A great superhero romance can influence the direction of the characters involved for decades, whether together or apart. Alas, many of them end in tragedy but few superhero romances have as tragic a history as the Vision and Scarlet Witch.
However, their romance was so iconic that more than 40 years after their comic book wedding, their romance still defines them and now the Marvel Cinematic Universe has given this couple new life.
Their romance was teased in Avengers: Age of Ultron and Captain America: Civil War, so it’s no surprise that this couple is in Avengers: Infinity War as well, but to say exactly how would be SPOILERS so we’ll focus on the comic book history and how it relates to the movie-verse, which may offer some clues to where we’re going. (Or not, given how the MCU can play fast and loose with its comic book counterparts.)
The History of the Scarlet Witch
Wanda is a character far older than you’d think for her relatively late appearance in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. She was a Jack Kirby and Stan Lee creation for their original X-Men series but she started her career as a villain, not a hero, much like the MCU version.
Alas, because it was the mid-1960s, there was little to Wanda’s character save to be fearful, unsure of her powers, and reliant on the protection of her twin brother, Pietro aka Quicksilver. Eventually, she was shifted over to the Avengers, as a hero, with a powerful “hex” ability that could rewrite reality, and that’s where I first read stories featuring Wanda.
Yes, Pietro was in here too but that’s because he was also trying to solve the mystery of their parents.
So, did that get solved? Um, only for a while.
Wanda’s parents have been the Maximoffs, a Romani couple; Magneto and his late wife, Magda; and the Whizzer and Miss America. Their first nanny was an intelligent cow and one could also call the High Evolutionary their parent, in a sense. (Note: a version of the Whizzer appeared briefly in Jessica Jones, season 2, on Netflix but he doesn’t seem at all related to Wanda and Pietro in the MCU, especially since he’s the same age.)
The MCU version has been coy about their parentage, largely because their long history as the children of Magneto can’t happen while Fox owns the X-Men movie right. And, hey, even the comics have retconned Magneto out as their parents. But now that Disney is grabbing those as well, who knows?
Note: Because of Wanda and Pietro’s long history in Avengers comics, the rights of their Avengers adventures could be used both by the Marvel Cinematic Universe and Fox’s X-Men films, though only Quicksilver got to appear in both. Boo! X-Men: Days of Future Past could have totally used Wanda’s reality-warping powers.
But Wanda’s complicated parentage has nothing on how Wanda was misused by creators in the comics.
She’s been insane or mind-controlled by others numerous times, once rewrote an entire reality (take that, Thanos!) but somehow still came off as passive, and then was deemed a criminal for actions under the control of others. Being mind-controlled is something she has in common with her husband, Vision.
History of the Vision
The Vision is what Stan Lee called a synthezoid way back when, one infused with the brain patterns of Simon Williams, a man who died as a villain during one of the Avengers’ first mission. (We’d probably just call him an AI now.) Like the Marvel Cinematic version, Vision has a completely non-human uber-advanced body. Unlike the MCU version, it’s not powered by an Infinity Stone, but by regular AI stuff. He can fly, has super-strength, super-intelligence (natch), and can turn intangible at will.
Having Simon Wiliams’s brain patterns allowed Vision to slowly develop emotions, though it made him a target of the Grim Reaper, Simon’s villainous brother. Because creators apparently like to mess with AI beings, Vision has been destroyed and brought back to “life” numerous times, sometimes with his personality and memories intact, sometimes not. He’s also been under the control of villains or been a villain himself (bad code) several times. He’s also sort of been his future self. (See Young Avengers link below.)
The Superhero Romance
Vision and Scarlet Witch were appearing exclusively in the Avengers title, so that’s where their romance developed. It’s an odd pairing, an artificial being of science with a woman of magic but it worked, they fell in love and were married. (One assumes Vision was fully functional, sexually speaking.)
However, explaining their twins was a little more complicated and, eventually and weirdly, it’s what basically ended the romance.
Since Wanda has reality warping powers, she was able to synthesize her essence and that of her husband, magically, become pregnant and have twin boys. Yay! Happy ending, right.
Not so much.
John Byrne, writing West Coast Avengers, decided that the twin boys were not human at all but merely fragments of the soul of the demon Mephisto. In a chilling story, Mephisto re-absorbed those bits back into himself and no more twins. Yeah, it was horrifying. Vision and Wanda’s marriage did not survive, especially since other stuff happened, like Vision being re-assembled/recreated with no emotions, and with what Wanda being driven insane more than once out of grief and loss.
Plus, there was that time Wanda literally ripped Vision in half. Puts a damper on the whole happily ever after thing.
Will Their Romance Return?
I find the later versions of Wanda and Vision on their own much less satisfying than the married version from the 1970s. Crazed heroes are a dime a dozen. Happily married heroes, especially including an AI and a reality-warping witch, are rare. Yet for decades, the pair have been parted by madness, alternate realities, altered personalities, and the whims of creators.
Vision was recently the lead in a fantastic and disturbing series written by Tom King and Gabriel Hernandez Walta, in which Vision created an artificial family for himself, consisting of wife, teenage son, and teenage daughter. Suffice to say, that did not go well. The miniseries also explored his complicated history with Wanda, but there was no resolution to their relationship.
However, on the good side, Wanda and Vision’s kids are now back in continuity and teenagers, thanks to some handwaving from Marvel, a bitan of an alternate reality, and magic. Billy and Tommy are members of the Young Avengers. I can’t imagine we’ll see them in the cinematic universe but, hey, you never know.
I’m not sure Vision and Wanda will ever be together again in the comics, which is sad, because they were one of the first superhero couples I encountered and I’ve always rooted for them.
But if the comic book version of this superhero romance is a lost cause, I hold up hope for the cinematic version. I guess we’ll see as the Marvel Cinematic Universe continues from Avengers: Infinity War.