For the last decade or so, Marvel’s kept the world of the X-Men and Avengers fairly separate thanks to fractious movie rights. That, however, wasn’t always the way things went – in fact, one of the most key issues in Avengers history is X-Men #4! We have a CGC 4.0 graded copy of this legendary March 1964 issue coming to auction this month, so lets look at what makes it key.
The Brotherhood of Evil Mutants
In their first appearance, the X-Men were able to beat the older and more powerful mutant villain Magneto through teamwork. The Master of Magnetism took notes, because he returned three issues later with his own team: The Brotherhood of Evil Mutants! It consisted of the career criminal Mastermind, the simpering toadie Toad, and mutant twins The Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver. The last two stick out because they’re notably younger than their colleagues and not particularly dedicated to the cause of conquest.
In fact, they’re only Brotherhood members out of obligation. You see, The Scarlet Witch’s powers are “hexes”, capable of causing bad luck to happen to anyone she targets. Steady pitchers knock over, well-built roofs fall, that kind of thing. And those events were mistaken for witchcraft by the villagers of her Eastern European home. Magneto rescued her from an angry mob, earning him her begrudging loyalty. Her brother, being a protective sort, brings his superhuman speed along as her bodyguard.
From Villains to Avengers
The Brotherhood would battle the X-Men for three issues in a row, each time with a different scheme. Strangely, Scarlet Witch would be unintentionally instrumental to foiling Magneto’s plans in X-Men #6. Both the X-Men and the Brotherhood set out to recruit the sometime villain Namor, The Sub-Mariner. And, unfortunately, Magneto’s message of conquest resonates with the Prince of Atlantis more than the X-Men’s message of peace. There’s just one problem: the regal Namor has courtly manners and Magneto does not. When Magneto abuses The Scarlet Witch, Namor takes violent offense at the breach of manners and the alliance ends before it can start. In hindsight, this was the beginning of the end of the twins time as villains.
The Brotherhood battled the original X-Men for the final time in X-Men #11, cover date March 1965. That issue saw Magneto dragged to outer space by alien scientist The Stranger, dissolving the villainous crew. Two months later, Avengers #16 featured the original team disbanding and Captain America recruiting new members. In what was a shocking move at the time, all three of Cap’s new teammates were reluctant supervillains from the pages of other Marvel titles. That included Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver from X-Men plus circus archer turned unwitting Russian agent Hawkeye from Iron Man. While Quicksilver would frequently come-and-go from the roster over the years, The Scarlet Witch remains an Avengers mainstay to this day. She even led the proactive Avengers squad, Force Works, in the 90s!
The First of Many, Many Key Issues
The Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver have a very long history at Marvel and both of them have appeared in a number of issues considered “key”. Scarlet Witch in particular has been part of a great many iconic Avengers moments, including her marriage to the android hero The Vision. Some of these issues are more valuable than others, but they’re all worthy entries in a collection. If you’ve got a favorite Scarlet Witch story, sound off below or hit us up on social media @b2pcollect.
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