WandaVision: Reading Essentials
Though a few impatient viewers were not digging the first two episodes, the TV series WandaVision has become mandatory Friday night viewing for many. The Scarlett Witch, Vision and an assortment of other people are trapped in a town that apes famed sitcoms from The Dick Van Dyke Show to Family Ties. This seems to be the work of Wanda Maximoff trying to create some kind of illusion of normalcy for her and the love of her life who was ripped away from her by Thanos. Outside of her “Hex” Agent Jimmy Woo, Monica Rambeau, and Dr. Darcey Lewis are trying to figure out a way to stop this madness without harming the troubled Avenger. While Scarlett Witch and the Vision have never exactly been A-listers for Marvel, creator Jac Schaeffer does have plenty of inspiration to pull from the decades of source material. If you are growing tired of having to wait an entire week for each new episode head down to your local comic shop and check out the comics that serve as great accompanying reading.
Vision & the Scarlett Witch-The Saga of Wanda and Vision by Bill Mantlo, Steve Englehart, Don Heck, Rick Leonardi: Kicking off with the reprinted marriage of the two Avengers, Vision and Wanda look to settle down in the suburbs for a nice Halloween. Naturally trouble follows them and the two heroes have to deal with a number of life altering adventures. This trade collects both the 1982 and 1985 mini-series’ centered on the characters as well as key issues of The Avengers. Many of the aspect we associate with these two characters and their relationship are rolled out in this trade, from the revelation that Wanda is the daughter of Magneto to the rivalry between Vision and the Grim Reaper. Most importantly it features the debut of Billy and Tommy who seem to play a large role in WandaVision.
Vision Quest: Avengers West Coast by John Byrne: True to form, writer/artist John Byrne stirred up quite a bit of controversy when he ruined Vision and Wanda’s relationship. Immortus orchestrates the dismantling of Visions forcing his teammates to rebuild him. This new version of the hero has been stripped of the feelings and emotions he once held and to match this he is now a ghostly shell of himself. This pushes Wanda over the edge as their marriage crumbles in the wake of this massive change. In addition to losing her husband, she finally uncovers that Tommy and Billy are merely creations of Mephisto. Her downward spiral is one with grave consequences were it not for her mentor Agatha Harkness stepping in.
Scarlett Witch by James Robinson, Vanesa Del Rey, Marco Rudy, Chris Visons, and Steve Dillon: This is more of a DC/Vertigo-esque horror story than an outright superhero comic, but given the sometimes unnerving nature of WandaVision it is easy to see why this is good reading. When the magic of the Marvel Universe is thrown into chaos it falls to the increasingly troubled Scarlett Witch to fix it in a globetrotting mystical adventure. As a tried and true veteran comic writer James Robinson is the perfect steady hand on this book, but the real selling point is truly the art. The likes of Vanessa Del Rey, Marco Rudy, Jordie Bellaire, and David Aja on covers, provide visuals that are strikingly beautiful.
House of M by Brian Michael Bendis and Olivier Coipel: This comic served as a culmination of the journey Scarlett Witch began in Jonathan Hickman’s House of X era of the X-Men. While Wanda’s power set has seemingly never been set, the ability to distort reality in some way has been one of her abilities. In this epic crossover, she uses this particular power on a grand scale. Following the destruction of Genosha, as well as a number of other personal tragedies, Wanda is having more and more trouble keeping her powers in check. Professor Xavier tries to form a coalition of heroes to deal with the issue but it is to no avail. The Scarlett Witch unleashes her powers and transforms the entire Marvel Universe. While this story encompasses a massive ensemble of heroes and villains it is the perfect display of what happens when Wanda Maximoff unleashes her full power.
Vision by Tom King and Gabriel Hernandez Walta: By now every comic fan is all too familiar Tom King’s penchant for breaking superheroes down to their mental and emotional pit to see what makes them tick. But when he broke through with this Eisner winning series this was all brand new to readers. Taking on the role of the Avengers’ liaison to the White House, Vision tries to assimilate himself into his new role. He builds a family of fellow synthezoid beings to be his nuclear family. This happy new life proves to be anything but, as his wife Virginia, children Viv and Vin along with the family dog Sparky must contend with fitting in with human society as well as anti-robot prejudice. Standing as one of the most acclaimed comics of the past several years, Vision has deserved all of the applause and accolades it has received.
Agents of Atlas by Jeff Parker and Leonard Kirk: One of the breakout characters of this show has been Agent Jimmy Woo. Before this he was familiar to mass audiences thanks to the film Ant-Man and the Wasp, but Woo made his debut all the way back in the 1950’s in the spy series Yellow Claw. It was not until 2006, that Woo was given the role that would make him a cult favorite in the mini-series Agents of Atlas. With fans now clamoring for Agent Woo to get a spin-off dealing with the weirder elements of the MCU, this series is perfect for a revisit. In the 1950’s Jimmy Woo used the FBI’s top secret files on superbeings to build the Atlas Foundation. Now as an agent of SHIELD, Woo once again needs the help of his strange compatriots to stop the evil Yellow Claw who has reemerged. This series used by Jeff Parker to revitalize the old Atlas Comics characters, is what introduced Jimmy Woo to a new generation of fans.