Scarlet Witch (2nd series) #13

Issue Date: 
February 2017
Story Title: 

James Robinson (writer), Jonathan Marks-Barravecchia (artist), Rachelle Rosenberg (colorist), Virtual Calligraphy's Cory Petit (letterer), David Aja (cover artist), Christina Harrington & Emily Shaw (editors), 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: 

Along the Witches' Road, a being called Kruul is terrorizing a peaceful race called the Myld. He is about to take their life force, when suddenly he is squashed as the Scarlet Witch unknowingly steps on him. The Scarlet Witch and Agatha Harkness carry on down the Witches' Road, and the Scarlet Witch notes how much it has changed since their last visit. Along the way, the Scarlet Witch battles several demons that her greater foe sends her way, and with each battle she ages even further, worrying that she isn't going to live long enough to find out what is harming witchcraft. Eventually, they are joined by the ghost of the Scarlet Witch's mother, Natalya, who reveals that her daughter's foe is Chaos. Natalya is soon pulled away as the Scarlet Witch's next attack looms upon her – demonic apparitions of several beings who have had important roles in her life. The Scarlet Witch fights them, and ages even more, until she is eventually consumed by the darkness that the demons exude. Eventually, a light frees the Scarlet Witch – dozens of small beings flit around her, pushing the darkness away from her – the Myld are thanking the Scarlet Witch for saving them. The Scarlet Witch and Agatha come to what appears to be the end of the Witches' Road, and Natalya rejoins them, pointing out to the open space before them and explaining that the Witches' Road merely takes a different form.

Full Summary: 

A large brown demon with sharp teeth, large horns and glowing eyes roars 'Kneel, you glowing curs! Kneel before the might of I, KRUUL!' A group of green-skinned humanoids have gathered near some ruins, 'Please, don't hurt us' one of them pleads. 'We, the Myld, are but a gentle race!' one of them exclaims, while a third asks Kruul what threat they are to him. 'You speak of your weakness as if that were a boon! Fools! You may be meek and mild...but Kruul is not!' the demon exclaims, grabbing one of the Myld by their throats, and warning the Myld that he will take their light, their life force. The other Myld look shocked, before Kruul exclaims that he will devour one of them – or all of them! 'Please don't kill us, we beg you!' one of the Myld pleads, dropping to their knees. 'Your mewling pleas fall upon deaf ears. No mercy! For I am – Kr-' the demon begins, when suddenly he utters 'Oh' before there is a SPLATT and he is squashed.

'Oh dear. I think I stepped in something' Wanda Maximoff a.k.a. the Scarlet Witch remarks as she checks her high-heeled boots while walking down the Witches' Road. The ghost of Agatha Harkness floats alongside Wanda, and she smirks, pointing out that it is very messy on this part of the Witches' Road. Agatha jokes that she has a good mind to write a stern letter to whoever is in charge of janitorial services here. They carry on down the path, and Wanda tells Agatha that death agrees with her, as she doesn't recall her being this funny when she was living. Agatha claims that she made jokes then, too, but that she just kept them to herself. 'You should have heard some of the things I said about Reed Richards when no one was around. Hilarious' Agatha remarks.

The tangled, complicated, indescribable Witches' Road is sprawled out before the women, and Wanda comments that it is so different than the last time they visited – harder, grimmer. She then asks Agatha how long they have been walking. 'You've been walking, I've been gliding' Agatha replies. 'Agatha. Come on. How long do you think?' Wanda asks seriously. Agatha reminds Wanda that time gets tricky here, but that if she had to guess, she would say six weeks – or seven. They look around, and Agatha tells Wanda that at least it is quiet. 'Something to be thankful for. Certainly compared to earlier on the road... when things were more eventful' Wanda recalls.

Wanda's mind flashes back to earlier on the road, where she battled a large reptile-like demon with snakes slithering out of its mouth. She remembers being attacked by a strange mushroom demon, and tells Agatha that whoever, or whatever is trying to prevent them from discovering the cause of witchcraft's sickness, had some inventive methods to slow them down. Her appearance became older and haggard as Wanda fought a large bird demon in the snow, and recalling the field of snakes she had to contend with, tells Agatha 'You'd think it would get tired of trying'. Red rain poured down on them, as Wanda's appearance grew even older, she hid herself under her cloak, while remarking that she has defeated each threat so far, but still, it costs her. She is sure that whoever is behind this knows this, and that is why they keep coming. Another encounter, Wanda discovered a possible future, when she found a skeleton huddled under a cloak. Wanda tells Agatha that her only concern is that she won't live long enough to get where she is supposed to go.

'I mean look at me. My life span is wasting away to nothing, during the magical battles. Why, I'm beginning to manifest visually too, at times. Can you see?' Wanda asks. Standing before a reflective panel, she sees her true self, huddled over, white hair. Wanda announces that she is a crone, and that she looks almost as old as Agatha. 'Thank you. That's lovely' Agatha smirks. Wanda smiles, back, to which Agatha remarks 'Smiles? My dear, you really delight yourself with your own jokes'. Wanda explains that she was just thinking about this walk – this long, long walk. They carry on some sort of watery path that hovers mid-air, while large hands reach up around it. 'Despite my looming demise... more and more with each day and each step... I feel better about myself. By virtue of our situation, I have to look ahead'.

Agatha tells Wanda that this is something she has been trying to drum into her forever – how no one is without their mistakes. 'Except me' Agatha smirks. Agatha explains that all you can do is learn from them and no make the same one twice. 'For instance, you've stopped listening to that annoying brother of yours. I'm happy you learn', and adds that yes, you can atone, try to, but to look ahead. Wanda trudges through a snow-covered ground, lined with bare trees, 'Yes, like you say, one step or one day at a time. the rate I'm depleting my life span, how much longer do you think I have?' Wanda asks. Agatha looks at Wanda and tells her 'Not a clue', adding that there is not much Wanda can do about that, so it is best not to dwell on it. 'It's not like you're suddenly going to stop using your powers. Besides, if you do use up all your life... being dead's not so bad' Agatha points out.

'That's a matter of opinion...' another voice calls out as a blinding light appears before Wanda, who looks up as another woman clad in scarlet adds '...and not one that I share'. 'Mother – Natalya!' Wanda gasps as the ghost of her mother hovers over her. 'You're here...finally. I was concerned that you hadn't shown yourself all this time on the road – I feared we'd never find you' Wanda tells her mother, who explains that it wasn't easy to come here, as the force that attacks her daughter is also doing everything it can to keep her away while Wanda walks the road. Natalya adds that she will be gone again in a moment, she is sure of it. 'And call me mother...if you want. I like hearing you say it' Natalya tells Wanda, who smiles. Natalya then informs Wanda that she is close – almost there – but that something is coming for her – her worst enemy, her worst fear. 'Yes, and Heaven forbid you just come out and say what exactly' Agatha mutters. Natalya turns to Agatha and tells her that she is right. 'You and I have done a good job of keeping Wanda in a cloud' Natalya remarks, before announcing that her foe is Chaos.

'Chaos? Wait, I know of a Lord Chaos... and Amatsu-Mikaboshi too, if that -' Wanda begins, but Natalya tells her that it is bigger, greater than either of them – like Eternity or Nightmare, an entity of the same size and power, whose very fiber and being is at the heart of witchcraft – Wanda's specifically. Natalya goes wide-eyed as she reveals that it is already pulling her away. 'I've told you – I've no time – be ready, daughter. Your next attack draws near' Natalya remarks as she starts to disappear like water spiralling down a hole. 'I will be, mother, I swear – but what is this threat I'm to face?' Wanda calls out. Natalya tells her that is the thing she seems to dwell on the most, of course – the thing she fears – the one thing that, despite her protests, still holds shame and fear in her heart – that she has still truly not laid to rest – her own past!

With that, Natalya is gone, and Wanda turns to see demonic apparitions of some of the important people in her life gathered nearby: Quicksilver, Magneto, the Vision, Wonder Man, Django and Marya Maximoff, Agatha Harkness, Master Pandemonium, Dr doom, Wiccan and Speed, the original X-Men, Captain America, Toad, Mastermind, the High Evolutionary, Hawkeye and Bova. 'Wife!' the Vision calls out. 'Lover!' Wonder Man exclaims. 'Ally' Captain America declares. 'Mother!' Wiccan utters. 'Sister!' Quicksilver exclaims. 'Daughter!' Magneto shouts. 'Foe!' Angel remarks. The Scarlet Witch looks angry, and energy radiates around her, which she suddenly releases at the apparitions, blasting them as Speed calls out 'Mother' and the Toad utters' Friend!' as he is tossed into the air as the energy strikes him.

Magneto approaches Wanda, who appears very old once again: 'Daughter, don't listen to them. I swear I am your -' Magneto begins, but Wanda, who musters enough power to restore her appearance, and exclaims 'I am not your daughter! I never was!' as she releases energy which rips Magneto apart, revealing the horrid demon underneath. 'And I'm sorry' Wanda utters as the other apparitions float around her. The Vision, Wonder Man and Dr Doom close in on her, but Agatha tells Wanda not to fo soft. 'It's not them, Wanda. Remember that – they're just shadows in a fractured mirror' Agatha explains as Wonder Man grabs the now visibly old Wanda. 'You loved me – how can you leave my soul trapped in -' he tells her, but Wanda tells him that he isn't Simon Williams and breaks free of his grasp. 'You're not the Vision' Wanda calls out as the demon posing as her ex-husband reaches out to her, she casts him back. 'W-' the demon posing as Quicksilver begins, but Wanda tells him 'Don't even...”brother”!' as she casts him back with ease.

The demons, black and tangled together seep towards the aged Wanda, who tells herself not to look back, that the past is exactly where it belongs. The demons weave around her, pulling her into them, Wanda tells herself that she thinks this, believes this with all her heart. Even as she weakens, ages, she looks ahead and never stops fighting. Never. The darkness consumes Wanda, only her old face appears free. It is how she imagines her mother's final moments – fearless. And if this now is her own appointed time to die, then she faces it without fear or shame'. Her face, and finally her eyes are covered in the darkness, too. 'Wanda' a quiet voice calls out. 'Wanda, will you open your eyes... and take a look around'.

Wanda does as requested, and as she does, the darkness seeps away as a blinding light overcomes her. Wanda shields her eyes, her body re-formed, fresh and young. 'And do stop squinting – for someone who's so concerned about getting old, that's a fine way to get age lines. I should know' Agatha remarks. Wanda asks her where the light has come from that cleared the way. She notices some glowing particles around her, and asks if they are tiny creatures. She realizes that they are, and wonder why they chose to help her. Wanda and Agatha stand on the edge of a cliff, with nothing but dark open space around them. Agatha tells Wanda that she can thank them on the way back, if they manage to make it back. Agatha then points out that the Witches' Road ends. Wanda supposes if that was the reason for the darkness – as a means to make them lose their way when they were so close.

Looking out into the space, what appears to be the planet Earth as seen from space materializes, along with strange, large floating fish skeletons and some sort of white spiral. 'Tes, Wanda, you did it...' Natalya announces as she appears next to Wanda. 'Mother! There you are!' the Scarlet Witch gasps, before Natalya tells her that as for the road, it isn't over, it merely takes a different form....

Characters Involved: 

Scarlet Witch
Agatha Harkness
Natalya Maximoff

The Myld
Various demons

Demonic apparitions:
Angel, Beast, Bova, Captain America, Cyclops, Dr Doom, Agatha Harkness, Hawkeye, High Evolutionary, Iceman, Magneto, Marvel Girl, Mastermind, Master Pandemonium, Django Maximoff, Marya Maximoff, Quicksilver, Speed, Toad, Vision, Wiccan, Wonder Man

Written By: