Characters Appearing: Scarlet Witch
Marvel Comics Presents #60-63 (Scarlet Witch)
Issue(s): Marvel Comics Presents #60, Marvel Comics Presents #61, Marvel Comics Presents #62, Marvel Comics Presents #63 (Scarlet Witch story only)
Scarlet Witch is visiting Harvard university.
She's there to research some antique texts on witchcraft. Much of the first part of this story has her talking to a crowd of admirers and reporters, a decent way to provide some exposition on her powers and history.
After the library closes for the night, she's approached by a Professor Alder Revery, who invites her back to her place to look at his
She's not sure if he's hitting on her or what, but she accepts his offer, reasoning that she's on a research trip and doesn't need to worry about some super-villain trying to trap her. She also wants to lower her guard and show that she can trust humanity a bit. But of course that trust turns out to be unwarranted.
And the next thing we know, the Scarlet Witch is a pirate.
Supposedly this is Red Lucy Keogh, a pirate in 1587, and an ancestor of the Scarlet Witch. For a brief second my mind tried to figure out how Wanda's family would have went from being pirates somewhere between the New World and Spain (she also has children in France that she pays someone to watch) to being Romani peasants in Eastern Europe or whatever her background is supposed to be at the moment. But i cut off that line of thinking before i had to take into account all of the various retcons.
Wanda eventually gains consciousness and communicates with Lucy. Lucy agrees to help her get the energy to return to the present, and she takes her to Stonehenge to meet Valmoora the Seeress.
Speaking of retcons, the Seeress shows Magneto as part of a set of visions showing her bloodline.
Using that as evidence that Magneto really is the Scarlet Witch's father is contingent on believing that the Past Master really did send the Scarlet Witch back into the actual past, as opposed to a fantasy world or an alternate timeline (everything here could be drawn from the Scarlet Witch's own memories, for example).
To get the power to send the Scarlet Witch back, Valmoora tells Lucy that she needs the Merlin Stones. The Stones are currently held by the Earl of Darwell, who is a werewolf? Or one of the Cat People?
Lucy defeats him with some help from Wanda.
And the Earl turns out to just be a guy in a mask.
The Merlin Stones are used to send the Scarlet Witch home. Red Lucy then decides to retire. The crew assures her that they'll find a new captain, and thanks to the connection with the Merlin Stones we know that will turn out to be the Thing, using the name Blackbeard.
Back in the present, the Scarlet Witch finds that she's still not in her proper body.
That's because her body is trapped in a magical forcefield.
The Past Master is unaware of the Scarlet Witch's spirit. She's able to use her hex force on him, but at the cost of her own life essence. She continues to use her powers to do minor things like cause his spell book to burst into flames and lamps to shatter, which make him think that he's being haunted. And then while he's distracted she focuses on penetrating the forcefield and re-entering her body. And then, in an interestingly anti-climatic ending, the Past Master escapes while Wanda is acclimating herself to being physical again. Wanda decides that she's going to file a report with the Avengers, but first she's going to take a hot bath.
Personally, my mind starts wandering whenever time travel happens. I don't really know what the Past Master's plans were, and i don't feel like we were made to care. Not sure if Richard Howell was leaving open the possibility of using the guy for future stories, but i think the main point was to send Scarlet Witch into the past so we could see her pirate ancestor. The story is somewhat more noteworthy now than it would have been at the time due to the seeming validation from Valmoora the Seeress that Magneto is the Scarlet Witch's father, but even beyond that the use of the Merlin Stones is a decent bit of continuity usage. It's still a mostly uninteresting story, with the final part being almost avant-gardely uneventful due to the way the Past Master gets away.
Quality Rating: C-
Chronological Placement Considerations: Scarlet Witch says she's "currently with the West Coast Avengers" and her and Vision's house in Leonia, NJ has been leased as a daycare center. The MCP place this circa West Coast Avengers #30.
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
I remember this story and liking it for what it was: a solo story for a favorite Avenger of mine. I'll never believe that Magneto isn't the father of Wanda and Pietro because there are too many stories like this that contradict it! He's always going to be their old man in my mind.
Posted by: Bill | August 5, 2015 5:21 PM
There is a decent story struggling to be told in there. Past Master is strangely incoherent for his own implied background, what with his odd belief that nuclear energy created mutancy and his very obviously failure to notice that a random past ancestor would not be a mindless body.
He could be developed into a barely-together whacko dealing with some sort of mental illness or internal conflict, but this review does not suggest that the writer went beyond the mere suggestion, which may well have been unintentional.
On an unrelated note, the Merlin Stones were also featured in the plot of the early issues of Dazzler.
Posted by: Luis Dantas | August 5, 2015 8:33 PM
Luis, we've seen other scientists theorize that nuclear energy created mutancy, so that's not a sign of incoherency on the part of the Past Master.
Posted by: Michael | August 5, 2015 9:14 PM
Have we? Even by MU standards that would be rather tacky.
Posted by: Luis Dantas | August 6, 2015 6:34 PM
Comments are now closed.
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