When Kevin Feige unveiled the much-anticipated lineup for Phase 4 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe at SDCC in 2019, the most exciting announcement for me was that Elizabeth Olsen will co-star as Scarlet Witch in the Doctor Strange sequel and that the events of the WandaVision streaming show will directly tie-in to the movie. Doctor Strange mentoring Wanda to unlock her true potential opens up so many intriguing possibilities, including House of M that might potentially lay the groundwork for introducing the Fantastic Four and the X-Men in the MCU!
Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, with its plethora of casting rumors, might be more than a year away from release, but the groundwork for the mouth-watering crossover event begins with Disney+’s WandaVision. The six-episode show will reunite the super-powered couple of Wanda Maximoff/Scarlet Witch and Vision, with Elizabeth Olsen and Paul Bettany reprising their respective roles. Hopefully, this show will see Marvel explore more of the Scarlet Witch’s origin story and her chaos magic.
Wanda Maximoff has been my favorite character since her live-action debut in Avengers: Age of Ultron. (She had also made a brief cameo in the Winter Soldier post credits scene.) It was around this time (Phase 3) that I started reading a lot of Marvel comics, having been exposed to only DC comics previously. Considering how daunting the comic world can be, I referred an invaluably helpful guide published by the Comic Book Herald, which offered a fast track guide to the modern Marvel Universe, giving us all the essential story lines in 25 trade collections from Avengers: Disassembled to Avengers vs X-Men. Considering how peripheral Wanda Maximoff had been in her early MCU days, it was a delight to find her so integral in many of the pivotal crossover events.
With Marvel branding WandaVision as a “mega-event series” and Kevin Feige declaring that “it’s unlike anything we’ve done before”, I cannot wait to see what’s in store for my favorite Avenger. In preparation for the show, here is a quick primer on the essential comicbooks to learn more about the Scarlet Witch:
One of the best storylines that most effectively details the destructive and explosive nature of Wanda’s powers is Brian Michael Bendis’ Avengers: Disassembled event, in which she launches a campaign of terror against the Avengers, blaming them for the death of her children. This heralded the age of Marvel’s mega-crossover events and makes for essential Scarlet Witch reading.
House of M:
There is arguably no story more important in the comic book history of the Scarlet Witch than the House of M event. It’s not only one of the must-reads for those looking to understand her history, but it’s probably the comic book storyline most closely related to what we will see in WandaVision.
After losing Vision as well as her children in Avengers: Disassembled, Wanda is essentially driven mad and uses her reality-bending powers to create an alternate reality. She also irrevocably alters the Marvel comic universe with the iconic three words…
Avengers vs X-Men
AvX involves the return of the Phoenix Force and the subsequent war between the Avengers and the X-Men. With the Avengers getting their asses kicked by the Phoenix-powered X-Men, it eventually comes down to Wanda to help the Avengers take down the X-Men and eliminate the Phoenix Force, with the help of Hope Summers in a dizzying demonstration of power.
Young Avengers: Children’s Crusade
While Children’s Crusade is a fantastic story to get to know Wanda’s children (who have been teased heavily in the trailers), and understand her relationship with her children, it also serves as a beautiful redemption arc for Wanda Maximoff, in which she also ends up defeating one of Marvel’s all-time greatest villains, Doctor Doom!