…the Scarlet Witch’s Insanity?

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Well it’s time again for my Guest Poster while I’m once again distracted by health issues, this time Tony from the Net’s sole bastion for the Original Marvel Universe, The Wastebasket, who has graciously prepared the following exceptional fix about the Scarlet Witch.  Over to Tony…

Since at least 2004, when Marvel published its “Avengers Disassembled” storyline, the Scarlet Witch has been consistently portrayed as being mentally ill and dangerously unstable. Her psychosis generally seems to be traced back to the loss of the children she conceived, through highly unorthodox means, with her husband at the time, the artificial man known as the Vision. However, this cannot account for the craziest thing the Scarlet Witch ever did, which was marrying the Vision in the first place. I’ve always felt there must be some deeper, underlying trauma that motivated Wanda Maximoff to make the bizarre life-choices that she did. While looking through the character’s early appearances for clues as to what this might have been, a single panel in her debut issue, Uncanny X-Men #4, inspired an answer. I believe that Wanda was sexually abused by Magneto during the time she and her brother Quicksilver were under the arch-villain’s power. The Scarlet Witch was left with a pathological aversion to sex that only the Vision, by the very nature of his artificiality, was able to circumvent.

When we first meet the Scarlet Witch, she is at Magneto’s island fortress, watching her fellow members of the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants eat dinner. The Toad is stuffing his face like a pig and Mastermind is making lewd comments about Wanda. She is disgusted with both of them, and says so. She is proud, even haughty, and shows complete confidence in her own power and in her brother Quicksilver. A fight nearly breaks out, but Mastermind clearly fears being punished by Magneto. Later, after Magneto returns, he storms in demanding the twins’ attention. Quicksilver remains defiant, but Wanda’s confident façade crumbles as soon as Magneto touches her. With her shoulders hunched, her arms hanging stiffly at her sides, her head bowed, she looks like a total victim. She meekly agrees with Magneto that she must remain in his service until her debt to him (for saving her from an angry mob) is repaid. But it doesn’t look like gratitude that keeps her there. Her body language says it all.

During the early years, before she falls in love with the Vision, we see glimpses of Wanda’s emerging sexuality. As early as Uncanny X-Men #6, she is ogling the Sub-Mariner’s physique. Magneto sends her to basically seduce Namor into joining the Brotherhood. Looking at the Speedo-wearing Prince of Atlantis, Wanda thinks, “How noble he looks… how slim, yet muscular! He’s fascinating!” She goes on to wonder why someone so “fine” and “masterful” would ally himself with a villain like Magneto.

Later, after breaking away from Magneto and joining the Avengers, Wanda develops a crush on Captain America.  Right away, on page 2 of Avengers #17, Wanda thinks, “Captain America is no weakling! I shall enjoy being an Avenger!” During a training session in Avengers #21, Cap puts a hand on Wanda’s shoulder while lecturing her, prompting her to think, “His touch! So strong—and yet, so gentle…!” And after Cap angrily quits the team in Avengers #23, a tearful Wanda pines for him, thinking, “How I miss the sight of him working out in our private gymnasium! So confident… so handsome! To me, he was every inch an Avenger!” Sounds like she’s got it pretty bad. And yet, even after Cap returns to the team, Wanda never really pursues a relationship with him. In fact, in Avengers #25, she seems to be trying to talk herself out of it. She muses, “What is it about Steve Rogers that makes him so appealing to me? Is it the fact that he seems to harbor some tragic secret… some hidden sorrow? Or am I just confusing pity with the dawning of love?” Wanda never acts on her feelings for Cap and soon loses him to the blonde S.H.I.E.L.D. agent Sharon Carter.

Wanda appears to have a brief crush on Hercules, for in Avengers #46, she seems almost giddy when the Lion of Olympus asks her on a double-date with Hawkeye and the Black Widow. However, almost immediately afterwards, she and Quicksilver once more fall into Magneto’s clutches, and they stay away from the Avengers for quite a while. By the time the twins return, the Vision has joined up, and Wanda falls for her android teammate pretty quickly. At that point, Wanda drops all pretense of trying to establish a normal, healthy sexuality. As time goes on, she becomes more visibly uncomfortable around virile men.  On page 2 of Avengers #242, Wanda looks like she’s been goosed when Starfox puts his hand on her shoulder and intimates that he finds her attractive. She-Hulk, who’s sitting right next to them, takes it in stride and chalks Wanda’s silence up to being worried about the Vision, who was paralyzed at the time. Once again, Wanda’s body language tells the tale, this time showing alarm rather than concern. Wanda looks rather shocked and alarmed again in Avengers #252 when Hercules’ costume is completely destroyed while battling the Blood Brothers, exposing his manhood for all to see (all except the reader, of course). She lends him her cape, but doesn’t seem to find any humor in the situation. After the Vision’s personality is erased, his marriage to Wanda rapidly falls apart. Wonder Man, on whose brain patterns the Vision’s mind had been based, has also fallen in love with Wanda and sees an opportunity to try to win her for himself. But in Avengers West Coast #69, Wanda tries to let him down gently, hoping they can “just be friends.” Perhaps Simon Williams was just a little too real for her.

Wanda’s first serious suitor is actually the semi-barbaric Arkon, ruler of the extradimensional realm of Polemachus, in a story that spans Avengers #75–76. In this tale, Wanda’s behavior can only be described as bizarre. Arkon is a Conan-type who seeks to cause a nuclear catastrophe on Earth in order to save his own world in a parallel universe. He spent years observing the Earth, seeking some means to cross the dimensional boundary, and in the course of his research he became enamored of the Scarlet Witch. Being of the hit-‘em-with-a-club-and-drag-‘em-by-the-hair school of romance, he decides to kidnap Wanda and make her his bride. Though he is pretty ruthless in achieving his objectives, he is not malicious toward Wanda, and seems to have a genuine desire to marry her. Wanda, of course, resists at first, but, strangely, he seems to wear her resolve down pretty fast. At one point, he shows her a sacred flower, telling her it is to be picked by the betrothed of the Imperion and worn on the day of her wedding. So what does Wanda do? She picks the flower. Instead of fighting with Arkon or trying to escape from the palace, she recites to him a poem by Lord Tennyson. Then she says, “Perhaps I could love you… could be happy as queen of your world… if only you weren’t so cold… as distant as the stars…!” Arkon seems willing to give it a go, so Wanda moves in to kiss him. Suddenly, the moment is spoiled as the Avengers storm in to rescue Wanda, which seems to shock her back to her senses. Still, even after Arkon is defeated, Wanda looks almost disappointed as she clutches the fabled flower. It was an intense, surreal situation that clearly messed with Wanda’s head. Having “no choice” in the matter may have been a major contributing factor, as she was bereft of her mutant powers and had given up hope of being rescued. Yielding to Arkon may have been a form of self-preservation. But Arkon did possess the grim, unsmiling demeanor that Wanda seems to respond to. And he was hypermasculine to such an absurd degree that he may have seemed, in his own way, as “unreal” as an android.

Wanda barely notices the Vision when they first meet, during the battle with Arkon. It was hardly a case of love at first sight. She pays scant attention to him at all until Avengers #81, when he surrenders to some heavily-armed crooks to save her life. But over the next ten issues, she slowly comes to realize he is the perfect man for her. In Avengers #91, they nearly kiss while held captive by Ronan the Accuser, though the Vision chickens out—again. (I believe that when the Vision suddenly quit the team at the end of Avengers #79, it was because he realized he was falling in love with Wanda and didn’t know how to handle it.) The Vision would continually be plagued by self-doubt and fears about the worth of his artificial existence. It would prove to be the major stumbling block to their relationship. But in Avengers #102, when Hawkeye finally makes a play for Wanda, she admits for the first time that she’s in love with the Vision. Hawkeye responds with shock and confusion, and the rest of their teammates see the relationship as something to worry about rather than celebrate. (Even a hopeless romantic like the Wasp finally admits, in Avengers West Coast Annual #4, that she never knew what “poor Wanda” saw in the Vision, likens their relationship to a woman marrying a toaster, and says the Vision gives her the “heebie-jeebies.”) When Quicksilver finally finds out in Avengers #110, he is outraged and disgusted. His sentiments are echoed by the general public when the news finally leaks out in Avengers #113. Still, the unlikely couple perseveres through all troubles and setbacks and finally gets married in Giant-Size Avengers #4. The happy event was made possible primarily through the intervention of Immortus, who convinced the Vision that he had been built out of the remains of the original Human Torch. Once the Vision considered himself to have been created by a man (Phineas T. Horton) and to have been a hero of World War II, rather than constructed by a robot (Ultron) to be a weapon against the Avengers, he was able to overcome his self-image problems and finally ask Wanda to marry him. Naturally, the conniving Immortus had reasons of his own and was hardly being beneficent. Eventually, the Vision and the Scarlet Witch retire from the Avengers, move to suburban New Jersey, and try to live a normal life.

Wanda’s dream of domestic bliss is first seriously undermined when she finally discovers that Magneto is her father. As early as Uncanny X-Men #62, Neal Adams revealed that Magneto, without his helmet, bears a striking resemblance to Quicksilver. When we first see Wanda’s mother, in a flashback in Avengers #186, she looks just like her daughter. We learn that Magda’s husband “had gained strange abilities, powers that had sent him raving with a desire to rule the world.” Fearful, Magda fled from this man without even telling him she was pregnant. One month later, in Uncanny X-Men #125, we see Magda again and learn that her husband was none other than Magneto. The true parentage of the Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver had been revealed at last, though only for the benefit of sharp-eyed readers. The characters themselves did not learn of their familial bond until the last issue of the first Vision and the Scarlet Witch limited series about three and a half years later. In that tale, Magneto comes upon the midwife who delivered the twins and learns from her of Magda’s fate. Magneto then tracks his unsuspecting children down and informs them that he is their father. Wanda is nearly overwhelmed with conflicting emotions. The scene is continued in a flashback in Avengers #234, where Quicksilver rails against Magneto while Wanda looks on silently. In the present, she confides to the Wasp and Captain Marvel that “I barely left the house for days, so chilled was I by the thought that I was Magneto’s daughter. Even now I can hardly begin to express the horror, the shame! It’s as if I suddenly discovered Hitler lurking in my family tree!” Noting Magneto’s claims to be reassessing his war against homo sapiens, Wanda says, “that can never excuse his past crimes… nothing can!”

While it is never suggested outright that Magneto molested Wanda, it would not have been out of character for him during the days of the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants. Magneto is frequently depicted as being physically abusive to his lackeys, and is often threatening them with punishment for disobedience. In Uncanny X-Men #6, we see Magneto hurting Mastermind on two separate occasions, and he also threatens Wanda. In the following issue, Magneto roughs up Mastermind again after the illusionist tries to rape Wanda. In Avengers #53, the Toad becomes so sick of Magneto’s abuse that he finally turns against him, causing Magneto to seemingly fall to his death. While Magneto is shown to be ruthless and cruel in his first few appearances, as time goes on it becomes increasingly clear that he is completely insane. By the time he faces off against Black Bolt and the Royal Family of the Inhumans in Amazing Adventures #9–10, Magneto is practically a gibbering lunatic. He only begins to reclaim a measure of sanity after being reduced to infancy and then restored to adulthood, and it is shortly after that that he starts to seek redemption for his past crimes. It is eventually suggested in Classic X-Men #19 that Magneto’s use of his mutant powers negatively impacts his own body; and that they will slowly, inevitably drive him mad is finally explained in Chris Claremont & Jim Lee’s X-Men #2. In the heat of such madness, it is not hard to believe that Magneto would see Wanda, the spitting image of his lost wife, as a target for his sexual urges. As revealed in the Classic X-Men back-up story, Magneto’s last lover was brutally murdered, apparently by the CIA. He would certainly have some sexual frustrations built up by the time he found Wanda and dressed her up in a skintight costume with opera gloves.

In the second Vision and the Scarlet Witch limited series, Wanda and the Vision decide to try to have children, even though Wanda is convinced it is impossible for the Vision to be a father. In the third issue, during an encounter with Salem’s Seven, Wanda channels the rampant arcane energies of the witches of New Salem, coupled with her own mutant power to alter probabilities, to apparently achieve this impossible feat. After a normal pregnancy, Wanda gives birth to twin boys. At this point, Magneto attempts to rebuild his relationship with Wanda, though she wants nothing to do with him. However, things take a darker turn after the new family moves out to California to join the Avengers’ west coast contingent. Wanda fires a succession of nannies who claim her babies vanish into thin air from time to time when their mother is away. Finally, Agatha Harkness resurfaces to get to the bottom of it, and in Avengers West Coast #51, she informs Wanda that her children are anything but normal. In the following issue we discover that the boys were basically magical constructs containing fragments of Mephisto’s being, ripped from him when he was blasted to smithereens by Franklin Richards in Fantastic Four #277. Mephisto reclaims the missing pieces of his essence, forcing Agatha Harkness to erase all memory of the children from Wanda’s mind. Almost immediately afterward, Wanda slips into a catatonic state.

At this point, Magneto re-enters the picture, abducting the unresponsive Wanda from the Avengers Compound in the middle of Loki’s “Acts of Vengeance” scheme. When she comes to, her powers have been amplified to an astonishing degree, giving her almost complete control over probabilities, and therefore, reality itself. Unfortunately, her mind has snapped and she takes on a villainous persona to rival Magneto at his worst. She chops off her hair, adopts a new costume, and attacks the Avengers. Magneto accompanies her, seeing this change in his daughter as an opportunity to gain her powers for his side in the inevitable war between humans and mutants. Though he is curious about Wanda’s heightened powers, Magneto doesn’t seem overly concerned about the radical change in her personality. As long as he can use her to further his goals, he doesn’t seem to care about her mental health, as he basically admits in Avengers West Coast #60. With a little help from Quicksilver, the Avengers manage to separate Magneto and the Scarlet Witch, only to have Immortus finally play his hand.

Over the next two issues, Immortus finally reveals his grand master plan, which he’s apparently been working on since his first appearance way back in Avengers #10. Not content with being the ruler of Limbo, Immortus intends to use Wanda’s ability to control probabilities to give him complete mastery over the timeline of Earth, allowing him to direct what path reality will take at moments of divergence. In order to prepare Wanda for her role as his puppet, Immortus has been manipulating her life since even before she joined the Avengers. This is why he lied to the Vision about the origins of his android body, to ensure that they would get married. He obviously believed such a marriage would make Wanda more emotionally vulnerable. Immortus claims to have been subtly influencing nearly everything that’s happened to the Scarlet Witch since the start of her career, and his chief aim was to “undermine her confidence by making her fear she was doomed, always to be a victim of circumstances beyond her control.” If we also take into account Quicksilver’s thoughts on the subject, that “for once in his life, my father was being manipulated by one even more powerful than himself,” it’s not a stretch to say that Immortus had been manipulating Magneto into making Wanda feel like a helpless victim, and what could accomplish that evil aim better than sexual abuse?

Interestingly, it’s soon after this that Magneto goes into a profound depression. We should remember that Hank Pym was careful not to discuss their strategy against Magneto with the Wasp at their headquarters, as he was convinced Magneto had the place bugged. Thus, it stands to reason that Magneto may have overheard Immortus’ shade explaining his master plan to Agatha Harkness, and he may also have heard the Avengers discussing what happened in Limbo after the fact. We can assume, then, that Magneto became aware of Immortus’ manipulations of Wanda’s life, including whatever manipulations involved Magneto himself. So what does Magneto do? He retreats to one of his hidden bases in the Savage Land, and before long, he hooks up with another beautiful young auburn-haired mutant girl—Rogue, barely out of her teens at this point. Magneto senses a sexual “spark” between them. Rogue is definitely interested, but Magneto is too depressed to pursue it. After murdering Zaladane for trying to steal his magnetic powers, Magneto returns to Asteroid M alone. When we next see him, in X-Men #1, he has become a recluse, a disillusioned shell of a man, and a shadow of his former self. He is again manipulated into what appears to be a “final confrontation” with the X-Men, which leaves him practically suicidal. We could attribute all this to Magneto struggling to deal with what he did—or perhaps was made to do—to Wanda many years before.

At any rate, if we accept that Wanda was sexually abused by Magneto, it is clear she kept this trauma a secret from everyone, including her twin brother and, later, her husband. Thus, she never got the help she needed to recover from the emotional scars that resulted, leaving her unprepared for the later ordeals she would endure. She was on a downward spiral that, it would seem, led her to become the totally insane mass-murderer of “Avengers Disassembled,” “House of M,” and subsequent stories set in Marvel’s current continuity. I can think of no better explanation.

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31 Responses

  1. Hey, just wanted to say that this was a really great review of the Scarlet Witch’s history. You’ve found some interesting subtext, and it even provides a way to return her as a “normal” character if she could identify and come to grips with her original trauma. Cool stuff. Keep ’em coming!

  2. Hey fnord12, I agree that Tony has captured a great element to Wanda’s backstory and Kirby’s original conveyed body language between her and leader of the Brotherhood, Magneto.

  3. This is a rather enlightening article. It has to be stated that apparently, Magneto allowed for Quicksilver and the Scarlet Witch to date each other, while knowing they were not only siblings, but also his own children. Such (further) deception by her own father would unsurprisingly affect Wanda’s trust in others. Her family has a rather tragic history.

    And it’s also interesting that Arkon showed an interest in the Scarlet Witch, who acted aloof towards him, while he was perhaps more romantically successful with Storm who is often shown acting the same way, especially in her earlier appearances. Storm had almost been a victim of sexual abuse as a rather young girl, as later told in Uncanny X-Men #267.

    I wonder if Marvel ever plans to answer any of the questions you pose, or put the Scarlet Witch on trial, an idea that can reveal much of her past or perhaps cure her.

    A repair for her sanity IMO is out of the power of most of the characters in Marvel. Cthon, the Celestials, the Phoenix Force and/or perhaps even Shuma Gorath can cure her.

  4. I doubt Marvel ever plans to answer the questions Tony has posed in this brilliant article, and as for putting Wanda on trial I’m not so sure since even Jean Grey wasn’t the first time around for her actions as Dark Phoenix before the stupid reveal that came later about them not being one-and-the-same.

    I wouldn’t consider anything Chthon would do to her being akin to a cure, either!

  5. A “Trial of the Scarlet Witch” story could be very interesting, though I doubt Marvel would ever manage to do it right.

    If anyone could cure Wanda, I’d say it would be Topaz.

    Arkon wields absolute power in Polemachus, and he’s surrounded by fawning, submissive women. They’re disposable to him, neither interesting nor memorable. Strong, defiant women like the Scarlet Witch or Storm represent a fascinating challenge, though. Something else to conquer.

  6. Thanks for dropping by Tony and commenting on your wonderful post.

    I agree a “Trial” story would be awesome but doubt they could get it right either.

    Your thoughts about Topaz are extremely insightful, but in attempting to heal SW would she end up draining Chthonic energies which would go on to have a detrimental impact on her?

    Given she is also able to enable sorcerers to focus and magnify their magical powers, could she not end up providing Chthon with the power to finally take full possession of Wanda too?

  7. It would make a great story if Topaz thought she was healing the ‘scars’ of a childhood trauma and discovered too late the power of Chthon lurking beneath it.

    We know from “Tomb of Dracula” that Topaz has the potential to be more powerful than Mephisto, but Chthon is a higher-order being (i.e. more powerful) than Mephisto. Would Topaz be strong enough to beat Chthon? Probably not. With help from Jennifer Kale, maybe. With Doctor Strange, definitely.

    I’m not an expert on Marvel’s current continuity, though, in which Doctor Strange seems like a bit of a loser, so I can’t really say how it might all go down were Bendis, say, to do such a story now. From what I’ve seen, Wanda, Topaz, and Jennifer would probably just end up in bed together!

  8. …Or, hey, just blame Doctor Doom for everything.

  9. Tony wrote “In the third issue, during an encounter with Salem’s Seven, Wanda channels the rampant arcane energies of the witches of New Salem, coupled with her own mutant power to alter probabilities, to apparently achieve this impossible feat.”

    That’s not what happened. Englehart explained what happened, via a conversation between Dr. Strange and Wanda in V & SW #4. Wanda used magic and a spell. She said in V & SW #3 that her power couldn’t create life and she never changed her position on that.

    Detecting a pattern in stories is a useful exercise, but the varying quality of each story is an important variable. The stories that depicted Wanda as insane are, frankly, garbage.

    SRS

  10. While I agree the romance sprang up fairly fast, I’ve never found it marrying an android bizarre. Wasp to the contrary, he’s not a toaster: He has feelings, and since he’s “every inch a human being” he’s presumably capable of having sex (which I always assumed they did on the honeymoon when I first read those issues). I don’t see why it’s any stranger than Johnny falling for an inhuman, Sue being attracted to an Atlantean or mutant-human relationships

    • The question I have is how Janet knew he was “every inch a human being”;)

      This could finally justify Hank tipping over the edge – his wife had been intimate with the creation of his evil robot son;)

      Was this all part of Ultron’s plan? Did Janet have a secret fetish for androids?

      But back to seriousness, the romance between Wanda and Vision isn’t necessarily bizarre for the Marvel Universe, but the conception is!

  11. Why The Vision couldn’t impregnate Wanda the old-fashioned way has always bothered me. He has artificial, but functional, parts that mirror a human’s, so I assume he can produce DNA. Wanda’s power over probabilities could make it viable, if necessary: No magic required.

    The whole WCA crap about the twins was trash. Byrne obviously didn’t think Viz was “every inch a human being” as he lacked a penis! (Vision, not Byrne.) That whole storyline should be revealed as inaccurate, IMO. I know how to fix it, but now Heinberg has them as reincarnations. Can someone explain to me how 16-year-olds have the reincarnated souls of the original twins when they couldn’t possibly have been conceived in the right timeframe (No way did Wanda lose her twins 16 years ago!) The alternative, that the twins’s souls evicted and replaced Kaplan and Shepard’s original souls, is just creepy. Although it does fit the House of Atreus-like history of Magneto’s family.

    Wait, I can fix that one, too.

    • While Vision might have had vestigial working parts it is the ability to manufacture human-compatible sperm that was the issue.

      The issue of Thomas & William inhabiting different bodies now stinks of the whole Shatterstar-Benjamin Russell plot. Shiver!!!

      Do tell how you can fix that?

      • While Vision might have had vestigial working parts it is the ability to manufacture human-compatible sperm that was the issue.

        Englehart addressed the question of Vizh’s functionality way back in 1975, in an interview in FOOM #12: “. . . it’s always been my opinion that the Vision could not be a natural father. I had played with the idea and rejected it as being impossible to explain in a code approved comic book.” And later, “We will say for the sake of Wanda that he is physically functional.”

        The logic underlying the conception of the twins in VISION & SCARLET WITCH #3 was solid when the issue was published, and nothing that’s happened since has weakened it. The Byrne storyline, etc. only happened because some people find changing characters to fit formulas much easier than writing stories that fit the characters.

        SRS

  12. Yes, that series was much better than the first written by Mantlo. But it was Englehart after all.

    While I was not impressed at all with Byrne’s revelation, I feel comfortable with the idea that Wanda used chaos magick to conceive the twins, but this would imply Chthon was behind their conception which could create an interesting storyline.

    Otherwise, it was Aarkus and if so we really need that story revealing that Vision was in fact not the Human Torch, but perhaps Adam II. Children of Aarkus and Wanda would certainly have been pretty cool:)

    • I like that idea. Chthon wants out of Wundagore Mountain. His attempt to escape by possessing Wanda failed. Perhaps for one reason or another, trying again was not worth it. But he could likely escape by possessing one of Wanda’s children (more easily than the offspring of any other human). So he had to make sure that Wanda had children someday, somehow. I like that better than any of the other options.

      It’s hard to say just how much influence Chthon can actually exert from his magic prison.

    • While I was not impressed at all with Byrne’s revelation, I feel comfortable with the idea that Wanda used chaos magick to conceive the twins, but this would imply Chthon was behind their conception which could create an interesting storyline.

      Chaos magic had absolutely nothing to do with the conception of the twins. Englehart had Wanda use the free magic(k)al energy generated by the Salem’s Seven witches, and combined that with a spell and the Vision’s physical contact. Aarkus is similarly irrelevant to everything.

      I’m a bit sorry to come across as harsh, but if theories about the twins are utterly disconnected from the conception of the twins as it was actually written, then why theorize about it?

      SRS

      • Unfortunately, Steve Englehart is not the last word on the subject. In ‘Avengers West Coast’ #52, Agatha Harkness explains that the twins were created through a combination of magic and Wanda’s own mutant power. This doesn’t contradict anything Englehart wrote. He never said Wanda DIDN’T use her hex power. Wanda may not have been aware that she used it, since she was so focused on channeling the magic. Agatha Harkness, though, is aware of what really happened.

        Your antipathy toward John Byrne’s run on ‘Avengers West Coast’ is well documented, Steven, but not everyone shares your opinion. I’m willing to work with Byrne’s contribution in this case, so I’ll accept what Agatha Harkness says.

        That is the strength and the weakness of a shared continuity, built by many different writers. Stories get changed, added to, and undone. What’s irrelevant is the intent of any particular writer. Ultimately, the story is what it is based on what each reader considers to be canonical. I have my canon and you have yours, and they include and exclude different things. But don’t presume that your opinion is authoritative, because it’s just your opinion.

        Sorry if that was harsh.

  13. I always assumed, despite anything Byrne might have intended, that Vision’s “missing equipment” was merely some Comics Code Authority censorship. I know that in some Japanese comics, when characters are doing a full-frontal, the genitalia are just omitted from the illustration and it’s up to the readers to use their imaginations. It’s not intended to convey that the character has no genitalia. Byrne just not drawing it was more subtle than having a black box labeled CENSORED covering up that part of the picture.

    • If Wanda did conceive the children via Vision, the only tenable way explanation is that Aarkus was trapped inside the android.

      The question then becomes who trapped Aarkus there, and did Chthon manipulate the two becoming a couple?

      If so, why? How exactly would he benefit possessing a child of Aarkus?

  14. It was me, not Steven, that had shown antipathy toward Byrne’s story (he was quoting my earlier reply to him:).

    I bring Aarkus into the mix since there has never been a reasonable explanation for how an android purported to be the Original Human Torch can shift his mass to become intangible.

    However, Roy Thomas’s “What If” story in the 70s and his Invader mini from the 90s began planting the seeds that the Silver Age Vision was indeed not the OHT but Horton’s other android, Adam-II whom had been used as a tool in which to imprison Aarkus’s form.

    This would finally have explained how Vizh was able to shift his density, etc. since previous explanations just never seemed to hold water.

    That, and it could have provided an effective explanation for how the Vision was able to father a child upon Wanda – not just by her magickal spell, but through the transfer of his orgone energy.

    If the children were then part-ghost this could go-a-ways to explain how they went on to become William Kaplan and Thomas Shepherd!

  15. I have my canon and you have yours, and they include and exclude different things. But don’t presume that your opinion is authoritative, because it’s just your opinion.

    What I described wasn’t my opinion; it was what Englehart wrote. If he hadn’t written the material, there wouldn’t be any twins, and there would be no discussions about them.

    One reason why Byrne and writers like him take the approaches that they do to storytelling might be that they lack the reading comprehension skills to process what they read. If they can’t comprehend another writer’s themes and intentions, they can’t honor them — or they might reject them because of their inability to appreciate them.

    I advise you to shift your perspective on what constitutes “canon,” or I’ll have to conclude that you have difficulty distinguishing fantasy from reality.

    SRS

    • It’s your opinion that what Englehart wrote counts and what Byrne wrote doesn’t count. You’ve made that clear here and at CBR. I disagree. I’m talking about a much larger story than what Steve Englehart wrote. But your attitude is offensive, and I see no point in discussing it further.

  16. Sorry I didn’t get to jump in earlier:(

    But hey, do either of you have opinions about Thomas’s hints with Adam-II and Aarkus that I made above? They’re there and need to be dealt with (and the implications are pretty cool since I believe Englehart’s reveal of the OHT was a misstep on his part – mind you about his only one:)

  17. While this provides a great fix for Wanda’s cognitive difficulties, next there’s Pietro’s villainous tendencies, which seemed to surface after Moondragon violated his mind to scrub him free of prejudice.

    If memory still serves it was when the Avengers were gathering to battle Korvac but I could be wrong. Heather was disgusted with Pietro’s prejudice and cleansed his mind of it. Considering her track record and how Pietro has acted since then, how could there not have been something go horribly awry from it?

  18. It is a very good summary of Wandas history. However, I think the explanation may overcomplicate things.

    Wanda is a gypsy. Her mother was a gypsy, and she was raised a Gypsy by the Maximoffs. And that is not really like the stereotype of the fiery gypsy dancing woman.

    A little bit of reading on the Romas notions of “clean” and “unclean”, or the concept of “Marime” will clean up a lot of confusion, I think. The Roma vary in how closly they cling to these things, of course. Like every other people. But we only need to assume that the Maximoffs were on the strict side to explain Wandas issues with touch and how she had problems dealing with her attraction to outsider men. And also why she married the inorganic Vision, mr. Clean-male-no-guilt from her viewpoint.

    There is another, slightly ugly facet to Wands sexual attractions: With the possible exception of Archon, every man shes ever been attracted to has been dead, or presumed dead for a long time. Namor, Vision, Captain America, Wonder Man…in fact, she was completly unaffected by Hawkeye -until after he’d been dead. I can’t imagine how that kink would affect someone raised with the Roma clean/unclean mindset, but don’t think that needs going into by Marvel either.

    Anyway, just pointing out that shes a Roma pretty much explains her issues as a young girl, and says a lot about Pietros inability to move on. There is no need to invoke the tired old incest explanation for every mental issue. It also does considerable violence to the character of Magneto, who prior to the House of M was always portrayed as someone whose youth left him with great difficulties with intimacy, vulnerability and opening up. And only somewhat more sexually motivated than Sheldon Cooper.

  19. Oh PS: Then why would the Wanda go insane? What is the Fix?

    Well, her father goes insane when he pushes his powers too far, her sister goes nuts occasionally, and Pietro is not exactly a tower of mental stability.
    Simply, every member of her family has issues with mental instability when they push their powers. Pietro is somewhat less afflicted because he is less powerful, but the tendency is there. It is most pronounced in Magneto, as he is older and had nutritional deficiencies in his teens.

    Wanda had been pushing her powers for a while when she went over the brink. And it wasn’t even the first time. It was probably random that the mention of the twins drove her over the edge. A few months later shed have been far gone enough that a spilled drink would have set her off.

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