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Vision and Scarlet Witch #1: Review

Oct 1985
Steve Englehart, Richard Howell

Story Name:

Lovers

Review & Comments

Rating:
4.5 stars

Vision and Scarlet Witch #1 Review by (September 13, 2016)
This is an extra-large edition at $1.25.

This issue depends on lots of history, and I like it.

The WWII Human Torch was created in Marvel Comics #1 in 1939. He gained sidekick Toro in HT Comics #2 and joined the All-Winners Squad in All-Winners Comics #19. The Invaders were a Marvel Age retcon starring in their own series. HT's adventures continued with a gap into the 50's. His nova-'death' was related by Toro in Sub-Mariner #14, after Mad Thinker temporarily revived HT in Fantastic Four Annual #4.

Vision's origin in Avengers #58 didn't mention Human Torch. Ultron created him and gave him Simon Williams' brain pattern, but he supposedly used an earlier synthezoid created by his 'father' Henry Pym. The part about Ultron getting hold of HT's body and forcing Horton to convert him into Vision was revealed in Av#135.

This whole idea will be scuppered when Human Torch himself is revived again in Av West Coast #50. But Av Forever #8 will explain that Immortus had managed to split HT into 2 lives in the same timeline.

The Human Torch aspect is irrelevant for the Vision/Wonder Man/Grim Reaper triangle. Reaper is Simon Williams' brother Eric. He blamed the Avengers for Simon's death as Wonder Man in Av#9, and began attacking them in Av#52. But when he learned in Av#79 that Vision had Simon's brain pattern he got the idea of reuniting Vision's mind with WM's preserved body culminating in Av#108. Later he got Black Talon to revive WM as a zombie in Av#151. But by the time of #3 of the 1st V&SW mini-series he hated both versions of his brother equally.

Scarlet Witch's origin was revealed in even more layers. Magneto rescuing Wanda and Pietro from angry villagers was shown in their 1st appearance in the introduction of the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants in X-Men #4. Whizzer claimed to be their father and told his side of the Wundagore story in Giant-Size Av #1. Django Maximoff turned up in Av#182 claiming *he* was their father. Then in Av#185-186 they went to Wundagore and learned that their real mother was mystery woman Magda. It wasn't until V&SW vol 1 #4 that they discovered Magneto was their father.

Scarlet Witch refers to her name as Magneto's daughter as Wanda Magnus. I believe Magneto's name Magnus was 1st revealed in a flashback in Uncanny XM #161, but it was used more like a 1st name there, so the name Wanda Magnus is a bit suspect. Later in XM Unlimited he will be named Erik Magnus Lehnsherr which ruins the idea of Magnus as a surname. But even later this will be deemed an assumed alias anyway. And later still the twins will turn out not to be Magneto's children after all.

V&SW helped the Av and the FF against Annihilus in Av#233 but V was incapacitated. SW stayed with the Av to look after him. In #238 Titanian Starfox linked V to ISAAC to allow him to use a holographic avatar while his body healed. In #242 he was fully functional, and in #243 he became chairman while most of the team were away in Secret Wars I. Wasp stepped down in his favour when she returned. There were various oddities about V in this period until #251 where we learned ISAAC wanted him to take over the world and create a utopia. In #252 an anti-mutant protester burned down V&SW's house in Leonia - this convinced V to go along with ISAAC's plan. In #253 he took over the world's computers, but the Avengers stopped him in #254 - and he removed a control crystal implanted in his head by Ultron that had warped his reason. In #255 he resigned the chair (Wasp resumed her role in #256) and handed himself over to the NSC - SW went with him. Which brings us here.

The opening part of this issue obviously follows directly from Av#255. But the Marvel Chronology Project needs to fit Marvel GN #27: Emperor Doom between Av#255 and the crossover with West Coast Avengers. So I proposed to them a large gap in this issue between the interrogation and the couple's successful house search in Leonia. In fact it is of course unbelievable that they would find the right house straight away! (Superpowers yes. Easy house search, no way.)
Also I suggest that they stayed in Avengers Mansion as guests while they were house-hunting. This explains why Emperor Doom has them there.

Henry Gyrich used to be the government's heavy-handed liaison with the Avengers, but he was forced to step away in Av#191 and just oversee lightly as seen in #231 and #243. (In the meantime he's expanded his overall remit to include mutant affairs.) Ray Sikorski came on board as the Av's more friendly direct liaison in #235.

The Guardsman is Michael O'Brien who wears armour designed by Tony Stark and once worn by his brother Kevin. Since leaving the Iron Man title in #109 he joined the crowd in Contest of Champions and then became head of security for Project Pegasus where we saw him in Av#236-237, Power Man & Iron Fist #113, Thing #24 and now here.

This is Black Talon (Samuel Barone)'s 1st app since he revived Wonder Man as a zombie in Av#151-152. He was working for Grim Reaper then.

Nekra was the partner of Mandrill (with a pheromonal power over women) whose plots were defeated by Shanna the She-Devil in her #5, and by Shanna, Daredevil, Black Widow and Thing in DD#109-112 & Marvel Two-In-One #3. Abandoned by Mandrill she faced Spider-Woman in her #15-16. After being 1 of the many prisoners of Locksmith in SpW#50 she's now transferred her affections to Grim Reaper here.



 

Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Vision and Scarlet Witch #1 Synopsis by Rob Johnson
Continued from WEST COAST AVENGERS #1.

Ray Sikorski, the Avengers' government liaison, is running interference between Henry Peter Gyrich and the Scarlet Witch. Gyrich is studying the Vision in Project Pegasus after he tried to take over the world in Av#254. Wanda is in a waiting room and wants to know when she can have her husband back. Gyrich says when he's finished. Sikorski translates that to her as a few days. Wanda gives them 1 day.

Ray reminds Gyrich that Vision removed the crystal through which the Titanian super-computer ISAAC controlled him. He came here voluntarily and has cooperated with the investigation. Which has found nothing. But HPG is convinced there's something to be found.

He asks the android why he's started talking in a more human voice. Vision reminds them that he's a synthezoid - fully human but artificial. And he launches into his history.

He started 'life' as the WWII Human Torch, when he spoke as humanly as now, created by Phineas Horton. He fought alone, with his sidekick Toro, and as a member of the Invaders and later the All-Winners Squad. But in 1955 he went nova and 'died'.

In the Marvel Age the Mad Thinker reactivated his body to use against the Fantastic Four. Then he passed it to robot Ultron-5, created by Henry Pym (Goliath). Ultron forced Horton to alter the body to give it different powers (and a more robotic voice), and overwrote HT's mind with the brain pattern of Simon Williams (Wonder Man). Ultron sent his 'son' against his 'father's team the Avengers. But the heroism he inherited from Simon made Vizh rebel and join the super-team.

There  he met Wanda and they fell in love. Later he learned of his past, and they married. But it was only when he was connected to ISAAC that he truly comprehended his humanity, artificial but real. So now he speaks as a human.

Meanwhile Wanda has been growing more and more angry and impatient. She forces and tricks her way past various defences including the Guardsman until she reaches the room where Vision is and demands he be released immediately. She claims that he is a human who, because of his artificial body and brain, is susceptible to remote control. I would rephrase her argument as 1 of discrimination against a person with a disability.

Gyrich counters that they are Avengers and thus subject to government control. So they resign. Sikorski takes the responsibility for letting them go. And Gyrich can't stop them.

The couple return to Leonia where they used to live. Their house was burned down by bigots in Av#252 but they intend to stand up to them by buying here again. So they enter an estate agent's and meet Norm Webster who takes them immediately to see a property they love.

Webster has shown Vision and Wanda around the house. After he leaves them outside they are attacked by zombies. Using force against them has little effect so Vizh goes intangible and tries his arm-through-the-chest trick. But the mystical power animating the zombie shocks him unconscious even as it falls to the ground. And by chance the zombie's arm enters the synthezoid's brain as he rematerialises.

Alarm makes Scarlet Witch careless and another zombie knocks her out.

Meanwhile Hawkeye is trying to contact Vision from West Coast Avengers HQ but of course his old home number is no longer in operation. He needs to tell him what's happened with Wonder Man and Grim Reaper in WCA#1. And he doesn't want to go via the (East Coast) Avengers - his pride won't let him ask for help, and he doesn't want to tell Wasp that Ultron has captured her ex-husband Hank Pym.

In the end with a bit of urging from Tigra he does call Wasp to say that Ultron (who he mentioned in an earlier call in WCA#1) is in league with Grim Reaper so Vision should be warned. Janet Van Dyne promises to send Starfox to Leonia. But she warns Clint Barton that Gyrich is up in arms about Vision. And since Vizh created the WCA while under ISAAC's influence HPG suspects them too.

Iron Man returns from unsuccessfully searching for Ultron, who left in WCA#1 carrying Goliath (Erik Josten) and Man-Ape as well as Pym and Wondie.

Meanwhile on the Leonia lawn Vision keeps waking up, but the zombie arm through his head keeps shutting him down again.

And the zombies have taken unconscious SW to their master Black Talon and his ally Nekra. They were supposed to bring Vision instead but they claim they won't attack him because now he's a zombie like them. Nekra says Grim Reaper won't be happy so she'd better go and fetch Vision herself.

At last his fear for Wanda causes Vision to exert his willpower to stay conscious, go intangible and drag himself free of the zombie. The zombie wakes up as well, and is now afraid of the unaccustomed pain that merging with the synthezoid caused. Vision persuades him to lead the way somewhere, hoping to find his wife there.

Albino Nekra misses them. Musing on the way her hatred for humanity fuels her strength and invulnerability she sees Starfox flying overhead. As does Vision.

Scarlet Witch wakes to find herself strapped down. Talon remembers how she used her hex power against him in Av#152 so he's taken especial care to confine her hands and fingers. She manages to work 1 finger free but BT sends her to sleep. However the Witch fights the effects by recalling her past.

She remembers how Magda Magnus pregnant wife of Magneto ran away from him to Wundagore home of the High Evolutionary. There she gave birth to twins and then ran off. At the same time Bob and Madeline Frank (WWII's Whizzer and Miss America) were there. Madeline had a still birth and died, but HE told Bob the twins were hers. However in his grief Whizzer ran away too (very fast). So HE gave the twins to the gypsy Maximoffs who had recently lost their own twins Ana and Mateo.

When the twins named Pietro and Wanda grew into mutants they were attacked by villagers and rescued by Magneto. Without knowing they were his children he inducted them into his Brotherhood of Evil Mutants as Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch. But they quit that band and joined the Avengers where Wanda fell in love with Vision, much to the disgust of Pietro.

Nekra returns empty-handed to Black Talon. They don't notice that the seemingly-sleeping Witch has freed another finger. They go out to a nearby graveyard to raise more zombies as defence against Vision. They bring them into the base just as Grim Reaper arrives.

Nekra rushes over to greet Eric Williams with a kiss. Reaper quells the bickering about why the other 2 haven't captured Vision while Ultron has succeeded in getting Wonder Man. BT says they have Scarlet Witch as bait - and he also has the other prize.

Wanda chooses that moment to leap from her slab. And Vision abandons his disguise as 1 of the zombies. As battle commences Vizh takes time to explain how the zombie led him to the cemetery. Hoping that the zombie-master would return he phased into the ground to wait.

Reaper uses his knowledge of Vision's workings to temporarily disable him. He threatens Wanda that he will switch her husband off permanently. But Vizh calls his bluff, betting that Reaper needs him for some purpose.

Talon surrounds V with zombies, and the synthezoid daren't phase through them because of what happened last time. But SW's hex causes BT to lose control of the zombies. GR blasts her. V ignores the pain to wade through zombies to reach Black Talon's 'other prize'. Pulling aside a curtain he reveals the body of Simon Williams. Which is impossible because Baron Zemo turned Simon into Wonder Man.

Vision trades the body of Williams for his unconscious-again wife. Grim Reaper agrees for now. He, Nekra and Black Talon exit with the body leaving Vision with Wanda and the zombies. She awakens. Then Vizh goes after the baddies but they have left in a flying craft.

So he rings the WCA where the earlier trio have been joined by Mockingbird. And Hawkeye confirms Wonder Man's been taken, along with Henry Pym. The 2 groups agree to combine forces.

To be continued in WEST COAST AVENGERS #2.


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> Vision and Scarlet Witch: Book info and issue index

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Richard Howell
Andy Mushynsky
Janet Jackson
Richard Howell (Cover Penciler)
Richard Howell (Cover Inker)


Characters

Listed in Alphabetical Order.

Iron Man
Iron Man

(Tony Stark)
Scarlet Witch
Scarlet Witch

(Wanda Maximoff)

Plus: All-Winners Squad, Grim Reaper.