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Casual Comics Character Primer – Avengers 2: Who is the Scarlet Witch?

Let’s take a look at the “better half” of my favorite Marvel couple – The Scarlet Witch.

Scarlet Witch

At least I hope it’s “The Scarlet Witch”… (Checks the Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe)

Curse you, Marvel! According to their guide, it’s just “Scarlet Witch”, no “The”. I had the same problem with her hubby, Vision.

In the upcoming movie, Avengers 2: Age of Ultron, Marvel will finally be bringing my favorite mutant to the big screen. For those of you who may not know who she is, you’re in luck. I’m about to lay some information on you. And I think most of it is accurate.

Where necessary, I’ll consult The Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe because, as far I’m concerned, Marvel continuity ended in 1983.

Origin: Wanda, and her brother Pietro (aka Quicksilver) are the children of Magneto. However, because Fox still owns the rights to X-Men, you won’t see that in the movie. There will probably be an inside joke or two you might get, though, now that you know that.

Family and Friend dinners got awkward in a hurry.

Holiday dinners got awkward in a hurry.

Wanda’s mother was afraid of Magneto after she found out he was a was a mutant with villainous tendencies – understandable, really. So, before she delivered the babies, she ran away to Mount Wundagore where (and this is going to sound silly) she met a half-woman, half-cow creature named Bova.

This is not a joke.

bova

Comics were simpler then…

 

After delivering the twins, she ran away (presumably to die in the freezing cold) and left them to be raised by the cow-woman. Her “World’s Worst Twins’ Mom” title would later be assumed by Princess Amidala.

Fast forward through terrible gypsy step-parents, and The Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver became villains, working for Magneto – and none of the three even knew they were related.

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And for some reason, her costume was green – even though she’s the Scarlet Witch.

 

Later, she switched allegiances and joined the Avengers – which is where she met her main squeeze, Vision.

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Powers: The Scarlet Witch has three main powers (listed from least to most impressive).

1. She knows real magic. After joining the Avengers, she trained with Agatha Harkness (an honest-to-goodness witch), so she does have mystical powers. I’m also including her hex bolts here, which are just basically a “magic missile” spell.

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2. She can alter probabilities. Her mutant powers allow her to make things that are highly improbable happen, simply by changing probabilities. It might sound lame, but it’s super-powerful. For instance, it’s really improbable that a steel door would rust and crumble in seconds instead of centuries, but she’s made that happen.

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3. Hips

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How to Identify The Scarlet Witch – a Spotter’s Guide

If you’re looking for The Scarlet Witch, you’re looking for a woman with long, curly, red hair and an upside-down “W” on her head.

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Also, she’s likely to be wearing sheer red stockings and an outfit cut up and over her hips.

(Even when she’s pregnant)

pregnant

Unofficially known as the “Scarlet Mommy” costume.

 

She’s probably also casting hex fields in-between going on a rampage when someone hints that her synthozoid husband is not a “person”.

Examining her and Vision separately is not as easy as dissecting them as a couple, but their combined family tree is mind-blowing in its complexity.

Be on the lookout for Elisabeth Olsen as The Scarlet Witch in the upcoming Avengers 2: Age of Ultron. The tease at the end of Captain America: The Winter Soldier promises a great onscreen version of Wanda.

Looks like they’re going for the classic MST3K “creepy girl”, which is perfect.

 

With the new revelation that the Hulk / Iron Man throwdown in Avengers 2 is because Wanda’s hex powers cause Hulk to get out of control, I’m even more excited for her introduction into the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

– CCG

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Casual Comics Rewind Review: Vision and the Scarlet Witch Volume 1, Number 4

Here we are, at the end of the line for this wonderful Marvel mini-series from the 80s, starring my all time favorite married couple – Vision and the Scarlet Witch. And, it’s been a heck of a ride. Let’s check in on my favorite Marvel sweethearts and see what kind of family drama awaits the duo into this month.

“Please Allow Me to Introduce Myself…!” opens with a mystery. A figure clad entirely in white climbs Mount Wundagore. The narrator is content to call him the “White Pilgrim” at the outset.

Vision and Scarlet Witch; Vol 1 #4.

And, you know what? Snark about the stories all you like, haters. But there’s no denying one thing – that’s a gorgeous splash page. Read the rest of this entry

Marvel Casting Update – Avengers: Age of Ultron

News and rumors on the casting for Avengers: Age of Ultron is accelerating, so now’s a great time to catch up and reflect on the announcements. Here’s the cast with my casual commentary and arbitrary grades assigned.

Note: I’m only looking at only cast who will appear for the first time in Avengers: Age of Ultron. I’ll get around to the characters introduced in other movies (like The Falcon) in another post.

Ultron: James Spader

Image courtesy of: The Nerdist

I think it’s great that we’re getting Ultron as a villain in Avengers 2. Since Scarlet Witch is in this movie (more on that in a minute), and Ultron created Vision, is it too much to hope that Joss Wheedon will use Avengers 2 as a launching pad for that Vision and the Scarlet Witch TV series I’ve been pining for? Read the rest of this entry

Casual Comics Rewind Review: Vision and the Scarlet Witch Volume 1, Number 3

Issues #1 and #2 of Vision and the Scarlet Witch are in the bag – review-wise. And, I’m loving them as much as I did the first (through 30th) time I read them. Even though it’s been about two decades since the last time I read this series, I’m still madly in love with the craziness of Marvel mini-series from the 80’s.

Behold! Vision and the Scarlet Witch Volume 1, Number 3. Written by: Bill Mantlo

Coming into the third issue of this four-issue miniseries, we’ve come to expect a pretty even split of action and family drama from the Vision and the Scarlet Witch mini-series. “Blood Brothers” doesn’t disappoint. Read the rest of this entry

Dragon’s Lair’s Picks: Hot Comics of the Week (January 15, 2014)

Ahhh… The new year is upon us and so are the new comics. Here are the picks for the best of the best bets for new comics this week. Rounding out the list is my pick for best comic reissue of the decade.

As always, weekly picks are provided by our friends over at Dragon’s Lair and uneducated commentary is mine and mine alone. 

Monsters! and Other Stories Trade Paperback Read the rest of this entry

Casual Comics Rewind Review: Vision and the Scarlet Witch #2

Vision and Scarlet Witch #2 – “Faith of our Fathers” delves further into the complicated back story of the Scarlet Witch and her “father” Robert Frank. Turns out he’s not really their father, but Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver have been keeping that on the down low.

Four awesome things about this issue:

  1. The super couple just hangs out around the house in their full-on superhero gear. (To the delight of teenage boys because… Wanda in costume? Hubba, hubba…)
  2. They have a huge supercomputer with a teleconnection to the moon in the living room of an otherwise nondescript home in the suburbs. In fact, it’s quite near the covered porch where Jarvis is enjoying a spot of tea after the altercation in the last issue.

    No danger, just my dad at the door. Better be sure I’m wearing the full costume, though, while I talk to my brother who is ON THE MOON!

  3. Robert Frank still actually thinks he’s the father of Wanda and Pietro.  Quicksilver’s power is super speed. So was Frank’s when he was a hero in the 50s known as… wait for it… “The Whizzer”. Wanda and Pietro have never told Frank he’s not really their father. But face it, I couldn’t bear to bring heartache to an old man who still goes by “The Whizzer” either.
  4. Wanda and the Vision get around town via taxicab – even though one can fly and the other can teleport.

The issue starts out, wonderfully, in media res. The splash page shows the Vision, arm melted into a twisted slag. The guy can turn hard as a diamond or completely intangible. The sight of the Vision – in pain, arm smoldering brings immediate intensity to this issue.

Who knew this was even a thing that could happen?

Via flashback, the readers come to see just how Vision got into this mess. And, delightfully, it involves more family drama.

Robert Frank has another son, Nuklo, a 32 year-old nuclear beast with the mind of a child. Frank wants the Vision and Scarlet Witch to help him take back custody of his abandoned child from the research facility where he is being kept.

Once again, the art is wonderfully ahead of its time for a comic of this era – minimalist, yet striking use of lines and shading. And, the non-linear storytelling really works – helping parcel out more complex backstory and the emotional trauma while maintaining tension.

You all know that Vision and the Scarlet Witch have a special place in my heart. Rereading the stories convince me that the Marvel miniseries I knew and loved still hold up today.

–          CCG

Thanksgiving Comic Rewind – The Best Thanksgiving Comic Book Issue Ever Published

When I got the (admittedly last minute) idea to write about the best Thanksgiving issue of any comic book in the history of time and space, there was no contest. That would be issue #4 of “Into the Void”.

But, since that hasn’t been written yet, here’s the VERY close second-place issue, Vision and the Scarlet Witch #6, “No Strings Attached” (per the splash page in the book).

Since it’s Thanksgiving, I’m going to give thanks for my ADHD and allow myself to tackle things a bit “stream of consciousness”. Or “wibbly-wobbly”, whichever you prefer. Read the rest of this entry

Casual Comics Rewind Review –Vision and the Scarlet Witch #1

So, as followers of the blog may remember, I still harbor massive affection for the Marvel characters, Vision and the Scarlet Witch, based on their classic adventures from the 80s. With Scarlet Witch confirmed for Joss Wheedon’s “Avengers 2”, I thought it might be a good time to revisit the classic mini-series that cemented my love for these two.

(For those not in the know, Elizabeth Olsen has been confirmed as the Scarlet Witch in the upcoming Avengers 2 film)

Elizabeth Olsen? OK, I buy it.

I picked up the original 4-issue mini-series (along with the follow-up 12-issue series) when I was at San Diego Comic Con this past July. How did the series hold up against my memories after all these years?

It’s simultaneously more corny, yet more fun than I recall.

Issue#1: “Trick or Treat”

Before we get started, I should give a shout out (more commonly known as “listing credits”) to the creative staff:

Scripter: Bill Mantlo

Penciler: Rick Leonardi

Inkers: Ian Akin & Brian Garvey

Colorist: Bob Sharen

And, of course… Editor in Chief: Jim Shooter

Page one, a splash page, illustrates everything I love about this series. Vision is wearing dungarees and a windbreaker that bears his trademark high collar. Scarlet Witch is dressed in a pantsuit, but still has her iconic cape and headdress. They’re just chilling and having a stroll on Halloween night in front of a giant mansion in a New Jersey suburb, while a kid in a Spiderman mask is the only one to notice they look out of place.

At the outset of the issue, it’s clear that the couple has quit the Avengers in order to settle down and have a “normal” life. So why are they still wearing at least 33.33% of their normal costumes. A worse disguise even Clark Kent couldn’t wrangle.

But I love the clunky romance and awkward exposition that informs the reader just who this Marvel Universe power-couple is. Good old Jarvis even shows up. Why would the butler employed by the Avengers drive hours to help straighten out the newly purchased home of a couple of quitters? Did Stark pay him time-and-a-half?

Or maybe he sent Jarvis to their house in a moment where he wasn’t thinking straight.

The issue mostly serves to inform casual readers of the time exactly who Vision and Scarlet Witch are. For the uninformed, here you go:

Scarlet Witch – Wanda Maximoff started as a member of the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants with her brother, Quicksilver. Both were revealed to be the children of Magneto. They quit the Brotherhood and were asked to join the Avengers. Eventually, Wanda learned to harness her mutant probability powers by Agatha Harkness, a real witch.

That synopsis comes from the actual comic. If you’re like me, you might be surprised that they joined the Avengers, not the X-men, and that there’s no mention of Professor X in her education.

 

 

Vision – He’s a synthozoid. So apparently that’s a thing. His body was created by Ultron and his mind was created from the mental patterns of Simon Williams (aka Wonder Man). Also… his body was mostly made of the original Human Torch (who was an android, not Johnny Storm).

Put it all together and you have two characters with convoluted backstories – both the “children” of two of the biggest baddies in the Marvel Universe.

Confusing? Sure. But, who wouldn’t root for these crazy kids to make it?

Each issue in the series features a small crisis that actually serves as a springboard to dive more into the history of each character.

In this issue, the couple is attacked by trick-or-treaters that have been transformed into real-life ghouls. The bulk of the issue is spent introducing (reintroducing?) the Vision and Scarlet Witch, their life and family situation and a gloss-over on their origins. There’s a very interesting bit where Vision tries to phase through a ghost. The effect on each of them is unexpected, to say the least.

In retrospect, much of the dialog may seem a bit trite, but the story is well-told. Artistically, the book still holds up very well. Several sequences are epically innovative, twisting supernatural planes and a hero who can become intangible into a visual treat.

Overall, Vision and Scarlet Witch #1 lives up to my recollection and, in fact, clued me back into many parts of the Scarlet Witch’s back story I had previously forgotten.

And, since it’s not really that “in demand”, I got it for a buck. You could find way worse ways to spend a dollar.

This comic is certified “Casually Awesome”!

–          CCG

Coming soon… Casual Comics Rewind of Vision and Scarlet Witch #2-4

SDCC Artists: Albert Morales

On we go with more cool artists I met at SDCC. I asked Albert if he would do an original piece of the Vision and Scarlet Witch. These are two of my favorite characters, as I have mentioned over and over. Read the rest of this entry

Casual Comics Love… Vision and Scarlet Witch

I’ve always had a weak spot for this duo. I have no clue what is going on in the Marvel Universe today, but the Vision and the Scarlet Witch are my all-time favorite characters. Both are outsiders Read the rest of this entry