- Iron Man and Scarlet Witch question the power of magic in relation to technology in Avengers Annual #1.
- Marvel’s technology has been the backbone of many heroes, while Scarlet Witch possesses immense mystical power.
- The power struggle between magic and technology becomes moot as it is revealed that magic can be replicated by technology.
The following contains spoilers for Avengers Annual #1, on sale now from Marvel Comics.
While the Marvel Universe has a seemingly endless variety of heroes, the majority of them can still be lumped into a handful of key groups. There are Marvel’s mutants such as the X-Men, and street level antiheroes such as the Punisher and Daredevil. There is also a stark rivalry between some of Marvel’s technologically inclined heroes and their counterpart Masters of the Mystic Arts, and Iron Man and Scarlet Witch just called that into question all over again.
After hunting across the globe for any trace of Agatha Harkness or the heroes who have disappeared due to her Contest of Chaos, the eponymous heroes of Avengers Annual #1 (by Stephanie Phillips, Alberto Foche, Álvaro López, Raúl Angulo, and VC’s Cory Petit) make their way out to the middle of the Bermuda Triangle. When Iron Man relays what he is picking up on his scanners, the Scarlet Witch is quick to remind him that none of them can be sure of what they are seeing so long as Agatha’s magic is involved. This immediately puts Tony on the defensive, with him remarking how much more he trusts his inventions than any form of magic, and he has plenty of good reasons to do so.
The Capabilities of Marvel’s Technology
Incredible technology has been at the heart of the Marvel Universe from the moment its very first superhero, the original Human Torch, debuted all the way back in 1939’s Marvel Comics #1 (by Carl Burgos). While other early heroes such as Thor and Namor had their beginnings in entirely fantastical circumstances, the majority of Marvel’s earliest characters were the products of science and technology in one way or another. The Fantastic Four might have received their powers from cosmic rays, but they were placed in a position to be exposed to those energies thanks to the technology that took them beyond Earth’s atmosphere.
Even if Marvel’s First Family can’t be considered the product of technology, Iron Man certainly can. This is also true of other human heroes such as Steve Rogers’ Captain America, who gained his powers as a result of the Super-Soldier Serum that was in and of itself a technological breakthrough. Additionally, there are other Avengers such as Hank Pym and Sam Wilson who rely on technology to do much of the heavy lifting when they are in the field, as well as the Vision who is actually an android. Considering the relationship the Vision and Scarlet Witch shared, Wanda is intimately familiar with what the Marvel Universe’s technology can accomplish, yet that hasn’t dissuaded her from putting her faith in its magic instead.
The Power of Marvel’s Mystic Arts
The Scarlet Witch’s status as a mutant has changed over the years, but the vast wealth of mystic powers she wields has never been in question. Wanda’s connection to the Mystic Arts has seen her reshape reality on a whim, raise legions of the dead, and literally consume both the Darkhold and Chthon. These feats have cemented Wanda’s place as one of the most terrifying forces in the Marvel Universe. They are also not quite indicative of what most other sorcerers or magicians can accomplish, although they still aren’t far off.
While there is no shortage of minor magic users in the Marvel Universe, the meekest of them have still proven themselves to be genuine threats. Whereas Doctor Strange pushed himself to his breaking point becoming the Sorcerer Supreme through studious learning and rote practice, the academy he opened has done the same for the next generation of magic-users. There, students have learned to travel through time and step into entirely different dimensions. That these lessons come so early in their educations is a stark indication of how much more the world will have to offer them when they graduate, and how much control they will be able to exert over the world in turn.
Marvel’s Feud Between Magic and Technology is a Moot Point
By sheer numbers and raw strength, it is likely that the magic of the Marvel Universe has an edge over its technology in terms of which is more powerful. At the same time, the fact that nearly everything that magic has accomplished in the Marvel Universe could be (or already has been) replicated by some sort of technology means that edge grows more dull with each passing day. This makes it unsurprising that organizations such as W.A.N.D. and the Blasphemy Cartel have made their legacy in finding ways to merge magic and technology. It also makes it that much more worrisome when villains like Doctor Doom take it upon themselves to do the exact same thing.
There might not be any better example of a character who has equally embraced the Mystic Arts and the realm of applied sciences as Doctor Doom. As a master of both these fields, Doom has maintained his hold over Latveria with only a few minor stints away from his throne. He has also lorded over the Fantastic Four and Avengers at various turns, and even over all of reality during 2015’s Secret Wars. If not for his understanding of both magic and technology, Doom would never have amassed so many accomplishments. At this rate, it is hard to definitively state that magic or science is more potent than the other, especially when the veracity of that claim falls so much on the hands of whoever is wielding them either apart or in conjunction.