Scarlet Witch Reading Guide

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Hi! Welcome to the Scarlet Witch reading guide!

This article is the SECOND reading guide for Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, following the Darkhold reading guide we released a few days ago. In the selections below, we’ll take a close look at Wanda Maximoff, her family, and her complicated history in the comics.

Quick start:

  • Avengers/Doctor Strange: Rise of the Darkhold
    • Avengers (1963) #185-187 (“Nights of Wundagore”)
    • X-Men Annual (1970) #12
  • Vision (2015) #7
  • West Coast Avengers: Darker Than Scarlet (1989)
  • Avengers (1998) #503
  • Avengers: The Children’s Crusade (2010) 
  • The Darkhold (2021) Alpha #1, Omega #1
  • X-Men: The Trial of Magneto (2021)

The story of Wanda Maximoff is incredibly tragic. Doomed to an endless cycle of manipulations, possessions, and her family being torn from her time and time again, Wanda has built up an unfairly horrible reputation of being dangerous and unstable. Or at least, that’s one point of view. What will you think? Read on to find out! Each of the selections below were chosen because of their potential relevance to Wanda’s arc in the MCU. Feel free to read through the guide and choose the storylines that interest you the most. Strong recommendations are in bold. As always, have fun!

For more related to the Scarlet Witch’s comics, check out our other reading guides for the Young Avengers and Agatha Harkness!

“Wanda, please… They are not real.”


 

Nights of Wundagore (1979)

First mentioned in our Darkhold reading guide, Rise of the Darkhold is doubly important for Wanda fans. This collection includes Nights of Wundagore, and X-Men Annual (1970) #12, two short stories which reveal the dark connections between Wanda, the Darkhold, and Chthon the demonic Elder god.

While the first arc is collected on its own in the Avengers: Nights of Wundagore trade, I recommend getting the full Rise of the Darkhold collection because it also includes the X-Men Annual and several other important stories about the history of the Darkhold (like Doctor Strange: The Montesi Formula, which has a Wanda cameo!).

For more stories about the Darkhold, check out the Darkhold reading guide!

  • Avengers/Doctor Strange: Rise of the Darkhold
    • Avengers (1963) #185-187 (aka “Nights of Wundagore”)
    • Doctor Strange (1974) #59-62, 67, 81 (aka ”The Montesi Formula”)
    • Amazing Spider-Man Annual #22; X-Men Annual (1970) #12
    • Marvel Spotlight (1971) #3-4; Werewolf By Night (1972) #1,3,15; Tomb of Dracula (1972) #18-19; Marvel Chillers #1-2; Thor (1966) #332-333; Dracula Lives #6

Also collected as:

  • Avengers: Nights of Wundagore
    • Avengers (1963) #181-187
    • Often misspelled as “Knights of Wundagore”


 

Vision and the Scarlet Witch (1980s)

Familiar territory for fans of WandaVision, these iconic comics chronicle the family history of Wanda & Vision, including their wedding and the creation of their sons “William” and “Thomas.” The run probably won’t be essential for Multiverse of Madness, but it’s great background reading if you wanted more of what you saw in WandaVision and want to fantasize about the wonderful life Wanda and Vision deserve to have together. This era was also summarized in an issue of Tom King’s Vision series in 2015, which leads into the Darker Than Scarlet storyline.

  • Vision and Scarlet Witch Vol. 2: The Saga of Wanda and Vision
    • Giant-Size Avengers #4, Vision and the Scarlet Witch (1982) #1-4, West Coast Avengers (1985) #2, Vision and the Scarlet Witch (1985) #1-12
    • Vision & Scarlet Witch #9 features a Glamor and Illusion magic show, which inspired WandaVision S1 E2
  • Vision (2015) #7


 

Darker Than Scarlet (1989)

Basically the original House of M, John Byrne’s Darker Than Scarlet was the first time Wanda really went crazy following a mental breakdown in Vision Quest. Potentially tying in to both WandaVision and Multiverse of Madness, and even inspiring Loki, this West Coast Avengers story follows Wanda’s fury at learning that her kids are fake and that her whole life had been carefully manipulated by the Kang variant Immortus. (Learn more about Kang’s variants here!)

The storyline also established Wanda as a “nexus being” anchoring her reality in the multiverse, which was elaborated on in Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning’s Scarlet Witch solo in 1994. This 90s-extreme miniseries completely fleshes out Wanda’s role as a nexus being and gives our WandaVision friend Agatha Harkness a bit of love as well. It remains to be seen if Wanda will have the same role in the MCU, but if you’re prepping for Agatha and Wanda’s potential future storylines, this is not a run to miss.

During this time, Agatha Harkness was an important mentor figure for Wanda, and she’s a major part of the comics below. Check out the Agatha reading guide for even more stories about Agatha & Wanda’s relationship! 

  • Avengers: Scarlet Witch by Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning
    • Scarlet Witch (1994) #1-4
    • Includes issues from the “Scarlet Witch Redemption (present)” section below


 

House of M & The Children’s Crusade (2000s)

Avengers: Disassembled and House of M is the infamous two-part storyline where Wanda was manipulated several times over into destroying the Avengers, remaking reality, then almost destroying all the mutants. Despite its importance in the current Marvel history, this era was generally not great for Wanda’s character. Nonetheless, Avengers #503 is key to the WandaVision and Multiverse of Madness storyline. Some fans might say that House of M was a lesser remake of Byrne’s Darker Than Scarlet, so if you’d rather read just one, go with Darker Than Scarlet.

Following the chaos, Wanda’s story picks up a few years later with The Children’s Crusade in 2010. This story presents a reverse of the MCU with Billy and Tommy are searching for their mother Wanda, mirroring Wanda searching for her kids from the end of WandaVision into Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness.

Crusade also revealed that Doctor Doom was secretly manipulating Wanda during Disassembled and House of M, making Doom actually responsible for her actions. This marked the beginning of Scarlet Witch’s redemption, which is still a difficult ongoing journey in the comics.

For more with Billy, Tommy, and other young heroes, check out the Young Avengers reading guide!

  • Avengers: Disassembled
    • Avengers (1998) #500-503, Finale #1
  • House of M (2005) #1-8
  • Avengers: The Children’s Crusade (2010)
    • Avengers: The Children’s Crusade #1-9; Avengers: The Children’s Crusade – Young Avengers #1; Uncanny X-Men #526
    • Also referred to as “Young Avengers: The Children’s Crusade”
    • Continue with the Young Avengers reading guide!


 

Scarlet Witch Redemption (2020s)

Current comics have yet to fully absolve Wanda of her guilt or messy reputation, but Marvel Comics have used the time (and her MCU fame) to focus on fleshing out her character more fully. The Mystic Arcana one-shot flashes back to Wanda’s first encounter with Chthon the Darkhold demon god and ties into the origins of Werewolf by Night.

Meanwhile Avengers Origins and James Robinson’s 2015 Scarlet Witch maxiseries continued her origin revisionism while attempting to reconcile Wanda’s place in the Marvel Universe in the wake of House of M. The rotating art team does a stellar job representing the complexities of Wanda Maximoff and the series helps flesh out Wanda’s mythos even further.

A few years later, Wanda’s revival picked up speed again with The Darkhold. A mixed event with a thrilling conclusion, Darkhold: Omega #1 features the Scarlet Witch in the best form she’s been in decades, and writer Steve Orlando is now continuing his work in the new Scarlet Witch solo series.

X-Men: The Trial of Magneto was also notable for finally allowing Wanda to express her guilt and grief about the events of her past. Coming 15 years after House of M, Wanda’s redemption has been long overdue in the comics. Hopefully these two books can be the beginning of a fresh start for the character and can inspire a similar arc in the MCU after Multiverse of Madness.

  • Avengers: Scarlet Witch by Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning
    • Mystic Arcana: Scarlet Witch (2007) #1; Avengers Origins: Scarlet Witch & Quicksilver (2012) #1
    • Includes issues from the “Darker Than Scarlet (1989)” section above
  • Scarlet Witch by James Robinson
    • Scarlet Witch (2015) #1-15
    • Also collected as Witches’ Road, World of Witchcraft, and The Final Hex
  • The Darkhold (2021)
    • Darkhold Alpha #1, Darkhold: Iron Man #1, Darkhold: Blade #1, Darkhold: Wasp #1, Darkhold: Black Bolt #1, Darkhold: Spider-Man #1, Darkhold Omega #1
  • X-Men: The Trial of Magneto (2021) #1-5
  • Scarlet Witch by Steve Orlando
    • Scarlet Witch (2023) #1-5 (currently ongoing)


 
While not every Wanda Maximoff story ever written, these are Wanda’s major comics and the ones I think could be most relevant for Wanda’s journey from WandaVision to Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness and beyond. Which ones are your favorite and what do you want to read next? Let me know on Twitter @vinwriteswords and remember to follow the site @MyCosmicCircus!
 
Be sure to check out our other reading guides here and stay tuned to the Cosmic Circus for more coming soon!

The Darkhold Reading Guide

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Agatha Harkness Reading Guide

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All images courtesy of Marvel.

Reviews, reading guides, and crazy theories. Obsessed with the Midnight Sons. Find me on Twitter @vinwriteswords!
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