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SYFY WIRE WandaVision

Looking back on The Vision and the Scarlet Witch

By Sara Century
The Vision and the Scarlet Witch Vol. 2 #1

The Vision and the Scarlet Witch were long-time Avengers with mutually weird pasts who got married in Giant-Size Avengers #4, left the team, and then lived happily ever after. Just kidding, they definitely did not, and their marriage went through the wringer before painfully deteriorating. What can we say? Comics are kind of a bummer sometimes.

Still, despite how badly their marriage ultimately went, their introduction to the MCU brought in a whole new slew of fans and shippers. This led us to revisit The Vision and the Scarlet Witch, a two-volume series from the mid-'80s that explored their marriage as they went on hiatus from the Avengers. Though this comic was truly bizarre and definitely the kind of series that could only happen in '80s-era Marvel, watching these two interact as a married couple over the course of a combined 16 issues... is actually kind of sweet. Also, there are zombies.

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The first volume of this saga began in 1982, a four-issue limited series seven years after their wedding in 1975. After the story ends, a few years later, it starts back up again in Volume 2 as a twelve-part series with the same formula of focusing on the couple attempting to navigate their lives outside of Avengers HQ. Vision and Wanda decide that they want to leave their lives as heroes behind them and move to the suburbs. They interact with a rotating list of characters, but the most prominent recurring are Wanda's brother Pietro, their sometimes-dad Magneto, Pietro's soon-to-be ex-wife Crystal, and Vision's sort-of brothers Wonder Man and the villainous and generally awful Grim Reaper. Yet, there are some new additions — for instance, the incredibly normal couple that lives next door and actually welcomes them to the neighborhood, unlike most people who would be happy to see the former Avengers leave.

Wanda grew by leaps and bounds throughout these 16 issues, and it's an interesting transformation to watch, particularly in the context of today, where the Scarlet Witch has become legendary for her sense of angry pride and her antihero or even villainous tendencies. Watching her go from a conflicted young adult to proud Avenger and wife to one of Marvel's most powerful and prominent characters over the years has truly been a gift.

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Before this series, Wanda had gone into training with Agatha Harkness to develop her powers alongside her understanding of witchcraft. Harkness remains mostly on the peripheral so that the series can focus on Wanda's blood relations. In Volume 1, she makes a fascinating choice to simply not tell Robert Frank, the man that she and Pietro once believed to be their father, that they have discovered that he is no blood relation to them whatsoever. Her avoidance of conflict doesn't do much to help, and they end up battling Frank's son Nuklo, and Frank perishes. By the next series, she remains devoted to Vision and his dream of suburban life, with her interest in witchcraft slightly on the wane. She struggles in her relationships with Magneto and Pietro while strengthening her friendships with other women.

Vision likewise has a strange journey through these issues. He completely sheds his Avengers identity and embraces suburban life, learning to help in the kitchen and talk to the neighbors. Warning: this also entails that he learns how to make dad jokes. It is he that encourages Wanda to consider pregnancy, or that they might use some combination of science and magic to assist her in bearing a child. Wanda dismisses the idea at first, but she does become pregnant and, in the final issue, gives birth to twin boys. This turns out to be kind of a big deal later, but at the moment, she and Vision are just happy new parents with some family and supervillains fighting in the waiting room.

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These moments of semi-normalcy don't shortchange the incredibly strange vibe of this series. Despite adamantly insisting that they are no longer superheroes, they share a whole lot of superhero-adjacent adventures in these two volumes. They don't fight many villains that are specific to them, battling old recurring villains or one-off threats. They are attacked by trick-or-treaters turned into monsters, a weird witchcraft cult, and none other than Amora the Enchantress. Yet, their family dynamics are the star of the show. There is an entire issue dedicated to Wanda and Vision navigating a Thanksgiving dinner to which both the Avengers and Magneto are invited. Through it all, we see how their relationship acts as a bit of a life raft for them amid the chaos of their lives as Avengers, retired or otherwise.

For fans that began reading comics anytime after 1990, it's easy to view Wanda and Vision as a cut-and-dry example of a relationship that just could not work. The differences between them were simply overwhelming in the end, and despite a lingering sense of affection, they never really got back together. Still, this was one of the big Avengers relationships for years and years. Regardless of how things go in the end, every relationship is made up of a series of moments, and it's hard to deny that Vision and Wanda had some great ones.

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