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Vision and the Scarlet Witch (2nd series) # 9

Issue Date: June 1986

Story Title: Off-Line!

Staff: Steve Englehart (Writer), Richard Howell (Penciller), Frank Springer (Inker), Bill Oakley (Letterer), Adam Philips (Colorist), Jim Salicrup (Editor), Jim Shooter (Editor in Chief)

Brief Description:
Wanda and the Vision have accompanied Glamor and Illusion to a Mardi Gras in New Orleans, and both are very impressed at the festival. While Glamor and Illusion go about setting up for their highly anticipated performance later that evening, Wanda asks the Vision if he still loves her even though she looks the way she does. Of course the Vision replies that he thinks she is more beautiful than ever, before mysteriously disappearing. Wanda, anxious, goes about the Mardi Gras searching for her husband, who has been enthralled by the Asgardian Enchantress. The Vision, due to his becoming more human like, has fallen under the Enchantress’ spell, and she wants him to steal for her the Eye of Rajpur, a very valuable emerald. But others have plans for the emerald also - Glamor and Illusion! While they are performing their duplicitous stage show, Glamor is able to sneak off to the hotel room where the jewel is being held, and she takes it, before returning back to her place in the show. The Vision arrives moments later to steal the jewel, except it is gone, and as this defies the Enchantress’ request, he falls out from being under her spell, and leaving the room is reunited with the Scarlet Witch, who naturally wants to know what is going on. The Enchantress is waiting by a river for the Vision, only for Wanda to appear and attack her. The two powerful women battle it out, only for the Enchantress to reveal why she enthralled the Vision - because of her sister, Lorelei - before teleporting away, but not without telling Wanda to treasure what she has. Wanda and the Vision return to the theatre to watch the rest of their friends show, only to have an argument, but they make up, and the Vision wonders what happened to the Eye of Rajpur. Meanwhile, in Leonia, Crystal and Norm Webster continue their affair, this time without having to be worried about Wanda or the Vision seeing them. Norm wishes that Crystal wasn’t married, and Crystal reminds him of her royal obligations, but assures him she can see him on weekends. When Crystal begins to feel ill, she thinks she might need some more anti-pollution potion, and as she takes some, Norm asks her if there is a danger of overdosing on it. Crystal replies that it is unknown, as no one has taken it as much as she has, when she suddenly passes out, leaving a very worried Norm Webster to wonder what he is going to do.

Full Synopsis:
‘Great Goddess! Here I look normal!’ exclaims Wanda Maximoff as she stands amongst people dressed as colorfully as she at a Mardi Gras in New Orleans. Wanda, also known as the Scarlet Witch, and currently a rather pregnant Scarlet Witch, turns to her android husband, the Vision, and asks him why they haven’t come to Mardi Gras before. ‘What a perfect holiday for super heroes!’ she adds. ‘We told you, Wanda!’ Glynis Zarkov a.k.a. Glamor exclaims smiling, while the Vision reminds his beautiful wife that they have been to the Rutland Halloween parties.

Making their way throughout the Mardi Gras, Wanda tells the Vision that Halloween is no holiday for her, and realizing Wanda is referring to recent bad events that have happened on Halloween, the Vision understands and agrees. Glamor’s husband Ilya, better known as “Illusion” points out that New Orleans is no Rutland, Vermont. Wanda agrees, and remarks that those parties are fun dress-up, but this is serious. Drawing attention to her elegant evening gloves, Wanda informs everyone that she has loved costumes ever since she was a little girl, long before she thought of herself as the Scarlet Witch, she dreamed of long evening gloves!

‘Eyes front, Ilya!’ Glamor exclaims to her husband. Wanda agrees with Glynis, and calls herself “Fat Tuesday”, before exclaiming that despite her current body shape, and despite the way some of the other women look here at the Mardi Gras, she is just part of the crowd.

Meanwhile, in Leonia, ‘We’re alone…all alone!’ exclaims Crystalia Amaquelin Maximoff, better known as Crystal, the wife of Quicksilver and sister-in-law of the Scarlet Witch as she makes out with her lover, Norm Webster. The comely Crystal points out that they have always had to sneak around before, what with Wanda and the Vision living so close, but now that they are on vacation, this is perfect. Handsome Norm Webster exclaims that it still seems like a dream to him, beginning with him selling Wanda and the Vision their new house, now he, just a “kid” from Jersey with Crystal, a Royal Inhuman from the Moon! ‘An elemental Inhuman, yeah’ Crystal adds.

‘Yeah…if only you weren’t married!’ Norm exclaims. Crystal gets up off the couch and reminds Norm that they promised to not talk about that. Norm follows Crystal, telling her that he knows that they did, but he has to talk about it now, as they have been doing this for three months and admits that he is pretty “far gone” on her - he has been since the moment they met at Thanksgiving. Norm puts his hands on Crystal’s shoulders, telling her that it is harder and harder to go one because of what they are doing to her husband. Angrily, Crystal exclaims that they are not doing anything to Pietro, because nobody can do anything to - or with - Pietro.

Crystal exclaims that Quicksilver spends all his time with his Militia - a Militia that is not even needed considering everyone on the Moon is an Inhuman, except him of course, but Crystal knows that is why he probably does it, to prove his worth as an outsider. Crystal declares that she is a young woman, and didn’t get married to watch her husband impress her relatives, adding that it is no better for Luna, as she never gets to see her father. Norm suggests to Crystal that she tells Quicksilver this and tells him she wants a divorce, then the two of them will be able to stop all this sneaking around.

Crystalia turns and looks at Norm, telling him it is easy for he to say, but on the other side of the coin is the scandal, for Inhumans are a close-knit group, and she is of royal blood. ‘You don’t have nearly as much to lose!’ she adds, before smiling, and telling Norm that, for now at least, it is better for her to continue telling Pietro that she misses Earth and take the anti-pollution potion, so she can continue to come down for fabulous weekends. ‘And I do mean fabulous, hunk-o!’

Back in New Orleans, ‘Vizh - do you love me as much as ever?’ Wanda asks her husband. ‘What kind of question is that? Of course I do!’ the Vision replies. ‘but I don’t look like I did before! I look like a barrel!’ Wanda exclaims. ‘A barrel full of sweets!’ the Vision assures his wife, before telling her not to be silly, as she looks like a mother-to-be and that there is nothing more beautiful than that. ‘Really?’ asks Wanda. ‘Really!’ the Vision replies, before they kiss. The Vision then leads Wanda away from the stage where Glamor and Illusion have been setting up, and reminds her that she liked it out with the crowd, and as Glynis and Ilya have to prepare for their show, the two of them don’t have to sit around in the meantime.

Wanda agrees, then turns back to her friends, ‘Break a leg, Glynis! That’s what you say, isn’t it?’ Glamor replies that is what they say, before telling Wanda that they expect to see her front row center tonight. Wanda replies that they wouldn’t miss it for anything, before turning back to the Vision - except the Vision is no where to be seen. Wanda goes into the foyer calling out to her husband, before turning to the clerk at the counter and informing him that she seems to have lost her husband. The clerk replies that it happens all the time during Mardi Gras. ‘No, its nothing like that! He’s the Vision!’ Wanda explains.

The clerk reveals that he did see the Vision and that it is just like he told her, the Vision was kissing some blonde and then they split. Wanda looks anxious and exclaims that it was somebody else, somebody dressed up as him, ‘My husband wouldn’t do that!’ Wanda supposes that the Vision must be getting something from their room, so she heads towards the elevator. ‘Okay, Ma’am’ the clerk replies, while thinking to himself ‘But that was some blonde!’

Outside though, the Vision is being led through the crowded streets by a green-clad woman. ‘Stop! Stop! I have to kiss you again!’ the Vision exclaims. ‘Do you, Vision? Why…?’ the mysterious woman asks. ‘Because I love you…Enchantress!’ the Vision exclaims as he kisses the sultry goddess on her neck. Speaking with her usual Asgardian pronunciation, the Enchantress asks the Vision if he knows who she is then why he succumbs to her charms. ‘What does it matter who you are - when you are what you are - the most alluring woman in Heaven or Earth?’ the Vision replies.

The Vision informs the Enchantress that other Avengers have warned him against her, but asks what it matters after the first touch of her velvet lips. The Enchantress remarks that it is a quite logical consideration of infatuation, but supposes that the Vision, being what he is, couldn’t respond any other way. The Enchantress exclaims that in any event, she is the Mistress of Desire, and one of her kisses will enslave any man - even a synthetic man if his soul is human. ‘Yes! Yes!’ exclaims the Vision, before the Enchantress tells him to hear her command: ‘A woman as beautiful as I must need surround herself with objects as luscious in their realms as she is in hers’.

The Enchantress continues, informing the Vision that she has come to New Orleans to obtain the Eye of Rajpur - the most exquisite emerald ever discovered on either Asgard or Migard. The Enchantress tells the Vision that, sadly, it belongs to the Countess D’Arcy and therefore she is unable to attain it through charm, ‘So thou, Avenger, shalt steal it for me!’ ‘With the greatest of pleasure, Enchantress!’ the Vision exclaims, before asking when and where. The Enchantress remarks that it is a refreshment to meet one such as the Vision, for men of Migard these days are so devious with their women - though the women are no different. Leading the Vision, the Enchantress exclaims that these are devious days, and she rarely meets one who gives his love so completely.

Wanda continues her search for the Vision after not finding him in their room nor with Glamor and Illusion. Wanda assumes that there must be trouble, for the Vision wouldn’t leave without telling her - not with one blonde - or a hundred blondes! Therefore, Wanda believes that if the Vision left, he was under duress, heading out into Bourbon Street ten minutes ago. Wanda thinks that someone must have seen where they went from here, and someone must have seen where they went after that. She knows that the odds are against her finding those “someone’s” - but what are odds to a witch? With that, Wanda casts a hex into the crowd, which signals out one man.

Wanda rushes over to the man, who is about to say something offensive to her, until he sees that she is pregnant, he stops in his tracks. Wanda tells him to “never mind” before remarking that he knows something about the Vision though. The man asks Wanda how she knows that, before informing her that he saw the Vision ten minutes ago with the most incredible blonde. ‘So I hear!’ Wanda mutters, before asking which way they went. The man motions in the direction the Vision and the blonde went, before explaining that they took a left at the lights, and he should know, because he was watching the blonde.

Wanda follows the man’s directions, and once more casts a spell to find out who knows where her husband and the mystery blonde went next. Wanda discovers that a vendor saw them and goes over to him, but after questioning him, the man replies that he hasn’t seen anything for quite some time now. Wanda is slightly taken aback, and apologizes, before telling herself that confounding the odds doesn’t mean cancelling the odds, and hopes that it will not take her long to find the right person here. ‘I’ll track you, Vizh! Hold on, my darling!’

Later, at Eight PM. The Master of Ceremonies tells the audience that the Bourbon Inn is proud to present…Glamor and Illusion. Waiting backstage, Glynis looks out and is tells Ilya that she cannot see Wanda or the Vision, which Ilya finds strange, as their friends assured them they would be here. However, being professionals in the entertainment industry, Glamor and Illusion put on their smiling faces and walk out onto the stage to a loud round of applause. Illusion thanks the audience and Glamor tells them that they are too kind.

Illusion introduces himself and tells the audience that he invites them all to watch him closely tonight, to see if they can decide where illusion begins, and ends. Glamor then introduces herself, explaining that “Glamor” is a word which now means merely beauty, but that once meant fascination and silver enchantment. As Glynis is put in a straight-jacket, Illusion informs the audience that they are beginning with one of their easier feats, as they want them to get the hang of their deceptions. Glamor tells the audience that n doubt they will see through them at once, before she is placed headfirst in a canvas bag.

Illusion then drops the bag with Glamor inside, into a vat filled with water - and closes a steel door over the top of the vat, then locks it. Ilya then proceeds to place everything inside a steel mesh cage, then locks it, before finally placing everything inside a very large sack. With Glamor locked inside the vat, Illusion turns back to the audience and offers to show them a few card tricks. Illusion blithely patters on about aces that turn into jokers while the audience begins to squirm over Glamor’s time without air.

Unbeknownst to them however, Glamor is very much alive within the sodden straight-jacket, for she can control the molecules of her body, and her husband can control the molecules of anything that he touches for one minute afterward - resulting in a small hole left in the back of the vat, with the mesh and sack lifted above it, so that Glamor, who has transformed her body into a tiny organism, slides out of it, before returning her body to normal, though she now wears a black spandex outfit, while thinking that Ilya will drive the crowd crazy before she re-appears, but in the meanwhile, she must continue to play her part right on schedule.

Glamor “paints” her face with some red markings to disguise herself, recalling what Wanda said about people in costumes being just part of the scenery during Mardi Gras. Making her way down the hallway of the hotel, Glynis thinks to herself that people are here to be part of the scenery not sit around in their hotel rooms. Once more transforming her body, she slithers through the keyhole on the door of room 722, and once inside the room, makes her way to a safe, ‘That’s certainly true in your case…Countess D’Arcy!’ she thinks as she opens the safe and reaches in to grab the glowing jewel inside.

Glamor takes the Eye of Rajpur and exit’s the room, thinking that it will bring them a pretty penny, ‘and if the world is led to believe we maintain out lifestyle through completely legal means - well - we are illusionists!’ Glynis waits backstage while Ilya remarks to the audience that he wonders why Glamor hasn’t reappeared, so announces that he will take a look. Glynis transforms herself once more into the small organism and slides along the floor, while Illusion tosses off the large sack, then removes the mesh cage and unlocks the top of the tank.

Illusion explains that he is draining the water, before opening the canvas bag - and announcing that there is no one here. Suddenly, ‘Hey, what’s the big idea throwing me around like that!’ comes a voice from under the sack. Illusion asks the audience if they heard it too, that it sounds like someone is in the sack. ‘Could it be…Glamor?!’ he exclaims, pulling up the sack and revealing Glamor, once more dressed in her regular costume. ‘Oh, Illusion - you’ve always said I couldn’t escape from a paper bag, and I guess you were right!’ Glamor jokes, while the gasps, laughter and applause rock the hall.

However, all remains quiet on the seventh floor. The Vision passes a hotel staff member and looks over his shoulder to make sure the staff member gets into the elevator, while thinking to himself that the sensation of fresh love makes him tense, and he had forgotten what it was like with Wanda. Passing easily through the door of room 722, the Vision thinks that it is funny, for Wanda meant so much to him then, but now Amora - the Enchantress - means everything. The Vision thinks that the Enchantress will be so happy when he gives her the Eye of Rajpur, and phasing his hand into the safe, recalls how incredibly beautiful the Enchantress looked when she whispered to him “Steal it for me!”

Suddenly though, the Vision sees that the safe is empty. “Steal if for me!” he hears in his head again, but the Vision declares that he can’t. “Steal it for me!” he hears again, now increasingly agitated, the Vision declares that he cannot steal it. “For me! For me!” he hears, before shouting ‘I CAN’T!’ Suddenly, the Vision snaps out of it, and realizes that he was under a spell, but that the dissonance between the Enchantress’ command and reality broke him out of it. The Vision understands that the Enchantress forced him to do one thing, but when that proved impossible, he locked up as he was forced into a logical contradiction. Realizing what he was about to do, the Vision decides that he better get out of this room, and quickly. But stepping into the hallway, he is reunited with Wanda. Wanda is relieved, ‘I found you, Vizh! I found you!’ she exclaims, before turning to him and asking who the blonde was.

Mere moments later, the Enchantress walks along by a river, thinking that the Vision should have returned now, and hopes that he has not escaped her enchantment spell. Suddenly, a wave of water splashes up from the river courtesy of Scarlet Witch’s probability altering powers and drenches the Enchantress. ‘You look so much better this way, dear!’ Wanda exclaims as she and the Vision stand over the Enchantress. Amora leaps to her feet, ‘no one may mock the Enchantress of Asgard!’ she exclaims, reaching for Wanda, only to be blocked by the Vision, who states that it remains to be seen, but that certain that no one touches his wife or unborn child.

The Enchantress remarks that she knows that even an Asgardian Goddess cannot move the Vision, but that similarly, he cannot hold back one of her spells. She then proceeds to be free of the Vision’s grasp by sending forth a spell. ‘No - that’s my job on this team!’ Wanda exclaims as she prepares a hex, revealing that she knows the Enchantress’ powers are extremely specialized, and using magic like this is not one of her strong points. The Enchantress replies that the same can be said about the Scarlet Witch, ‘Disrupting probability doth not a Dr. Strange make!’

‘I get by!’ Wanda snaps back as her powers overwhelm the Enchantress, who falls to the ground. The Enchantress exclaims that this is demeaning, and that Wanda knows as well as she does that no Midgardian, not even a mutant, can hold an Asgardian against her will. Amora adds that she can assure that her will remains forever strong. Wanda replies that she does understand, and explains that it was never her intention to capture the Enchantress - just to get a little of her own back. The Enchantress pauses, before remarking that she understands that indeed.

Amora informs Wanda and the Vision that as of late, her younger sister, Lorelei has become her competitor for the love of men, and while she wanted the Eye of Rajpur, it was in taking the Scarlet Witch’s husband she wanted to prove that the older sister had lost none of her glamor. The Vision tells Amora not to worry, for although no one could turn him from Wanda under normal circumstances, her charms seduced him completely. The Enchantress smiles and tells the Vision that it is kind of him to say so, before adding that he is a good man, and telling Wanda to treasure him. As she casts a teleportation rift, the Enchantress admits that the Scarlet Witch must be something special herself to have won the Vision without false enchantments, before exclaiming that she has other affairs to attend, and disappearing.

Wandering back amongst the crowd, Wanda tells the Vision that it was nice of him to reassure Amora about her looks, as any woman would like to hear that, before asking him if he wasn’t completely seduced. ‘Well…’ the Vision begins, before Wanda tells him not to play with her, as she knows he just had to go along with it against his will. The Vision replies that the truth is he had to go along - but that he liked it. ‘HMMPH!’ exclaims Wanda as she strides away. The Vision follows her, telling her to be logical, as he would never have kissed Amora under ordinary circumstances, but naturally he enjoyed it as she is beautiful.

‘You’re digging your grave here!’ Wanda exclaims angrily, despite the Vision assuring Wanda that the Enchantress sneaked up on him the first time. Wanda asks him why he didn’t fight free of her before she got his lips planted, or perhaps turn intangible. The Vision admits that he could have, but as he has been trying to tell Wanda, he is only human. ‘No husband’s supposed to be that human!’ Wanda snaps back infuriated before striding away. The Vision tells Wanda to wait, but Wanda informs him that she is going to catch the end of Glamor and Illusion’s show, then she is going to find another hotel room.

The Vision grabs Wanda by the arm, and tells her that he is more human than he has ever been, but that means he loves her more than ever also. He puts a hand on Wanda’s shoulder and reminds her that when the Witches of New Salem had captured them, it was she who told him how she felt about him, so he thinks that perhaps he has been remiss in not telling her how he feels. ‘You’re everything in my life - and I mean that literally!’ the Vision assures her, reminding her that before he met her, he had no more future than a past. ‘You gave me hope, then love, then marriage - then our child!’

Wanda listens intently, and they hold hands as the Vision tells Wanda that it was she who drew him forward, drew him out of what was always inside that “cold emotionless android” to make him the man he is today. ‘And men make mistakes! But this man loves you, Curly Top! This man loves you!’ Wanda looks at the Vision, then they kiss passionately. They then walk with their arms around each other, and the Vision realizes that with the Enchantress’ allure, it is lucky that he ever got to see this love again, before wondering what happened to the Eye of Rajpur as they pass a poster advertising Glamor and Illusion.

Meanwhile, back in Leonia, Crystal puts a hand to her head, and Norm asks her if she is all right. Crystal replies that she is, but the anti-pollution potion is wearing off, however she has more. As Crystal drinks more potion, Norm asks her if there is a danger of overdosing on it, to which Crystal replies that she hopes not, though no Inhuman has used it as extensively as she has lately. Crystal begins to say that her head is clearing all ready, when suddenly she falls to the ground. Norm rushes to her, and checking her pulse discovers that she is only barely breathing. He knows he must get help - but from who - as no one must know why she is here. However, he knows that she might be dying. Picking Crystalia up, a desperate Norm exclaims ‘What am I going to do?!’

Characters:
Scarlet Witch & Vision
Crystal

Norm Webster
Glamor & Illusion

Enchantress

Various people at the New Orleans Mardi Gras
Vendor
Clerk
Master of Ceremonies
Audience at the Bourbon Inn

Notes:
Indeed, Wanda has worn her fair share of lovely (and some not-so) costumes during her career as the Scarlet Witch. For a full list, see the Scarlet Witch Spotlight.

Norm Webster sold Wanda and the Vision their new house in Vision & Scarlet Witch (2nd series) #1.

Crystal and Norm Webster met at Thanksgiving in Vision & Scarlet Witch (2nd series) #6, and began their affair in #7, unaware that Wanda’s protégé, Holly Ladonna, knows what they are up to.

The Enchantress’ sister is Lorelei, who started competing against the Enchantress in Thor (1st series) #369. The Asgardian Lorelei should not be confused with the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants and Savage Land Mutate of the same name.

The Salem’s Seven had captured the Scarlet Witch and Vision in Vision & Scarlet Witch (2nd series) #3, and Wanda poured her heart out to the Vision when she thought he was dead.

Issue Summary written by: Daytripper (Steven Bishop)


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