Vision and the Scarlet Witch #1
Issue(s): Vision and the Scarlet Witch #1
What it doesn't get is a top art team. Richard Howell had done mainly fill-ins and supplemental material for Marvel, and not much more (the DNAgents?) elsewhere. His art is kind of wooden.
Some decent panels, but nothing that was going to cause Marvel's Oddest Couple to take the world by storm.
The one thing it did have going for it, creatively, was Steve Englehart. Or at least that's probably what Marvel thought. Surely the return of Englehart to Marvel would have created a lot of buzz.
But instead of focusing on the Vision's recent attempt at taking over the world, or delving into civil rights issues associated with a synthezoid/mutant marriage (there are some nods to both topics at the beginning of this issue) Englehart starts off with the Grim Reaper and his quest to blame someone for his brother's death. Again.
I suppose it was the natural way to create a tie-in with the West Coast Avengers, since Wonder Man is on that team. But it gets a little tiresome after a while.
Anyway, we do start with the Vision at Project: Pegasus, being grilled by Henry Gyrich, while Raymond Sikorski tries to keep things calm.
The scene is designed to show that the Scarlet Witch is powerful and impatient, and she eventually gets tired of waiting for the government to release her husband so she does so forcibly.
It's a nice way of demonstrating her personality and abilities, but the story is set from the perspective that she and her husband are the good guys, unfairly persecuted by Gyrich, ignoring the fact that the Vision recently tried to take over the world's computer systems. Sure, he says he's all better now, but i really don't think i would be satisfied if the government released a robot that recently went mad and tried to conquer the world. "No, it's ok. He showed us the crystal he pulled out of his forehead" wouldn't cut it.
There's also a weird scene where the Scarlet Witch yells at Gyrich about her evening gloves. Yes, i'm aware that the gesture is a rude one, but the way it is delivered is bizarre.
That's it for the government problems (they really are just allowed to walk away, although they do turn in their Avengers membership cards). The couple then returns to Leonia, New Jersey, where they are determined to live despite the fact that their neighbors burned down their last home. A real estate agent assures them that plenty of people in Leonia aren't like that, but then, he's got a financial interest in them buying a new house, doesn't he? I wonder how the Vision signs for a mortgage?
Anyway, they find a nice creepy mansion...
...and the real estate agent quickly leaves as they're looking around, and suddenly there's zombies (can i still call them zuvembies for old times' sake?).
If the real estate agent was part of a set-up, we never learn about it, but the zombies are sent by the Black Talon. He's working with Nekra.
I suppose i should mention that these are old fashioned voodoo zombies. They're not the flesh-eating type that infect whoever they bit. Think White Zombie, not Night of the Living Dead.
The zombies are able to defeat Vision and SW, but in a cute but bizarre touch, the Vision gets knocked out and stuck in a weird stasis state because he's partially phased over a zombie, so the other zombies refuse to carry him back to the Talon. "But... master... green... one... zom... bie... now.... No... take... zom...bie." The Talon tells Nekra that not even he can "always fathom their limited thoughts".
The Vision is able to disguise himself as a zombie and follow their trail back to the graveyard Talon and Nekra are operating out of. Somehow Starfox, sent by the Wasp to locate the Vision and Scarlet Witch at Hawekye's request, manages to miss all of this.
Nekra is kind of amusing. Her power is based on hate, and she's got plenty of it, so suggesting that she might have been followed home doesn't go over well.
She does seem to have one soft spot, though. She's the Grim Reaper's girlfriend.
It's a bit odd for someone who derives her strength from hate to be in love; maybe i should re-award the Oddest Couple moniker?
Eventually there's a fight...
...and the Vision discovers that the bad guys have what appears to be Simon William's original, pre-Wonder, body. It'll turn out to be a re-molded generic corpse which.... ew.
The bad guys get away, and Hawkeye, who had been trying to contact Vision and the Scarlet Witch all day...
...gets a call from the Viz instead.
This is fun. It feels (obviously) like part of a West Coast Avengers plotline; the scenes dealing with the Vision & Scarlet Witch's relationship are a bit superficial. Englehart's scripting is about as stiff as Howell's pencils, but it's all competently done. So far, no major complaints.
Quality Rating: C+
Chronological Placement Considerations: Takes place after West Coast Avengers #1; Hawkeye begins trying to contact the Vision after Hank Pym has been captured. Starfox's cameo means that this has to take place before the Avengers leave for space in Avengers #259 (we'll have to rule that her suggestion to send Thor or Captain Marvel in the WCA issue was a heat-of-the-moment mistake).
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
Inbound References (2): showBlack Talon II, Grim Reaper, Guardsman II (Michael O'Brien), Hawkeye, Henry Peter Gyrich, Iron Man, Mockingbird, Nekra, Norm Webster, Raymond Sikorski, Scarlet Witch, Starfox, Tigra, Vision, Wasp
I think that the idea was supposed to be Wanda was making a fist at Gyrich.
Posted by: Michael | July 2, 2012 11:02 PM
Wanda's "evening gloves" scene was a gesture basically meaning "get stuffed"; it's a slightly less nasty version of the middle-finger salute.
Richard Howell did several stories for Eclipse anthology titles, and was an artist/reviewer/essayist for numerous fan publications before that, most notably The Comics Journal. Despite his professed regard for Gold/Silver Age romance comics, he never could draw female faces too well.
Posted by: Mark Drummond | July 14, 2012 6:18 PM
Guardsman appeared a lot in "old Iron Mans" between Iron Man 82-109.
As Mark Drummond mentioned, the gesture Scarlet Witch is making in the "evening gloves" panel is the "up yours" (aka "get stuffed") gesture that was rather popular with the kids in the early to mid-'80s.
Posted by: Jay Demetrick | July 8, 2013 5:30 AM
The attempt by this couple to establish a life outside of the Avengers failed because the Vision didn't get a job to support his home and family with.
Posted by: Steven Printz | August 18, 2013 2:36 AM
So, we last saw Vision and Wanda headed to Washington in Avengers. Did they go straight from there to Project Pegasus? Did their suitcases have that change of costume for Wanda? Are they abandoning their suitcases when the leave Pegasus at the start of the issue?
Posted by: Erik Beck | May 30, 2015 9:07 AM
I really like this. Some of the first comics I read were Engleheart's Avengers and the origin of Nekra in Daredevil in Marvel UK reprints. Nekra really got to me. She was a sympathetic character, but really disturbing too.
Where I get distracted here is with the Black Talon. I've never seen this character before, though I had heard of him. The real life voodu zombie thing is truly horifying and the stuff of nightmares and the character is used seriously here, but... he's a guy in a chicken suit! I genuinely couldn't look at a panel featuring in this issue or on this page withought bursting out laughing! I haven't had this kind of reaction to a villain since I first saw Mr. Fish!
Posted by: Benway | March 6, 2016 6:41 PM
As everyone has noted, the "evening gloves" bit involves a then-quasi-obscene gesture. As the Comics Code would probably have banned a straightforward "get stuffed" panel, the "gloves" reference was a way for Englehart to slip it through.
Posted by: Dan Spector | August 21, 2016 7:41 PM
Yes. Man in chicken costume funny.
Posted by: The Small Lebowski | December 16, 2017 7:45 PM
Comments are now closed.
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