Who Is the Strongest Avenger? It's Not the Hulk — Not Even Close
Warning: Spoilers for Avengers: Infinity War and the House of M comic ahead!
The heroes of the Marvel Cinematic Universe exemplify the best of humanity — or, in some cases, extraterrestrial beings like talking trees and robotic Luphomoids. Alien, superhuman, or sorcerer, the Avengers and Co. run the gamut of impressive powers. Thor summons lightning with an ax, Steve Rogers punches through tanks, Doctor Strange performs sorcery, the Hulk . . . smashes — this group features some pretty heavy hitters.
One of the most underutilized, though? Scarlet Witch.
The Wanda Maximoff of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, played by Elizabeth Olsen, develops her powers due to exposure to the Mind Stone. She joins the Avengers after helping them take down Ultron and losing her brother, Pietro (aka Quicksilver). Since her introduction, Wanda has displayed abilities including telekinesis, telepathy, and energy manipulation, like the creation of force fields and bolts of energy.
In Avengers: Infinity War, she ultimately turns her powers on the Mind Stone in Vision's forehead, managing to destroy it (and Vision) while holding off Thanos. Unfortunately, Thanos uses the Time Stone to undo her work. Wanda and half the universe disintegrate after the snap heard 'round the 'verse. It's a devastating moment, but it's also a reminder that Wanda is one of the most powerful beings in the MCU.
Up until that scene, Wanda's most impressive feats included destroying the Ultron sentries in a blast of rage, ripping through indestructible vibranium to tear out Ultron's core processor, and utilizing her force fields to launch cars at Iron Man. Destroying an Infinity Stone? Talk about nearly impossible. Due to Wanda's connection to the Mind Stone, though, which first endowed her with her powers, she manages to do it.
For comic book readers, her success in that crucial moment probably isn't a surprise. Since Fox owns the X-Men where most of her escapades take place, though, Disney and Marvel aren't allowed to use Wanda's comic book backstory (at least not yet, since Disney is in the process of acquiring Fox). Wanda and her brother Pietro, the children of Magneto (aka Erik Lehnsherr), are actually mutants in the comics. As Scarlet Witch, she controls chaos magic and manipulates it to suit her many needs. Unlike the powers bestowed by the Mind Stone, chaos magic allows her to reshape reality however she wishes, including warping it and manipulating existence itself. Sorcerer Supreme Doctor Strange refuses to even acknowledge it as real at first as it's too powerful. It ultimately makes her unstable at times.
In her most famous storyline of the comics, House of M, Wanda is driven mad by the loss of her children and literally reforms reality. The majority of the population become mutants, Magneto takes control, and Wanda abides peacefully with her now-living sons for a while. If only it lasted.
In the end, Magneto kills Quicksilver and a severely pissed off and still heartbroken Scarlet Witch hits the reset button again. She views her father as having taken the side of mutants over family, so when she reshapes the world back to the way it was, she simultaneously depowers 90 percent of the mutants on Earth with the spell "No more mutants." While Quicksilver comes back to life, a good portion of the general population perishes as a result. She does restore many mutant powers in the future when she discovers her reincarnated sons, though.
MCU Wanda's ties to the Mind Stone give her many strengths, but the Scarlet Witch of the comics literally bends the world around herself. It's revealed that her existence in fact acts as a lynchpin for the entire reality of her universe. And to think Thanos needs the Reality Stone for even part of that. This is not a woman you want to mess with, which is why she'll probably be back for Avengers 4. We've only seen the tip of the iceberg, y'all.