For as long as there have been comic books, there has been the feud between DC and Marvel. Both are heavy-hitting comic companies that continue to gain legions of fans every year. The purpose of this column is to take one DC persona and one Marvel persona of equal measure and popularity and pit them against each other to see who would come out on top and who is a better character overall.
Background: Vixen’s first appearance was in Action Comics in 1981. Mari Jiwe McCabe grew up in a small African village. After her parents died she became a fashion model in NYC. Upon returning to Africa Mari stole the Tantu Totem from her uncle which allowed her to access her animal mimcry powers and become the superhero Vixen. She began by fighting poachers in India and the criminal Admiral Cerebus before joining the Justice League. She continued modeling and fighting crime in various organizations and has been a part of many famous DC story arcs.
Wanda Maximoff was introduced to Marvel comics in X-Men in 1964 as the daughter of Magneto. Wanda and her twin brother were raised by Django and Marya Maximoff and eventually recruited into Magneto’s Brotherhoos of Evil Mutants. Wanda became the Scarlet Witch and her brother Pietro became Quicksilver. They fought the X-Men until Wanda switched sides and joined the Avengers. She married her teammate, Vision and gave bird to twins. She became a mainstay with the Avengers and is known for her ambiguous nature, a nervous breakdown making her a villain for a while. Wanda has a rich background with many intricate storylines which win her the point in this category.
Point: Scarlet Witch
Skills: Vixen has the broad power of animal mimicry which allows her to mimic the abilities of any animal she can think of. She can switch between abilities easily and quickly and can occasionally transform into animals herself. Some of the animal abilities she has used include superhuman speed, strength, durability, healing ability and even adhesion, swimming, and flying. Vixen also has magically enhanced claws and the occasional ability to manipulate energy. She can essentially do anything any animal on Earth can do.
Scarlet Witch has the ability to manipulate chaos magic using hexes. While potent, she does not have full control over her powers. Her spells are strong enough to make her a very powerful superhero yet her lack of control over them makes them spotty. Wanda also has the ability to alter reality as well as to create hex bolts that generate bad luck effects. She also possibly has the ability to fly (the extent is unknown). Wanda is also an expert in sorcery, tactics, and trained in hand-to-hand combat. While Scarlet Witch is one of the most powerful superheroes in her universe, her lack of control cannot give her the edge she needs to beat Vixen’s ability to do pretty much anything any animal can do.
Affiliations: After a brief solo career Vixen quickly joined up with The Justice League of America as a full-time member. When the JLA was disbanded Vixen united with the Suicide Squad where she practiced staying in control of her animal instincts. She’s also done some undercover work for the Squad’s brother organization Checkmate. Vixen signed on to work with The Birds of Prey where she also went undercover. Vixen worked with the Justice League Task Force and ended up joining The Justice League of America for which she has become an important member.
Scarlet Witch began in the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants but soon switched over to the side of good and joined the Avengers. She has also worked with the Lady Liberators, the West Coast Avengers, the Defenders, the Secret Defenders, and Force Works. Scarlet Witch is one of the most recognizable females of The Avengers. Both women have important loyalties and a lengthy resumes when it comes to affiliations.
Apparel/Weapons: Vixen possesses the Tantu Totem (a fox-shaped talisman) which allows her to access her animal mimicry powers through the Red. While the Totem isn’t the source of her powers, it helps her to channel them better. Vixen’s costume has changed with the times but her most famous outfit is a bright yellow body suit and matching gloves accentuated by her magically enhances claws and of course, the Tantu Totem.
Scarlet Witch wears a unique red one-piece costume with boots, a cape, and an odd-looking headpiece. All of her powers are internal and she does generally not carry any weaponry however she sometimes uses the Avengers Quinjet. When it comes to apparel and weapons, Vixen’s Tantu Totem is the trump card.
Vixen has made numerous appearances on the animated series Justice League Unlimited (voiced by Gina Torres). An evil version of Vixen also shows up in the animated movie Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths. Vixen has also appeared in various video games. While Vixen may not have too many appearances outside of the series, she is famous for being the first African-American female to star in her own DC Comics title. She is an example of a powerful and independent superhero that represents multiple minorities.
The Scarlet Witch was ranked 97th in Wizard's "200 Greatest Comic Book Characters of All Time" list and 14th in Comics Buyer's Guide's "100 Sexiest Women in Comics" list. Wanda has appeared in various animated television shows including Iron Man, X-Men, The Avengers: United They Stand, X-Men: Evolution, and Wolverine and the X-Men. She’s also been a character in multiple video games. While the Scarlet Witch may get more screen time, Vixen’s important role in increasing African American visibility in the comic book world gives her the point in this round.
This was one of the toughest battles yet as both Vixen and Scarlet Witch are extremely powerful superheroes in their respective universes. While Scarlet Witch has been around longer and has a rich backstory and many appearances outside of comics, Vixen’s impressive powers (complete with the Tantu Totem) and important position as the first African-American female to star in her own DC Comics title gives her the win in this battle of DC vs. Marvel.