Thursday, July 14, 2016

Face-Off: Jean Grey or Scarlet Witch?

Martinex1:  Today's Face-Off question is: Jean Grey or Wanda Maximoff?  What do you have to say about these Marvel heroines born in the Silver Age?  Present your case and share your thoughts.
The Mutant X-Man Marvel Girl!
The Mutant Avenger Scarlet Witch!

They have faced off before!
And Wanda has had a few toes into the dark side!

Jean went a bit over the edge as the Dark Phoenix!

Jean and Scott have a strange and long running relationship.

Wanda and Vision's marriage may be even odder.
And both scored a spot on Son of Origins!  But who do you prefer?
Jean even once disguised herself as Wanda!


Anonymous said...
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dbutler16 said...

These were my first tow comic book crushes, but I have to say that the Silver Age Jean didn't have much personality, so I'd have to choose Wanda there, but, like Colin, I think I'd go with Jean in the Bronze Age if only for the cool Phoenix costume (though the Neal Adams era green skirt costume was pretty cool, too) as well as the wonderful stories she was a part of.

Anonymous said...

To answer the question I'll say Wanda. Maybe because like dbutler, she was my first comic book crush as I grew up with the Engelhart Avengers and kooky quartet reprints.

But both of them got much better treatment post Silver Age than they got from Stan the Man. Most all of Stan's superhero women were portrayed as pretty much 2nd class citizens who deferred to stronger male figures. Add the Invisible Girl , the Wasp and probably others to that list. It wasn't until the Bronze Age that new writers turned all of these gals into powerhouses and/or leaders - in some cases maybe swinging that pendulum too far the other way.


BobC said...

I loved both for the same reasons Tom just stated. Today, however, Wanda has been ruined, starting with Bendis.

Redartz said...

Agreeing with Tom; both heroines were far more interesting in the Bronze Age than the Silver. To choose- it would be Wanda. Nothing against Jean; I simply found Wanda more intriguing. Both are quite powerful, Jean probably more so. But the Scarlet Witch is no slouch. I'd bet either could hold their own against their respective teams...

Anonymous said...

Yeah, I'd probably go for Scarlet Witch as well; I just think she was more interesting overall, although she became less so when they turned her crazy/homicidal. Both characters did start out as second-class citizens, as Tom mentioned, but they got more powerful later on.

Unfortunately, the writers seemed to keep looking for ways to limit their powers, maybe to keep them from being more powerful than the guys on the team. I mean technically, both Wanda and Jean have the potential for almost unlimited power, which could make for some cool stories with them trying to retain their humanity and all that. Of course, they did go that direction with the Dark Phoenix story, but then changed it later so it wasn't "really" Jean after all.

Mike Wilson

Edo Bosnar said...

Jean Grey, because I really liked her story arc which ended with the conclusion of the Dark Phoenix saga. Needless to say, I don't think she should have been brought back after that...

Karen said...

Wanda started off more interesting, but Jean had a better ending. Unfortunately for Wanda, it was decided she would become powerful and then crazy, as if the two had to go hand in hand. It's also unfortunate that Jean was brought back -that negated her sacrifice and put a sour note on the Dark Phoenix saga. Of course, in my head, it was always Jean as Phoenix, and that's the way I still prefer to think of it. Otherwise, who cares?

Anonymous said...

I've been a lifelong X-men fan but like Redartz, Tom and others I'd have to give my nod to Wanda. I enjoyed the Dark Phoenix saga, but it just got too convoluted after that with Claremont's Madelyne Pryor/clone mess.

- Mike 'does the Vision blush? You can't tell.' from Trinidad & Tobago.

William said...

I never warmed up to Scarlet Witch all that much. She's always been kind of boring to me, especially when I was a kid. And it seemed to me they were always trying to make her seem more popular than she actually wasl. (At least that's the impression I get).

Also, her powers are too undefined. She basically has those ex-machina powers that she can do whatever the writer needs her to do at the time they need it to get the Avengers out of whatever situation they happen to be in. So, sometimes she seem's all powerful (like when she took out Ultron single-handedly) and then other times she's next to useless (like when she was rendered helpless by some ants, courtesy of a temporarily crazy Hank Pym). Plus I thought her marriage to the Vision was more than just a little bit creepy.

And furthermore they've screwed around with Wanda's personality so many times it's not even funny. Here is her entire history in a nutshell, she's bad (early days of the X-Men), then she's good (she joins Cap's Avengers), then she's bad again (when she becomes Chthon in Avengers #186), then she's good once more (and eventually joins the West Coast Avengers), then she's really bad (when she goes all evil and tries to kill the WC Avengers), then she's good again (for a while), then she's really really bad (when she succeeds in "disassembling" the Avengers and killing a couple of them to boot), then she's good again, (I think maybe) but I'm not sure. You know what, it's too hard to keep track of the mood swings of that crazy witch.

So, I suppose I prefer Jean Grey, especially when she was being handled by Claremont and Byrne. I absolutely loved the Dark Phoenix Saga, and still rate it at (or near) the top of all time great comic book stories.

I was kind of indifferent at the time when they resurrected her. If they'd left her dead I would have been OK with it, but I didn't mind so much when she returned. I thought they came up with a pretty clever reason for how she could still be alive.

However, it did kind of ruin every story that featured Jean Grey as the Phoenix in it, (because the Phoenix wasn't actually Jean Grey just a reasonable facsimile). The real Jean was at the bottom of the river in a cocoon all that time. So, in all those classic Claremont/Byrne X-Men stories Cyclops was making out with a creepy shape shifting space alien. Y'know now that I think about, it does kind of tick me off that they undid the DP Saga and brought her back.

I change my answer. It's a tie! They both kind of aggravate me.

pfgavigan said...


I'm going to go with Wanda on this one.

Now keep in mind that my comic book buying, at least with Marvel, came to an end during the DeFalco reign. Anything that happened afterwards I really don't know much about. It's just that up to that point the Scarlet Witch seemed to be progressing in what I would call a 'life cycle'; a career, marriage and children.

You know, stuff that must have really made John Byrne's trigger finger itch.

But up to that . . . spectacle I had really been enjoying her evolution. Granted I had also been entertained by the Phoenix Saga, but that one came to such a good, in my opinion, conclusion that I elected to ignore Jean Grey's return and consequently gave up on almost every X-title that there was at the time.

As for anything that has happened during the Modern Era to either character, I choose to disregard. After all, if the current crop of writers can ignore fifty some years of history, well then . . . I can too.

Anonymous said...

Good match-up! I'd almost forgotten that Wanda was created to give Jean something to do in fights between the mutant groups, and, of course, Wanda was given vague power levels because women's powers were not quantified back then.
And they BOTH received upgrades to the point where writers said "Whoa, there, wimmen with too much power are likely to go crazy!" and subsequently put the uppity gals down!
I joke, but there is a kernel of truth. Jean's Phoenix was hungry initially the way Galactus was, and the death of the Broccoli Planet was akin to the Big Guy's salad days, yet SHE had to die. Wanda could barely defeat a foe one on one (which made her team membership a necessity), but under Bendis she was powerful enough to shape worlds! (Yes, she had been used by Morgan Le Fey to do just that, but it was Morgan wielding the power there.)AND Bendis instigated the Wanda downfall upon her "discovery" about the fate of her twins with the Vision, itself a storyline that Byrne had corrected because Wanda should not have been powerful enough to create life.
Which character is better? I'd probably go with Wanda. Her current book is one of two from Marvel that I purchase monthly. That may end next month, as that issue is supposed to tie in with Civil War IX, or whatever number they are up to. Her series is a nice stand-alone one that focuses on her witchy powers and has her traveling the world. It's written by James Robinson, who did some decent work at DC, with rotating artists. The other Marvel book, just by coincidence, is The Vision. It, too, is a decent, and strange, stand-alone, written by Tom King, about Vision and his self-created synthezoid family.

BobC said...

Kenn--you are absolutely right even though you are joking around. I posted this before on the Avengers Assemble website, but when a certain longtime Avengers writer left the book in the early 70's, he told the writer who took over something to the effect of "Whatever you do, don't make the Scarlet Witch powerful. Guys don't like powerful females." The new writer was kind of shocked by the statement, as he recalled. THEN, in 1975, everything started to change with Storm being the most powerful X-Man. I loved it! Then came Phoenix, after an already mega powerful Jean Grey got her upgrade around issue 100. Next came Polaris, who was a match for Storm. Even though I was just a little kid, I found this change in female characters exciting! A bit later, the Scarlet Witch went from being a useless member of the Avengers to becoming increasingly powerful--although her powers remained undefined, or rather, defined in a million different, conflicting ways. Next came the huge upgrade John Byrne gave the Wasp in Marvel Team Up--where she became fast enough to out maneuver computers while flying, became strong enough to bend metal bars while insect sized, and her stings could blow a hole through a wall!

Ahhh progress...

Martinex1 said...

Thanks for all of the conversation around Jean and Wanda. I agree that it is a shame that female characters were too often just sidekicks to their male counterparts and that when their powers expanded it meant they went crazy. It made me think that not only are there not too many memorable heroines from the Silver Age, there are still not any really great female villains. I think the original intent with Jean transforming into the Dark Phoenix was that she was to remain a big-bad for the X-Men. I think that would have been very interesting. She would have had a unique villainous origin and a powerset to contend with the heroes and others like Magneto. There were a lot of opportunities missed following that epic storyline. I like the comments about Storm above. That is true- she may be the Bronze Age exception and remains a powerful character. It would be great to see more of that trend even today. Why can't Jean or Wanda or others be in the same power category as Thor?

Doug said...

Late to this - just returned from 11 days in Washington, DC.

Wanda all the way for me. I was reading reprints of the Kooky Quartet at the same time she was about to marry the Vision. I am thus far more attached to her than to Jean Grey - in any iteration.


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