Magneto: Return to Father’s Day

It’s well past time for Marvel to fix one of its worst decisions of the past few years and restore the status quo of Magneto as the father of twins Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch.

In the early ’80s, Marvel firmly established Magento’s paternity of his former protégés, as had been hinted at for years. The characters had a long history already, from the days when Magneto had forced the twins into his original Brotherhood of Evil Mutants. After Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch became genuine heroes, having a father regarded as one of the Marvel Universe’s biggest villains provided a potent family dynamic that would fuel years of dramatic plots. It also served as a crucial link between the Avengers and X-Men franchises, whose adventures over time had begun to seem like they took place in completely different worlds.

However, a few years ago, the otherwise forgettable event series AXIS revealed that Magneto was, in fact, not the twins’ father. A subsequent Uncanny Avengers arc established that the twins’ powers were the result of experiments by the dependably opaque High Evolutionary. In her short-lived solo series, the Witch seemingly connected with the spirit of her deceased birth mother.

The thing is, no one really liked this twist. It did away with a powerful, complicated family connection that united different corners of Marvel’s shared universe and drove substantial drama over the years. The twist wasn’t especially exciting and the explanation that replaced Magneto’s paternity was never utilized effectively. And it also served as a blow against character diversity, retroactively negating Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch’s longstanding status as mutant characters.

The move struck many fans as less a creative decision then a business dictate. In the days before the Disney/Fox merger, the movie rights to certain characters became a bone of contention for the two studios. Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch became a particular lightning rod. They were well-established Avengers, but their father was a central character in the X-Men movies. Competing versions of Quicksilver appeared in movies released only a few months apart.

Cutting Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch’s longstanding ties to both Magneto and the mutant corner of the Marvel Universe seemed like another salvo in what fans perceived as Marvel’s campaign to bury the X-franchise as part of its publishing line. The move seemed to directly contradict Marvel’s official stance that the needs of its successful, high profile film series would not drive changes to its comic books.

Those issues have gone away in the time since Disney acquired Fox’s movie and television assets and brought all rights to the X-Men back in-house. Indeed, the X-line has received a high profile re-launch under the guidance of superstar writer Jonathan Hickman that’s been highly successful.

So why not re-establish the ties between Magneto and the twins? Magneto is a central part of the new X-landscape. Exploring the familial element with his estranged children could only add to the appeal of the new status quo. Especially given that the Scarlet Witch is often deemed a pariah, if not an outright villain, by other mutant characters, following the climax of the House of M series. Injecting her into the new “separatist mutant state” scenario could be fascinating. And the reality that one of the symbols of the new mutant status quo has non-mutant grandchildren could be another fertile plot avenue.

At this point, it just seems like smart drama. Fans disliked the retcon anyway, and given that the High Evolutionary has never been known as a trustworthy character, revealing that he lied as part of some long-term mind-game involving Magneto and the twins would be a fairly easy solution.

Let’s bury the era of conspiracy theories about Marvel trying to destroy the X-franchise once and for all. Restore Magneto’s paternity of Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch and move forward.

Author (Grievous Angels) and pop culture gadabout #amwriting