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Young Avengers Presents #3: Review

May 2008
Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa, Alina Urusov

Story Name:

Wiccan & Speed

Review & Comments

Rating:
4 stars

Young Avengers Presents #3 Review by (November 20, 2020)
The history behind this story is convoluted and isn't explained completely in this issue.

I'l skip over the origin of Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch in Wundagore which is a different can of worms.

Mephisto was shattered into pieces by Franklin Richards in Fantastic Four #277.
Scarlet Witch and synthezoid Vision had twin sons Billy and Tommy in their 12-issue 2nd mini-series, made possible only by Wanda Maximoff's magic. Unknown to them the boys had been constructed from 2 fragments of Mephisto.
Mephisto pulled himself together but was missing 5 bits. He tricked actor Martin Preston into becoming Master Pandemonium and told him that he'd taken his soul and broken it into 5 pieces. MP then set out to find these pieces, not realising he was actually searching for the missing bits of Mephisto.

SW&V joined the West Coast Avengers and Pandemonium started harassing them. In AWC#52 MP claimed the boys as the last parts of his soul, but Mephisto popped up to claim all 5 parts for himself. SW&V's children are gone, and Wanda's mentor Agatha Harkness saves her sanity by erasing them from her memory. However some later WCA stories had Wanda remembering the babies. A tale in WCA Annual #7 explained that Wanda's personality problems in #53-62 persuaded Agatha to restore the memories. However Wanda or Agatha must have suppressed the memories again later because in Avengers Disassembled (Av#500-503) she was driven mad by re-learning of the boys' past existence and caused the shattering of the team. She was looked after by Magneto and Prof X on Genosha until she changed reality into the House Of M world where her children still existed. She hasn't been seen since she restored reality at the end of that event.

The theory is that Wanda's Billy and Tommy were reincarnated as Billy Kaplan and Tommy Shepherd to totally separate families. Their status as twins has to refer back to their earlier incarnation, although it is possible that they were re-conceived and re-born at the same moments. (They argue about which of them is the older.)
The Marvel Sliding Timescale presents some problems with this. Billy and Teddy (and hence also Tommy) are depicted as being in High School about the same age. But the Sliding Timescale says that at most 15 years have passed since FF#1 (up to currently 2020 never mind 2005 when YA began). So the boys would have to have been born around or before FF#1, well before the V&SW mini-series when their previous lives began.
(There's a related problem of Teddy Altman being conceived during the Kree/Skrull War ending in Av#97, which would also make him too young. But this has just been resolved in Empyre: Aftermath Avengers with a throwaway line that he and his nanny were sent to Earth via a wormhole in time as well as space.)

Wiccan and Speed were told the bare bones of this in Young Avengers #11. Super-Skrull claimed they were the twin sons of Scarlet Witch (but how did *he* know?). The current Vision consulted Avengers files which confirmed that Wanda did have twins Billy and Tommy but they were really parts of Mephisto. However he read in the file that their existence as human boys had changed them so that Mephisto couldn't reabsorb them and isntead they ceased to exist (which isn't how I read AWC#52). Billy believed this meant he and Tommy were reincarnations of Wanda's boys. (People had previously noted how alike Wiccan and Speed were.)

Master Pandemonium appeared in the Scarlet Witch 4-issue mini-series between AWC#52 and now. He escaped from Mephisto's Hell and sought out Wanda claiming to be in love with her. This was during the period when she remembered her children.
He'll keep returning, starting with Ghost Riders: Heaven's On Fire mini-series.

Genosha is deserted and in ruins because Cassandra Nova's Sentinels wiped out most of the population (New X-Men #114-116). Survivors and others tried to carry on but were whittled away by a series of later disasters (M-Day, the Son Of M mini and the attack of the Collective in New Avengers #19-20).

Scarlet Witch will reappear when the YA find her during Avengers: Children's Crusade.

Hulkling cameoed last with some other YAers in FF#556. Wiccan was in our #2 (focussed on Hulkling). Outsider Speed was last with other YAers in Fallen Son: Iron Man.
Hulkling will cameo again with some other YAers in FF#562 at the funeral of a future Invisible Woman. Wiccan will next in our #5 (starring Stature). Speed will join all the YAers for our #6 (Hawkeye's spotlight).





 

Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Young Avengers Presents #3 Synopsis by Rob Johnson
This issue features the twins Speed and Wiccan with support from Wiccan's boyfriend Hulkling.

Billy Kaplan explains to Teddy Altman that he has a regular dream where he's having his 8th year birthday party and his 'mother' Scarlet Witch is there talking to other Avengers, in particular in last night's dream the Wasp. Wanda Maximoff as usual comments that he has his father's eyes and we see Mephisto behind them. And he wakes up filled with dread. He adds that the effect has been getting worse since the Civil War.

Billy says he needs to find the Scarlet Witch (who's been missing since the House Of M event) and learn the truth about his heritage. If he can find her he can help her recover from her insanity (that led to Avengers Disassembled and House Of M). Teddy wants to accompany him on his quest but Billy says Tommy should go with him because Wanda's his 'mom' too. At which point Tommy Shepherd enters through the window. Besides, Billy needs shape-shifting Hulkling to pretend to be him so his 'real' mother Rebecca Kaplan doesn't get suspicious. At which point she calls him for dinner. Tommy zooms off, Teddy wishes Billy well and assumes his boyfriend's form, and Billy leaves.

Speed had said he was heading for the island of Genosha, the last place Wanda was seen alive. So Wiccan magics himself there (Billy's way of doing magic is still to chant what he wants to happen until it does) but his superfast brother still beats him to it. And Tommy's still kidding Billy about his burgeoning relationship with 'the Skrull'. Billy looks around at the deserted city of Hammer Bay but Tommy says he already searched the place while he was waiting and the Witch isn't here. And he declares he's off to Wundagore and Wiccan has to follow him again.

Wundagore Mountain is the place where Wanda and her brother Pietro/Quicksilver were born. Again Speed has checked every dwelling and says he's drawn a blank once more. He claims to have learned by experience (with Wiccan and others) to tell when someone's magical. Wiccan double-checks with his magical senses and has to agree. Unless she's deep undercover with her magic powers completely suppressed.

Billy then says they're going to the place *he* wanted to try 1st, that they could have reached by bus (an option which Speed can't take seriously). And he magics them both to Cresskill, New Jersey where Wanda and the Vision set up home when they were married. The house looks deserted and going to seed but then they see someone in a window. Billy warns Tommy to be careful but Speed races to open the door. And as he touches the doorknob a bolt of magic lightning sends him to Hell.

Wiccan uses a protection spell to get himself inside the house. And inside he finds Master Pandemonium hiding, who he recognises from Avengers files. The villain sends the demons that are his arms to attack the boy who responds by conjuring up his magic staff to hold them off. More demons trickle out of the star-shaped hole in Pandemonium's chest which Wiccan fails to dismiss. It's a standoff and Billy asks where his brother is, to be told the answer is Hell. But MP says he recognises Wiccan's magic as the Scarlet Witch type, and guesses that his brother is his twin and that they are Wanda's kids Billy and Tommy. He magics them both to Hell and then brings them back with Tommy.

Pandemonium then tells them things concerning their origin (confirming and expanding what they learned in #11 of the Young Avengers series). They were Scarlet Witch's twin babies born by magic but really they came from Mephisto, who made a pact with the movie actor MP once was but then supposedly took 5 parts of his soul, 2 of which became Tommy and Billy. Master P searched the world for them only to find at the end that he'd been tricked into recovering 5 missing pieces of Mephisto himself. (MP doesn't actually describe all this very clearly.) He says that after the MP/Mephisto/SW(/West Coast Avengers) affair was over the children were erased from Wanda's memory, which led to her madness mentioned above.

Since then he says he's been in hiding (not completely true), lately in this house. Billy says he and Tommy came here looking for their mother and their history. MP advises them that their past is shrouded in 'darkness and chaos' and they should let it be and embrace their present. When they've left we see him watching presumably 1 of his old films.

The duo go home to New York by bus, much to Speed's disgust. Billy still believes his mother isn't dead but thinks she doesn't want to be found. (And we see that Wanda *is* in a house in Wundagore.) Billy goes home to *his* present which significantly includes is his boyfriend Teddy. And he has to admit that his brother Tommy isn't as obnoxious as he seems.



Alina Urusov
Alina Urusov
Alina Urusov
Jim Cheung (Cover Penciler)
John Dell (Cover Inker)
Justin Ponsor (Cover Colorist)
Letterer: Cory Petit.
Editor: Tom Brevoort. Editor-in-chief: Joe Quesada.

Characters

Listed in Alphabetical Order.

Scarlet Witch
Scarlet Witch

(Wanda Maximoff)

Plus: Master Pandemonium, Rebecca Kaplan, Speed (Tommy Shepherd), Wiccan (Asgardian), Young Avengers.

> Young Avengers Presents: Book info and issue index

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