Let’s talk about the First Vision and Scarlet Witch Mini-series
Vision and Wanda have just married, and they are looking to settle down. They have left the Avengers and even bought a house. Nothing too wild should happen to them…right?
We all wish life could be that simple especially for a Synthezoid Wife guy and his on-again/off-again mutant wife.
The Vision and Scarlet Witch (1982) Miniseries is the first one featuring the Avenging couple as they adjust to domestic life. It includes notable first moments and even some inspiration for the tv-miniseries Wandavision. There will be a follow-up 12 issue miniseries (shouldn’t it be a maxiseries at this point?) later on that details Vision and Wanda’s journey to parenthood. You know the thing that will be called back in Disassembled and House of M in the 2000’s (Coverage of these stories can be found here and here, respectively).
The story of this comic is a bit over the place or at least it is essentially 4 stand alone tales that are linked together by the barest of threads.
So here are the summaries of each issue:
Creative Credits for all four issues:
Writer: Bill Mantlo
Pencils: Rick Leonardi
Inks: Ian Akin
Colors: Bob Sharen
Letters: Joe Rosen
Issue #1: Wanda and Vision move into their new home in New Jersey. It is Halloween and things get weird. Captain America gives Wanda a druid spell book only for it to be cursed and lead to the couple and an unfortunate Jarvis getting attacked by some cursed trick or treaters. Fantastic story. Will have to do a deep dive in the future. Maybe for a Halloween special. The issue ends with Whizzer showing up asking for help. The Whizzer is a golden age speedster powered by a Mongoose blood transfusion. Originally believed to be the father of the Maximoff’s but that is retconned in Avengers #185-187.
Issue #2: The Whizzer recruits Wanda to help get legal guardianship of his son, the nuclear powered Nuklo. Wanda works out a deal to release Nuklo to them to take to the Inhumans. Turns out Whizzer’s old foe is treating Nuklo and kills him via heart attack. In the process of the fight Vision loses his arm and nearly dies of Robot Shock.
Issue #3: Vision is dying but only Simon Williams can save him. Too bad the Grim Reaper (Eric Williams) is there to get his revenge on the two. “Do Synthezoids fever dream of Ultrons?” Yes. It was an okay issue. Low point overall.
Issue #4: The Big One. The one this mini is remembered for. In this issue we learn Magneto is the real father of the Maximoffs. Wait. I am just receiving something. According to this letter, due to Fox Studios having the rights to the mutants at the time, this story is retconned yet again. Oh well, that’s dumb. The issue is great as it features some wonderful one liners and Magneto taking it to the Inhumans. Also, features Magneto further slide into heroics. Great issue.
Despite not being the biggest Avengers reader, I did find this series to be highly entertaining. The Vision and Wanda are lower on my list of Avengers, but this series gave me better insight into their relationship and characters. I found myself to be invested in the characters for the first time. What worked well for me was how Mantlo explored the characters’ familial relationships. Wanda’s journey from accepting and eventually admitting to Whizzer that he was not her father was interesting. Wanda admits that she always wished she had a father in her life. She was willing to accept Whizzer as her father despite shaky evidence. This what makes the end reveal that her and Pietro are the scions of Magento more interesting. Wanda is very much willing to accept the word of Magneto as fact with little evidence. Beyond how Pietro looks a lot like Magneto. Surprisingly, noticing physical similarities is a common way to understand paternity in the Marvel Universe.
Either way Wanda’s quickness to accept the word of Magneto, despite his history of being manipulative and abusive to the twins, makes more sense with this characterization. Not sure if I fully accept being Wanda that gullible or if it was more 80’s editorial trying to make a story direction stick and just chalked it up to daddy issues. This does fit in with the big push to rehabilitate Magneto into more of a gray zone of villain and hero. Making him a father and grandfather helps soften his image. This story does that well.
The other exploration is with Vision’s relationship with Simon and Eric Williams. Vision, being the mind copy of Simon, and declared brother has a complicated relationship with Eric Williams, the Grim Reaper. Eric views both Vision and Simon as the false Simon and wants them both dead. This is all done under the fever dream style fight with Ultron-5. It is interesting exploration of the confusing history of Vision and does so in a way that easy to grasp.
Mantlo’s dialog is very much written as a bronze age Marvel story with really expository dialog that establishes the story for readers. While it is unnatural, I am always down for that style. It does a strong job giving the reader all of the information without massive editorial box. It is a lost art in comics.
Moving on to something that does a really great job is the art by Leonardi and team. I wish I could identify the inkers accurately throughout the mini, but the art is seamless in its lines in a way that speaks volume to it consistency. What Leonardi does within traditional comic layouts is engaging and eye grabbing. There is a page in the second issue that features 13 panels almost all-in widescreen format. The panels do a superb job in showing the speed of time, increasing in size for impact and timing. It also is just a rapid-fire event that gives this sense of frenzy as the panels just cut around the scene.
Leonardi’s figure work is solid throughout though there are moments of weird faces. Leonardi reminds me a lot of Neal Adams more cartoony face work. The faces exaggerated in proportion and the eyes are far more expressive. Wonky faces aside, I do love this. It really allows for these emotional beats even with an emotionless Synthezoid.
By the end of the mini-series I found myself with a newfound appreciation for this couple. It was a highly enjoyable story that I am glad to have read. Wandavision fans will find the first issue to be the best in line with the series. I recommend this story highly. Check it out whenever you get the chance.