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Tuesday, January 19, 2021 

More sites recommend the wrong Scarlet Witch material

As though it weren't bad enough the NY Times was playing along with Marvel studios' takes on Wanda Maximoff, now Film School Rejects is taking the same route, recommending the audience take a look at some of the worst examples to come post-2000 spotlighting Scarlet Witch. And a little note to make on something mentioned at the start:
The romance between Marvel’s The Vision and Wanda, the Scarlet Witch, is not at all comparable to most comic book relationships. They are not Lois and Clark. They’re not Peter Parker and Mary Jane. At the core of their connection is an unbearable pain, and since its introduction within the comics’ pages, these two characters have shattered many times over. Their saga is one of psychological torment and repair. Survival is victory.
Reading this, I'm wondering what the contributors think of Joe Quesada's trashing the Spider-marriage nearly 14 years ago in the much loathed One More Day? Peter Parker and Mary Jane Watson, alas, have not been what they used to be for a long time now, even after the lady was brought back into the gentleman's world following a long run of misuse while remaining kicked to the curb. Why, even after DC reversed the New 52, I don't think you can say Lois Lane and Clark Kent have been what they used to, if we were to view them through the dreadful lens set by Brian Bendis. And then:
What’s their pain? Their kids. Since The Vision is an artificial creation, born from the bad brain of Ultron, he could not grant the Scarlet Witch the biological family they both desired. Her gifts as a mutant (or a genetic experiment, for those keeping tabs on the current Marvel Cinematic Universe-placating continuity) granted her the reality-altering ability to manifest a set of twins into existence…using the fragments of a certain diabolical supervillain’s soul (psst: Mephisto, Marvel’s spin on Mephistopheles). Comics, man, gotta love them.
But not every story, since there's a difference between good and bad. Here's where they give clue to where they're going, accepting the whole rock bottom premise of "reality-altering", instead of probability-affecting, without question. Besides, bearing children isn't necessarily "reality-altering", so much as it is conjuring up energy constructs, which is pretty much what took place in the late 80s.

Now comes the list of stories they recommend before watching WandaVision, and the only one I'd say is worth the price of admission is the Vision & Scarlet Witch maxi-series from the mid-80s:
Too often, The Vision and the Scarlet Witch played second fiddle to The Avengers‘ more popular members. It’s in this limited twelve-issue series, orchestrated by writer Steve Englehart, where the two freed themselves from the plot mechanics of other characters and struck out to form a family of their own. Here is where Wanda becomes pregnant with their twins. Much of the series is spent preparing for their arrival while also fending off villains like the Grim Reaper, Enchantress, their bill collector, and various bigoted next-door neighbors.

The Vision and the Scarlet Witch is about as blissful a tale featuring these two lovebirds as you’re going to get. This is where you hang if you want to soak up their warm flirtations. The mundane problems they face are as equally compelling as the typical bad guy shenanigans. How they maneuver holidays like Halloween and Thanksgiving coat the comic in a domestic glow. Another suburban tradition heavily lifted for WandaVision.
I think maxiseries is a fine story from a time when merit had meaning. Though I have to question the claim the beauty and the synthezoid played 2nd fiddle to other characters in the same book over the years. I don't think that was the case. Sounds like the columnist is coming up with some baloney there. Otherwise, the above recommendation is a good one. But that's as far as things go, and now, see how the column goes downhill with the following recommendation, Disassembled from 2004:
When Ultimate Spider-Man writer Brian Michael Bendis first took over The Avengers, he wanted to alter the team’s lineup radically. To do so, the OG members either had to die or face deep humiliation and shame. The root of their destruction? The Scarlet Witch.

The Vision and the Scarlet Witch’s good times ended long before this Marvel comic event ever erupted. When it’s revealed in the pages of Avengers West Coast #52 that Wanda created her children from Mephisto’s fragmented soul, she goes a little mad, and Fantastic Four supporting player Agatha Harkness must eradicate the memory of her non-existent babies from her mind. A simple fix? Yeah, right.

Throughout Avengers: Disassembled, we learn how the loss of her children mentally fractured the Scarlet Witch. With no big bad to funnel her rage against, Wanda broke her bottled anger upon her teammates. Using her nearly limitless powers, Wanda concocts a scenario that leaves The Vision torn limb from limb by She-Hulk and Avengers Mansion a smoking ruin. Doctor Strange swoops in last minute with a diagnosis and a coma-bomb. When Wanda’s Papa Magneto floats down from the sky, Captain America can’t think of a good reason to deny him access to his daughter. The comic ends with father and child drifting off to parts unknown. See the next comic selection.
What's utterly irritating about this citation is how it's absurdly presented like a real life incident, which it wasn't. How is the reader supposed to have a proper understanding that what's described above is basically a bad story, coming close to making Wanda out to be some kind of all-powerful demon? All building off of another story in questionable taste that should've been put to bed? I've long wondered what is so great about stories like the Phoenix Saga in X-Men, and this is no different. What's so appealing to any trendy writer about stories where a goodie seemingly turns evil, in the worst ways possible? And why doesn't the FSR columnist seem to find Disassembled's turnout revolting? Is it because of the next example cited, House of M?
Magneto asks Professor X to restrain his daughter psychically, but it’s a task simply too large for the X-Men’s patriarch. Wolverine proceeds to Plan B: Wanda’s decapitation. However, before he can do so, the Scarlet Witch reaches out with her full-force and recreates the universe in her vision (pun intended).

Initially, House of M reveals a realm where every Marvel character gets their wish granted. Spider-Man is adored by all and marries his sweetheart Gwen Stacy. Mutants dominate the population, no longer persecuted or feared. Steve Rogers enjoys the small moments that life offers him as an elderly veteran. Only Wolverine remembers the world as it once was, and it’s on him to make it all right again. Sigh. Of course.

The clawed mutant convinces the usual suspects to turn away from this false reality. When Magneto accidentally kills Quicksilver in an attempt to halt his daughter’s vision, the Scarlet Witch utters the sinful words “no more mutants.” Her final spell returning reality to how it was before, minus most of its mutant population. Only a handful remain to champion Professor X’s dream, and for her part in this holocaust, the Scarlet With is forever labeled a traitor and a monster.
What they tell about the story is enough to vomit. She's guilty in a sense of murder, and thus branded a devil. It's truly repulsive. Yet no objective view is forthcoming. Is that because of the next example given, The Children's Crusade?
The Vision and the Scarlet Witch’s children live! What?! How?!

After Mephisto reabsorbed their souls, somehow they were resurrected in the bodies of teenagers Billy Kaplan and Tommy Shepherd, a.k.a. Wiccan and Speed from the Young Avengers. Scott Lang, the Ant-Man, was one of several Avengers to perish during Avengers: Disassembled. His daughter Cassie, now a teammate of Billy and Tommy, seeks out the Scarlet Witch under the hope that Wanda can restore her father to life.

In their quest to find Wanda, the Young Avengers stumble into Magneto, who is also on the hunt for his daughter. Together, they discover that the Scarlet Witch is under the care of Doctor Doom. Not only that, the supervillain manipulated her into causing both Avengers: Disassembled and House of M. We got ourselves another glorious retcon!

Relieved of her great sin, Scarlet Witch strikes forth on her own. She wants no part with Magneto, the X-Men, or the Avengers. Doctor Doom? Sure, she stomps that dude before she bounces. What about Cassie and her dad? Uh, well, let’s say that she does not have her wish granted. It’s all one big mess of sadness.
This still doesn't do enough to alleviate anybody rightfully offended by Bendis' atrocity. Mainly because it took nearly a decade until what he set up in Disassembled was reversed. And even then, one could argue Wanda still had blood on her hands, that of Scott Lang, Jack of Hearts, and even the mutants whose powers were erased during House of M. Next story cited is All New, All Different Avengers from 2015:
So, what’s The Vision been up to? Long story short, Tony Stark rebuilt the android hero. His only big beef: wherever he looks, The Vision is haunted by apparitions of the Scarlet Witch. Mark Waid‘s All-New All-Different Avengers begins with The Vision explaining to his ex-wife that he’s purged all emotions so that he may continue to function as an effective Avenger. You wanted a robot, you got a robot.

As far as Avengers teams go, this iteration might be the most fun. Joining The Vision is Tony Stark as Iron Man, Sam Wilson as Captain America, Jane Foster as Thor, Miles Morales as Spider-Man, Kamala Khan as Ms. Marvel, and Sam Alexander as Nova. That’s right: if you want a seriously radical peek at the MCU’s next phase, go grab this book asap. Any one of these characters could cameo-sneak their way into WandaVision.

As the Scarlet Witch found herself the villain at the center of House of M, The Vision is similarly positioned in this fifteen-issue arc. The time-traveling despot Kang the Conqueror invades The Vision’s programming, reworking his circuits so he may turn hero against hero. The violation forces The Vision to reconsider his function on the team and the growing emotional hole festering inside. He needs more than bad buys to punch.
Ugh. And this was written by Waid, in a prime example of the embarrassment he's become since the mid-2000s. Also notice how the cast members at the time included certain SJW-themed creations and/or alterations. One more reason why it's best forgotten. Next comes Tom King's Vision miniseries:
In a universe of sad comics, The Vision by Tom King and Gabriel H. Walta is the god damn saddest. Our android friend is desperate to reach the domestic bliss he once had alongside Wanda. So much so that he constructs a wife using her brainwaves and two children featuring an amalgam of their thought patterns. The Vision attempts an ordinary life behind Arlington, Virginia’s white picket fences, but psychopaths, those damn bigoted neighbors again, and human Avengers who think they know better, won’t leave well enough alone.
Doesn't take a genius to guess this is a metaphor for a vision of America as inherently racist. That's probably what the white picket fences symbolize. Last citation is a James Robinson-penned Scarlet Witch mini:
As The Vision wrestles with domesticity, Wanda investigates her family history while uncovering and eradicating supernatural threats. James Robinson‘s fifteen-issue series leans heavily into horror, partnering the Scarlet Witch with the ghost of Agatha Harkness, as they seek the mom Wanda never knew. In this pursuit, Wanda finds respite in her power and her person. By the story’s climax, she’s ready to reengage with the Avengers. Not necessarily The Vision.
When the scribe swerves into the horror genre, you know something's wrong. Then, the Los Angeles Times became another source to bring this all up sans objectivity:
From a wine label that reads “Maison du Mépris” (House of Contempt) to the visible reality bending that occurs in the episodes, “WandaVision” appears to channel elements of Brian Michael Bendis and Olivier Coipel’s 2005 limited series “House of M.”

The eight-issue comic book limited series arc features a grief-stricken Wanda, who uses her powers to warp reality and create a new world where people are living out their dreams. Wanda has long been established as a character whose greatest wish is to have a family with kids, something she almost attained with Vision in comic books published in the ’80s.
And when they give some history of the beauty and the synthezoid, they say:
Wanda gets magically pregnant and gives birth to twins in the “Vision and the Scarlet Witch” series that ran from 1985-1986. But just a few years later in an “Avengers West Coast” storyline, she loses them — they were never real in the first place, it turns out — while trying to salvage her relationship with Vision, who was destroyed and rebuilt without a way to access his past human emotions. The loss of her kids is significant for the “House of M” series.
I wonder why it's significant for House of M, but not for the "Darker Than Scarlet" arc that followed, where, ludicrous as it was, Marvel at least got around to reversing the madness Wanda went through soon after, when Roy Thomas took up the West Coast writing? I guess Bendis really is that much more important to the propagandists at the LAT. They even mention:
Leading up to the events of “House of M,” Wanda destroys the Avengers and a number of members are killed, including Vision. While X-Men — and the very idea of mutants — have yet to be officially introduced to the MCU at that point, Wanda’s decisions in “House of M” have major repercussions for the mutant population on Earth. Her actions have been attributed both to her suffering a mental breakdown and to being mind controlled. For now, either could explain what is happening in “WandaVision.”
And they have no issue with any Avengers members getting iced? This is despicable. Has it ever even been asked why it makes any sense that somebody who's in a business where they need to maintain confidence can't keep their head bolted tight on their shoulders? The Hollywood Reporter is just as bad here, citing King's Vision mini as a must-read:
If you make a point to read anything in preparation for WandaVision, make sure The Vision is first on your list. Tom King and Gabriel Hernandez Walta’s Eisner-winning, 12-issue Shakespearean techno-tragedy sees Vision move into a suburban neighborhood in Fairfax, Virginia, with his wife and two children, all of whom he built himself. Just when it seems Vision may finally achieve what he’s always dreamed of, the murders start happening. This starts Vision down a path that could see him destroy the whole world. The series explores Vision’s struggle for normalcy and family, and recounts the numerous attempts at it over his life, including his failed marriage to Wanda, The Scarlet Witch, who plays a significant role alongside her mentor, Agatha Harkness. Less of a superhero book, and more of a domestic thriller about prejudice, existentialism, and what a parent would do to protect its children, The Vision is eerie, funny, sad, and thought-provoking. It’s everything a comic book should be.
No kidding. How about, better still, not reading the above at all, and saving money? We could do without this kind of horror theme that's become a sad staple in entertainment for years. It practically reminds me of how overrated Angela Lansbury's Murder, She Wrote TV show was in hindsight, yet it ran far too long (1984-96 and 4 TV films continuing), despite having such weak subplots, motivations for villains and other stuff. Next comes the Robinson rot:
Released alongside The Vision as part of Marvel’s All-New, All-Different era, the 15 issues Scarlet Witch series by James Robinson and various artists including, but not limited to, Vanesa Del Rey, Marco Rudy, Chris Visions, and Steve Dillon, firmly situate Wanda Maximoff in the world of arcane horror. The series teamed Wanda up with the ghost of her witchy mentor, Agatha Harkness, to explore disturbances in the world of magic, and the mysteries of her origin. Scarlet Witch sees Wanda meet with her mother, who is revealed to have held the title of Scarlet Witch before her, and reconcile with her brother Pietro, aka Quicksilver. Not only is this series a refreshing departure from traditional superhero storytelling, it also provides an intimate look at Wanda as she comes to terms with her own powerset and what it means to be a witch in a world of Avengers.
More like it reduces Wanda's uniqueness, just like the Ezekial mishmash in J. Michael Straczynski's Spider-Man run reduced Peter Parker's uniqueness by making him more part of a long-running legacy than simply an ordinary Joe who got superpowers by chance. And again, the horror theme does not resonate. Then THR turns to Disassembled:
The end of an era, and the beginning of another. Avengers Disassembled broke the rule book and set the stage for a Marvel Universe that’s still facing the ramifications to this day. To begin his lengthy tenure on Avengers, relaunched as New Avengers after this arc, Bendis made the controversial decision to have Wanda destroy the Avengers. The result saw Vision used as a weapon against his teammates, and killed by an enraged She-Hulk. It’s Doctor Strange who first becomes aware that the destruction is Wanda’s doing, and decides that she has to be taken down or else her reality-warping powers would destroy the world. While Strange eventually puts Wanda in a coma rather than killing her and puts her in the care of Professor X, and her father Magneto, the storyline cemented the notion of Wanda’s mental instability, caused by the “death” of her children (we’ll get to that). With the classic team disbanded and Avengers Mansion destroyed, Bendis’ arc sets the stage for the next story on our list.
Once again, delivered without objectivity, or any love for the characters who went down as a result of this atrocity (even the part about controversy actually does more to water down the issues at hand), which was followed by House of M, their next step in sugarcoating:
“No more mutants.” That’s how it ended. But it began with Professor X admitting that his telepathy could no longer keep Wanda’s reality-warping abilities in check. The Avengers and the X-Men are forced to decide what must be done about Wanda. Wolverine says what no one else wants to say, she has to be killed. But before an action can take place, Scarlet Witch, on the advice of her brother Quicksilver, rewrites reality so that every hero gets their wish and lives in the world of their dreams, a world ruled by her father and siblings under the House of Magnus. When the false reality is revealed and Magneto sides with the Avengers and X-Men, killing Quicksilver in the process, Scarlet Witch proclaims “no more mutants” depowering most of Earth’s mutant population and ensuring that no more mutants are born. Scarlet Witch disappears in the aftermath, and becomes one of the biggest threats in the Marvel Universe, setting the stage for the next decade of Marvel events.
Even toying with the notion of killing a fan-favorite character is repellent. So, curious the trade paper let that slide without comment. It practically makes Wolverine look bad. Next is the Children's Crusade:
Redemption for Wanda eventually came, and it was due to the actions of the Young Avengers. Cassie Lang requested the Young Avengers search for the Scarlet Witch in the hopes that she could restore mutants’ powers, and more pressingly resurrect her father, Scott Lang, who was killed during Disassembled. Their quest leads them to team up with Magneto, also searching for Wanda, and the discovery that team members Wiccan and Speed are reincarnations of Wanda and Vision’s children. The miniseries reveals that Wanda was not responsible for her actions in Disassembled and House of M, but had instead been influenced by Doctor Doom, who sought Wanda’s magical abilities for himself. After defeating Doom and regaining her powers, Wanda leaves to define herself as someone independent from Magneto, Quicksilver, and Vision, which eventually leads her to join the Uncanny Avengers and sets the stage for her regaining full control of her powers in James Robinson’s series.
But why did it take nearly a decade to "resolve" this garbage, and did we even have to go through with it in the first place? They don't even mention how Bendis put a disgusting line in Disassembled, where Hawkeye, IIRC, snapped at Hank Pym, "don't you got a wife to beat"? As though it weren't bad enough Jim Shooter just had to go along with that 1981 storyline where Hank slugged Janet Van Dyne, just to make a point he wanted her to stay out of his way when he was trying to regain points in the Avengers using a robot gone berserk with a secret weak point to win them over at a time his membership was in jeopardy.

NY Vulture isn't any better:
It’s here that writer John Byrne took over the story in 1989. As he did with Cheetah in the pages of Wonder Woman over at DC Comics, Byrne sought to return the characters to their roots, which in this case meant the four-part “Vision Quest” story line that ran in West Coast Avengers Nos. 42–45, in which Vision is disassembled and his programming is erased. He is rebuilt shortly after with his memory banks restored, but Byrne opted to eliminate a critical component: the brainwaves that had been copied over to him from Simon Williams, Wonder Man. Vision thus loses much of the character growth he accrued through the 1970s and ’80s. Instead, he is portrayed as emotionless and more disconcertingly inhuman.

In the issues following, Byrne would further alter history by retconning the now-former couple’s children, describing them as mere constructs, imaginary creations of Wanda’s mind, born of her desperate desire to have a family. Wanda’s former mentor Agatha reappears, returned from death to declare this fact and to point out that whenever Wanda isn’t directly thinking about Billy and Tommy, they simply cease to exist. As a neat bow on the events, Agatha seals off Wanda’s memories of the twins entirely, to spare her the trauma of remembering her loss. This sets the stage for the dissolution of the Avengers in 2004 in the pages of Avengers Disassembled, when writer Brian Michael Bendis took over the Avengers family of books and began a series of large-scale story events that would include the original Civil War event.
This confusingly implies Byrne was in charge of the WW reboot in 1987, where Cheetah was reinvented by George Perez as Dr. Barbara Minerva. Proof this is the latest example of uninformed "journalists" failing to do the math. What Byrne was assigned to at DC during the late 80s was rebooting Superman post-Crisis. It's bad enough the above is delivered entirely without critical observation or objectivity, and worse, they run the gauntlet of condoning Disassembled's approach making a woman who wants to be a mother out to look like she's incapable of maintaining her sanity.

Maybe the worst example is this posting on Laughing Place, which fawns over the very 2004 atrocity that led to the downfall, fawning over Avengers #503:
With WandaVision debuting today on Disney+, I figured there was no better time thant to highlight one of my favorite panels featuring the Scarlet Witch herself. The “Avengers: Disassembled” story arc sees Wanda drastically and negatively impacting our reality while creating her own.

Naturally, that leads the heroes to investigate just what’s going on with their old friend and, even more naturally, Captain America leads the charge. Cap tries to reason with the former Avenger, who is so lost in her own made up world that she’s barely even the same person. The result is nearly catastrophic.

Cap is telekinetically thrown from the building, landing on the steps in front of the other Avengers. When Wanda follows him out, we get this incredible shot of her hovering over a fallen Cap as the other heroes look on. It’s the pivotal panel in a classic Avengers story arc, creating not only an incredibly important moment in the story, but also some amazing artwork featuring so many great characters.
I can't even begin to describe how loathsome this story description is. But I can say it's not something a real Marvel fan would say. Only an apologist for appropriation could possibly say something like this, which shows no genuine fondness for the characters, no matter how "great" he says they are.

Even Bustle didn't do any better, despite citing Avengers #185 from 1979, where David Michelinie, Mark Gruenwald and Steven Grant came up with a good origin for Magneto's twin children, because they too go on to cite the House of M nonsense unquestioned:
Wanda soon fell in love with her teammate, Vision, with whom she briefly retired from the Avengers and even had twin sons created by her magic. But their domestic bliss didn't last: as Wanda's powers grew, her mental health worsened. (A lifetime of tragedy doesn't mix well with limitless power!). The "death" of her magically-created sons was her breaking point, and it culminated in the 2005 story event "House of M" and its follow-up, "Decimation." At that point, Wanda's powers allowed her to warp reality on a planetary scale, and she used it to create a whole new reality where her sons were alive and everyone had their greatest wish granted. When the Avengers and X-Men tried to confront her about it, she got angry and wiped out all mutants in retaliation. The good guys eventually fixed everything, but that act made Wanda a pretty reviled figure for years. Eventually, she was brought back into the fold by her sons, who were re-born as real boys and became members of the Young Avengers.
All cited as though it were real life, rather than say the writer "established" she could warp reality. Even though it was all out of nowhere. This is some of the most insulting, disrespectful coverage I've ever seen, none of it by real fans of superhero tales. This alone is why I won't watch WandaVision on TV, yet have the sad feeling it's going to skyrocket in ratings, no matter how bad it actually makes Scarlet Witch look in terms of sanity or otherwise. It's clear this is just another modern live action show using the most recent political correctness in storytelling as grounds to build on. And that's why, no matter what these propagandists say, it won't be the classic they want us to believe it is.

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