The X-Men’s Trial of Magneto Begins With Tragedy at the Hellfire Gala

The X-Men’s Trial of Magneto Begins With Tragedy at the Hellfire Gala
The Scarlet Witch and her adoptive father, Magneto. (Image: Al Ewing, Valerio Schiti, Marte Gracia, Ariana Maher/Marvel)

Though the Scarlet Witch hasn’t technically been a mutant for some time now in Marvel’s comics, the Hellfire Gala event and its many invitations to non-mutant guests of the X-Men left little question as to whether the so-called “great pretender” would make an appearance at the function.

As the Gala was winding down in the pages of SWORD #6 from writer Al Ewing, artist Valerio Schiti, colorist Marte Gracia, and letterer Ariana Maher, Wanda Maximoff showed up just in time to have a poignant heart-to-heart with Magneto, her adoptive father who wasted little time disowning her and her twin brother after their non-mutant status was revealed. Even though Magneto spent years insisting that Wanda was solely to blame for her mental breakdowns that ultimately led to M-Day, the pair appeared to be ready to make amends and start anew, fitting with the X-Men’s larger project of reinventing themselves.

But as lovely as Wanda and Magneto’s reunion was, the final page of Leah Williams, Devid Baldeón, David Messina, Lucas Werneck, Israel Silva, Joe Caramagna’s X-Factor #10 revealed that their moment of happiness was quite brief. In a twist of events that’s yet to be explained, the Scarlet Witch is now quite dead, and the fallout of her sudden passing is going to play right into the events of The Trial of Magneto from Williams and Werneck.

In a statement about the upcoming event, Marvel detailed how, following Wanda’s death, the Avengers arrive soon after seeking answers about what happened, and come to blows with the X-Men in the process. This isn’t the first time that the Avengers and the X-Men have clashed over matters related to the Scarlet Witch, but given some of the things that have been happening in Marvel’s X-Men comics lately, her death and The Trial of Magneto could be uniquely significant.

The cover of The Trial of Magento #1. (Image: Mark Brooks/Marvel) The cover of The Trial of Magento #1. (Image: Mark Brooks/Marvel)

Post-“House of X” death has become little more than a minor inconvenience for Marvel’s mutants thanks to new technologies that effectively grant every single one of them immortality. The exact mechanics of the X-Men’s resurrection process involves five mutants creating new bodies for deceased mutants from organic material, into which psychic backups of the mutant’s consciousness are placed. Strictly speaking, the Krakoan resurrection protocols, which can be tweaked to make adjustments to new bodies, are only meant to be used on mutants. But one can easily imagine how a narcissistic antihero like Magneto might consider the possibility of using his sway on Krakoa’s Quiet Council to convince the other members to use the protocols to bring Wanda back, perhaps with a genuine X-gene in tow.

Marvel’s comics have been touching on similar complications presented by Krakoa for people like Franklin Richards who spent years believing himself to be a mutant, only to be disabused of that notion when he couldn’t travel through a Krakoan gate. If that were the direction The Trial of Magneto were to go in, the moral implications of Krakoa’s resurrection being used to transform people into mutants would be major and only give further credence to the idea that the X-Men have lost their damn minds on that mutant island.

But even if Wanda’s meant to stay a non-mutant and dead in the ground, what’s particularly interesting to keep in mind is that the events of Steve Orlando and Cian Tormey’s upcoming Darkhold Alpha are set before the events of X-Factor #10. There isn’t much detail about Darkhold Alpha and the larger Darkhold event in which the Scarlet Witch and Doctor Doom are going to battle for the titular mystical book, but it feels safe to assume that all of this death and chaos are meant to coalesce into something compelling.