Scarlet Witch (2nd series) #1

Issue Date: 
January 2016
Story Title: 
About the Death of Many Cats

James Robinson (writer), Vanesa del Rey (artist), Jordie Bellaire (colorist), Virtual Calligraphy's Cory Petit (letterer), David Aja (cover artist), Kevin Wada, Bill Sienkiewicz, Erica Henderson, Tom Raney & Chris Sotomayor (variant cover artists), Emily Shaw (editor), Mark Paniccia (senior editor), Axel Alonso (editor-in-chief), Joe Quesada (chief creative officer), Dan Buckley (publisher), Alan Fine (executive producer)

Scarlet Witch created by Stan Lee & Jack Kirby

Brief Description: 

Wanda Maximoff wakes from a dream about her early days with the Avengers. From her new penthouse home in a tall building on the Upper East Side of Manhattan, Wanda speaks with the ghost of her mentor Agatha Harkness, and tells her that her dream felt like a memory and that she isn't quite sure what it was trying to tell her. Agatha isn't so sure that Wanda's new home is the right place for her, but Wanda doesn't want to be secluded away from people, and she likes her new home as it lets her see where the good and bad auras reside across the city. The next morning, Wanda sets out through the city, certain that something is wrong with magic. She notices some dead cats in a gutter, and arrives at a police station where she asks to speak with Detective Erikson. Wanda and the Detective soon visit the Bates Bistro and Bar, where a horrific double murder recently took place. Wanda asked to be taken here, and discusses a recent spate of strange murders with the Detective, explaining to him that she thinks magic is somehow involved. They discuss the death of many cats, with the Detective of the view that it is a feline virus, but Wanda informs him about how in 1730s Paris, many apprentices slaughtered cats of their masters as a sacrifice to summon a Sonneillon, the magical embodiment of envy. Wanda tells him that this part of the city is where the less fortunate are being driven out by those wealthier, so it is the perfect place for the same hex to take root. The Detective understands Wanda's explanation as some sort of magical “hate-virus” and asks her how they can know who the next to be infected is. Wanda tells him that she can see auras, and that she knows it is he, which is why she sought him out. Wanda begins to perform an exorcism, which brings the Sonneillon forth. Wanda battles the demon, and is able to defeat it, freeing Detective Erikson from its hold. Wanda returns home and speaks with Agatha once more, discussing the sickness of witchcraft which Wanda believes is taking place. She asks Agatha if she can't feel it, to which Agatha reminds Wanda that she could have when she was alive – until Wanda killed her. Wanda once again tells Agatha that it wasn't her, before revealing the symbolism of the dream she had – that the Avengers should remain in her past. Wanda then makes a declaration to find whatever menace is plaguing witchcraft.

Full Summary: 

In Wanda's dream:

'All right! This is for you! AVENGERS ASSEMBLE!' Captain America shouts as he stands on a stage alongside the new line-up of Avengers – the Scarlet Witch, Quicksilver and Hawkeye, while a sea of reporters, camera crews and other civilians wave adoringly at them.

Thou Shalt Not Suffer a Witch to Live – Exodus 22:18


'Gha!' Wanda Maximoff a.k.a. the Scarlet Witch gasps as she sits up in her bed, in an apartment on the Upper East Side of Manhattan. She sits on the edge of her bed, then gets up and goes into the bathroom, where she looks at her reflection in the mirror, a reflection that seems strangely older than she really is. 'Just a couple more wrinkles. A little more grey... could be worse' Wanda remarks to herself. Wanda gets some coffee from the kitchen and puts a robe over her shoulders. She enters a living room, and a voice calls out to her 'Bad dream?' Wanda glances sideways and replies 'You and I both know there's no such thing as bad dreams. They're messages our subconscious sends us, if we only cared to read them as such'. The voice replies 'Oh, I'm in a Psychology 101 with Professor Wanda? I didn't realize. I'll get my notebook'. Wanda narrows her eyes, 'And you know how much I love dry sarcasm first thing in the morning' she replies.

The voice tells Wanda that it isn't morning – it is still night. 'You know what I meant... Agatha' Wanda declares, as the ghost of Agatha Harkness appears before her former student. Wanda holds her mug of coffee close to her mouth and explains that it wasn't a bad dream, more like a memory, and a message. 'I'm just not certain what it's telling me yet' she adds, before informing Agatha that she senses something out there in the city tonight – something isn't right. 'It's New York. There are always things that aren't right' Agatha remarks, before asking Wanda if she means magic. 'Well, yes... but more specifically... witchcraft' Wanda reveals.

Wanda tells Agatha that she is glad she decided to buy this place – best thing she could have done. 'For what it cost you, I'm glad you feel that way' Agatha tells Wanda. 'I know you'd prefer I take myself away – to a gingerbread house in the woods, perhaps? A cave in the ground?' Wanda tells Agatha, who states that she was thinking more of a nice house Upstate. 'But I do enjoy gingerbread' she adds.

Agatha tells Wanda that she thinks somewhere away from the city might suit her better. 'You haven't always fared so well around lots of people' she reminds her. Wanda agrees, and tells Agatha that at the same time, she has never been more determined to fare better. 'Besides, in the legends and fairy tales, cabins and caves... are where the bad witches live' Wanda points out from her penthouse apartment the rises high above the buildings nearby.

The moon shines down from above, as Wanda and Agatha's ghost stand at a large window and looks across the city, with Wanda remarking that she loves the view, because she can see New York for all that it is from up here – good and bad, it's spirit, its timbre, and of course its many hues. Pink and green colors hover across the nearby buildings, and Wanda tells Agatha that even as she looks out now, at the night, those auras tell her where good and bad reside. 'Better than a trail of breadcrumbs, I'll say that' Agatha jokes. Agatha asks Wanda how the coffee is, and Wanda tells her that it is delicious. 'I wish you could try it' she adds. 'Yes. Being dead has its drawbacks' Agatha frowns.

The next morning, Wanda wears a black and red new outfit as she walks down a busy street full of people in drab attire going about their business. 'So it begins' Wanda thinks to herself. 'A new life for me? I hope so – a new direction'. Wanda tells herself that she knows for sure that something is amiss in this city and she doesn't even need her “view” of the New York skyline to tell her, nor magic wands or pointy hat or eye of newt and toe of frog – but merely by observing the obvious, sad and still and in plain view. Wanda carries on down the street and admits that she has had some problems in the past. She knows that her life has been a minefield of missteps, mistakes and – she will be the first to admit – even some mental instability.

Wanda looks down at the gutter where two cats lie dead, while Wanda tells herself that her power, the ability she got at birth, allows her to break the laws of physics and scientific absolutes - levitation, transformation, teleportation and such. She has often heard the spells she cast referred to as Chaos Magic, but in actual fact, they are far from “chaotic” - their power and intensity are linked to the energy of Earth and womankind – revered by ancient pagan faiths – feared by men.

'Its name is witchcraft' Wanda declares to herself. She admits that in her past she has ill-used that power, and she is feared because of it. 'But I am the more than the sum of those mistakes. I am better than that' Wanda decides. She resolves to put things right, to right the wrongs when magic – witchcraft – is involved. And not as part of a team. 'Me alone' Wanda decides.

Wanda steps into an NYPD building and asks to speak to Detective Erikson. 'He's the lead investigator on the restaurant murder last night, yes?' Wanda asks a short male officer. 'Yeah, he's the lead. You got a name, sweetheart?' the officer replies. 'Yes, “buttercup,” I do. Wanda Maximoff. Although... you probably know me better by another name' Wand informs the officer.

Shortly, at the Bates Bistro and Bar, on Orchard and Stanton. Wanda stands next to Detective Erikson and surveys the bloodied mess before her. 'So here we are at the crime scene, Ms Maximoff, as you requested. Bagged and dusted. Don't know what all else to tell you' the detective remarks, explaining that they have the killer back at the precinct and he claims to have no recollection of his actions, which is the first step to an insanity plea. 'So I don't blame him' Detective Erikson adds. The detective tells Wanda that as open and shut as this is, he would prefer she used her hocus-pocus to make him explain why he did what he did. 'He says he doesn't know what came over him' Detective Erikson remarks. Wanda asks if he was a busboy here, and the detective confirms that he was, named Hector Gomez. 'Legalized American as of a year ago. Peeling radishes one minute and the next he's peeing the faces off a a couple of diners' Erikson tells Wanda, adding that there were two dead before the staff wrestled Gomez to the ground.

'This wasn't the first crime like this recently, right? Temporary madness, fearsome assault?' Wanda asks. 'You look in your crystal ball to see that?' Erikson asks. 'Yes, while a gypsy violinist played in the background' Wanda remarks sarcastically, before revealing that she simply read it in the newspaper. Erikson informs Wanda that there were two others attacked, one dead and the other ccut up so badly he bets he wished he'd died too. 'And both of the victims were rich?' Wanda asks. Erikson explains that it was a banker dropping off his car, and the valet went nuts. The other was all alone in her apartment when her maid went crazy – so neither victim was hurting for money. Erikson asks Wanda if she thinks there is a link, some kind of magical thing. 'Makes sense' he supposes. Wanda tells Erikson that it is all quite obvious if you look for the signs. Wanda tells Erikson that there is something else in the papers, too, but you just have to walk around to see it firsthand – every cat in Lower Manhattan is mysteriously dying. Strays and pets alike.

Erikson tells Wanda that it is creepy as hell, and informs her that vets think it is some kind of feline virus. 'That magic, too? Cats and witches?' he asks. 'Yes and no. Like you say, a virus...of sorts' Wanda replies, before pink energy glows around her hands, and she offers to give Erikson a quick history lesson. Images are displayed in pink energy, as Wanda informs Erikson that in 1730s, Paris, there occurred what could only be called a cat massacre. She explains that starving aprentices came to view cats, the pampered pets of their masters, as symbols of their own misfortune, and so these boys systematically slaughtered any cat they could find – many hundreds, in fact. Wanda adds that some historians and theorists regard this as the first ember of the fire of revolution that would engulf France decades later. 'However, a witch like myself can see it as something even beyond that' Wanda tells the detective that the cats were a sacrifice, the idea of their slaughter no doubt put into the boys' heads by a poor, starving witch of that time. 'A sacrifice?' Erikson asks. Wanda tells him that the ancient Scots called it a Taigheirm, the killing of cats in order to control Hell – and thereby summon a Sonneillon.

Wanda continues, explaining that it is the magical embodiment of envy, hate, the need to punish. She states that it took time, decades, but once alive to roam Paris, it ultimately incited the masses to revolution. 'And this thing – a Sanollian?' Erikson asks. 'Sonneillon' Wanda corrects him, as Erikson asks if she is saying one has just been conjured in Lower Manhattan. Wanda tells Erikson that this is a part of the city where too frequently nowadays the less fortunate are being driven out by those wealthier and more fortunate enough so, at least, that the same hateful hex could take root. Wanda declares that the killers, all of them, are as innocent as they claim, it is the Sonneillion's hate spreading from one to the next. Erikson tells Wanda that this is not his field of expertise, and asks her if he has this straight – a magical “hate-virus” has been planted in the city.'Exactly. And if unabetted, like any virus, it will spread out even farther' Wanda tells him. Erikson asks who did it, to which Wanda tells him she has no idea, and that is the mystery that will need solving. Erikson asks her if she at least knows who else has been infected, or who the next killer is going to be.

'Who? Why, it's you, Detective Erikson' Wanda announces. 'Why do you think I brought you here – for clues? Latent auras? No. I wanted you away from everyone, and as I'm sure you know, there's nothing lonelier than a crime scene when everyone's left it'. Erikson protests, 'But I'm not – I'm – I don't feel hatred – no envy -' he begins. Wanda reminds him that he was born poor and has worked his way up from the bottom, and although he would never admit it, he does think “adversely” on those he sees as born with a silver spoon. Erikson asks Wanda how she can know all this about him, as they have only just met. 'Have you forgotten? I'm the Scarlet Witch!' Wanda declares, raising her hands towards Erikson, who shouts 'What are you doing?' 'Saving your life' Wanda responds as energy washes over Erikson. Wanda tells him that she is sorry, but that this will hurt. 'Exorcisms always do' Wanda remarks as her energies strike Erikson, and a green burst of energy falls from Erikson – the demonic Sonneillon appears and looms over Wanda, who supposes that it would be smart to decide her next move right about now. Or, rather, her next spell. She knows that she needs to move, too, to stay away from its talons. Wanda leaps backwards as the creature lunges for her.

Wanda lands on her feet, and casts energy upwards, knowing that she has to consider that this Sonneillon was summoned with the magic of ancient Scotland, so she must use a Celtic spell to banish it. The creature turns again and rushes towards Wanda, 'Here, creature!' she calls out to it. 'I evoke the power of exalted Morrigan and I order you to -' but Wanda interrupts herself, she realizes that something is wrong. Energies wash over her, incantations appear before her, and Wanda is distracted, by what she sensed just then, and the Sonneillon hacks at her, knocking her to the floor. But Wanda releases more energy, 'Now...let's end this, shall we?' she calls out to the creature, blasting it with a wave of pink energy. 'Ow. You're right... that really hurt' Detective Erikson remarks as he emerges from the pink energy, the Sonneillon has vanished.

Later, back at Wanda's apartment, on a balcony, Wanda reclined on a chair, while the ghost of Agatha sits on the ledge of the balcony. “Witchcraft is sick. Witchcraft is ailing” she quotes. Agatha remarks that she used to love being all mysterious and witchy, speaking in vague terms and riddles – and she enjoyed how much it irritated Reed Richards. Agatha admits that now she is at the receiving end, she does find it annoying, before asking Wanda how witchcraft can be sick, and whether it needs aspirin.

'The energy flow that exists between a witch and the world around her -' Wanda begins. 'Yes, what of it?' Agatha asks. Wanda explains that in her moment of connection with the demon, she got an “awareness” - a sense of the force at work that unleashed it – and that this is but a single salvo in an ongoing attack. Wanda tells Agatha that witchcraft is being tampered with – weakened – and asks her if she can feel it, too. Agatha replies that she expects that she would have back when she was alive. 'Before you killed me' she adds. 'I keep telling you. That wasn't me' Wanda declares. 'Moving on' Agatha mutters.

Wanda gets up and walks over to Agatha, telling her that she now understands the symbolism of the dream she had this morning – how the Avengers should stay in her past as much as events allow them to, anyway – that she is on her own. 'So you intend to hunt down this threat to the craft, I assume' Agatha tells Wanda, who replies 'Of course'. Agatha asks Wanda if she is sure she wants to take this on – all the spells it may require of her. 'You and I both know the costs' she points out. Wanda tells Agatha that she needs to do this, for witchcraft and for herself, too. 'I need this for me'. She announces that she will find this menace if she has to go around the world or many worlds. 'Whoever it is, wherever they are, they will know what it face the Scarlet Witch'.

Characters Involved: 

Scarlet Witch


Agatha Harkness


Detective Erikson



Police officer



(In Wanda's dream)

Captain America, Hawkeye, Quicksilver, Scarlet Witch (all Avengers)

Story Notes: 

This is the second Scarlet Witch series, the first being her four issue mini series from 1994.

Agatha Harkness died some time prior to Avengers (1st series) #503.

Agatha mentions how she used to enjoy her vague terms and riddles annoying Reed Richards. She spent quite a lot of time with the Fantastic Four, as she was Franklin's nanny beginning with Fantastic Four (1st series) #94.

Soneillion: According to French inquisitor Sebastien Michaelis Sonneillion is a demon of hate.

Wanda presumably killed Agatha between Avengers #500 and 503.

Wanda had mental issues during West Coast Avengers #42 and #62 as well following Avengers #500 up to the events of House of M.

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