 20th Century Fox, the owner of the film rights for the ENTIRE X-Men universe.  What it ultimately comes down to, is that the twins lost a level of intrigue and depth to them that made them more human and identifiable.  Not only did they have daddy issues, but their father is the world’s most dangerous mutant who resents them.  Previous storylines like House of M, and Fatal Attractions lose their emotional value and validation as central themes to both stories were the ramifications of Magneto’s failure as a father.  In Marvel’s unending war with 20th Century Fox, Magneto, Scarlet Witch, and Quicksilver were nothing more than casualties.  But who cares?  After all, they’re only mutants.