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Runaways



Vision and the Scarlet Witch (2nd series) # 1

Issue Date: October 1985

Story Title: Lovers

Staff: Steve Englehart (Writer), Richard Howell (Penciller), Andy Mushynsky (Inkers), L. Lois Burhalis (Letterer), Janet Jackson & A. Philips (Colorist), Jim Salicrup (Editor), Jim Shooter (Editor in Chief)

Brief Description:
Wanda waits impatiently as Henry Gyrich and Raymond Sikorski are involved in a gruelling investigation of the Vision, delving into his past and recent actions. Gyrich deems the Vision a threat that should be destroyed. Wanda makes her way deep into Project Pegasus to stop this from happening, the result is that both Wanda and the Vision quit the Avengers, and Wanda gives Gyrich a piece of her mind. The couple then return to Leonia where they want to buy another house, and meet with a nice realtor, Norm Webster, who takes them to a terrific house. At that time, Hawkeye is trying to reach the Vision, but cannot get hold of him. After taking a tour of their soon to be new home, Wanda and the Vision are attacked by zombies. Hawkeye reluctantly contacts the Wasp, who isn’t very helpful, before going to join Tigra and Iron Man in the search for the missing Wonder Man and Hank Pym, along with their enemies, Ultron, Goliath and the Man-Ape. Deep in a tomb, the zombies bring the Scarlet Witch to Nekra and the Black Talon, even though they wanted the Vision. The Vision eventually wakes from where he was left, intertwined with another zombie, who then leads him to where Wanda was taken. The Black Talon keeps Wanda sedated, and she recalls her own complicated past, while Nekra and the Black Talon call forth more zombies. Soon, the Grim Reaper arrives, and the Vision reveals himself, disguised as a zombie. He and the now free Wanda engage their enemies in battle, and the Vision discovers someone looking remarkably like Simon Williams before he was transformed into Wonder Man. Eventually, the Grim Reaper and his cohorts escape. Soon though, the Vision phones a relieved Hawkeye, who has a strange feeling that their recent misadventures are linked.

Full Synopsis:
Midnight, at Project Pegasus in Upstate New York. The Avenger known as the Vision lies on an operating table with Henry Peter Gyrich at his side. Raymond Sikorski enters the lab and informs Gyrich that the Vision’s wife is still here. ‘”Wife”? huh!’ mutters Gyrich, before telling Sikorski that he should go and tell the Vision’s wife that they will call her when they need her and that she should go home and get some rest, as their investigation may take days.

Moments later, Sikorski has relayed that information to Wanda Maximoff a.k.a. the mighty Scarlet Witch. Annoyed, the powerful Avenger tells Agent Sikorski to listen to her carefully, and pointing out that his investigation has gone on for fourteen hours now, government or no government, he has just one more day to finish with her husband. ‘Do I make myself clear?’

‘She’s threatening us, Gyrich! And frankly - I think she has reason!’ Sikorski exclaims to Gyrich soon after. ‘You do, huh?’ Gyrich asks, before reminding Sikorski that he is in charge here, and when it comes to Avengers - as well as mutants - he will decide what reason is. Gyrich reminds Sikorski that they are the American government running an internal security investigation on this android’s attempt to take over the world - so they have the right and the duty to make sure her doesn’t try it again!

Gyrich also points out that they are deep inside Project Pegasus - a place specially designed to keep super villains in - or out - so they have total protection as well. Sikorski remarks ‘That may be’ before reminding Gyrich that the Vision removed the control crystal which allowed the alien computer to direct him and her has cooperated completely since them, and they have found absolutely nothing.

Gyrich gives Raymond a cross look and tells him that he must have been behind a desk for too long, as there is always something! Gyrich turns to the Vision and simply addressing him as “android” asks him to tell them why he has started talking the way he does. The Vision stirs for the first time, and in measured but very human tones replies by firstly informing Gyrich that he is no an android, but a synthezoid - one who reproduces all human functions, both mental and organic. ‘In short, an artificial man!’ Frowning, he warns the men not to insult his wife again!

Speaking of the beautiful Scarlet Witch, she sits cross legged on a chair, and taps her fingers on a desk.

Leaning on the table, the Vision explains that when he was first built, he spoke with a voice like any other man, indeed that is why he was originally called the Human Torch! ‘What!’ exclaims Raymond, while thinking to himself ‘Is he cracking up?’ Gyrich tells Raymond to relax, ‘If you hadn’t come on board so recently…’ he mutters, alluding to the fact that there is a lot of history about the Vision that he doesn’t know.

(Shown with Flashback images)
The Vision reveals that he was created by Professor Phineas Horton in 1939 and alongside Captain America, the Sub-Mariner, Whizzer, Miss America and others, he fought crime until 1955 - ‘When I went nova and died’. The Vision remarks that an artificial man can only know an artificial death and reveals that after many years, the Mad Thinker reactivated his body, but not his mind, to use against the Fantastic Four. The Vision explains that as he was incomplete, he lost his battle with the new Human Torch, and fell into the clutches of the living robot then known as Ultron-5.

(Present / Reality)
In the waiting room, Wanda begins to pace back and forth.

(Shown with Flashback images)
The Vision informs the government agents that Ultron had been created by Henry Pym - then known as Goliath - but the intelligence Pym had given it was unstable, Ultron wanted to kill his father - even as it wanted to “father” a “son”. Since this was physically impossible for it, Ultron made use of the blank Human Torch body. Ultron found the aged Professor Horton and forced him to re-fashion the Human Torch into its current state as the Vision - replacing his ability to “flame on” with the ability to alter his mass and solidity - and adding the ability to absorb and discharge solar power through the jewel in his brow.

The Vision explains that, finally, to make him more “mechanical” like himself, Ultron bulk-erased his mind and gave him a new voice and personality - incidentally using the recorded brain patterns of Wonder Man as a model. But, as the Vision explains, he was not to be a second Simon Williams, mechanical or otherwise, but from that seed he grew into someone unique. The Vision explains that Ultron planned to use him against the Avengers, but the Vision’s mind, like Ultron’s, could not be restrained from independent thought, and feeling the good with him, though not knowing what it was, the Vision turned against Ultron, and joined the Avengers instead.

(Present / Reality)
Wanda, furious, throws something at the desk, breaking it in half.

Back in the lab, the Vision concludes his story by telling the men that it was there, in the Avengers, that he met his future bride - Wanda - the Scarlet Witch! He adds that for many months after meeting her, he fought against his growing affection for her, still considering himself a soulless machine - but that when he learned the truth, that he had been created to be exactly like a human - he finally saw that he could truly be Wanda’s man.

‘Enough!’ cries Gyrich, declaring that he doesn’t want to hear this sort of thing. The Vision tells Gyrich that he must not understand him, for the only point he wants to make is that he learned then that he was more than a mere machine - then, when he transcended himself through connection to Isaac, he finally saw himself from the outside as it were - entirety!

The Vision remarks that he, and everyone else, had thought he was nothing more than a construct carrying around a selection of human brain patterns - when in fact, he is a human mind directing an artificial body! He compares it to some men who have prosthetic arms or legs, whereas he has prosthetic everything. ‘But it is they who have them! They are not I!’ he exclaims, adding that he sounds human, because he is human!

Back in the other room, the Scarlet Witch declares ‘Time’s up!’ and marches through a door labeled restricted. But as Wanda storms into the restricted area, a Project Pegasus security officer begins to tell her that Agent Gyrich left strict orders - but Wanda interrupts when she casts a hex sphere in the direction of a large solid door, causing it to burst open. The guard is shocked and exclaims that the door will not open with his punching in the precise codes - and no one could even guess those numbers.

Annoyed, Wanda replies that she doesn’t have to guess, for hers is the power to alter probabilities. ‘I’m the Scarlet Witch!’ she exclaims turning to the guard and casting a hex at him which causes him to fall over. A recorded message comes on over a monitor and states ‘Please remain still for a multi-photographic composite of your visual configuration’. Wanda remains still, then the recorded message says ‘How nice to see you again, Mr. Gyrich’. But as Wanda strides along the hallway, she steps on a panel which tests her weight, and the recording suddenly declares ‘Warning! Subject’s weight does not conform to Gyrich, P.!’

Wanda begins to cast a multitude of hexes at the computer console, when suddenly several more guards and a man dressed in a green outfit enter the room. The green-clad man tells the Scarlet Witch to ‘Hold it right there’, but that just encourages Wanda to toss about more hexes. As the man in green exclaims ‘Go on, Witch - show up the Guardsman!’, he tells her that she will never get where she wants to go, for the door before her is twenty tons of omnium steel and can only be opened by Gyrich from the inside. Wanda once more casts forth a yellow glowing sphere and the door begins to turn brown. ‘It’s rusting!’ exclaims the Guardsman.

‘Give me back my husband!’ screams Wanda as the door falls apart and she enters the lab where the Vision is on a table and Gyrich and Sikorski are beside him. Gyrich tells the Scarlet Witch that the Vision is not a citizen, so he has no rights. ‘We on the other hand -’ he begins, until Wanda cuts him off ‘You on the other hand, have one minute to let him go, with all charges dropped, or I’ll bring down this whole place!’ Wanda threatens. Raymond rushes over to Gyrich and tells him to do as the Witch says, ‘Didn’t you hear what she said?’ ‘a lot of self-serving gibberish!’ Gyrich replies.

‘I’m going to tell you something, Agent Gyrich, and I’m only going to tell you once!’ exclaims Wanda before reminding Gyrich that they all know the Vision’s body is synthetic, and tells Gyrich that if the Vision was black, he would have problems simply because of that, and again if he were a mutant, he would have problems. ‘But he’s a synthezoid! That means his mind can be taken over electronically and that’s just the way it is. You can’t blame him for that!’ Wanda exclaims.

Gyrich points at Wanda and declares that he can blame the Vision if he wants, for they have the right to protect themselves. ‘He’s a person!’ Wanda exclaims. ‘So you say, so he says! But either way, you’re both Avengers, and Avengers are subject to whatever government control we decide on!’ Gyrich exclaims. ‘Then guess what, Gyrich?’ Wanda asks. ‘WE QUIT!’ she exclaims, slamming her and the Vision’s Avengers Priority Identification cards down on the table. ‘You can’t do that!’ protests Gyrich. ‘I just did!’ Wanda replies.

‘If this is the way you treat people who’ve saved the world more times than you can count, we’d rather be private citizens!’ Wanda remarks, before turning to the Vision and asking if he agrees. ‘Of course, my little witch!’ the Vision remarks, before admitting that he does feel guilty for what he did while tied to Isaac, even though he wasn’t himself, which is why he has cooperated fully with Gyrich and Sikorski. ‘But I have a life to live now!’ Sikorski encourages the Vision by telling him to go and that he will take the responsibility.

‘WHAT?!’ exclaims a furious Gyrich, turning to Sikorski. Suddenly, as Wanda and the Vision are walking away, Wanda turns to Gyrich and exclaims that she has one last thing to say: ‘I like changing my costume now and then, and recently I’ve gone back to wearing evening gloves!’ Thrusting one of her arms up into a fist so that Gyrich can see her elegant gloves, Wanda snaps at him saying ‘I hope you like them!’

Moments later, Wanda and the Vision are in an elevator headed for the upper levels of Project Pegasus and are kissing passionately.

Nine O’clock later that morning, a customized scarlet MG-TC rolls smartly into the New Jersey hamlet of Leonia - where the true story begins. Inside their car, Wanda remarks to the Vision that somewhere among the people outside staring at them are more bigots - like the people who burned down their house. ‘Are you sure you still want to live here?’ she asks. ‘Most definitely!’ replies the Vision, pointing out that they must face this ignorance just as thy faced Gyrich’s. ‘We mustn’t run or we’ll run forever’.

Wanda leans into her husband and agrees with him. ‘And still they wonder why I love you!’ she remarks, before the Vision says to her that he feels his love for, his contact with her, more acutely than ever before. The Vision then remarks that they will win back their neighbors by their example, and he will certainly show his humanity to better advantage now. Wanda points out that she is not so sure being human is all that desirable these days, of except to “real humans” of course. Wanda then remarks that as she is homo superior, she could echo all of the Vision’s Isaac-induced speeches about the limitations of homo superior. She adds that the climate for tolerance has certainly changed since she first came to America. The Vision agrees, before assuring Wanda that things will change again, for the only thin certain in life is change - ‘As you taught me in helping me resist the master computer!’ ‘I did, didn’t I?’ remarks Wanda, before resigning herself to the fact that they will “tough it out” as Hawkeye would say.

Shortly, Wanda and the Vision enter a realtor outlet and the Vision announces that they would like to buy a house, after greeting the surprised realtors. A blond man steps forward, ‘Why, of course, sir!’ he exclaims, before introducing himself as Norm Webster, and asks if they would like to enter the conference room with him. As they enter the conference room, the Vision explains to Norm that what they had in mind was something similar to their old house, and asks if he remembers it. ‘Naturally, Mr. - uh - Vision! Is that right?’ The Vision replies that simply calling him “Vision” is fine, and the Scarlet Witch assures Norm that he can call her Wanda.

Norm also tells them to call him on a first named basis, before asking the former Avengers if they have thought about this carefully. As they take a seat, Norm tells them that he would be glad to sell them a house, and that he knows one which would be perfect for them, but that the climate for tolerance in this area is not what it once was. Wanda begins laughing, so Norm asks her if he said something funny. Wanda replies that she and her husband just had this discussion, and tells Norm that they have thought about it, and they still want to live in Leonia, for they like it here - strange as it may sound. Norm smiles and suggests that they should go look at the house he has in mind for them as it is only two blocks from here.

Norm puts on his jacket as the three leave the realtor office and Norm tells Wanda that he likes it here too, for although people get stirred up sometimes, what happened to them wasn’t typical. Norm assures them that for his part, he is proud to have two Avengers living in Leonia, and so are - most - of his friends. ‘We’ll settle for most right now!’ The Vision remarks that they will install alarms against the rest this time, to which Norm replies that although he is ashamed to say it, is a wise move.

Shortly, the trio arrive at the grand house, and Norm asks them what they think. Staring up at the spectacular home, the Vision exclaims that if it looks this good inside, they will take it. ‘It’s us!’ agrees Wanda.

Meanwhile, in Palos Verde, California, Clint Barton a.k.a. the handsome archer known as Hawkeye, leader of the West Coast branch of the mighty Avengers is trying to get a hold of the Vision, but the according to the recorded message he gets from someone at the telephone company, the number he has dialed is no longer in service. Hawkeye slams the phone down and exclaims that he needs to talk to the Vision.

Hawkeye’s feline teammate Tigra approaches him, ‘No answer?’ she asks. Clint replies that there wasn’t, and that although Simon told them Vision’s house had burned down, he hoped the forwarding number wouldn’t be Avenger mansion. Nursing an ice pack on her head, Tigra remarks that Ultron really gave her a whack, before asking Clint why he doesn’t want to call the East Coast branch. ‘Well, now, Tigra, it’s not that I don’t want to call them, it’s just that - I don’t want to call them!’

Hawkeye exclaims that he wants this group to stand on its own two feet, to which Tigra asks Hawkeye if he doesn’t want to tell the Wasp that Ultron captured Hank. ‘Um, yeah - that too!’ Clint mumbles.

Back in Leonia, after looking through the house, Wanda and the Vision seem to have made up their minds, as the Vision tells Norm to contact the owner and see what he has to say. Norm replies that he can let the two of them know tomorrow. The Vision replies that this is fine, before informing Norm that he and Wanda would like to look around a little more in the meantime. Norm tells them to go ahead, and assures them that they have made a good choice, before wishing them good bye and taking his leave.

Wanda remarks to Vision that this house has a nice aura, very old and very secure and adds that there is plenty of privacy, but that the neighbors are within hailing distance. Vision suddenly tells Wanda that if one added the two of them together and averaged, you would have two normal people. The Vision remarks that he has no empathy for Wanda’s hidden worlds, when he detects that something is bothering her. When he asks her what it is, Wanda replies ‘Around us - all around us - ATTACK!’ she exclaims as zombies begin emerging from the bushes.

‘Zombies!’ exclaims the Vision. The word hangs in mid-air and it doesn’t need a metallic voice to make it the essence of horror! Zombies are the living dead. Say what you want about super-villains, at least they are alive! These shuffling corpses may lack the raw power of someone like Ultron-12 or Dr. Doom - they feel no pain - and they keep on coming. The Vision blasts some zombies with his solar eye beams, while Wanda tosses about hex spheres. The Vision engages one of them in physical combat and thinks to himself that they just keep on coming, and while becoming hard as diamond doesn’t stop them, he decides to try the other extreme.

So, like a pale green ghost, the Vision plunges his hand deep into the moldering chest before him, and solidifies it - with stupefying results, as both the Vision and the zombie begin to scream. While the flesh of the zombie is dead, it moves at the urging of arcane power - power which burns through synthezoid flesh with devastating effect. The Vision loses control and phases into a zombie, the two tangled together, which gets Wanda’s attention. But as Wanda turns to her husband, another zombie comes up behind her and hits her over the head with a stick, knocking her out.

Meanwhile, back at the West Coast Avengers Compound, Hawkeye reluctantly phones the Wasp a.k.a. Janet Van Dyne at Avengers Mansion in New York. The Wasp appears on the screen before Clint, and the archer informs her that she is looking for the Vision. Wasp asks Hawkeye if it is important, to which Clint replies it is, and asks Jan if she remembers him telling her about Ultron, before explaining that he now thinks Ultron is in league with the Grim Reaper, and now they are after the Vision too.

The Wasp replies by telling Hawkeye that she will do what she can, but that they are overrun by government agents right now, and they are already on their hit list because of the Vision’s attempt to rule the world. The Wasp then informs Clint that Wanda and the Vision have quit the group too. ‘You mean you don’t know where he is?’ Clint asks. Janet replies that she hasn’t a clue, before telling Hawkeye that the government is beginning to wonder if the creation of the West Coast Avengers was another part of the Vision’s master plan, but that she reminded the government that Agent Sikorski pronounced the idea perfectly logical, before warning Clint not to make any more waves than he has to.

Clint holds up his bow and exclaims that no one is going to shut down the West Coast Avengers, before adding that neither are they going to abandon the Vision if he is in trouble. ‘And you can tell them I said so!’ Defensively, the Wasp assures Clint that nobody is abandoning anybody, and informs him that she will send Starfox to scout around Leonia as soon as they are no longer tied up at Avengers Mansion, before reminding him that this is a complicated problem. ‘Maybe, but I’m not a complicated problem solver!’ Clint replies, before asking the Wasp to let him know as soon as she finds out anything, and in the meantime, he will keep his team busy searching for the villains out his way.

Back in Leonia, the Vision and the zombie continue to lie intertwined. A circuit closes, a mind awakens from the darkness - it feel shriveling agony - then shuts down again. While the Scarlet Witch is nowhere to be seen.

In Palos Verde, Tigra greets Iron Man as the armored Avenger flies down to where she and Hawkeye are standing. Iron Man asks his teammates if they have had any luck, to which Clint replies that they haven’t, and asks Iron Man if he has. Iron Man exclaims ‘Nothing!’ and mutters that even carrying Wonder Man, Hank, Goliath and the Man-Ape, Ultron had a long head start on him, and adds that Ultron has gone beyond the range of their energo-scan. Iron Man offers to head in the other direction after he has rested a bit, to which Clint asks him if he is okay.

Iron Man replies that he has felt better, for Ultron really knocked it out of him, and one thing he has learned lately is that he has got to be the hero, not the armor. After Iron Man announces that he will keep going, Tigra asks Clint what Janet said when he told her about Hank. ‘Ah - we never got to that!’ replies Hawkeye.

Back in Leonia, a circuit closes, a mind awakens from the darkness - it feels shriveling agony - then shuts down again.

But this time, the Scarlet Witch can be seen, though not on her lawn in Leonia, but being carried by a group of zombies into a strange complex. ‘What is this? This is not the one I sent you for!’ exclaims the man known as the Black Talon. The zombies, in their strange way of speaking, mutter something about the Vision and a zombie. The evil woman Nekra steps forward and asks the Black Talon what the zombies are yammering about, to which the Black Talon replies that he does know, and explains that he who assumes the power of the Black Talon may be a zombie-lord, but even he cannot fathom their limited thoughts.

Nekra declares that they must find the Vision, for the Grim Reaper will be coming for him soon. ‘Apparently, I’ll have to go to the battle site and begin a search myself!’ she complains. ‘You boil with hatred, woman! That is what makes you the horror you are!’ the Black Talon remarks, before warning Nekra not to disparage him unduly, for after all, it is upon his power which this entire plan rests!

Back in New Jersey, a circuit closes, a mind awakens from the darkness - it feels shrivelling agony - and starts to shut down - but this time, it does not. ‘Cannot! Cannot!’ the Vision thinks to himself, telling himself not to shut down, for his body is programmed to feel intense pain automatically, but his mind must override it - for Wanda’s sake. He tells himself that there is no pain within him that he cannot conquer, and begins to slide himself out of the zombies’ body

The zombie cries ‘No…touch’ and begins to crawl away from the Vision, who turns to him and realizes that he must know where they have taken Wanda, so he threatens to touch him unless he reveals her location. The sunken eyes gape glassily at the gold-gloved fingers and something like a sob bubbles up from the leathery throat. The zombie fears and obeys its master - but pain is so foreign to the dead.

‘Others…know…where…go…only…know’ the zombie mutters, before droning on for several minutes, mostly repeating himself, before finally the Vision nods grimly and points - and the two of them vanish deeper into the mysterious woods as the rain begins to pour down on them.

Soon, Nekra makes her way through the eerie forest, thinking to herself that the Black Talon is an ignorant savage, and while his voodoo may be dangerous, it is crude compared to her natural power. ‘The feeling of hatred gives me strength - invulnerability! The ebony emotion courses through my Albino body and I become superior to any of his grave-born souls!’ she exclaims. Nekra smiles as she realizes she allies herself with the Black Talon, for doing so she gains so much more to despise. Looking around the area, Nekra exclaims that she knew the Black Talon’s mindless minions would leave her no clues, when suddenly she sees someone up in the air, so she hides behind a tree as the Avenger Starfox flies past, wondering also where the Vision could be.

The Vision is still following the mindless zombie through the forest as the rain continues to pour down on them.

‘So, Witch, we meet again!’ exclaims the Black Talon as he stands over Wanda, who is tied down to a table. The Black Talon reminds Wanda that when they last met, she used her accursed hex power to thwart his plans, before informing her that his ally as told him that she needs her hands to hurl her hexes, and motioning to her restrained hands, he exclaims that this time she is helpless. Wanda isn’t unconscious, she just isn’t talking to the Talon, but she knows he is right, for she thinks to herself that she cannot use her power without physical movement.

The Talon informs Wanda that it is actually her husband he is seeking, for he is the reason he has come to this cold and barren land from his native Bayous. The Talon reveals that his ally needs the Vision for a terrible purpose that some might call mad - ‘Though to me, it is the validation of all I hold dear!’ Motioning to a white tent propped up in the room, the Talon exclaims that it is there where he will pin the Vision, for there is the secret for which his ally has labored so mightily.

Suddenly, Wanda manages to free on finger from her restraints, before asking the Black Talon what this secret is and who is his ally. The Black Talon replies by telling Wanda that the nature of voodoo is to tantalize, but only initiates may learn the mysteries. He assures Wanda that she will become an initiate, but only when the Vision belongs to him. A bright spark begins to emanate from Wanda’s free finger - the tiniest hex is all she can manage, but it is a start.

The Vision continues to follow the zombie through the dense forest in the pouring rain.

The Black Talon picks something up as he remarks to the Scarlet Witch that she may draw her husband here, for he knows that the Vision is a resourceful man, but even if she doesn’t, then he has other allies who can capture him. ‘For now, we will wait - and you will sleep!’ he exclaims as he places over Wanda the object he picked up. Wanda smells it and knows it is Devil’s dreamweed. She tries to fight it, by pulling into her deepest self and holding on.

(Shown with Flashback images)
Wanda tells herself that her name is simply Wanda - not Wanda Maximoff, though that is the last name of those who raised she and her brother Pietro. Nor is her name Wanda Frank - the last name of those who they thought were their parents, Bob and Madeline a.k.a. the Whizzer and Miss America. Her name is not Wanda Magnus either, the name of their true father, Magneto! No, she thinks that her name is Wanda! Period! For her husband has no last name!

(Present / Reality)

In the pouring rain, Starfox continues his search for the Vision, and even flies right above him. The Vision sees Eros, but does not alert him to his presence.

(Shown with Flashback images)
Wanda recalls that her mother, Magda, was a Balkan gypsy who fled Magneto’s cruel embraces in the last days of her pregnancy - and found Bova, a woman evolved from a cow by the High Evolutionary of Wundagore. Magda bore twins before plunging onward into the storm, pursued by fears no one else will ever know.

Then, along came Madeline and Bob Frank, who had learned of Wundagore during their years as Miss American and the Whizzer during World War II. Sadly, Madeline and her own child died in the birthing, so Bova presented the newborn Wanda and Pietro to Bob as his own - but thinking they had caused his wife’s death, Bob refused them, and so they came to be raised by Django and Marya Maximoff, a gypsy couple.

(Present / Reality)
The rain still pours, but finally, the Vision has arrived at his destination, for the zombie points him onwards.

(Shown with Flashback images)
Wanda recalls that as they grew, and their mutant powers became evident, the villagers nearby turned on them. She and Pietro were forced to wander Europe for years, willing themselves to forget their past until Magneto - all unknowingly - recruited them for his Brotherhood of Evil Mutants, where they battled the original X-Men. But Wanda and Pietro were never evil, despite the world calling them so, and when Magneto was seemingly destroyed, they turned to the mighty Avengers and were accepted - Captain America and Hawkeye trusted them. And, in time, Wanda met her beloved, and as always, the world - and even her brother - failed to understand.

(Present / Reality)
Wanda thinks to herself that women do not love men for their bodies so much as for their characters, the man who controlled the synthetic body - that was the man she saw when no one else could. ‘That was the man I would marry!’ Wanda thinks.

Outside, the rain continues to pour down, but Nekra arrives back at the gloomy complex. She informs the Black Talon that she found no sign of the Vision, and remarks that the weather obliterated what sign there might have been. The Black Talon remarks that he doesn’t like it, and asks where the Vision could be, before remarking that it might be a trick, and that the Vision could have followed Nekra. ‘FOLLOWED ME?’ exclaims Nekra furious. Black Talon retracts his comment, before muttering that the Vision must be around here somewhere.

The Black Talon tells Nekra to come with him, as their ally will be here within the hour and he thinks that they need to strengthen their defenses against any surprises. Nekra asks of the Scarlet Witch, to which Talon informs her that the Witch sleeps, and if she awakens, her bonds - and her guards - will ensure that she doesn’t interfere. As Wanda’s zombie guards stand watch over her, they do not notice another of her fingers break free, strengthening her growing hex.

Nekra follows the Black Talon through a cemetery near the Vision’s house, and the Talon remarks as the rain beats down on them, that here are all the defenders a man could want, and although the sun yet rises above the horizon it is as dark as midnight in this grove - and so the ceremony shall commence! The Black Talon lights a fire, and despite the pouring rain, it crackles and dances. Soon, no force on Earth can extinguish the flames, and the shadows throw whirl sensuously over the once-hallowed Earth - as does the priestess of all-darkness.

Faster and faster, the Black Talon beats his drum, and faster and faster Nekra dances in the rain. Then, suddenly…the dead arise! Graves open and the living dead walk the Earth once more. The living dead follow the Talon and Nekra back to the complex, and the Black Talon remarks to Nekra that she serves as his Voodoo Queen with flourish, and suggests that she should stay with him always. ‘You wish, pig!’ Nekra thinks to herself.

Entering the complex, the zombies follow their master and mistress down the steps, back below the ground once more, and the rain drips off them in thick rivulets over their pale feet. Do any of the zombies wonder why they walk again? Why their eternal sleep has met a nightmare? None of them seems to as they march single-file to fill the crypt’s far corner - each of them the same - the last as the first - a crumbling mockery of what once was a vibrant individual.

But suddenly, lightening crackles in the sky as there is one more. A mighty man with a scythe for a hand enters the tomb. ‘Ah, Grim Reaper!’ exclaims the Black Talon. ‘Eric! You’re here at last!’ declares Nekra, before racing over to him, and exclaims ‘My love!’ as they embrace and kiss passionately. For a long moment, everything within the cavern stops as the two hold each other tightly - greedily - then time lurches forward again. The Grim Reaper turns to the Black Talon and informs him that he has good news, before asking what he has to tell him.

The Black Talon addresses Eric Williams a.k.a. the Grim Reaper as “honored ally” and reveals that the Vision is not yet his, but that he has the Scarlet Witch. ‘His dead men couldn’t catch the artificial man, Eric! Just as I told you!’ Nekra exclaims. ‘My dead men? You failed just as completely!’ the Black Talon replies, to which the Grim Reaper orders him to leave Nekra out of this. Angrily, the Grim Reaper declares that Ultron has done his job in California, before reminding him that he was responsible for capturing the other pretender to his brother’s memory - ‘And my plot is not complete until you succeed!’

The Black Talon complains - ‘I had two jobs, Reaper, while your woman had none!’ The Black Talon admits that the Vision is important, before motioning to the tent in the room and remarks that which stands in the tent is essential - and he has kept him safe all throughout this.

Suddenly, ‘WRONG!’ exclaim both Wanda and the Vision in unison, as Wanda has freed herself from her restraints, and the Vision makes his presence known by phasing out of some bedraggled old clothing which he used to disguise himself as a zombie. ‘No! It cannot be!’ exclaims the Black Talon. ‘Vision - you scum!’ declares the Grim Reaper as the Vision fires his eye beams at him. Nekra exclaims that the Vision made a fool of her, before walking up to him and punching him over. ‘And you struck my man!’ she adds.

‘Two can play at that game, Nekra!’ Wanda remarks as she casts a hex at the Albino woman, causing her to fall over. Wanda asks her husband how he found this place, to which the Vision replies, as he strikes the Grim Reaper, that a zombie led him to the cemetery he crawled from, so he assumed that the Black Talon had drawn all of his army from here, so he sank into the dirt to await the Talon’s return.

Concerned for his wife, the Vision asks Wanda if they have harmed her. Wanda replies no, and that the Talon thought she was helpless. ‘The Scarlet Witch is never helpless!’ Wanda declares, when suddenly, ‘Because the Scarlet Witch has never met Nekra!’ declares the Albino woman as she comes up behind Wanda and grabs her by the throat, and holds her high above the ground. ‘Hate gives me strength! Hate gives me invulnerability!’ Nekra declares, smashing the Vision away as he tries to help Wanda.

Suddenly, ‘And you give me a pain!’ Wanda declares as she flips Nekra over, exclaiming that her mutant powers are formidable, but that her human powers serve just as well. The Grim remarks that Wanda is impressive, but as he swats the Vision away, he declares ‘This loathsome machine is blessed with neither!’ The Reaper then reveals that he knows every detail of the Vision’s construction, and has studied him unendingly, and boasts that he can turn him off forever!

The Vision exclaims ‘But you won’t!’ and gets off the ground onto his knees as the Grim Reaper ask him what he said. The Vision repeats what he said, adding that the Grim Reaper needs him for something, some new twist in his mad dream of revenge for the death of his brother, which is why he is left alive, which ultimately means the Grim Reaper loses. Suddenly, as the Grim Reaper points out, the Vision has zombies all around him. ‘I have you at last!’ exclaims the Reaper, pointing out that the Vision can try to break free, but that there is no leverage.

The Vision knows that Eric Williams is correct, and the zombie slaves pack tightly around the Vision, who knows that to become intangible and go through them would be to bring back the pain. Suddenly, Wanda screams her husbands name, before blasting the zombies with her powers. Long ago, the Scarlet Witch was weak, she could only do one hex before being drained of her mutant energies - but no longer, as she fights on, freeing her husband from the Zombie grasp, and each hex growing stronger than the last.

The Black Talon realizes that he is losing control, and orders the zombies to stop, but the Scarlet Witch informs the Talon that the correct statement would be that he has lost control, for the dead men obey no one now - ‘So let chaos reign!’ The Grim Reaper curses Wanda and tells her that she has played her last trick, before blasting her with energies from his scythe, which send Wanda to the ground. The Grim Reaper warns the Vision that he has no qualms about killing Wanda, and forces him to surrender, or else she will becoming the unliving dead.

Suddenly, ‘Where did he go?’ the Grim Reaper asks as the Vision fades form view, and becoming a ghost, he passes through several zombies, despite it causing him some pain. The Grim Reaper sees the Vision approaching the tent, and although the pain is blinding, crippling, the Vision weighs nothing, but he staggers - staggers on, and pulling aside the curtain to the tent, he feels that the key lies inside. Pulling the curtain he sees a near-naked man sitting on a chair. ‘My God!’ the Vision exclaims, for he has seen pictures - he knows who this man is…Simon Williams!

The Vision exclaims that this is insane, for Simon Williams does not exist - this skinny short man disappeared forever when Baron Zemo transformed him into Wonder Man. Suddenly, the Vision grabs this “Simon Williams” and warns the Grim Reaper that it is his life for Wanda’s. ‘”His life”! Ha ha ha!’ laughs the Black Talon, before declaring that he must not be harmed. The Grim Reaper declares that it is a standoff, and that it is Simon’s life for Wanda’s indeed, before telling Vision to leave with his wife, and they will leave with their companion. ‘For now!’ snarls Nekra.

‘For now is good enough, go!’ the Vision shouts after them as they all leave, with the Black Talon shouting back that they will leave his zombies here, ‘But you will both join them soon!’ he adds, and as the Vision tends to the unconscious Scarlet Witch, the zombies close in on him. Wanda comes too, and tells the Vision not to wait for her, but to go after their enemies.

But it too late, for moments later, the Vision is outside in the pouring rain and sees the Grim Reaper and his allies fly off in a jet. Phasing back into the tomb from the roof, he tells Wanda that it is too late, for they have departed faster than he can fly, before Wanda asks what this is all about, and how could that have been Simon? The Vision replies that he doesn’t know, ‘But perhaps there is a way to find out…’.

At the West Coast Avengers Palos Verde Compound, their phone rings, and Hawkeye answers it, with his wife Bobbi “Mockingbird” Barton, Tigra and Iron Man coming up beside him when he exclaims ‘Vision! My gosh, buddy, I’ve been looking for you everywhere!’ Clint informs the Vision that Wonder Man and Hank Pym have both been taken, adding that he doesn’t know why, but that they have to get there - and right away!!!

Characters:
Scarlet Witch & Vision

Hawkeye, Iron Man, Mockingbird, Tigra (all West Coast Avengers)
Starfox, Wasp (members of the Avengers)

Henry Peter Gyrich
Raymond Sikorski

Norm Webster
Other Realtors Security Personnel

Grim Reaper
Nekra
Black Talon
“Simon Williams”
Zombies

In The Vision’s Flashbacks:
Vision

Bucky, Captain America, Human Torch I, Miss America, Sub-Mariner, Toro, Whizzer

Black Panther, Captain America, Goliath (Pym), Hawkeye, Scarlet Witch, Wasp (all Avengers)

Human Torch II

Professor Phineas Horton
Ultron
Mad Thinker

In Scarlet Witch’s Flashbacks:
Scarlet Witch & Quicksilver at various stages of their lives

Captain America, Hawkeye, Vision (all Avengers)
Angel, Beast, Cyclops, Marvel Girl (all X-Men)

Magneto
Magda Lehnsherr
Miss America & Whizzer
Django & Marya Maximoff
Bova

Toad (member of the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants)

Angry villagers

Notes:
The Vision attempted to take over the world in Avengers (1st series) #254.

Later revealed in Avengers West Coast (2nd series) #50, the Vision and original Human Torch (Jim Hammond) are actually separate entities.

The Guardsman last appeared in Avengers (1st series) #256.

Wanda and the Vision’s first house from the Vision & Scarlet Witch (1st series) was burned down by bigots in Avengers (1st series) #252.

Wonder Man and Hank Pym were captured by Ultron in West Coast Avengers (2nd series) #1, which takes place prior to this issue.

Nekra was last seen in Spider-Woman (1st series) #50.

Black Talon was last seen in Avengers (1st series) #152.

Magneto was revealed to be the Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver’s father in Vision & Scarlet Witch (1st series) #4.

The Scarlet Witch (and Quicksilver) debuted as members of the original Brotherhood of Evil Mutants in X-Men (1st series) #4.

Wanda and the Vision were married in a double-wedding alongside Mantis and the reanimated “vegetable” corpse of the original Swordsman, in Giant-Sized Avengers #4. Though this marriage would later be revealed to be a sham, as the “priest” was Immortus in disguise.

Simon Williams became Wonder Man in Avengers (1st series) #9.

This storyline continues in West Coast Avengers (2nd series) #2, before concluding in Vision & Scarlet Witch (2nd series) #2.

Issue Summary written by: Daytripper (Steven Bishop)


Next Issue - Vision and the Scarlet Witch (2nd series) # 2

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