Scarlet Witch (3rd series) #8

Issue Date: 
November 2023
Story Title: 

Steve Orlando (writer), Lorenzo Tammetta & Sara Pichelli (artists), Frank William (colorist), Virtual Calligraphy's Cory Petit (letterer), Anthony Gambino (production designer & illustrator), Russell Dauterman (cover artist), W. Scott Forbes; Oscar Vega (variant cover artists), Kaitlyn Lindtvedt (assistant editor), Alanna Smith (editor), Wil Moss (senior editor), CB Cebulski (editor-in-chief)

Scarlet Witch created by Stan Lee & Jack Kirby

Brief Description: 

The Scarlet Witch and Joseph defeat some Kiropterans, before Wanda discusses how Joseph is wanting to make amends for his past deeds. Wanda discusses the notion of redemption, before they are interrupted by the arrival of an Asgardian mountain giant through the Last Door. Wanda learns that the giant is one of the last remaining of his people, and that he wants to represent his people in a court, where they seek justice against Malekith for slaughtering them. Wanda agrees to help the mountain giant and journeys to Jotunheim, Asgard, where Joseph is kept busy battling a savage frost beast, and Wanda confronts Loki on the mountain giant's behalf. Loki isn't sure the mountain giant has any rights, but Wanda does a good job advocating for him, and Loki agrees to a duel of honesty against Wanda. They counter each other's tragedies, recalling their past griefs over and over, as well as their accomplishments – until Wanda tells Loki that there be love between them with this true self Loki is representing to her today. Loki doesn't like this and yields, allowing the mountain giant to have his claim. After Joseph defeats the frost beast, Wanda gives him some comforting words about his future. Later, Wanda and Darcy Lewis discuss Joseph, unaware that he is in a cave, communicating via mysterium-telecode with the mysterious Hexfinder, who has just slaughtered Heinrich von Hate as a warning to Wanda and all of her kind that it is open season on witches.


Full Summary: 


Jotunheim, Realm of the Giants, where Loki reclines on a throne and looks over to a new arrival: 'A moment ago, I had a door, Wanda. You could've knocked' Loki smirks. Two large wooden doors have been knocked aside as Wanda Maximoff the Scarlet Witch appears, and tells Loki 'That was me knocking. Before we start -' she begins, before Loki interrupts: 'Oh, we've already -' he starts before Wanda casts a quick hex, and informs Loki that for the next hour he can only speak the truth. 'Now we've started' she adds.

(Hours earlier)

The Scarlet Witch hovers mid-air as she fights alongside the man called Joseph as they battle green goblin-type creatures. Wanda's adoptive father gave his life for his people. But the man at her side is not her father returned. He is a clone, a reflection, not Wanda's last chance to say goodbye. Joseph smiles as he knocks several creatures back with a pulse of magnetic energy and tells Wanda that he is surprised to be out with her so soon. 'It's only the Kiropterans of Zo-Ganera' Wanda replies, before asking Joseph if he would rather be at the shop. 'Not in the slightest. Repelling a time raid. Rescuing towns from being bat food... it's been good to stretch my legs'.

Shortly, Wanda and Joseph have defeated the Kiropterans and sit on the rooftop of Wanda's store, the Emporium. Joseph tells Wanda that she didn't have to do this, and he knows it has been hard for her being around him. 'I'm sick of hearing that. You don't need to be Magneto' Wanda responds. 'Just a man looking to make amends' she adds. 'Sounds easy when you say it' Joseph smiles. Wanda explains to Joseph that an elder god is bound to her soul – not exactly a light brunch. 'I died for redemption. Though I did get better' Wanda tells Joseph. 'We've got that in common – not that I had a choice. From day one... I've been someone's tool. I wasn't born. I was made in a lab. Made to kill Magneto. Given all his raw power, none of his skill. A weapon. A weapon of mass destruction' Joseph declares as he flips a coin then uses his powers to shatter it into pieces. Joseph reminds Wanda that he was killed, that Kwannon cut his head off, and he still carries the scars. 'After all the harm I did. Against humans. Against mutants. Against your own father... I wouldn't forgive me' Joseph utters.

Wanda admits that she wasn't sure she could, as Magneto's death was fresh, and her sister had just visited. During that visit, Wanda had waited for her sister to bring it up, but she didn't. She wonders if neither of them were ready. 'You were a shock. I was angry at first. I've been used too, Joseph. I've hurt plenty and paid the price...but I'm still here. I turned the page' Wanda tells Joseph, adding that there is no shortcut to redemption, and no schedule. 'You might think it's too late, but it's not'. Wanda then creates a small magic bird, which sits in the palm of her hand. 'Wanda, that's -' Joseph begins, but before Wanda can respond, the shrill voice of Darcy Lewis can be heard shouting: 'Hey – boss! You up there? There's a gold-plated hole of an ass in here... and he's got demands!' Darcy exclaims.

Inside, a giant is crouched before Darcy Lewis, who folds her arms and looks unimpressed. 'You short-boned pedant – I gild no such holes!' the giant declares. 'I call it like I see it, dude – not sure why the last door sent us a shiny whining enema'. The giant tells Darcy that he cannot whine, and that he is a mountain giant of Jotunheim. 'Songs of our loss are legendary!' he exclaims. 'If you say so, Arkin the Weak' Darcy responds, waving a finger in Arkin's face. The giant rolls his eyes and explains that it is a ceremonial term. 'But enough, you flightless Valkyrie. Present me with your master!' The Scarlet Witch enters, wide-eyed as she announces 'Darcy has none. But this is my shop. Arkin, is it?' Joseph follows Wanda as she stands before Arkin and informs him that she knows of the mountain giants as people who refused to bow to Malekith in the War of the Realms. 'He slaughtered you in return. Loki stood with him then. Now he rules Jotunheim'.

Wanda tells Arkin that she assumes revenge has called him through the door, to which Arkin tells Wanda that her portal is the talk of the realms, and he did seek it – but not for revenge – for respect. Arkin explains that what is left of his people are adrift, and he wants to lead them represent them in court, only Loki, his trickiest of cousins, has rejected his claim. 'Can't imagine why, Arkin the Weak' Darcy mutters. 'It's a ceremonial term!' Arkin repeats himself, before pointing out that Arkin robs him of his birthright. 'Do you not aid the wronged?' he asks the Scarlet Witch. 'What more is there to consider, woman?' he adds. Wanda takes Arkin's large hands and tells him that her name isn't “woman” but that she will help him, if only to see the look on Loki's face. 'And I won't be alone' she adds, causing Joseph to look surprised.


In Jotunheim, a large Frost Beast roars as it lunges towards Joseph, who keeps it at bay with a magnetic pulse. '“It'll be fun” she says. “See the Ten Realms” she says' Joseph quotes Wanda. 'See what – a bloodstained uvula?' he asks.

Outside the throne room, Arkin stands and listens as Loki can be heard asking 'A truth hex? That's no small feat, I must admit. Must in the literal sense'. Loki informs Wanda that the idea of her father's clone being eaten by Frost Beasts tickles him. 'And that my fetid mountain cousin should shower if he intends to hide' Loki adds. 'See? Not lying can be fun' Loki smiles as he stands up and slowly approaches the Scarlet Witch. 'Oh, I know. Like I know you. And your many faces. You suspect. It is your nature' Wanda Loki, informing him that when his cousin asks to lead his people, Loki assumes deception, seeing challenge where there is only grief. Loki tells Wanda that the only thing Arkin grieves is his social standing. 'I may suspect, but you trust – that is far more dangerous' he suggests. Wanda is defiant and reminds Loki that Arkin's people are all but gone, so he deserves to speak for what few remain.

'Such a right exists – but is it his?' Loki queries, asking why he should let Arkin represent those he couldn't protect. Wanda holds her arms as Loki walks past her and notes that power doesn't have sympathy, so he must think of Jotunheim. 'The mountain giants are better off as nomads than led by a jellyfish. Although...imagine the scale of his failure! Perhaps I could grant Arkin's wish...were you to, say, best me in a duel?' Loki asks, smiling at Wanda. 'Name the weapon' Wanda responds. Arkin goes wide-eyed as he continues to listen, as Loki tells Wanda that she has left him with but one blade – the truth. 'A duel of honesty. I accept, of course. The first to yield, then?' Wanda smiles. 'Yes. Let us see who cuts deepest. Shall we begin?' Loki asks, extending a hand to Wanda.

Wanda accepts Loki's hand as Loki announces that he will go first. He tells Wanda that she mocks him for suspecting, but that suspicion is his strongest armor. 'You chide me for trusting – but lately, trust has been my greatest tool' Wanda responds. Loki tells her that trust is a risk, but Wanda points out that risk builds strength, and notes that metal must be tempered. 'Tempered, yes. I was raised by a king who stole me as the spoils of war' Loki declares. 'A mad scientist ripped me from my parents' Wanda declares, to which Loki claims that he grew up a pariah among Asgardians, only to learn he wasn't Asgardian at all. Wanda states that she was judged for who she is for years, only to learn part of it was a lie. Loki tells Wanda that his brother has repeatedly beaten him on the head with a star-forged hammer, to which Wanda notes that her brother would never admit it, but a small part of him still fears her every move.

Loki continues, announcing that his true father is dead, and was, at times, a conquering, vengeful murderer. 'Also, he ate me' Loki adds. Wanda reveals that her true father has also passed, and that he saved her from a mob – but was, at times, a fanatic himself.

Loki steps back as he and Wanda begin to dance, and Loki states that he still questions whether Odin was capable of loving a child in action as well as word. But Wanda announces that she has never had such questions about Magneto, even during his cruellest eras – or her own. 'I once turned my brother into a frog. And I love Cuisses de Grenouilles'. Wanda notes that her father once killed her brother after he manipulated her into rewriting reality.

'I stole your face to rally an army against Chthon – the abuser you were to weak to destroy' Loki smirks, and to which Wanda points out that she mastered Chthon with the wisdom that destruction is not the only path to victory.

'I was torn to shreds by the angel of death for defending my brother' Loki reveals as he and Wanda continue their dance. Wanda counters by informing Loki that she allowed her own murder to set right her crimes against an entire species. Loki boasts that he has seen beyond all creation, and discovered his life itself is a long-form lie. 'I've learned that more times than I can count' Wanda smiles. Loki utters that he could have been more, that he didn't need to be the God of Evil, or Mischief, and that he didn't need to rule like his father by blood or his father by theft, and so he claimed his own role as God of Outcasts, followed himself, not fate, writing his own next chapter, and now living it. 'But there are whispers, omens... of the price. An unseen, undefined sword above my head' Loki explains, adding that he doesn't know how or when, but that this path will cost him his life. 'I can live as a liar or die as a hero. Either way... I am to be punished'.

Wanda dances backwards as she tells Loki that if that is the truth, his truth, and that he believes it, in which case she is sorry. She then reveals that she has thought the same, and that it was the worst, darkest part of her life. 'For all we've battled... I've never seen you through this lens. You're in pain. Of all the faces you've shown me, none of them have been so nakedly true' Wanda utters. 'Generally such honesty costs the listeners their lives. Or failing that, their ears' Loki responds. Wanda assures Loki that she hears him, and she sees him, if only thanks to their duel. 'No, I know you' Wanda realizes. She suggests that Loki is a kindred spirit who's struggled from birth, someone long hidden, one who has fought their whole life against the path others put them on – someone judged for a past they have overcome with sacrifices – sacrifices even they themselves have only begun to understand.

Loki pulls Wanda closer, their mouths only inches apart as Wanda tells Loki that she sees the kinship, a friend. 'Perhaps more...' Wanda begins as she Loki move their lips even closer – before Wanda pulls away. '...but only perhaps. That is the tragedy. Our tragedy' Wanda remarks, while Loki goes wide-eyed, surprised. '...what?' he asks as he looks at Wanda. 'I'll admit – we're more alike than I imagined. You understand things about me few do. There could be more between us. Could even be love, if nurtured with time... but only with this you. Your absolute true self' Wanda tells Loki, before pointing out that that is someone who he will never fully be. Loki stares at Wanda, then narrows his eyes and frowns as he pulls away from their dance. 'I yield' Loki concedes, adding that he will ensure no gloating, not in his time of mourning for his self-respect. 'See? Not lying can be fun. Wait – was that gloating?' Wanda smiles. 'Yes, yes..' Loki mumbles in response.

'You might as well show yourself, Arkin' Loki calls out, as the giant appears from around the corner. 'It – it's over? After all this time, I... I'm finally getting what I deserve?' Arkin asks. 'Debatable' Loki responds, before assuring Arkin that he will get what he wants, thanks to Wanda. 'To the victor's ward go the spoils' Loki declares, before telling Arkin to come. 'Shepherd and chief representative of the mountain giants. Let me welcome you anew. Let us embrace' Loki calls out. 'Really?' Arkin asks, while Wanda looks on. 'Why, cousin! I cannot lie – not for the moment' Loki explains. Loki hugs the somewhat anxious giant and remarks 'You asked that I honor your claim. But power isn't requested – it's taken. You have your title, Arkin. Let's see how long you keep it'. Loki then tells Wanda to see herself out. 'And collect the family homunculus on the way' he adds.

Outside, the Frost Beast lunges at Joseph once more – and is met by a beam of magnetic energy that slices up through the creature's head, decapitating it. 'Whew' Joseph remarks, covered in blood. He greets Wanda as she drops down beside him, and apologizes for the mess. 'These ice beasts – no manners' he suggests, before noticing that the castle is still standing, and assumes that they won.

Later, back in Lotkill, New York, Wanda and Joseph sit on top of the Emporium, and Joseph asks Wanda if she minds helping with the clean up, as the blood is starting to set. 'Problems only we understand' Wanda responds as she casts a hex which cleans the blood from Joseph. Joseph then reminds Wanda that he hid for a long time, but that today, he felt useful again, and thanks her for that. But Wanda tells Joseph that no thanks is needed. 'Agree to disagree. It was good being out there. Helping someone – dickish or not' Joseph adds, admitting that, for a second, he almost forgot who he has been. 'That would never have happened without you' he adds. Wanda smiles and tells Joseph that it wasn't her, as he chose to take her invitation. 'To be clear – I'm glad you did' she assures Joseph. 'Me too, too' Joseph responds, adding that he isn't sure he'll ever forget the man he used to be – but right now, forgiving him doesn't feel impossible. 'And that's new' Joseph remarks as he flies off the rooftop.

Later still, Wanda and Darcy lean over the counter in the Emporium, sharing a platter of foood, Darcy asks Wanda 'How's Joe?' to which Wanda explains that he is tentative, and still hurting. 'And you're sure we can trust him beneath that perfect hair?' Darcy asks. Wanda tells Darcy that she isn't a fool, and knows that Joseph has been a pawn, and that there aren't many who would welcome him. 'I'd welcome some progress. Joe studied the rock – thinkgs there's time stuff at work' Darcy responds, explaining that the rock might be older than it should be. 'But I'm sick of answering questions with questions' Darcy mutters. Wanda agrees, but notes that so far, Joseph has done nothing to abuse their faith in him. 'If he does...he'll regret it' Wanda points out. Wanda looks at the rock hanging around Darcy's neck and tells Darcy 'I wasn't there for Krakoa when Orchis struck. I wasn't there for my father when he died. But I can be here for Joseph now'. Darcy then asks where Joseph is, and Wanda tells her that he is exploring the Hudson Valley skies. 'Which is good...Joseph isn't our prisoner' Wanda remarks.

However, Joseph is actually in a cave, wearing his black suit and black version of Magneto's helmet. He taps his fingertips on his throne-like seat, using a Mysterium-telecode, not wanting to risk using his voice. The Mysterium-telecode is picked up by an unseen figure in another location. 'Go ahead, Joseph. I'm only killing Nazis' the figure responds also by using Mysterium-telecode. A blond man stands in view, and the unseen figure calls him Heinrich von Hate. 'Who knew his cursed mother Hilda had time to spawn?' the unseen figure remarks via Mysterium-telecode. Joseph responds by using Mysterium-telecode and revealing that infiltration is progressing, but Wanda is wary, and the death of her father is overpowering, and Wanda feels both guilty and suspcious. 'Good. But this is Maximoff. Get closer. Only a sure shot will hit. Wanda cares for you – don't get lost in that. She didn't give you back your life. I did. And I can take it away just as quickly' the unseen figure responds via Mysterium-telecode, while shoving her staff through Heinrich von Hate's chest.

'Very aware of that. Signing off. Enjoy Nazi-hunt' Joseph responds via Mysterium-telecode, tapping his fingers as does. 'You think this is a hunt?' comes the response. It's Hexfinder, who stands over Heinrich's body, blood pooling around it. Hexfinder tells Joseph that Heinrich was not hunt. 'He's a bigoted warlock with delusions of supremacy. A warning for Wanda and all her kind. The last Hexfinder lives. It's open season on witches!'

Characters Involved: 

Scarlet Witch



Darcy Lewis






Arkin the Weak


Heinrich von Hate


Frost Beast

Kiropterans of Zo-Ganera

Story Notes: 

Joseph was slain by Kwannon in Uncanny X-Men (5th series) #16.

Arkin the Weak first appeared in Journey into Mystery (1st series) #109. He then appeared in Domination Factor: Avengers #2.4 and #3.6, in which he was seemingly killed.

Polaris visited in Scarlet Witch (3rd series) #3.

Hilda von Hate has previously appeared in a WWII-era story chronicled in Uncanny Avengers Annual (2nd series) #1. This issue marks the first appearance of her son, Heinrich.

Hexfinder debuted in Scarlet Witch (3rd series) #7.

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