The Scarlet Witch has been the central figure at a number of Marvel Events over the years, since Brian Bendis started writing the Avengers. Disassembled, House Of M, Childrens Crusade… and now Avengers Vs X-Men. She’s been quite the loose cannon. Or should that be loose canon?
Hope has been doing similar for the X-books since Mike Carey came on board, and developed by Fraction, Brubaker and Gillen. Messiah Complex, Second Coming, Generation Hope… and now Avengers Vs X-Men. She also seems to have a tendency to rough things up.
And although this comic passes the Bechdel test with flying colours, it is also a comic about these two women and the relationship with a man. Wanda Maximoff – the Scarlet Witch – and The Vision, Hope Summers and Scott Summers. Their stories here reflect each other, Wanda rejected by Vision, Hope rejecting Scott. Wanda, feared for her past performance, that she could tear apart family and friends and remake the world. Hope, feared for predictions made about her future, that she’ll kill a million humans and create a mutant apocalypse. Scarlet Witch is expelled from her home for her past sins, Hope leaves in defiance against the sins expected from her future.
It’s the two worlds of the Avengers and the X-Men, dovetailing together by playing up the similar themes with both characters. They never meet in their book, but the reader is invited to draw many parallels. There’s also the feeling, by making these links, that this was all planned even if it were not. But it feels more like a baton race, Scarlet Witch passing on her role in the Marvel Universe to Hope, albeit with very different motivations and attitude to it all.
The temptation to read into the treatment of Eve by much of Western culture is… well, tempting. The woman seen as destroying the Garden Of Eden, the perfect world, dragging the man down with her into sin, and all blame being placed upon her shoulders, and never being able to go home to perfection again. It’s a common critical theme of feminist studies, and often seen as a desire to punish women, keep them in their place, and to remain an easy scapegoat for a man’s actions.
You might think that was over reading, it’s just a superhero comic and certainly not intended. Until you see exactly who it is Hope goes up against after leaving Utopia…?
That’s right folks, the Serpent Society. Which does rather indicate that Bendis is doing this on purpose and it’s not some repressed woman-hating screed, disguised as a story about female empowerment. I mean it’s the Serpent Society for goodness sake…
And look, if you’re going to do takes on Eve, two in one issue even, you might as well get Frank Cho… who swears that is not a giant vagina on the cover. Oh the symbolism, the symbolism, the symbolism…
Avengers Vs X-Men #0 is published by Marvel today. Comics courtesy of Orbital Comics of London.
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