Marvel Studios Legends are (so far) two 8 minute long commercials comprised of scenes featuring whichever hero is being spotlighted. Episode 1 features Wanda Maximoff and episode 2 features Vision. The show is simply a promo for their new WandaVision series.
Not to be confused with the Golden Age character of a similar look and name, the modern version of The Vision made his comics debut in Avengers issue #57. Created by the mad robot Ultron (who was created by Avenger Henry Pym) to infiltrated the Avengers and destroy them from within, The Vision instead turned on his creator and helped the Avengers destroy Ultron…for the time being. Vision was then offered membership in the team which he accepted. The story ends with a hint of Vision’s path to come with the synthezoid shedding a single tear and the words “even an android can cry”.
As the years went on, Vision would come to develop feelings for Wanda Maximoff, the Scarlet Witch. They fall in love, much to the disgust of Wanda’s brother Quicksilver. In Avengers #93, Ant-Man had to shrink down and go inside The Vision in order to repair him and made a startling discovery. The story was written by long time Avengers scribe Roy Thomas (Stan’s right hand man) but was never able to do what would one day be finished by Steve Englehart in Avengers #134-135…that the Vision’s body was that of the original android Human Torch! It had long been known that Vision’s brain patterns were based on those of Simon Williams aka Wonder-Man but it had always been planned by Stan Lee and Roy Thomas that his body was indeed that of the original Torch.
Later, things got a little convoluted (don’t they always?) when John Byrne decided to revive the android Human Torch and a whole big retcon had to be done so as to not cause a conflict.
A stand out issue, Avengers #113 featured a story about the Living Bombs, a religious, racist group of humans who opposed Vision and Wanda’s relationship because it was an abomination to god. This was light years ahead of what the LGBT community has dealt with in the 21st century over the right for same sex couples to marry.
Vision and Wanda persevered and in Giant Size Avengers 4 in the conclusion of “The Celestial Madonna” storyline they did indeed get married in a ceremony alongside Mantis (the Celestial Madonna) and a Cotati re-animated Swordsman (don’t ask!). In their second mini-series, Vision and Wanda even had children, supposedly conceived in magic. But that is one crazy ass story for another time!
Vision’s debut in the Marvel Cinematic Universe is only tangentially related to the comics. In Avengers Age of Ultron Tony Stark once again gets credit for everything. I think it is mostly due to the lack of other Big Brains such as Reed Richards and the real Hank Pym who was totally short changed in the MCU. But director Joss Whedon defended the move and downplayed the idea of another scientific genius (to go along with the 2 scientists they already have? Yeah, 3 might be totally unbelievable). Stark has a dream of a “suit of armor around the entire world” for when the Avengers are unavailable or out eating schwarma. Tony Stark is working with Bruce Banner on this new security system, nick named Project Ultron. But when they a get chance to analyze Loki’s sceptre they find something akin to an AI and Tony tries to integrate it into the Ultron Program. While Tony leaves Jarvis to analyze this new “AI”, it becomes self aware and over powers Jarvis. Then it enters into a battle damaged Iron Legion drone–which, ironically, looks more like the comic’s Ultron than the Ultron in the movie.
Ultron makes his entrance during a get together of the Avengers who have just flexed their masculine egos in trying to lift Thor’s hammer, Mjolnir, without much luck. Ultron continually upgrades his body. In the comics, this was done each time he attacked the Avengers…Ultron 2, Ultron 5, Ultimate Ultron, etc. After setting up a base in Sokovia in Baron Strucker’s old castle, Ultron recruits “miracle” twins Wanda and Pietro Maximoff (Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver in the comics, these names are never used in the films). Then Ultron acquires vibranium from Ulysses Klaue (a poor adaptation of the comics villain Klaw) and follows that up with kidnapping Avengers ally Dr. Helen Cho (a nod or “Easter Egg” to Amadeus Cho from The Hulk comics) to help Ultron create the ultimate body for himself on which he places the stone from inside Loki’s sceptre upon the head, unaware it is one of the Infinity Stones. This breaks with the comic book plot which had Ultron creating The Vision as a means to destroy the Avengers. In the comics, Vision has a “solar jewel” which absorbs solar energy. Captain America, Black Widow, Hawkeye and the Maximoffs get the synthetic body back then the team gets into an argument over what to do when Thor crashes in and uses Mjolnir to bombard the cylinder holding the body with a deluge of lightning which ends with Vision bursting forth and Lo! The Vision is born! Vision’s “brain patterns” in this case are actually the Jarvis program. After a short skirmish with the Avengers, the Vision earns the team’s trust by handing Thor his hammer. I am not a fan of all these characters–film and comics–who after decades of solid continuity–are able to lift Mjolnir. Next you’ll see Howard the Duck holding it! But as a fast method of creating trust between the Avengers and the android that was going to be Ultron but is now his own, er, man? Machine? Both? it works.
Wanda and Pietro Maximoff–aka The Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver–made their debut in X-Men #4 as reluctant members of Magneto’s Brotherhood of Evil Mutants. Disagreeing with Magneto’s ideology, they cut loose from the from that group and just about a year later turned up in Avengers #16 as a part of “Cap’s Kooky Quartet”. Not only was completely changing the Avengers roster a first for it’s time, the replacements for Thor, Iron Man, Giant Man and The Wasp (Scarlet Witch, Quicksilver & Hawkeye) had all previously been villains! Looking back, it looks like Stan Lee wasn’t quite sure of what he wanted to do with The Scarlet Witch and so she often ended up being a damsel in distress needing to be rescued by the males of the team. It was, after all, the 1960’s and female heroes hadn’t yet come into their own. Her powers also were not well defined. She created “Hex Fields” which altered the laws of probability.
It wasn’t until Steve Englehart took over writing the Avengers that Wanda really began to shine. He put her under the tutelage of the Fantastic Four’s nanny, Agatha Harkness to explore the “witchier” or more magical side of the Scarlet Witch’s abilities. Wanda became more confident and more powerful and she had a beautiful, loving relationship with her husband, The Vision. They even….somehow related to her “chaos magic”…managed to conceive two children, Thomas and William. Would Marvel actually let the couple live happily ever after? I say thee nay!
Returning home to Avengers Compound one day, The Scarlet Witch is devastated when she finds the Vision completely dismantled and lying in pieces strewn throughout a lab. Vision is later reassembled in a stark white ghostly looking body with his emotions gone. Making matters worse, Wonder Man refuses to allow his brain patterns to be used to restore Vision hopefully back to his emotional self. Wonder Man has had a thing for Wanda for some time and wants her for himself.
The trauma doesn’t end there. She soon after discovers that her “children” are missing shards of Master Pandemonium’s soul and he absorbs them back into him. On the verge of a breakdown, Agatha Harkness uses a spell to temporarily wipe Wanda’s memories of her children so she can battle Master Pandemonium and defeat him. We find out everything has been manipulated by Immortus. Afterwards, Wanda regains her memory of her children. But then Marvel launched their “Heroes Reborn” mega-event where the Avengers, Fantastic Four and the Hulk are “lost” in the battle to defeat Onslaught. For the next year all the heroes live different lives with different origins in a pocket universe we would later find was created by Franklin Richards, Reed and Sue’s young son. I’ll spare the confusion of what followed all that and skip to the next big thing in the life of The Scarlet Witch…Avengers Disassembled. When Wanda seeks the help of Dr. Doom to get her children back she comes under the influence of a cosmic entity. Holding the Avengers at blame for her missing children, The Scarlet Witch seeks to destroy them…and succeeds. The Vision, Ant-Man Scott Lang, Hawkeye and Jack of Hearts are all casualties. The team is in ruin. The Avengers are over. Done. Kaput. I was devastated that the comic I loved the most, the foundation of my 40 something years as a Marvel Fan really, truly was gone. Oh it would return but all the magic that made me love the Avengers was gone. That tingly anticipation of a new team line-up gave way to nearly every damn character in the Marvel Universe becoming an Avenger or a New Avenger or Avengers Academy or Uncanny Avengers or Occupy Avengers or Secret Avengers and on and on and on. The Avengers lost everything that made them special. And not long after that, Marvel lost me.
There is no Quicksilver or Scarlet Witch in the MCU. The Maximoff twins made their first appearance in a mid-credits scene in Captain America The Winter Soldier (2014). Due to the film rights for the X-Men and all mutants belonging to FOX at the time, a deal was made to split the use of Quicksilver and The Scarlet Witch between FOX and Marvel but FOX had the upper hand. Marvel could not use the word “mutant”. Names and costumes were disputed. FOX did their usual hack job on their version of Quicksilver, calling him “Peter” instead of Pietro and erasing utterly everything about the comic book Quicksilver…putting him in a suburban home with a little sister.
When we first see the twins they are captives of Baron Strucker who refers to them as “miracles”. In what I think was an idiotic decision on Joss Whedon’s part, Quicksilver, er, I mean Pietro Maximoff doesn’t even make it to the end of Avengers Age of Ultron and is killed off by bullets of all things. This is the first time we really get to see Wanda let loose with her powers which appear to derive from telepathy, telekinesis and energy manipulation. By the end of the film we see what seems to be a new team of Avengers: Captain America, Black Widow, Vision, Falcon, War Machine and…Wanda. She doesn’t get the cool name Scarlet Witch or even so much as some kind–any kind–of outfit? Not even some kind of jumpsuit like Black Widow? They say it would look hoaky. Comic-booky. Hey! Guess what, guys? It’s a comic booky movie! It’s your job to find a way to make it work! You made it work for literally every other super hero but for some reason it won’t work for The Scarlet Witch? Go burn your comic book collection. And your Director’s Guild card.
The intimate details of Vision and Wanda’s relationship seems to be developed off screen, When we next see them in Captain America Civil War, Wanda is in hiding and Vision is with her. But when it comes down to choosing sides over the Sokovia Accords, Vision is with Iron Man and Wanda is on Captain America’s side. The two lovers are even forced to battle each other, though in the Big Battle Vision chooses to go after Falcon so he won’t have to fight Wanda and in trying to take Falcon down he cripples Rhodey (War Machine). After the film they appear to go off together again until Avengers Infinity War pulls them back into the thick of things and in order to keep the Mind Stone from Thanos, Wanda must destroy it and the Vision. Then after going through such a horrific experience, Thanos simply rewinds time and Wanda must watch as Thanos rips the Mind Stone out of Vision’s head, killing him. Again. Then Wanda Maximoff herself gets dusted in “The Snap”. When she returns in Avengers Endgame she looks right in Thanos’s eyes and yells at him “You took EVERYTHING from me!!!” and it is here we see just how powerful Wanda Maximoff really is as she almost takes the Titan down single handedly.
Is Vision truly dead? Will WandaVision be just a dream? Can the two Avengers find love and happiness again? The answers begin…tomorrow when WandaVision premiers on Disney+.
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