Vision and the Scarlet Witch #11
Issue(s): Vision and the Scarlet Witch #11
To do that, Englehart brings in Spider-Man, the character who is familiar with the other side of the Toad.
Most issues of this series have acknowledged real-world holidays as a way to demonstrate that the series has been occurring in real-time, a month passing between issues as Scarlet Witch's pregnancy progresses. This issue's "holiday" is tax day, and that's the occasion for Spider-Man's appearance. Peter has taken an assignment to photograph the Vision and the Scarlet Witch for Now magazine because he needs money to pay taxes, and Vision and the Scarlet Witch have agreed to the photoshoot because J. Jonah Jameson is paying them for it, and they also need money for taxes.
I can understand Peter Parker, who obviously lives paycheck to paycheck and as a freelancer probably gets checks that don't have taxes deducted automatically, needing extra money to pay taxes. But it's harder to understand Vision and Scarlet Witch. Their income has been the $1,000/week stipend from the Avengers, which you would think has taxes deducted. The couple are no longer collecting checks since they resigned from the Avengers and have been living on savings, but the Vision says "since we made so much money last year but aren't making it now", they had to accept JJ's offer. Maybe they ought to get an accountant.
In any event, before Peter shows up, the Scarlet Witch is getting a check-up from Doctor Strange, and he explicitly tells Wanda that her size is normal and that she's not going to have twins.
Then Peter shows up and takes his pictures (Holly seems to be hoping Peter will take some pictures of her, too).
After Peter leaves, the Toad attacks in his latest armored suit.
But Peter didn't quite yet make it onto the bus, so he shows up as Spider-Man and asks the Toad what's going on.
The Toad teleports away, but comes back with the answer that since Spider-Man promised to be his friend but didn't actually deliver on it, he's going to take the Scarlet Witch instead.
Much later, when the Toad reforms the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants in X-Force, he'll have poison powers. And that seemed to come out of nowhere and felt like a departure for the character. But it's worth noting that the idea of the Toad using poison was first seen here...
...as did his role as a "Toad-King" that may have allowed him to think of himself as someone who could lead the Brotherhood. It's probably a stretch to try to explain anything from a Rob Liefeld comic but i thought it was interesting enough to mention.
Spider-Man and Vision fail to stop the Toad, but when he gets to Scarlet Witch he finds himself repulsed by her pregnant state.
She blasts him with a hex and he's defeated, and she's not the least bit disturbed by his reaction.
Englehart also uses the occasion of tax day to make a number of bad puns. Quicksilver shows up in Antarctica in a rage over the events of last issue and takes it out on a scientist, who wonders if the event really happened or if his mind is just "overtaxed". The Vision also thinks to himself that Quicksilver's behavior isn't helping in "this taxing time". And the resolution of the story has Spider-Man making a tortured analogy between the Toad's behavior and paying taxes.
I think a simpler explanation for the Toad's behavior is that his obsession with the Scarlet Witch got re-triggered when he heard she was pregnant, and overrode his change of heart that was shown in Two-In-One and ASM. And you could still argue that that was the case since the Toad has to teleport away to think about it before returning to Spider-Man with an explanation. In any event, it's not necessary to go into a detailed character analysis for the Toad, and i'm glad that this issue finally acknowledges those other stories.
In addition to all this there are musings about pregnancy, with Wanda saying that while "we all see me becoming primarily feminine" but "the primal masculine comes out in daddies, too" as demonstrated by the Vision's anger over Quicksilver hurting Scarlet Witch. I'll add that both the Vision and the Scarlet Witch seem a little self-centered about this; this is a problem for Crystal and Quicksilver (and Norm Webster, who the Vision ostracizes this issue), but Viz and Wanda only seem capable of thinking about how it affects them. Which is probably also something that happens when a couple is having a baby, whether that was Englehart's intention or not. Wanda "can't feel sorry for Crystal" but is also upset with Quicksilver for reacting the way he is (this takes place before Quicksilver goes full-out villain in the Avengers annuals, too). Everyone assumes that Crystal's affair with Norm was a purely one-off fling and a "mistake", not a reaction to Quicksilver's neglect of her or any real feelings that Crystal and Norm might have for each other (even though we'll see next issue that the latter is true).
Quality Rating: C
Chronological Placement Considerations: Vision and the Scarlet Witch appear in Hulk #323 between this issue and next. Spider-Man is still "trying to give up being Spider-Man", which has been on ongoing concern in the Spider-books. Definitely takes place after the relaunch of Now magazine. Takes place before Avengers annual #15, and also before Doctor Strange's cloak is destroyed in Doctor Strange #77.
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
Inbound References (1): showDr. Strange, Glamor, Holly Ladonna, Illusion, Norm Webster, Quicksilver, Scarlet Witch, Spider-Man, Toad, Vision
Wanda's probably the only heroine who can say that she defeated a villain while eight months pregnant.
Posted by: Michael | January 1, 2014 6:59 PM
Why doesn't the Vision get a job in order to support his family?
Posted by: Steven Printz | January 1, 2014 10:39 PM
Vision as "dedbeat jobless dad" is great. I mean what skills could he possibly have? (I guess the trade unions would be against him on priciple).
There's a Web of Spider-man issue where Wanda refered to the "Terrible Toad King". I'd always wondered about that reference. Now I know.
Posted by: kveto | December 11, 2016 1:14 PM
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