It’s possible the Scarlet Witch was murdered by Magneto‘s insane clone Joseph. The X-Men intended their Hellfire Gala to be the launch of a new era of mutantkind, with the Terraforming of Mars as the highlight. But the morning after the Gala, they were horrified to stumble upon a body left outside. Someone had murdered Wanda Maximoff, the Scarlet Witch, and left her to be found.
Magneto was distraught. For years he believed Wanda to be his daughter, and he came to love her in his own imperfect way. He was the one who invited Scarlet Witch to the Hellfire Gala in the first place – the woman hated by the mutants, treated by many as a sort of “devil” figure because of her role in decimating the mutant population years ago. He had intended for it to be an opportunity for reconciliation, and indeed before her death Magneto and Scarlet Witch had reconciled in a touching way. But now it had all gone badly wrong, with the woman he would love to one day consider a daughter again taken from him.
Making matters worse, Magneto has found himself the prime suspect – as detailed in the ongoing Trial of Magneto miniseries. But it’s possible he is innocent of the crime – and that it was done by his insane clone instead.
All the Signs Point to Death From Magnetism
The Scarlet Witch is one of the most powerful beings on Earth, a sorceress with the power to manipulate reality itself. And yet, despite that being the case, there’s no sign she ever used her power in her own defense; instead, when she was confronted by her killer, she simply attempted to flee. That suggests Wanda was killed by someone she believed even she could not defeat, and it’s easy to understand why the X-Men believe Magneto to be the prime candidate. He is an Omega level mutant, defined as someone “whose dominant power is deemed to register — or reach — an undefinable upper limit of that power’s specific classification.” What’s more, the historic relationship between Scarlet Witch and Magneto – one in which he terrified her long before he ever came to believe she was his daughter – means Wanda would naturally be afraid of him should she see his powers flaring around her.
According to Rachel Grey’s chronoskimming, Scarlet Witch briefly managed to free herself from her enemy and made a break for freedom. She was grabbed from behind, her hands trapped so she could not summon her typical Hex Magic, and another object was used to throttle her. Wanda didn’t go quietly, her fingers tearing at whatever held her with such fierceness that she ripped her own fingernails out. X-Factor has analyzed the blood, identifying inorganic particles around her throat and hands, and they’ve concluded the cause of death was, “strangulation, by means of supernatural magnetization.” Magneto really does seem to be the prime suspect – and yet, that seems out of character for a man who had been seeking reconciliation, and he is clearly devastated by her death.
The X-Men Comics Are Fascinated By Clones Right Now
It’s no exaggeration to say Jonathan Hickman’s X-Men relaunch has been obsessed with clones. In part that’s because the X-Men have embraced cloning to an unprecedented degree, making them a core part of their conquest of death. Xavier has learned how to synergize mutant powers with Cerebro technology in order to rapidly create clones of deceased mutants and implant copies of their consciousnesses within them. This process has naturally led to some pretty intense philosophical questions of identity, which Nightcrawler in particular has wrestled with.
But the X-Men’s interest in cloning goes beyond that. Hellions‘ first arc focused on Madelyne Pryor, the insane clone of Jean Grey created long ago by Mr. Sinister who was subsequently denied resurrection by Krakoa’s ruling Quiet Council. The story has gradually revealed Mr. Sinister’s attempts to circumvent Krakoa’s rules, as he seeks to create a new generation of clones known as Chimaeras. Meanwhile, New Mutants has also wrestled with the question of clone identity, with Gabby – the young clone of Laura Kinney’s Wolverine – mulling over the question of whether or not she would be resurrected if she were ever killed. She was murdered by the Shadow King, and fortunately, the X-Men have rebelled against Charles Xavier’s wishes and determined to bring her back from the dead regardless. Given the current importance of clones to the X-Men franchise, then, it is entirely possible Scarlet Witch’s murder has been done by a clone.
Scarlet Witch Could Have Been Killed By Magneto’s Clone
As it happens, Magneto has a clone of his own, Joseph. He was originally an ally of the X-Men, even pursuing a relationship with Rogue, but he was driven insane when he learned he wasn’t the real deal. Joseph has since become a terrifying threat for the X-Men, a villain who possesses all of Magneto’s power but doesn’t really have any consistent ideology. It’s true he was believed killed by Kwannon, but these are superhero comics, and death is something of a revolving door.
Joseph would tick all the boxes for a suspect in Scarlet Witch’s murder. He possesses Magneto’s powers, which means he could have restrained Wanda in exactly the manner identified by X-Factor. What’s more, he could even have set himself up to look like Magneto, shaking Wanda’s nerve so much her first instinct was to run rather than defend herself. There would be a heartbreaking irony to this, in that Wanda would have been killed by someone wearing the face of the man she had only just reconciled with – and the emotional cocktail created by these strange circumstances would explain why her powers were never used, until it was too late.
Of course, if this theory is correct, the one remaining question is just why Joseph would target Scarlet Witch; it’s quite possible he is someone else’s pawn, because he’s never been entirely stable. If Joseph is indeed responsible, then no doubt future issues of The Trial of Magneto will explain why he did the deed.
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