With WandaVision finally coming out, I want to point out something that I feel gets glossed over a lot of the time when discussing the iconic Avengers couple: Vision and Scarlet Witch haven’t really been together in over 30 years. John Byrne broke them up in the late ’80s, and after a series of ongoing will-they-won’t-they stories, Brian Michael Bendis ended it for good in 2004 when he had Wanda lose her mind and kill her ex-husband in the middle of a rampage that destroyed the Avengers.
Vision and Wanda Maximoff got married in 1975, and their relationship essentially ended in 1989, meaning that the couple was married for 14 years, and only really ever got to exist in Avengers comics. But dear readers, you’re in luck! Marvel’s reprinted a collection of both Vision and the Scarlet Witch series, letting you read basically the only time that the two of them got to be the focal part of any book. And as luck would have it, the majority of this collection is really good.
Let’s get the bad out of the way first. After all, the book itself does. Vision and the Scarlet Witch Vol. 1 came out in 1982 as a four-issue miniseries written by Bill Mantlo. And honestly, it’s pretty dull. It never really feels like Mantlo knew it was only going to be four issues, despite it saying so on every cover — the first two issues are a two-part story that’s mostly just a dull attack on Vision and Wanda’s new home from some supervillains, and it never really has significant stakes or an interesting conflict.
Things get more interesting in issue #3, as Wonder Man and Grim Reaper get involved and it turns into a bit of family drama for Vision. Unfortunately, Mantlo’s lack of experience writing the characters shows, as all of the juicy drama just doesn’t get used to its full potential. The story’s about Wonder Man using the fact that Vision is based on his own brain patterns to bring Vision back out of a robo-coma, but it just doesn’t land well. Despite being a massive fan of all the characters involved in the story, this one just really bored me.
The last issue is a Scarlet Witch family drama story that ends on the reveal that Magneto is Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch’s father. That’s how it ends — it doesn’t resolve this new development, there’s very little of the characters actually dealing with this new knowledge, the book just ends. This is what I mean by it seeming like Mantlo didn’t know there were only four issues. It ends on what genuinely feels like a cliffhanger, but then the series is just over. That’s it. It’s bizarre.
But after these four strange issues, we’re treated to the really good stuff. The part that makes these characters’ relationship work. We’re treated to A Year In the Life of Vision and the Scarlet Witch, and by the end I dare anyone to not fall in love with the characters and their relationship. The book, at its core, is about family. It’s about the family that both of these characters have found themselves in, and the family they are making. And it works.
The run opens on a crossover with West Coast Avengers, dealing with Vision’s family. It’s got the Grim Reaper, Wonder Man, and Hank Pym, and also coincides with Vision and his wife taking leave from the Avengers to live as civilians. It’s genuinely fantastic family drama that I, an Avengers aficionado, always love to read about. But it’s not just dealing with complex continuity that people who’ve read the entirety of the Avengers would understand. Englehart weaves these tangled relationships into something exquisite, making all the characters involved deeply compelling.
This continues for the entire rest of the run. Throughout this 12-issue maxiseries, Vision and the Scarlet Witch are portrayed in a way that makes their struggles feel real, and all the people they interact with are made more interesting just by being in their vicinity. Richard Howell’s art isn’t anything particularly groundbreaking, but he draws everything in a less super heroic, more romance comic style that makes the book feel reminiscent of Amazing Spider-Man when John Romita took over.
I’m trying to keep vague about the 12-issue series, because honestly it’s one of the best parts of the entire Avengers franchise, and I feel like this collection is more than worth reading just to read that run. It’s also a fantastic primer for WandaVision — it’s about surreal things happening to Wanda and Vision when they try to settle down. What more can you ask for?
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