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The Past Was Close Behind: “Scarlet Witch Will Never Go Mad!

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This feature spotlights moments, exchanges, etc. from older comics that take on a brand new light when read in concert with later comic books. Here is the archive of previous installments.

Today, based on a suggestion by reader Michael F., we take a look at a comment about how the Scarlet Witch would never go mad, less than two years before the Scarlet Witch, you know, went mad…

In 1988′s West Coast Avengers #34 (by Steve Englehart, Al Milgrom and Mike Machlan), the Avengers are fighting Quicksilver, who is still sort of nuts after his break from the Inhumans after his wife Crystal’s infidelities. He fought the collected Avengers in the 1987 Avengers and West Coast Avengers Annuals and he continues his fight in this issue, where he has decided that he will take over from his father, Magneto, as the head of all evil mutants. This Quicksilver status quo did not last that long.

However, at the time, he was full on nuts, which led to the Scarlet Witch herself wondering if SHE would go nuts, too! Her teammates and her husband, the Vision, assure her that that is not the case…

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Of course, roughly 20 issues later, in 1989, she did, indeed, go nuts…

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And then obviously even more notably, in 2004 she went SUPER NUTS, leading to the Avengers breaking up!

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To be fair, the Vision DOES note that one of the reasons she won’t go mad is because of her marriage to him…

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And that’s exactly what drives her to madness when John Byrne takes over the title from Englehart later in 1988. The Vision is dismantled and when he is put together, he no longer has any love for her (then she finds her kids were created by her powers and she snaps).

Thanks for the suggestion, Michael! If anyone else has a suggestion for this column, drop me a line at bcronin@comicbookresources.com!

64 Comments

How does this even make sense. Magneto’s never particularly been crazy at all. Just irredeemably evil.

In fairness, the concept of Magneto’s taint is exactly the sort of thing that would induce madness.

Man, Englehart hated Quicksilver even more than Bendis hates the Scarlet Witch. Nearly Englehart’s first act on taking over Avengers was to make Pietro a bigot who disowned his sister for loving Vision, and he later made him mad and evil and everything else you can think of. It wasn’t until Englehart gave him up that he became a usable character again.

Dammit, Englehart, that’s not how it freaking works. There’s no such thing as an “evil gene”.

(I’m looking at you, too, Geoff Johns.)

“For I have been mad!”

Wow. Stilted much?

Not only was her marriage to Vision offered as a reason she can’t go mad, but her kids were offered as evidence of the same. Ad of course, the second time she cracked was because she realized she doesn’t have any kids.

“You can’t go mad because you’re married.” “Wait, my husband’s dead? I LOVE POWER!”
“But you can’t go mad because you have kids.” “Wait, my kids were figments of my imagination? NO MORE MUTANTS!”

Meh. They were stupid excuses anyhow. Plenty of people with kids and spouses are psychopaths.

Wait a minute… did she actually get a reassurance she really wasn’t crazy from Moon Knight, as well?

“You ain’t mad, Wanda. I’ve been mad before (and totally am sane now), so therefore, trust me, your sanity will be forever above reproach!”

Man, that’s about the least reassuring source in the room. Almost as bad as the artificial intelligence with a track record of having a poor understanding of human emotions.

“Meh. They were stupid excuses anyhow. Plenty of people with kids and spouses are psychopaths.”

Yes, but as Mike Baron said so well in Badger, “a psychopath can’t feel love even if it bites him in the ass”. Of course, marriage and kids don’t necessarily involve love, but Wanda’s marriage did.

But she never was a psychopath anyway. Psychopaths don’t “go mad”.

I like John Byrne, but I hate how he had to do Dark Phoenix wherever he went. There was Dark Invisible Woman, Dark Scarlet Witch, Dark Storm (but that was Chris Claremont only), Dark Talisman (in Alpha Flight), Dark whatever her name was in Next Men…

When a powerful female goes nuts once, it isn’t necessarily sexist. But when it becomes a trend and pretty much every superpowerful female at Marvel turns to the dark side at least once, you gotta wonder if someone ar Marvel feels a bit nervous with women wielding great power?

Not Bendis, though. Bendis came so late, he was just doing a “riff” on an “iconic” storyline, like he does so often. It’s not sexist with him, it’s just copycat-ist.

LouReedRichards

August 27, 2014 at 10:39 am

While I’ve only read the Scarlet Witch and Invisible Girl stories you mention, I’d say that in Sue’s case the temporary madness was at least used to good effect and fit the storyline. We did get the transformation from Invisible Girl to Invisible Woman in it. I know that simple name change isn’t earth shattering, but it was at least a necessary step in her maturation.

The FF story was pretty good. Actually, except for the Scarlet Witch one, all of those stories were sorta good by themselves. It was only distasteful when I realized there was a pattern to it.

“A female character realizes that she is vastly more powerful than she had thought, and then she goes nuts or is corrupted or mind-controlled or possessed.”

“Meh. They were stupid excuses anyhow. Plenty of people with kids and spouses are psychopaths.”

Yes, but as Mike Baron said so well in Badger, “a psychopath can’t feel love even if it bites him in the ass”. Of course, marriage and kids don’t necessarily involve love, but Wanda’s marriage did.

But she never was a psychopath anyway. Psychopaths don’t “go mad”.

Right. So when they reassure her that she “feels love,” it implies that she can’t be a psychopath. But she “goes mad,” which looks vaguely psychopathic, and vaguely schizophrenic, and heavily anti-social personality disorder. The personality disorder is not something that just happens based on trauma. So what the hell is it?

Psychopathy is generally regarded as not being able to have insight into the self of others–which is why you can’t “feel love.” But smart psychopaths are very good at observing and emulating the behaviors of others, and can effectively “fake it.” Wanda might have been “faking” her love, which would explain how/why she fell in love with a robot. Because face it, that’s frikken weird. She picked a robot who couldn’t see the flaws in her faked love because it couldn’t really feel love either.

That’s my theory and I’m sticking to it. :-p

Nu-D -

It’s an interesting theory, I have to admit. :)

Anyway, Wanda might be crazy without being a psychopath. When I said psycopaths don’t go mad, I meant to say that they usually don’t have “episodes”, their brains work differently from normal people all the time. There is no becoming a psychopath or getting cured of being one.

But that is semantics, really.

It seems like Wanda’s falling in love with a robot basically divides people in two camps. The idealists like Steve Englehart that think it’s a beautiful thing and an example of how love conquers all differences, and the cynics like John Byrne that think it’s a sign of Wanda’s mental imbalance (not quite psychopathy, but whatever, an inability to feel love for a real human being) that she fell for a machine.

That without opening another (and related) can of worms about what is the true nature of the Vision. Robot? Artificial human with synthetic flesh but still “alive”? Does the Vision have a “soul”? I think Byrne’s answer is a resounding NO. Guys like Englehart, Peter David, and Kurt Busiek likely answer with a yes.

Vizh wasn’t a robot, Nu-D and he could definitely feel love, Byrne’s claims it was like falling for a toaster not withstanding (oh, how I hated Byrne’s handling of the Vision). And we have enough thought balloons from Wanda to show her feelings were real.
In which light, while I agree the Vision isn’t giving a good clinical diagnosis, so what? He’s speaking as a man in love, either being reassuring, or sincerely believing their love can save her (it is, after all,a popular idea). Certainly that makes at least as much sense as her going nuts under Bendis or Byrne.
For that matter, the idea the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree is a common one, however unscientific.
Unless it was in another unshown panel, nobody’s calling Wanda a psychopath in the scenes above. There’s lots of kinds of crazy and that’s only one.
In defense of Englehart, Quicksilver’s been shown with some hostility to humans as far back as Roy Thomas run (when the Super-Adaptoid takes the Avengers on, Quicksilver comments that the android is just as oppressed by humankind as mutants are, or something to that effect). But yes, that said, Englehart still presented him as wearing a black hat.

As Omar Karindu has pointed out, Rene, Byrne had no problem presenting the android Human Torch as someone capable of feeling love and being in a relationship so his position on the Vision is probably not based on any deep thoughts about android spirituality.

Fraser -

True. I’ve read Byrne’s writings in his own site about the way he sees the Vision and the Human Torch. Byrne’s thinking is that the Vision doesn’t have a “soul”, at least not like a human soul, since the Vision’s personality can be so easily copied from Simon Williams, re-written or replaced, like they did in the beginning of Stern’s run in the Avengers (though I always thought that argument to be a little spurious, seeing as I remember, Byrne had quite a tight collaboration with Stern when he was writing FF and Stern the Avengers).

While he saw the Human Torch personality as having a “mysterious” origin and being unrepleceable, so, having a soul.

I actually prefer Quicksilver as a bad guy. A little less so, Wanda, but I’ve never liked her, so whatevs.

Basically comic book characters can defeat most foes, but they are helpless against bad writing.

“We did get the transformation from Invisible Girl to Invisible Woman in it”

I thought Thomas actually did that.

No, that was Byrne. Kind of crazy it took over twenty years to get that, right?

Brian -

One of the many oddities of reading Marvel Comics translated to another language. Sue Richards had been called the Invisible WOMAN (Mulher Invisível, instead of Garota Invisível) here in Brazil long before Byrne got to make the change in the US.

When that story was published here in Brazil, obviously they edited away the name change, since it was unnecessary. Sue just made a speech about realizing how strong she was.

Be fair to Englehart….he was just continuing on Thomas’ plot for the Wanda/Vision romance when he took over The Avengers, and Roy Thomas had already shown Pietro being dismissive of the developing relationship between his sister and the robot.

The big difference between Englehart and Byrne is that Englehart likes to embrace previous changes to characters, and allows them to continue to grow and change, while Byrne has a tendency to ignore prior continuity and characterisation unless useful to his vision (usually informed by the original creators of any given series).

Anyway, Wanda didn’t go mad in Byrnes’s run; she was manipulated by Immortus. And she didn’t go mad in Dissassembled; Bendis just made up some non-existent continuity about a character called the Scarlet Witch that only bore a passing resemblance to the ‘real’ one.

I just want to point out, in terms of Moon Knight’s oddly-phrased statement, that at the time he was in fact possessed by Khonshu, so it was technically Khonshu saying that, not Moon Knight.

It’s wierd how Englehart’s West Coast Avengers combined all his best and worst traits as a writer in one series.

@ renenarciso

I like John Byrne, but I hate how he had to do Dark Phoenix wherever he went. There was Dark Invisible Woman, Dark Scarlet Witch, Dark Storm (but that was Chris Claremont only), Dark Talisman (in Alpha Flight), Dark whatever her name was in Next Men…

Great point. Byrne did “Dark Donna Troy” during Wonder Woman run as well.

You could argue that Jean Grey, Sue Storm and Wanda Maximoff are variations on a theme. Their powers are certainly similar enough to be effectively the same. I guess you could argue that Byrne saw the ‘dark’ story as the natural progression of a type.

I guess …

@ Nu-D:

Psychopathy is generally regarded as not being able to have insight into the self of others–which is why you can’t “feel love.” But smart psychopaths are very good at observing and emulating the behaviors of others, and can effectively “fake it.” Wanda might have been “faking” her love, which would explain how/why she fell in love with a robot. Because face it, that’s frikken weird. She picked a robot who couldn’t see the flaws in her faked love because it couldn’t really feel love either.

That is a great theory.

LouReedRichards

August 27, 2014 at 3:58 pm

@renenarciso:

One of the many oddities of reading Marvel Comics translated to another language. Sue Richards had been called the Invisible WOMAN (Mulher Invisível, instead of Garota Invisível) here in Brazil long before Byrne got to make the change in the US.

That’s very interesting and something I must admit I’ve never given much thought to. Do you have any other notable examples of differences due to the translations?

How can it be genetic if Polaris and Quicksilver don’t suffer from that problem?

I really like Nu-D’s interpretation of Wanda and Vision’s relationship. I thought she was into Vision because he was like her brother : cold and aloof…just like Pietro loved Crystal because she was like his sister. Basically what I’m saying is Pietro and Wanda had an Oedipus complex for each other.
About the panels in question: I don’t like how Vision says Pietro went mad because he is incapable of love. I’d think a robot would know better than spew sentimental claptrap. Not only does love not cure madness, but Pietro did love his wife , daughter, and sister well enough until Englehart came along.
Despite Quicksilver’s downfall at the hands of Englehart, it’s funny how his sisters are famous for being crazy whereas he sort of escapes that stigma (wait, did i just make a pun about his super powers?)

Don’t understand why people call the Vision a robot. That was never the case from the time he first appeared until Byrne destroyed him.

@renenarciso -”Byrne’s thinking is that the Vision doesn’t have a “soul”, at least not like a human soul, since the Vision’s personality can be so easily copied from Simon Williams, re-written or replaced, like they did in the beginning of Stern’s run in the Avengers ”
But the problem with that argument is that Vision’s personality wasn’t easily copied or replaced in Stern’s run. The Vision was able to interface with ISAAC, and he was able to project his consciousness into the 1984 internet, but when he did that, everyone was worried that his consciousness would be permanently lost. They weren’t thinking “Oh, well, we can just download Simon’s brainwaves, again.”

That Al Milgrom art is so hard to take.

The Vision is an artificial human being. He is not a robot. Byrne is dead wrong on that.

David Spofforth

August 28, 2014 at 1:00 am

I don’t see Wanda’s “madness” episodes as any kind of inherent psychopathy. They are both clearly nervous breakdowns (like Hank Pym’s) caused by family trauma and external influences.

And to all those who think Wanda’s marriage to the Vision is in any way wrong. I prescribe a close examination of Avengers 113 – the issue when their relationship went public and a team of suicide bombers (cleverly inter-racial) decided it was immoral.

This issue was one of my first ever comics and it taught me many, many life lessons. Most notably Cap’s reaction on reading a hate letter – “I don’t know who your God is, but a God of love is mine!”

I just want to comment on that last panel, where it looks like the pym particles only went to Janet and Hank’s heads……

Vegastar, the Vision has been shown thinking irrationally about Wanda since at least the Avengers/Defenders War, when he tackles the Silver Surfer under the erroneous impression he just blasted Wanda.

Never really gave too much thought to the Vision/Quicksilver marriage as a kid. But as an adult — and seeing how far technology has advanced, it is creepy that she marred an artificial intelligence — no matter how advanced it is.

Vegastar, in the context of the story, Pietro went mad because he couldn’t forgive the people he loved when they wronged him, a problem Wanda never had. Maybe that’s not exactly the same thing as “couldn’t love” but in context it’s obvious what Vision meant.

Hee Hee, Magneto’s taint.

emac1790:
the Vision is officially identified as an android in Marvel’s biography of him and has been called such from his first appearance in Avengers #57 (Oct. 1968) Synonyms for android include: robot, automaton, cyborg, droid, bot. In fact one of the most notable of stories about the Vision is titled “Even an Android Can Cry!” So saying Byrne is “dead wrong” is a bit vehement.

@JIM, android and robot are two different things in the Marvel Universe. An android is essentially a person with synthetic body, whereas a robot is just a machine, with no consciousness or emotions. It’s evident, from Byrne’s run, that he considers Vision no more human than a toaster, so, yes, Byrne IS dead wrong.

Actually, Roy Thomas (and Hank Pym and, believe it or else, Hawkeye) called him a synthozoid in his very first appearance. Every inch a human being (ahem) but made from artificial materials. He didn’t even speak in his now-familiar yellow quire word balloons until the Kree-Skrull War.

Just to clarify my position to Michael and others.

I was just repeating what John Byrne himself said in his site as a way to explain Byrne’s rationale. I’m not in any way defending what Byrne did, not do I agree with him.

The Vision clearly had a soul and was depicted as “human” as any other person in all the things that matter, before Byrne came along. He was not a “toaster” despite whatever Byrne said.

His marrige with Wanda was beautiful and illustrative of a philosophy of tolerance that was clearly used as a metaphor for inter-racial marriage back then. I suppose today it could stand as a metaphor for gay marriage. In any case, I approve.

Wanda also was never a psychopath. She just had a nervous breakdown, like David said.

Lou -

This is bigger than just translation, but Brian did a column in Comic Book Legends about how Secret Wars was substantially changed when it was first published in Brazil. It wasn #231.

I also remember that a joke panel in What If about What If Power Man and Wonder Man were women (and how that would cause trouble with DC Comics) had to be changed, because Luke Cage was never called Power Man in Brazil (the translation Poderoso sounds somewhat silly in Portuguese), the same for Wonder Man that sounds a bit fruity in Portuguese, so the character had the superhero name “Magnum” in Brazil. Yep, Magnum like the TV Show Magnum PI.

So the whole story about Luke Cage fighting Erik Josten for the use of the Power Man name? I think it was never published in Brazil.

Wonder Man being called “Magnum” is oddly appropriate, considering his Hollywood career.

Im sorry but i always thought scarlet witch was crazy. Lets start with her powers… I know there supposed to alter probability but isnt that in itself just a dues ex tool to have whatever you want happen. That brings me to Vision who she was in love with / “banging”…. With a fully functional android penis? That always took me for a loop…Doctor Pym was very thourough when he made vision in an almost sick fashion.

So anyways… She falls for vision after wonder man her true love dies…
Can anybody say rebound? Its justified though cuz he had Simons personality…

Doesnt make it any less crazy. Then idk what the original plans for her pregnancy were. Was it like his android sperm actually worked? If Doctor Pym can make android sperm work hes neck and neck with the High Evolutionary in terms of Genetics. Anyways…

How could anyone not see this woman was loopy! I always thought all her breakdowns including dissassembled was completly rational based on her irrational history. She makes wierd decisions and her powers do whatever the writers need. Shes a villian to me always. She has godlike powers. She recreates reality at her whim and she struggles with sanity. Thats the recipe for a good villian. (also sounds a lot like sentry)

Scodaillest -

Pym didn’t create the Vision. Ultron did. That makes Pym the Vision’s “grandfather”, if you want. I think the first of the many secret origins of the Vision was that he was basically the android Human Torch re-purposed by Ultron. So you can take that farther back.

Wanda also never met Wonder Man the first time around, when he “died”. She wasn’t even in the team by that time. He was not her “true love”. She met the Vision first and was in love with him already by the time Wonder Man got back and they met.

I don’t even think the Vision had… argh… sperm. Wanda basically used her powers to make children that had traits in common with the Vision. Later retconned and re-retconned to death.

Thanks Michael for clarifying what Vision meant. Having not read this issue, the context was not apparent to me.
..I just realized something though: if forgiving the people you love is so important, why didn’t Vision forgive Wanda post-Disassembled? I guess Vision is due for a mental breakdown :P
Seriously though, I get what they were trying to do with the Vision / Wanda pairing but I think nowadays it just doesn’t work. Back in the day, people could make the leap and believe Vision was just a guy in a mechanical body, but since we’re now a lot more technologically-savvy, most people don’t buy Vision was ever remotely human.

LouReedRichards

August 28, 2014 at 11:37 am

@renenarciso:

Gotta admit Magnum sounds like a much cooler name than Wonder Man.

I think I remember reading that Comic Book Legends, I’ll have to check it out again.

Thanks!

Vegastar7 –

What you say makes scientific sense but why single out the Vision?

Peter Parker, Banner and the FF should have contracted cancer from that radiation. Aliens like Superman and the Martian Manhunter should have different psychologies based on their inhuman brains. Aquaman and Sub-Mariner, having evolved in such a different environment, also shouldn’t think remotely like humans.

I think my greater point is this: if the cynics can’t accept the Vision and Scarlet Witch’s romance, why not just ignore it? If the characters only worked in the 1970s, why not let them in the 1970s, give them a happy ending, and pretty much retire them?

Byrne gets some of the blame for destroying the characters, but I do blame superhero comics in general. There are two things that superhero comics apparently can’t abide: endings and a happy couple. Everything must be deconstructed and then reconstructed just to to be deconstructed again. It’s sort of pointless.

David Spofforth

August 28, 2014 at 12:21 pm

The Vision was stated time and time again to have had a human soul. To claim otherwise is just bigoted, in my opinion. It’s sad.

I don’t know, David. That is a pretty harsh accusation to make. The Vision is fictional. Yes, his relationship with Wanda was used as a stand-in for inter-racial relations or other forbidden romances, but I think the negative reaction a lot of people have has less to do with bigotry and more to do with those people not growing up with those stories. Maybe I’m assuming, I don’t know. But I’d hazard a guess that most people who have a negative reaction to the romance are younger or otherwise have not read those 1970s stories as they came out.

Taint joke already made. Check. Synthezoid explained. Check. Unfortunate that it’s wasn’t Power Man called Magnum so “happy Jessica Jones” joke doesn’t work. Check.

@vegasstar7- what is it about tech today that makes it seem all the more unlikely? If anything, I think it’s far more believable that someone could fall for a machine. Heck, they just made a movie about it, called Her.

And it seems more than ever that something as lifelike as the Vision is possible…

http://youtu.be/MaTfzYDZG8c

@ renenarciso:

What you say makes scientific sense but why single out the Vision?

Peter Parker, Banner and the FF should have contracted cancer from that radiation. Aliens like Superman and the Martian Manhunter should have different psychologies based on their inhuman brains. Aquaman and Sub-Mariner, having evolved in such a different environment, also shouldn’t think remotely like humans.

Different conceits age in different ways.

Human-like aliens are pretty common metaphors in sci-fi. Anxiety about the effect of radiation on our humanity has become anxiety about the effect genetic engineering on our humanity without changing very much. Lost worlds, like Atlantis, seem increasingly unlikely and the respective Sea Kings have fallen on hard times.

The Vision works less well as a metaphor, because he is much closer to being a literal thing. We might live to see the day when an android passes the Turing Test and that prospect renders metaphors of race or sexual orientation moot.

David Spofforth

August 28, 2014 at 2:37 pm

@renenarciso, you are probably right. Maybe I am a little harsh. It’s just that those stories had such a profound impact on my childhood self. Maybe If every eight year old could read Englehart’s Avengers, society would be a much more tolerant place.

We have to remember that the Vision is not just a more sophisticated iPhone. He genuinely is Simon Williams. A human who died and had his mind transplanted into an artificial body (albeit without the memories). It’s an interesting philosophical question – if you start getting medical transplants, artificial heart, artificial eye, artificial legs, and so on. At what point do you stop being genuinely human?

“if forgiving the people you love is so important, why didn’t Vision forgive Wanda post-Disassembled? I guess Vision is due for a mental breakdown”
Different writers, different treatments.
“Back in the day, people could make the leap and believe Vision was just a guy in a mechanical body, but since we’re now a lot more technologically-savvy, most people don’t buy Vision was ever remotely human.”
Because what? Seriously I can’t see why anyone would try to apply real-world AI standards to the MU. On Earth 616 Prof. Horton created Earth’s first AI (or was there a predecessor?) at a time when “computer” in the real world meant “human being who crunches numbers.” Between the Human Torch and Vizh, we’ve had Adam II, Super-Adaptiod, Awesome Android (She-Hulk shows he does have some sort of AI quality, though it appears much more limited than the Vision or the Torch), Quasimodo and Ultron. And it’s not a question of whether they sound intelligent enough to pass the Turing Test–we know for a fact they think, feel and are by most standards human (admittedly Ultron and Quasimodo are homicidal minds, but still). Heck, even the Mad Thinker’s non-AI computers are capable of predicting events to a degree impossible in the real world. The MU’s just got cooler toys.
That’s not to say that some people (as evidenced by this thread) don’t find the Vision/Wanda relationship unlikely because they relate him to real world technology. By the same token there may be atheists who roll their eyes at Ghost Rider or Thor, but that says more about the reader than the concept.
But David, Simon did not have his mind transplanted into the Vision. Simon’s brainwaves were the template but he’s never been Simon or imagined himself to be Simon, though their personalities have some overlap.

Vision dominated the action in Avengers in the mid to late 70′s to the extreme, but he was an interesting character that was nurtured over time. I think he went off the rails when he took over the earth, became glib, and never recovered from getting dismantled during the Byrne run. It’s weird how much affection the character engendered for a good 10 years within the book… Vision was arguably the title character during Englehart’s first run… then became a secondary character at best routinely getting the side-eye from other members who used to treat him like an equal member of the team if not human.

Vision was never treated like a piece of hardware by the Avengers at large until the Byrne run. I don’t think there’s another Marvel character that went from “cool” to “uncool” like that. Was he ever cool? Or just treated that way? Something sure snapped.

David Spofforth

August 28, 2014 at 9:51 pm

Fraser, the whole nature of mind vs brainwave template is pretty subjective. Certainly the Vision has never had any of Simon Williams’ memories. But it was established that they have the same tastes and interests.

In the crossover story at the beginning of the West Coast Avengers series, the Vision met Simon’s mother and believed her to be his own mother too. He said in the story that he is what Simon Williams would have become if he had been turned into a “Vision” instead of a “Wonder Man” – Simon transplanted rather than reborn.

That was when he and Simon started considering themselves to be “identical twins” rather than just “brothers”.

The Vision stopped regarding himself as an android with a human mind and became a human with an android body. It led to a great line later when he admitted that he enjoyed the Enchantress’ kiss and Wanda’s responded with, “No husband should be THAT human!”

Man, those first few pages remind me of how much my heart sinks every time I find I’m about to read a comic book drawn by Al Milgrom. He is easily one of my least favorite artists.

After what M-Wolverine and Fraser said, I was thinking that the ONLY place where androids became uncool was in the Marvel Universe. After the heyday of the Vision, the rest of pop culture continued as enamorated of the idea as ever.

A.I. (robots as persecuted Jews), Battlestar Galactica (androids as Muslims, roughly), Alan Moore’s Top 10 (robots as African-Americans)… And hey, Avengers 2 – Age of Ultron. The Marvel movies have thankfully been free of the worst tendencies of the comics themselves, so it’s likely that they will treat the Vision right.

Makes me wonder if, instead of having anything to do with the Vision concept directly, it’s more of a backlash against Steve Englehart? Ya know, lots of rumours of bad blood between Byrne and Englehart… And later writers just followed Byrne, because deconstruction was sexier?

In any case, the theme of the android or robot that searches for his humanity always fascinated me as a metaphor that transcends minorities. It can work as a metaphor for everybody. If you guys forgive me for becoming too philosophical, in this age of increasing materialism, all of us can be the Vision.

If you read guys like Richard Dawkins and take it seriously, he is roughly saying that all of us are biological robots following genetic and memetic programming, and free will is an illusion. Now, I am not big on Dawkins, but the guy is popular. The search for humanity that is important to characters like the Vision can be a metaphor for every person that is facing existential crisis.

David Spofforth

August 29, 2014 at 11:39 am

“Makes me wonder if, instead of having anything to do with the Vision concept directly, it’s more of a backlash against Steve Englehart? Ya know, lots of rumours of bad blood between Byrne and Englehart… And later writers just followed Byrne, because deconstruction was sexier?”

Not exactly true. Harras and Busiek did a fair amount of heavy lifting to reconstruct the Vision. But of course Johns and Bendis went and ruined it again.

i always though that wandas madness would be nothing but a nervous breakdown from trying to not turn out like Magneto not become powered crazed and mad including after she learned that her twins with the vision were fake. marvel really let some writters make the scarlet witch messed up like some of their big baddies.

David Spofforth-

Seriously, some characters go thru so much crap in comics, that they become pratically unusable. I think the Vision and Wanda have reached that point by now. They should just be abandoned (and I say this as someone who was a fan of the characters in their 1970s and early 1980s incarnations), except in continuities where everything is new, like the movies

Probably replying to this too late but…
@M-Wolverine: I don’t know that I can explain what I mean but here goes…Back in the 70s, an android / robot / synthezoid was such a far off idea that readers might more easily accept the idea of a “human” robot. Nowadays, the concept of “this is a mechanical being with a soul of a human replicated into its computer/brain” is going to be met with a lot of skepticism because people have seen robots / AI /etc and they’re decidedly not human.
To give a really weird example :we find out vampires are real, except the “real” vampires actually love sunlight. All our fictional vampire stories prior to their discovery are going to sound old-fashioned, and stupid. So same principle applied to the the Vision + SW romance.
And let’s not forget there is such a thing as an “uncanny valley”, something which previous sci-fi writers might not have taken into account. Machines that are almost but not quite human are inherently creepy.
Lastly, I don’t hate the Vision, if anything I’m indifferent to him, but I feel like the excuse that “he’s human cuz his brain waves came from a human” to be cheap. I’d rather Vision struggle with his identity while being completely synthetic.

Robots and AI are decidedly not human….yet. But it seems like far less a fantasy than it did then, and the way technology is progressing (You carry more tech in your pocket than what ran NORAD when the Vision was created) makes it seem very likely that machines who think for themselves aren’t really that far off.

vegastar7 –

Far too many concepts in science fiction movies and comics are treated in a way completely diverse from how they work in real life, including (but not limited to) computer hacking, lasers, genetic engineering, and space travel. So, all of this gets a pass, but the Vision don’t?

I think the bulk of the public disagrees with you, considering the continuing presence of very human-like androids in popular movies and smash hit TV series, like BATTLESTAR GALACTICA.

Don’t forget, the “uncanny valley” is also a very relative thing.

I really hated what Byrne did with Vizh and Wanda because in a few short issues it trashed something that Thomas, and later Englehart, had slowly evolved over several years. If one had any love for the characters, it was great to see them overcome the difficulties of their relationship and even settle down and have children. While Marvel pioneered the ‘hero with problems’ in comics, that didn’t (and doesn’t) mean all their heroes have to be in a constant state of angst. It also smacks of ‘I can’t really think of anything constructive to do with this character so I’ll make her a villain/drive her nuts/destroy her life ‘. It might sell a lot of comics (and I appreciate that that’s the prime concern) but it leaves a bad taste in the mouth. Nothing that has been done with either character since (and Busiek, for example, tried some good things with them) has matched their earlier stories.

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