The Religious Affiliation of Comic Book Character
of the Avengers, X-Factor and the X-Men
Pietro Maximoff is a mutant super-hero known as Quicksilver. He has been a longstanding member of the superhero team the Avengers.
Pietro Maximoff's biological mother was Magda, the wife of Magneto, who died soon after childbirth. Pietro and his twin brother Wanda (the Avenger known as the "Scarlet Witch") were raised since childbirth by Django Maximof. Both Django Maximof and the twins' biological mother Magda were Gypsies, i.e., members of the religious-cultural group known as the Roma (or Rroma, or Romany).
Pietro was raised in Gypsy/Roma culture, a mix of traditional Roma beliefs (which retain some Hindu influence from ancient times) and an overlay of Catholicism and Eastern European religion from their tribe's host culture.
Pietro did not learn until adulthood that his biological father was Magneto, the arch-enemy of the mutant super-hero team the X-Men, and a man widely regarded by the world at large as a villain because of his strident, often illegal and violent efforts to further his vision of mutant rights. Magneto did not raise Pietro when he was a child, but Magneto did bring him and his sister into the "Brotherhood of Evil Mutants" for a short time when they were in their late teen years. Pietro and his sister were not comfortable in the role of villains, however, and they soon joined the Avengers as superheroes.
For a long time Magneto was assumed to be of Gypsy/Roma ethnicity like his wife, Magda. In recent years, he has been portrayed increasingly as Jewish. The first X-Men movie (2000), for example, is particularly clear in portraying Magneto as Jewish, as it shows him as a young boy being taken along with other Jews into a Nazi concentration camp. Within the comics, many allusions have been made in recent year to Magneto having a Jewish background.
Regardless of whether or not Pietro's father Magneto is Jewish or part-Jewish, Pietro Maximoff himself has never practiced Judaism in any way nor does he have any sense of Jewish identity. He is, at most, simply ethnically half-Jewish.
Infinity Crusade: Quicksilver was one of 33 characters who were identified as the most religious superheroes in the Marvel Universe in Infinity Crusade (June 1993). In this issue, a powerful being who identified herself as "the Goddess" kidnapped the superheroes she had identified as being the most religious active superheroes at the time. The Goddess was a manifestation of the "benevolent" side of Adam Warlock, and she planned to use these heroes in her crusade to rid the galaxy of evil and usher in a new golden age of peace. After these 33 characters had been kidnapped by the Goddess, the remaining superheroes gathered to try to figure out what was going on. The Vision analyzed data about who had been taken and who had not, and explained his analysis (Infinity Crusade #1, page 32):
Now that the appropriate files have been examined I believe I have sufficient hard data to put forth that theory I mentioned earlier. I feel confident I know why these particular paranormals were abducted. All the missing share a common trait or experience... An event or attitude that might be categorized as religious. Many among the missing hold deeply felt moral stands or intense spiritual belief systems. Those who do not fit that profile have all had after-death experiences... My theory does not hold that these attitudes aided in the missing individual's abduction, only that these traits may have determined who would be taken.
From: "Jewish Comic Book Characters" message board page, started 15 May 2006 on IGN.com website (http://boards.ign.com/Comics_General_Board/b5033/117625205/?16; viewed 19 May 2006):
Date Posted: 5/15 8:38am
Subject: Jewish Comic Book Characters.
You think Magneto had a Bar Mitzvah? What about Quicksilver?
I definitely think Doc Samson did.
What other Jewish comic characters you can think of?
From: "Religious Beliefs of Marvel Characters" discussion board started 20 October 2004 on Comic-Forum.com website (http://www.comic-forum.com/marvel/Religious_beliefs_of_Marvel_characters_397905.html; viewed 8 June 2006):
Date: 20 Oct 2004 21:55:56
Subject: Religious beliefs of Marvel characters?
Does anybody know the religious beliefs of various characters?
Date: 20 Oct 2004 23:16:20
From: Samy Merchi
Barring any actual solid evidence in the characters' own books, you could always fall back on the Infinity Crusade and see which sides the characters were on in that conflict. Anybody feel like whipping those issues out and checking these specific characters?
Date: 21 Oct 2004 03:52:34
From: The Black Guardian
Anyway, here's the list of those who "faithfully served" the Goddess: Captain America, Jamie Madrox the Multiple Man, Jean Grey, Namorita, Silhouette, Spider-Man, Puck, Archangel, the Inhuman Crystal, Firelord, Hercules, Shaman, Talisman, Moondragon, Quicksilver, the Scarlet Witch, the Silver Surfer, Sersi, the Living Lightning, Thor, the Invisible Woman, USAgent, Moon Knight, Wolfsbane, Doctor Strange, Wonder Man, Daredevil, the Black Knight, Windshear, Sasquatch, Storm, Gamora, Sleepwalker.
IIRC, even if you read the crossover, it's still pretty vague in what religions the heroes believed.
Date: 21 Oct 2004 03:57:48
From: Samy Merchi
In many cases, it [Infinity Crusade] is the strongest canonical reference to many of the characters' religious stance. Some lucky ones have been dealt with at more depth in their own books (DD, Rahne, Storm et al.) but for many characters Infinity Crusade is the biggest canonical reference. If we want to go by canon rather than sheer postulation.
From: "Religion of the X-Men" message board started 15 May 2005 on Comic Book Resources website (http://forums.comicbookresources.com/archive/index.php/t-58362.html; viewed 13 June 2006):
05-15-2005, 05:56 PM
Do you ever wonder what religion an X-Man is? I know they are just characters, but still, just for the fun of it.
I am wondering if you could guess their religion by their character, or what they've said, etc.
05-15-2005, 06:22 PM
A good rule of thumb comes from the Infinity Crusade, where the "best" of the MU's religious heroes were brainwashed. A short list reveals [among X-Men and characters from related titled]:
05-15-2005, 06:31 PM
Looking over that list... weren't Quick and Scarlet raised by Gypsies or something? What religion are Gypsies? Sorry, I am not very cultural minded.
I wish I could afford to get the Infinity saga it sounds so good.
From: "What are the religious beliefs of the main mutants in the X-Books?" forum discussion started 16 January 2007 on "Comic Book Resources" website (http://forums.comicbookresources.com/archive/index.php/t-160293.html; viewed 16 May 2007):
01-16-2007, 03:51 PM
What do you think the religious beliefs of the following mutants are?
01-16-2007, 04:38 PM
Kitty - Jewish
Jean - Protestant
Magneto - Jewish
Xavier - Protestant
Bobby - Jewish
Wanda - Jewish
Pietro - Jewish
Lorna - Catholic?
Storm - No idea...
Wolverine - Protestant?
Emma - Catholic?
Sam - Baptist?
Angel - Protestant?
Banshee - Catholic?
Chamber - Anglican?
Scott and Alex - Protestant
Psylocke - Protestant or Anglican
From: "What religion do superhero's belong to? [sic]" forum discussion started 18 July 2002 on "Toon Zone" website (http://forums.toonzone.net/showthread.php?t=41332; viewed 21 May 2007):
Posted by Jae on Wednesday, June 20 2001 at 11:07:15 GMT
Atheist representation on the Avengers
The teams pretty well rounded now, but are there any atheistic members?...
07-18-2002, 01:02 PM
What religion do superhero's [sic] belong to?
I'd like to discuss what religious beliefs are favorite costumed hero's belong to. Everyone knows Daredevil is Catholic. But beyond that, what do we know of superhero's beliefs? I'm thinking of mostly the Marvel Universe, but you DC fans feel free to contribute as well...
07-18-2002, 04:03 PM
...Kitty Pryde of the X-Men and Sabra, the superheroine protector of Israel, are both Jewish. I'm also going to stretch a bit and claim that Magneto's wife was probably Jewish as well, which would make the Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver ethnically Jewish, although I've never seen them refer to their religions in the comics...
From: "Atheist representation on the Avengers" forum discussion started 20 June 2001 on "Comic Boards" website (http://www.comicboards.com/avengers/view.php?trd=010620110715; viewed 24 May 2007):
Posted by D-Man on Wednesday, June 20 2001 at 20:10:53 GMT
...Probably the best comic you could find to figure out who believes in a god or a god, or have deep faith in God or a god would be:
The Goddess uses the heroes' faith and belief in gods and such to recruit heroes.
Here are a list of Avengers who are "believers" so are recruited by the Goddess:
Posted by piper on Wednesday, June 20 2001 at 11:58:26 GMT
The 3rd chapter of the Infinity Gauntlet (the Goddess storyline) is the main source for the extent of religious belief for a lot of the MU [Marvel Universe] heroes. Wanda was shown to be a active Wiccan. Quicksilver was also shown to be have strong religious feelings in this storyline, as were characters like Storm and Aurora. I don't remember how other Avengers were shown. Any takers?
From: "Religious Characters In Marvel" forum discussion started 15 September 2006 on "Comic Book Resources" website (http://forums.comicbookresources.com/archive/index.php/t-143850.html; viewed 25 May 2007):
09-15-2006, 09:01 PM
The other day I was thinking about religion and comic books... What I'm interested in is the way religious characters are portrayed in comic books...
I think the first step is listing what characters are what religion...
09-15-2006, 09:44 PM
Mags is actually a born Jewish who was raised by gypsies in his youth.
His kids, Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch are gypsy.
Dr. Doom is of course, gypsy...
From: "Jewish Heroes or Villians in Marvel Universe?" forum discussion, started 12 December 2005 on "Comic Book Resources" website (http://www.xmenindex.com/forums/comicbooks/t-97146.html; viewed 31 May 2007):
01-31-2006, 06:16 PM
Magneto is Jewish, but this is a fact that not many comics fans either know, or remember. Quicksilver and The Scarlet Witch are also half Jewish, because of their father, Magneto.
I sometimes think that Dr. Doom is Jewish, since his parents were gypsies. I may be wrong, though.
Sabra is the only Jewish hero i can think of who makes that statement clear. It's a shame, she is a character that has a lot of potential.
I have a feeling that there are more Jewish, or those who have Jewish characters in the Marvel Universe.
From: "Super Hero Religions" forum discussion started 15 June 2006 on "RonFez.net" website, home of the Ron & Fez radio show (http://www.ronfez.net/forums/archive/index.php/t-50765.html; viewed 11 June 2007):
06-15-2006, 02:10 PM
Ron and Fez did an awesome bit on this years ago... Popular Comic Book Heroes Faith-by-Faith...
06-16-2006, 01:27 AM
I am pretty sure he [Magneto] was a Jew, (he was just out of an extermination camp when Xavier met him) and married a gypsy "witch." Scarlet Witch not only is a mutant but has magical abilities, as does Quicksilver, although they were latent in him... I seem to recall a comic which recounts the twins being sent to safety by a half-cow/half-human nanny. (P.S. Xavier is a W.A.S.P. [White Anglo-Saxon Protestant]).
Webpage created 31 December 2005. Last modified 11 June 2007.
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