Jonathan, son of Kevin:
Vision and the Scarlet Witch #4
Issue(s): Vision and the Scarlet Witch #2
It's worth showing that Dr. Strange doesn't find this to be unusual or troublesome; even in the final panel with Dr. Strange along with his thoughts, where you might see some kind of ominous foreshadowing, Strange is only thinking happy thoughts.
So the intention here really does seem to have been to allow the Vision and Wanda to form a real family. It's really an interesting choice, and it's one that shows how Marvel characters were allowed to grow during this period.
The Fantastic Four is pretty much the only other book to have a family oriented premise, and there are a lot of differences. Very few Marvel heroes even have families (offhand, the Torpedo is the only hero i can think of that had a traditional nuclear family). The conventional view is that once characters are married, it eliminates the potential for drama and becomes stifling. The main theme for the Vision and the Scarlet Witch over the years (much of which was written by Englehart, so it's nice to see him "concluding" things here) has been about their seemingly impossible relationship and their lack of acceptance in society. Their marriage didn't end that, but by now having them retire from the Avengers and have children, it really does feel like we're approaching an "And they lived happily ever after" moment. This is a mini-series, so i wonder if the intention was essentially to retire the characters after this.
Granted, the Vision and the Scarlet Witch aren't Spider-Man, so their being married and having children doesn't quite have the same change to their base themes that his will. But it definitely is a major and (seemingly) permanent change. Which of course is dangerous especially since in an ongoing universe nothing is left alone forever, so the eventual reversal was inevitable, and it will be done in a way that is devastating to the characters.
For now, though, this series will largely focus on family matters leading up to the birth of the (what will turn out to be) twins. This issue does make a final stab at the theme of society's acceptance, and ends with the Scarlet Witch talking to the group of beefy muscleheads, all fathers themselves, that were behind the burning down of the Vizh and Wanda's first house, and convinces them to leave her and her husband alone from now on.
It's nice to see the Scarlet Witch using reason to get through to her Leonia neighbors, even if the reasoning boils down to "you shouldn't be mean to pregnant women". I am sure real life minorities didn't have such an easy time of ending discrimination against them. But nonetheless, her message that she and the Vision are ultimately as "human" as they are is a good one.
Although i wouldn't want them living in my neighborhood, considering that the Vision thinks its ok to start creeping through peoples' houses when he gets wind that someone may be plotting against him. I'm trying to make out with my girlfriend here!
During the course of this issue, the Vision meets two other neighbors, Glynis and Ilya Zarkov, who go by the names of Glamor and Illusion. They have actual paranormal abilities (Glamor can control the molecules of anything he touches for one minute, and Illusion controls the molecules of her own body), but hide it by pretending to be ordinary stage magicians since they don't actually want to be superheroes or treated differently because of their powers. They come out in support of Vizh and Wanda, ready to stop the Leonia bigots, but they get into a misunderstanding fight with the Vision instead...
...and their help turns out to be unnecessary thanks to Wanda's actions.
Wanda also gets a vague warning from the ghost of Agatha Harkness this issue which is a set-up for next issue.
It's all but said that it was biologically impossible for the Vision to impregnate Wanda ("we always let the fact that Vizh is a synthozoid stop us"), and early in the issue Wanda seems to imply that it was her own powers that changed that ("but with my hex power, I should be the last person to balk at things called impossible") but later Wanda does basically confirm that it was the power of the New Salem witches that made it possible.
Richard Howell's art is stiff and goofy and unfortunately undermines the drama of Englehart's plot. One of the panels above of Scarlet Witch staring right into the camera is pretty weird, and this scene with the Vision learning that he's going to be a father is more unintentionally hilarious than poignant.
Quality Rating: C
Chronological Placement Considerations: Has to take place after Dr. Strange returns to Earth in Doctor Strange #74. I've pushed this back in publication time so that i can line up next issue with Power Pack #19, since both take place on Thanksgiving, and Power Pack #19 has some dependencies related to Secret Wars II #6.
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
Inbound References (2): showAgatha Harkness, Dr. Strange, Glamor, Holly Ladonna, Illusion, Norm Webster, Scarlet Witch, Vision
Since Dr. Strange was fooled into believing in Wanda's pregnancy, his credibility on any issue regarding Wanda is suspect. His long monologue about Wanda in Avengers 503 is probably a bunch of junk too.
Posted by: Steven Printz | October 15, 2013 1:10 PM
Wanda having a baby made zero sense to me. "It's magic!" is such a lame plot device, and brings in all sorts of problems of its own -as John Byrne's retcon and Disassembled eventually proved.
Wanda's powers have always been ill defined, but it is a long, long way from "she creates bad luck" or "she manipulates probability" to "assuming the Vision can produce synthetic sperm, she can actually create life with it." Really?
Englehardt deserves credit with wanting to create new situations and advancing the characters, but this is particularly ill conceived.
Scarlet Witch and Vision were very popular characters at the time, but this solo series makes it clear that what made them work was their relationship and context within the Avengers where this kind of bizarre relationship could be accepted. The domestic environment, which is so critical in grounding so many characters, just seems bizarre here. It doesn't work for me at all.
I think there's a very good reason that after this mini-series, the two characters stop being as important to the Avengers or popular as they were previously.
Posted by: Chris | November 29, 2013 9:52 PM
Chris, what's the difference between Wanda using her powers to conjure up a baby and Clea using her powers to conjure up a rabbit, as she did in Dr. Strange 1-5?
Posted by: Michael | November 29, 2013 11:09 PM
"The baby will be fine, believe me!"
Never have words in the Marvel Universe been more wrong than those. Way to go, Dr. Strange.
Posted by: Erik Beck | June 3, 2015 11:46 AM
Engelhart heartily adhered to the old adage of "write for yourself". I don't think anyone else wanted this story, yuck.
Posted by: MindlessOne | May 8, 2017 11:09 PM
The rationale for Amanda's pregnancy is pretty simple.
Her eggs were the biological material. The magical energy in V & SW #3 transformed the eggs; since Vizh was in the energy stream, aspects of him, such as his maleness and powers, were transmitted to the twins. There's no need for "magical sperm."
In fantasy fiction, magic can create life.
Posted by: Synsidar | May 29, 2017 6:56 AM
Michael when did Wanda and Vision "declined in importance"? They've been the linchpin in several crossovers on the late 90s and early-to-mid 00s. It was after that when tney went on hiatus that they might have "declined." And even the Rememder made Wanda a key figure through his Uncanny Avengers run. (Ironically, a quick peak at dome modern-day comics suggest that Vision has a family again, so the idea isn't as "damaging" as originally thought)
Here's a weird thing though: now other stories show that the Vision's "skin" is red. Yet here he is wearing casual clothes OVER his costume. I get that he's wearing street clothes at all to feel more like a "regular human" but having them over his costume is just buzarre and make him look less human.
Posted by: Jon Dubya | May 29, 2017 2:32 PM
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