Up till now we’ve only had vague images, but now it’s finally out – the Scarlet Witch poster for Avengers: Age of Ultron!  So this seems like a good time to cast my eye on a few of her old looks, both in comics and other media, and see just what’s inspired Joss Whedon’s design…

Just a heads-up: this is by no means a definitive assessment of every look the Scarlet Witch has ever worn.  It’s just a look at some of the major ones, and some that I feel may have impacted the design!

Scarlet Witch: The Classic Look

Scarlet Witch Classic

This is the classic Scarlet Witch costume, one she shifted into shortly after joining the Avengers; it’s cropped up time and again.  Unlike many super-hero designs, the pink bodysuit and the compartmentalisation – visible seams, for example – actually make it look halfway to real.  As with many of the Scarlet Witch’s designs, everything about it either emphasises her curves – or contrasts with them, using triangles (right down to the boots).  In the hands of the right artist, the colourscheme is really effective – the hair can actually seem to billow out into her cape, a rather cool effect.

Scarlet Witch: Force Works

Scarlet Witch Force Works

Fans of the 1990s Marvel Action Hour series will recognise this costume – she wore it as a member of Iron Man’s back-up cast.  In actual fact, the Scarlet Witch donned this look as a member of Force Works, Iron Man’s personal team of Avengers.

There are a few touches that makes it seem almost a homage to Xena: Warrior Princess, and there’s an interesting contrast between curves and sharp angles.  Her hair is usually drawn as much wilder, very out-of-control, but the main criticism is the front drape – it’s just impractical.

Scarlet Witch: Reborn

Scarlet Witch Reborn

If you browse this look on the Internet, you most definitely get the impression Rob Liefeld penned it a lot.  The drapes are increasingly impractical and out-of-control, but the greyish-black of this art – along with the sort of ‘dusty’ red – works much better than black and sharp-red as sometimes coloured.  It features one of the few tops that’s actually practical, and not just a corset that’s somehow magically defying gravity.

The costume was redesigned for the game X-Men Legends II.

Scarlet Witch Legends II

In this redesign, the look is almost Oriental, and the sleeves actually work.  The V-neck is a much better look, and the drape problem is resolved by changing the material into something a lot more solid.  The headpiece is a nice homage to the traditional design, but doesn’t really work too well.  Essentially, the game took a costume that was nothing too special, and turned it into something rather cool.

Scarlet Witch: Gypsy

Scarlet Witch Gypsy

One of the Scarlet Witch’s more surprising looks is the Gypsy one, which plays to her Gypsy heritage with a feel of flowing movement.  There’s a beautiful satin feel to this costume, with the first hints of a regal character – through the long, flowing cape.

Scarlet Witch: House of M

Scarlet Witch House of M

Two words spring to mind: Your Majesty.  In the House of M, the Scarlet Witch was regal and powerful, heir to a powerful dynasty – as emphasised by the deep reds and the gold bands.  The utterly impractical flowing outfit is absolutely gorgeous, billowing out like a thundercloud, and the out-of-control hair emphasises the sheer insanity of the character.

Scarlet Witch: Uncanny Avengers

Scarlet Witch Uncanny Avengers

Meet the Scarlet Witch of the Uncanny Avengers.  The heavier cloaks have been abandoned, moving to a wrap-around dress rather than the cloaks.  The cleavage is sexy, but not over-the-top.  The traditional headgirl is really a bit big for this design, though.  That said, with the relaunch, the Scarlet Witch has donned another look:

Scarlet Witch UA 2

This one’s more traditional, but carries a lot of leather-and-metal styling to it.  That said, at times it feels just a tad overdone, with too many cuts – such as the shoulders.  As with many designs, the headpiece actually doesn’t complement it too well.

Scarlet Witch: Evolution

Scarlet Witch Evolution

X-Men: Evolution dramatically redesigned the Scarlet Witch, turning her punk!  In a homage to a brief stint with the Brotherhood, her hair is shorter and emphasises her rebellious nature.  The cape has been replaced with a trenchcoat, and the look feels almost military at times.  There’s still a fair amount of cleavage, but – due to the character’s age – it’s not emphasised as much thankfully.

Scarlet Witch: Avengers – Age of Ultron

Scarlet Witch poster

Your first glance tells you that this costume carries a real sense of homage to X-Men: Evolution – albeit with a biker jacket replacing the trenchcoat.  There are strong visual cues to the Gypsy heritage – rings, bracelets, necklaces – but other than that it really does feel like an everyday look.  Whedon has clearly chosen to avoid the traditional feel of the character (not a trace of a pink bodysuit or an OTT headpiece).  And yes, there’s cleavage, but the necklaces prevent that becoming a visual focus.  But gone also is any sense of the regal and majestic; this woman is clearly a rebel.

I can’t wait to see how this works on the big-screen!

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