Retroactive continuity, retcon for short, is a literary device used to contradict or change an established story. It’s very common in comics and a convenient way for new writers to leave their mark on an established story. Retconning is often seen as a controversial decision because it alters what fans have come to love about a character. When it comes to the parentage of Quicksilver and the Scarlet Witch, retconning has become the norm. Up until a few years ago, it was established they were the children of Magneto, but their parentage was altered and The Comic Vault is going to examine the history behind the twins.
The twins were introduced as part of the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants in 1964’s X-Men #4. Magneto had saved Pietro and Wanda after they were attacked by an angry mob who saw Wanda use her powers. They worked with the Master of Magnetism for a time, but eventually joined the Avengers. During their early days, the twin’s backstory was established as being the son and daughter of Django and Marya Maximoff. They grew up on Wundagore Mountain in Transia.
Wanda was kidnapped by Django and taken back to Wundagore, where she was temporarily possessed by the demon Chnthon. Around the same time, Magneto had been trying to track down his estranged wife Magda and discovered that he was the father of the twins. Magda had fled from Magneto while she was pregnant and given birth to Wanda and Pietro on Wundagore. She’d supposedly died of exposure to the elements, leading the High Evolutionary to put them in the care of their adoptive parents. This retcon was made in 1979, which ironically turned out to be a good thing because it provided character development for Magneto, Pietro and Wanda.
As their father, Magneto shared a complicated dynamic with the twins. Wanda and Pietro were horrified by what Magneto had done and spent their lives trying to get as far away from him as possible. But the family ties made their struggle entertaining. Magneto loved his children, even though he knew he’d caused too much damage for them to ever have a healthy relationship.
Their family struggle was at the centre of House of M and M-Day, where the Scarlet Witch used her reality warping powers to create an ideal world for her father and then destroy a large part of the mutant population. It was revealed that Pietro had been the one behind Wanda’s mental break down and Magneto killed Pietro in anger.
This relationship was the status quo until 2014’s AXIS event. Wanda had worked with Doctor Strange to cast a spell of to bring out Charles Xavier in the Red Skull, who’d been using his powers to destroy the world. But the spell backfired and Wanda was twisted into an evil version of herself. While Quicksilver and Magneto tried to talk her down, she put a curse on them that was meant to punish her blood. Pietro was the only one who reacted, meaning Magneto wasn’t their father.
The twins real parentage was revealed by the High Evolutionary. He told them Django and Marya Maximoff were their true parents. They weren’t mutants either because they’d gained their powers after the High Evolutionary had experimented on them.
This isn’t the first time a retcon has been retconned, but it struck me as lazy writing. During the time, Fox and Marvel were battling over rights to the X-Men and the twins were set to appear in Avengers: Age Of Ultron. Fox claimed the rights because they were Magneto’s children and Marvel claimed the rights because of the editorial history of the characters being associated with the Avengers. The change was made to distance the relationship between Magneto, Pietro and Wanda, bringing them in line with the film versions. It devalued a family dynamic that had entertained X-Men fans for years.
Wanda and Pietro have remained strong characters, but their family ties to Magneto made them even more interesting. I still believe it was one of the worse decisions Marvel has ever made.
What’s your opinion on Wanda and Pietro’s parentage?