|Vision and the Scarlet Witch (2nd series) #12|| || |
Issue Date: September 1986
Story Title: Double Sized Climax!
Staff: Steve Englehart (Writer), Richard Howell (Penciler), Frank Springer (Inker), Bill Oakley (Letterer), Petra Scotese (Colorist), Jim Scalicrup (Editor), Jim Shooter (Editor-in-Chief)
Arriving home after visiting Glamor and Illusion one evening, Wanda and the Vision get a surprise visitor, Wonder Man, and just in time too, as Wanda has a contraction. They take her to the hospital, when Wanda remembers that she had lesson with her student, Holly Ladonna this evening, so Wonder Man offers to go and tell Holly personally what is going on. Meanwhile, Nekra raises the Grim Reaper from the dead, and after being reunited with her lover, she also re-animates the Simon Williams look-a-like, who she reveals is an assassin called Brady Kent. The trio steal weapons and ammunition from a store, but not without the shop keeper shooting the Grim Reaper and Nekra in the back, though both seem to be unaffected. Nekra then kills the man. In another dimension, Dr. Strange is battling Colabrun, and prevents him from plunging the Earth into darkness, before returning home, where Wong informs him that Dr. Josie Marino called to say the Scarlet Witch is going to give birth tonight. Crystal arrives in Leonia with the intention of finding Norm Webster, and she does. Norm is relieved that Crystal is fine, and pleased when she informs him that her family will grant her a divorce if Quicksilver does not return to him, assuring Norm that they can be together after the divorce. Wonder Man locates Holly Ladonna outside of Wanda’s house, and informs her what is going on, so Holly’s mother drives her to the hospital. Wonder Man sees Magneto at Wanda’s house, and they battle briefly, until Magneto explains that he sensed a shift in the Earth’s magnetic fields which he traced to some caverns nearby, and came because he wanted to make sure Wanda was okay. Wonder Man believes him, and they take off to the hospital, where Wanda has gone into labor. Outside the hospital, the Grim Reaper, Nekra and Brady Kent are lurking about, naturally, a battle ensues, while Wanda finally gives birth – surprising everyone when Josie discovers a second baby. Dr. Strange is worried that the baby doesn’t show up on any magickal or medicinal instruments, but the child, a second boy, is born without complications. Outside however, Magneto sees a bullet lodged in the Grim Reaper’s back and alerts Wonder Man, who realizes that his brother is a Zombie. The Grim Reaper turns against Nekra, the kiss, and Nekra loses the will to live. Magneto and Wonder Man finish off Brady Kent and the cops arrive. Three days later, Wanda and the Vision have several visitors, and announce the babies are to be called Thomas and William.
For a giraffe, it takes 425 days to have a baby. For a pigeon, it takes 18 – and that’s in an egg in a nest. For a donkey, it takes exactly one year. For a human, just nine months…of course, nine months is just an average! ‘Well, Wanda, it’s any day now, isn’t it?’ Ilya Zarkov a.k.a. Illusion asks his neighbour and friend, Wanda Maximoff the former Avenger known as the Scarlet Witch. Wanda replies that the due date is Thursday, six days away. Wanda’s husband, also a former Avenger, the android Vision, and Illusion’s wife, Glynis a.k.a. Glamor stand nearby, and Illusion remarks that he and Glynis never wanted children, for being magicians by nature, they appear and disappear, and children would change their lives too much.
Wanda exclaims that this baby is going to change their lives all right, but it will change them by enriching them. ‘We love the lives we lead – but there’ll be even more to love once we have a family!’ Illusion asks if they don’t think the baby will get in the way, to which the Vision points out that it hasn’t slowed down the Fantastic Four! The Vision remarks to Ilya that he and Glynis take their magic show “on the road” for several months at a time, whereas people like he and Wanda get swept up in an adventure, play it out, and then come home.
Glamor smiles and remarks ‘Well, with or without children, we’ll still be friends once little – what are the names you’ve picked out, Wanda?’ Wanda replies that it took a long time to decide, but if it is a girl, they are going to name her Diana, who is Goddess of the Moon, hunt and witchcraft, and if it is a boy, Thomas, which is the middle name of the man who created the original Human Torch, the world’s first synthezoid, whose synthetic body later became the Vision!
‘I don’t follow!’ exclaims Glamor. The Vision assures her that it is complicated, but simply put, he was created from the original Human Torch’s body, and from the brain patterns of Simon Williams a.k.a. Wonder Man – ‘but that’s another story, for another time!’ The Vision remarks that, as much as he owes Dr. Horton, “Phineas” just wasn’t possible these days. Glamor assures him that Thomas is a nice name, when the Vision notices Wanda acting strangely. Glamor turns to her friend and asks if she is having contractions, to which Wanda replies she isn’t, but thinks she will tonight.
‘Tonight? What about Thursday?’ Illusion asks. The Vision asks Wanda what she means by “thinks”, to which Wanda reminds her husband that she is a witch, and has “insight”, as if for one moment, she touched the vast subconscious that connects her to her son. ‘Son?’ the Vision asks surprised. Wanda exclaims that she knew him, that she knew the little boy inside her. The Vision leans down and kisses his wife as she adds that there was someone else, somewhere, just as wonderful, and that she knew it was all going to happen – tonight!
‘It will happen tonight! Tonight!’ a voice shrieks from within a cave, dimly lit by a small fire. Her voice rebounds from the dank cavern walls as her writhing shadow whirls across them. The flames writhe with her, hissing and snapping at the soft cavern air. Drums beat with the rhythm of her blood. She s Nekra, priestess of the dark arts! For many months, the Albino woman worked beside the Black Talon, master of voodoo and the dead-who-walk. For many months, she hated him, as in truth, she hates almost everything in life – because from her hatred, she draws superhuman strength and invulnerability.
Nekra learned that from the Black Talon. She also learned of quartz and magnetism and herbs that only grow in caverns. She learned the ancient ways of darker power. She learned how to raise the dead! And she does so, right now, raising her beloved Eric Williams, better known as the unnerving Grim Reaper! The brother of the Avengers’ Wonder Man rises from the slab of concrete his body rested on, and Nekra tells him it was so fitting of him to take the name “Grim Reaper”.
Nekra approaches her lover, remarking that death is his trademark, and now he and death are…intimate, yet he returns to her when she calls his name. Nekra addresses the Grim Reaper as her one love, before they kiss. Nekra informs the Grim Reaper that the Vision and Wonder Man threw him from the cavern’s cliff, where upon he struck a stalagmite and died, ‘like a rat’ she adds, before revealing that she was in the caverns below and tore him free, hiding him from those loathsome replicas of his saintly brother, Simon as they searched the caves, but they abandoned their search and Nekra took the Grim Reaper deep into the tunnels, the tunnels that run deep beneath the earth and are ruled by the mysterious Mole Man.
Nekra explains that she knew what the Black Talon had done, as she had participated in his vile rites, but knowing the art of Zombie and working the art of Zombie are too different things. ‘It’s taken me months to touch you!’ Nekra exclaims, before remarking that she had hate to drive her, hate that makes her more alive. She adds that she had love – the one love she allows herself, so overwhelming because it is so focused. ‘The love I almost hate!’ she exclaims, explaining that it keeps the Albino darkness of her mind from matching the unblemished perfection of pure Albino.
Nekra exclaims that hate and love and hate have been rewarded, for her work has been brought back to her at last. Suddenly, the Grim Reaper’s decayed form returns to his more youthful, human form, and he exclaims that he had a terrible dream!
Back in Leonia, the Vision and Scarlet Witch leave Glamor and Illusion’s home, waving goodbye to their friends, while the Vision asks Wanda if he should call her doctor or obstetrician. Wanda replies ‘Not yet’ as she hasn’t even started having contractions, let alone gotten to the point where he can bother Dr. Marino. Walking towards their home, Wanda asks the Vision if he is nervous, to which he replies ‘A little’ and asks Wanda if she is.
The Scarlet Witch replies that she isn’t, for even though she has never had a baby before, her body knows how to do it, that it all feels very natural. The Vision replies that although his body is made of plastics, he will bet no man’s body thinks it’s all that natural! ‘We took the classes, saw the films…but still…’ his voice trails off, asking Wanda again if she is nervous. Wanda smiles, and admits ‘Maybe a little’, to which the Vision replies ‘Good’.
Inside, the Vision helps Wanda to sit down on a couch, and Wanda thinks to herself how cold an unfeeling the Vision is not, when suddenly the doorbell rings. ‘What timing!’ the Vision remarks, before opening the door and being greeted by his “brother” Simon Williams a.k.a. Wonder Man, sporting his new costume. ‘big as life and twice as real, bro!’ Simon exclaims to his surprised brother. They hug as Simon explains that he new Wanda was due soon and wanted to visit them both before they got caught up with their new family.
The Vision assures Simon that he would never be an intruder in this house, to which Simon replies’ Yeah? I’ll check back with you after a month of 2 a.m. feedings!’ as they enter the living room. Simon asks Wanda how she is, to which Wanda clutches her stomach and suggests to the Vision that he call Dr. Marino, before greeting her brother-in-law. ‘What timing!’ Wonder Man exclaims.
Back in the caves, Nekra helps the Grim Reaper to his feet as the deadly villain remarks that his dream was of falling. The Grim Reaper acknowledges that everyone has them, but that this one was so vivid, so it is a good thing dreams like that fade. Nekra assures Eric that dreams disappear in the light, before asking him to stand to one side while completes another ritual. Nekra informs the Grim Reaper that the ritual of the Black Talon was to complete for him, to which Eric remarks that it is hard to remember, and asks if he is still sleepy.
‘Of course you are, my savage man!’ Nekra exclaims, before reminding Eric that he ordered the Black Talon to find a corpse who closely resembled his dead brother Simon, so the Black Talon could raise it from the dead and it could be the brother he lost. Nekra pulls up a canvas that was covering the reanimated Simon Williams look-a-like and the Grim Reaper remembers that he was going to take the Vision’s mind, and Wonder Man’s mind and use them to recreate the real Simon’s, except that something went wrong. ‘But not tonight!’ Nekra exclaims, ‘Tonight, I will raise him for you!’
Nekra begins another dance as she informs the Grim Reaper that this being will have his own mind now, and adding that she knows who he really was – Brady Kent, a paid assassin for the Boston Mob, who slipped up just once. ‘Zombie!’ the Grim Reaper exclaims, pointing out to Nekra that without Simon’s mind, a Zombie is useless to them, that they are stupid and slow moving. Nekra agrees that is traditionally true, before revealing that she learned the art of voodoo in light of the arts she learned from the Cult of Kali and in the tribes of West Africa.
Nekra boasts that a Zombie she raises is almost truly alive, and will think that it is, so long that it is not told the truth. The Grim Reaper agrees, remarking that it is better if he doesn’t ever know, when suddenly Brady Kent stirs, and clutching his head exclaims that he feels like he slept for a week.
En route to the hospital, Wanda asks the Vision what Dr. Marino said. The Vision replies that the doctor said they need to get to the hospital and have the staff check her out, then, if the birth is really starting, the hospital staff will call Dr. Marino to come in. Wanda exclaims that she is really starting, and points out that they know the baby is big, so she can feel it is time. The Vision assures his wife that he believes her, as she has already been in touch with their son, so knowing he is coming should be easy for him.
As he and Wonder Man help Wanda out of the car, the Vision reminds Wanda that Josie Marino says first-time-mothers-to-be usually jump the gun, so she wants to hear it officially. An orderly approaches them, ‘Would you like a wheelchair, Mrs. Scarlet Witch?’ the nurse asks. Vision and Simon walk alongside Wanda as the orderly pushes her in the wheelchair. The Vision reminds Wanda that Dr. Strange did tell her to stay off her feet, and wonders if perhaps they shouldn’t have gone to Glamor and Illusion’s. Wanda tells the Vision not to be silly and to relax.
The orderly informs them that the maternity floor is on level three, when Wanda notices a lot of people hanging around watching them, she asks what they are all doing here. ‘Celebrity watching!’ the orderly exclaims, informing Wanda that she is easily the most famous patient they have had at Englewood Hospital, adding that her husband and brother-in-law aren’t entirely unknown either.
Suddenly, Wanda exclaims that she forgot Holly Ladonna was coming over for a study session tonight, but now it is to late to call her. Wonder Man offers to fly back and tell Holly himself. As he takes his leave, Wanda thanks him, informing him that Holly is her student in witchcraft, teenage and blonde. ‘I’ll find her!’ Wonder Man exclaims as he makes his way towards a window, being watched by several members of staff.
Simon thinks to himself that he is the West’s strongest Avenger, and soon to be star of a major motion picture. ‘And brother-in-law, deliverer of messages to teenage witches!’ Simon tells himself that he has come along way since the last time they all got together, as now he has found the courage to change his life in every respect, but that the one thing he will never change is his love for the Vision and the Scarlet Witch, as it was the Vision who showed him how to change his life, so whatever he can do to help them through the night, he is glad to be around to contribute!
Meanwhile, in another dimension, Doctor Strange, master of the mystic arts, is in the midst of a fantastic adventure! He has only 73 seconds to prevent the world from plummeting into darkness! The Sorcerer Supreme blocks some energies fired at him by the humanoid-cat Colabrun and tells him that his realm cannot support his presence. Colabrun declares that each living creature is a fount of psychic wine for him, and it matters not the type of life. Colabrun tells Strange that as easily as he absorbs his energy bolts his pulsing apes and their servant creatures will slake him for the cycle of the Pole Star.
‘Not if you can’t reach them!’ Strange exclaims, hovering above Colabrun. Colabrun remarks that decision follows hard on sorcery, boasting that Strange will not be able to stop him. Strange calls Colabrun “nether-spawn” as he explains that perhaps this is why he focused his will on confusing Colabrun’s path back into his realm. Furious, Colabrun lunges towards Dr. Strange, and then shrieks, as the real Doctor Strange thinks to himself that his doppelganger perfectly concealed the portal to the Dimension of No Return, and now Colabrun will be lost forever within its Loops of Infinity.
With a rush and a ringing in his bones, the Sorcerer Supreme takes the straight path home, appearing through a portal right above his Sanctum Sanctorum in Greenwich Village. Strange thinks to himself that the battle was so close, and that he now needs a full day’s meditation. Entering his home, Strange is greeted by his servant, Wong, who informs him that Dr. Josephina Marino telephoned – ‘The Scarlet Witch will give birth tonight!’ Strange immediately exits his home, telling Wong that he doesn’t know when he will be back and that there is no need to wait up.
As the night darkens, three shadowy figures creep alongside a sporting goods store. A man exits the store, calling back inside that he will see whomever he is talking to tomorrow and suggests they take some vitamin c, as it will make them feel better. However, this particular man soon feels dead, as the three shadowy figures reveal themselves, and the Grim Reaper’s deadly scythe slashes into the mans neck. The Grim Reaper, Nekra and Brady Kent enter “Bernie’s Sporting Goods” and the Grim Reaper holds his scythe out, warning Bernie that if he makes a move he will be needing a lot more than vitamin C.
Nekra looks around and announces that this is the place, adding that the proprietor’s private stock of weapons is in the back room. Bernie tells the intruders that he isn’t scared of them. The three approach the counter, which has a sign on it, If your card’s expired – leave the country fast! Nekra tells Bernie that she shouldn’t think he is scared of them, as he is surrounded by this much fire power. She tells him that he lives the “Rambo” fantasy, before motioning to the shirtless Brady Kent and exclaiming ‘But this man lives its reality!’
Brady Kent demands two “Uzis” and tells the shop owner to hurry up, as he hasn’t got all night. Putting some gear on and attaching weapons to himself, Brady demands an M-14 and a portable flame-thrower also, not to mention a hunting knife, an M1911 and some grenades. ‘Let’s do it!’ he exclaims to the Grim Reaper and Nekra, before the shop owner asks if there is anything else he can do for them. They begin to walk away with their backs turned to him, and the Grim Reaper remarks ‘Funny man! You’re lucky I let-cha keep your head!’
‘You ain’t, jackass!’ the shop owner exclaims as he pulls out a small gun and fires two bullets, shooting the Grim Reaper and Nekra in the back. The Grim Reaper exclaims that the bullet must have just missed him, to which Nekra exclaims ‘But not me, lover! I’d be dead now – if hatred hadn’t made me indestructible!’ Nekra lunges the shop owner, who is firing bullet after bullet at her, all which just bounce off. Nekra grabs Bernie by his throat, ‘Hate! Hate! Hate! HATE!’ she screams as she kills him, while the Grim Reaper watches, and thinks to himself ‘What a woman she is! Such passion, such purity of purpose! The Grim Reaper is pleased that the show owner’s bullet missed him, for he would hate to die, now that he has finally found his soul-mate.
Back in Leonia, real-estate agent Norm Webster walks down the darkened street, and looking over at Wanda and the Vision’s home, notices that their car is gone. He recalls that Joe over at the delicatessen said some super hero he didn’t recognize came by earlier, and supposes that life goes on for them, the same way it does for him – but he knows they will never be friends again, and all because he fell in love. ‘That’s the hard part!’ Norm thinks that it isn’t supposed to be this way, when suddenly he hears a voice calling his name.
Norm swings around in the direction of the voice – it’s Crystal! Norm is shocked to say the least, and asks her what she is doing here, as the last time he saw her…his voice trails off. Crystal remarks that the last time he would have seen her, she was near death from spending too much time on Earth, but points out that was two months ago, and that the Inhumans are genetically strong. Crystalia assures Norm that she has recovered, adding that so long as she leaves here within the hour she will not risk a relapse.
Norm exclaims that it is good to see Crystal again, to which Crystal tells Norman that it is good to see him, better than she thought it would be. Crystal informs Norm that she came to tell him that her husband Quicksilver is missing, adding that their marriage seems shattered beyond repair, and that if he does not return to she and their daughter shortly, her family, the royal family of Attilan, will grant her a divorce! Norm grins, but Crystal tells him that she has been reminded that she is of royal blood, though she assures him that she wants to see him again, but not until after the divorce – that is, if he still wants to.
‘Want to? Crys, no matter what price we paid for what we felt, I’m as crazy about you as I ever was!’ Norm exclaims. Crystal smiles and tells Norm that is what she wanted to hear. ‘That’s what I wanted to say!’ Norm exclaims as they embrace.
At the hospital, Dr. Josie Marino has joined them as the Vision pushes Wanda in the wheelchair into what Josie calls the “alternative birth center”. Wanda looks around the room and exclaims that it looks bigger than what she remembers on the tour, not to mention prettier. Josie remarks that it has all the comforts of home, rather than the traditional delivery room, but with all the resources of a hospital right at hand. ‘You don’t expect…’ Wanda asks, before having a contraction.
‘…complications?’ Dr. Marino asks, assuring Wanda that she doesn’t, just contractions like the one she is having now. The Vision and Josie help to get Wanda onto the bed, and Wanda exclaims that the contractions are getting faster now. ‘You’re on your way, Scarlet Witch!’ Dr. Strange announces as he enters the room. Wanda looks up and sees her dear friend, exclaiming that she is glad he made it. Strange looks over the chart Josie is holding and remarks that there is little time to spare, asking Josie if she thinks Wanda has about an hour. ‘Less!’ Josie replies. ‘Less?’ a smiling Vision thinks to himself.
The Vision smiles as he thinks about how it is less than an hour until he and Wanda are to be parents. ‘The dream that grew within me – the dream that a synthezoid and a mutant could somehow have a child – the dream has grown in her too, and now – we’re going to be a family…in less than an hour!’ he thinks to himself.
Nearby, Wonder Man leans on the Ladonna’s car as he informs Holly that there won’t be a lesson tonight. Holly exclaims that Wanda wasn’t due till Thursday, to which her mother informs her that she was twelve days early. Holly smiles and asks her mother if she can go over to the hospital, to which her mother replies ‘Sure, I know how close you and Wanda are’, before turning to Wonder Man and informing him that she and her husband Fred are just two of the people who love having his fellow Avengers living in Leonia. She exclaims that it has opened up a whole new world for their daughter, and that is good enough for them.
Wonder Man tells Mrs. Ladonna that he is sure Wanda and the Vision would be very happy to hear that. Holly smiles at Wonder Man, before telling her mother to ‘Come on’ as it could be over by now. ‘Nice to have met you, Wonder Man!’ Mrs. Ladonna calls out as she and her daughter drive away.
Suddenly, a voice calls out ‘People do like the Avengers, do they not, Wonder Man?’ Simon spins around and sees a figure standing on the stairs to Wanda’s home – ‘Magneto!’ he exclaims. ‘Indeed!’ the master of magnetism replies. ‘Indeed!’ exclaims Simon before flying over to Magneto and asking him what he wants. Magneto is taken aback by Wonder Man’s sudden lunge towards him, but has little time to do anything as Wonder Man informs Magneto that the Avengers know he has taken leadership of the X-Men, and acknowledging that Magneto fought alongside the Avengers against the Beyonder, and alongside Simon himself and the Vision at Wanda’s Thanksgiving party.
‘But balanced against that is years of terror!’ Simon exclaims, remarking that Magneto was a major threat before he even became Wonder Man. ‘And nobody I’m not one hundred percent sure of is getting at Wanda tonight!’ Simon boasts. Magneto informs Wonder Man that when he came to Thanksgiving dinner he was determined not to alarm anyone, ‘but no one keeps me from my daughter!’ he shouts as he uses his mighty power over metal to rip up a lamp-post and wrap it around Wonder Man. Magneto remarks that Wonder Man may claim brotherhood with the Vision through obscure and bizarre circumstances, but reminds Simon that he is Wanda’s natural father, just as he is the Master of Magnetism.
Magneto explains to Wonder Man that, earlier this evening, he rested for a moment from his recent endeavors, and felt a sudden disturbing shift in the Earth’s magnetic field, somewhere in this direction of Leonia. Magneto reveals that he decided to seek out the source of the shift and discovered a strong residual charge in one of the Mole Man’s caverns three miles from this spot. Magneto admits that the cause of the shift still eludes him, but that he thought it might concern his daughter, which is why he came here to be certain that nothing happened to her – and his grandchild.
Simon tells Magneto that his story is tenuous, ‘But what holds good for you holds good for everything else!’ Simon adds, before remarking that where people like the two of them are concerned, you cannot take anything for granted. Simon agrees to work with Magneto on this one, though he will keep his guard up. The two men take flight and Magneto remarks ‘Fair enough – because I never lower my guard!’ Simon suggests they get over to the hospital.
‘Now breathe! Breathe!’ the Vision exclaims to Wanda, to is lying on the bed, mumbling that these exercises are supposed to help, and they do, but nevertheless she is still in pain. The Vision tells Wanda to just let the pain flow out, to which Wanda replies ‘Easy for you to say, mister!’ Dr. Strange is standing nearby and declares that there is nothing more cosmic than the creation of life where none existed. Strange adds that it is not surprising that modern methods of childbirth resemble mystic states.
‘You people are too cheerful!’ Wanda exclaims, before groaning. Dr. Marino informs Dr. Strange that the baby is coming, and Wanda grabs the Vision and Josie’s hands, asking her husband to stay with her. The Vision replies that he is not going anywhere.
Outside the hospital, Wonder Man and Magneto arrive, and see three figures lurking outside the hospital entrance. ‘Blast! Of all people! Why them?’ Simon exclaims, while Magneto remarks that he was right, and asks Simon who they are. Flying down towards them, Simon informs Magneto that it is his other brother, the Grim Reaper, whom he thought was dead, as well as his lover, Nekra, and ‘Oh my God!’ he exclaims as he looks upon his Zombie double. Flying towards his counterpart, Simon is soon bombarded with flames from his double’s flamethrower.
The Grim Reaper tells Brady Kent to stand back, as Wonder Man is his. ‘Climb a rope, Reaper! I started him, I finish him!’ Kent shouts back, until Wonder Man flies over and pushes them into one another, declaring that nobody finishes him, not anymore! Magneto exclaims that two against Wonder Man while he stands untouched is an insult. The Grim Reaper turns to Magneto and replies ‘I don’t care about you, old man, it’s the freak I’m after!’
Nekra rushes over to Magneto, exclaiming that after they have disposed of him, the three of them will tear Wonder Man apart. Nekra grabs a hold of Magneto, who tells her that it will be years from now before he is “disposed of”, while using his powers to take control of the Grim Reaper’s scythe, he pulls it over towards them and it whacks Nekra’s throat.
Back in the birthing room, Wanda groans, while Dr Marino encourages her to push. The Vision stays at his wife’s side, when suddenly Josie announces that she can see the baby’s face. Wanda smiles as Dr. Strange remarks that the shoulders are coming. ‘Perfect, perfect’ Dr, Marino assures Wanda and the Vision. Strange tells Wanda to give the baby one last push, and Josie announces the baby’s arrival as crying begins. ‘Your son!’ exclaims Dr. Strange, wrapping the baby boy in a blanket and taking the crying newborn over to his parents. Josie calls for Dr. Strange to come and see something, while the Vision holds the baby, a worried Wanda asks what is going on. ‘There’s another baby coming!’ Dr. Strange announces.
Outside, some hospital staff have gathered to watch the proceeding battle, and Wonder Man uppercuts Brady Kent, thinking to himself that he thought he might be afraid to hit him, because they look the same, but he isn’t. Simon decides that he has really grown to accept himself as he is, and let go of the man he was before he was changed. ‘And my brother…’ Simon thinks as he glances over at his brother and notices something in his back as he attacks Magneto.
‘Magneto!’ Simon shouts as he flies over to the Master of Magnetism. The Grim Reaper lashes out at Magneto, who barely dodges the scythe. Magneto exclaims that Wonder Man’s unstable ionic energy that surround him are playing havoc with his magnetism. Simon replies that he is sorry, but…’There’s a bullet hole in Eric’s back…my brother is a Zombie!’
Back inside, the Vision asks Strange how there can be another one, reminding him he told them directly that there wouldn’t be twins. Shocked, Strange replies that he doesn’t know, adding that even now, there is nothing on their instruments, but he can see the baby’s head.
‘Your ionic energy disrupts more than magnetism, freak – it’s eating your brain, too!’ the Grim Reaper exclaims. Nekra tells her lover that it is a trick, to which the Grim Reaper snaps ‘I know that!’, before exclaiming that Wonder Man is the one who rose from dead. ‘My brother died and you took his place!’ Wonder Man replies ‘You know better, Eric – or you did, before you fell from the cliff!’ and Simon goes on to announce that the Grim Reaper knows Simon is his brother, and that he was wrong to try and kill him.
The Grim Reaper rubs his head, remarking that he thinks he dreamed that last night, ‘But that was just a dream! Nekra tries to lead her lover away while Wonder Man exclaims that there is a way to settle it and asks Magneto to poke Eric’s arm with his scythe. Suddenly, Nekra lunges at Wonder Man, ‘I hate you! I HATE YOU’ she screams, smashing her elbow against Simon’s face as she exclaims that hate gives her power to match even his.
The Grim Reaper faces Magneto, ‘You won’t poke anybody with anything, old man!’ he exclaims. ‘Won’t I…dead man?’ Magneto replies as he uses his powers, forcing the Grim Reaper’s scythe to slash into his own arm. The Grim Reaper looks horrified as he pulls the scythe out – ‘No blood!’ he exclaims. ‘NO BLOOD!’ Nekra thrashes about as she clings on to Wonder Man, ‘I’ll kill you, Wonder Man – you’ve stolen my only love!’
In the hospital, Wanda calls out to the Vision, who tells her that it is okay, that everything is fine, while the Doctors announce that the second baby is coming.
Outside, Wonder Man manages to get Nekra off his back, and they struggle hand-to-hand now, with Wonder Man admitting that Nekra is strong. The Albino woman replies that she will be stronger as she points out that although Wonder Man’s strength is vast, it is finite, whereas her strength changes with the strength of her hatred. ‘To rival yours…and surpass it!’ she exclaims as she uppercuts Simon. Wonder Man gathers himself as he declares that very few things surpass his strength, and tells Nekra that if she wants him to believe that she can surpass him, then she is going to have to do better than that, before is smashes her in the face.
Magneto uses his powers to take Brady Kent’s weapons away from him, while Nekra and Wonder Man continue to slug it out – until the Grim Reaper shouts ‘Wait – lover!’ and grabs Nekra, holding his scythe to her. Nekra tells Eric to let her go, but the Grim Reaper replies ‘No! I am dead! He was right! You raised me from the grave and lied about it!’ Magneto comes up behind the Grim Reaper and suggests he let Nekra go, warning him that she will rip his arms off if she has to.
Nekra explains to the Grim Reaper that she couldn’t tell him the truth, that she had to make him think he was still her man. ‘You get what you pay for, sweetheart!’ Eric replies, telling Nekra that now she will pay him – until the end! And with that, he kisses her, and Nekra actually cries, before they both fall to the ground. Watching them, Magneto remarks that he doesn’t understand – why doesn’t Nekra just free herself from the Grim Reaper’s grasp?
Wonder Man explains that she cannot, to which Magneto asks why. ‘Didn’t’ you hear her? Her strength is measured by her hate – and he’s the one thing she loves!’ Simon adds that without Nekra’s power to maintain the spell, the Grim Reaper has reverted back to his true form. With her only love lost to her, Nekra has lost the will to fight – and perhaps even to live – as she just lies with her Zombie lover.
‘Our instruments still don’t detect anything not even the scale!’ Dr. Strange exclaims after Wanda finally gives birth to the second baby. Suddenly the baby begins to cry, and Josie Marino reminds Strange that babies have been delivered before instruments were around, and suggests she does the Apgar tests. ‘Skin color good…reflexes excellent…five fingers…five toes…breathing steady – strong lungs!’ Indeed, as the baby continues to cry.
‘So what is it?’ Wanda exclaims. The Vision, Strange and Josie all turn to her, and Josie smiles, telling Wanda that from the evidence of their eyes, what she has here is a completely healthy…. ‘Second baby boy!’ the Vision exclaims, holding his second son out to a smiling Wanda.
‘Then I wasn’t going to have one large baby – it was two all along!’ Wanda exclaims. Dr. Strange swears to Wanda that there was no hint of it, either medicinally or magickally. ‘We couldn’t detect him!’ Strange exclaims. The Vision smiles as he holds one of his sons in his arms, before bringing the baby over to its brother. Vision jokes that they probably won’t learn their firstborns’ powers for some time, while Wanda smiles, pointing out that they are twins, just like she and Pietro.
The Vision points out that he and Simon are “twins” also, so it is only logical. Wanda looks at her babies and exclaims that they are so beautiful, so precious. ‘And so is their mother!’ the Vision exclaims, kissing Wanda, who calls one of the babies Thomas, before realizing that they need another name. Dr. Strange tells her that there is plenty of time for that, but right now she needs to relax and enjoy her good fortune.
Suddenly, a machine gun blasting can be heard outside, and Josie and the Vision turn to the window. The Vision remains by Wanda’s side as Dr. Strange and Josie look out the window. ‘Look, Stephen, it’s –‘ begins Josie, until Strange cuts her off, ‘No names!’ he remarks as the watch Magneto and Wonder Man battle Brady Kent.
Bullets bounce off Wonder Man, who boasts that none of his doppelgangers armaments can stop him, and informs him that he is on his way to Rykers’ Island. Magneto remarks that he can hear sirens, to which Simon suggests they wrap this up, and elbows Brady in the face. Magneto exclaims that they agree again, and uses his powers to trap Brady within all the metal he is wearing like weapons and ammunition. ‘He has kept me from Wanda long enough!’ Magneto exclaims.
Inside the hospital, Josie asks Dr. Strange what that was all about, to which Strange motions to Wanda, the Vision and their babies and replies ‘Nothing as important as this…!’ And so it is, that the years of longing and the months of preparation have reached their happy ending – their doubly happy ending! Although, nobody thinks of birth as anything but a happy beginning!
Three days later, Wanda and the Vision have several visitors – Magneto, Wonder Man, Martha Williams, Holly Ladonna and Glamor & Illusion. The Vision addresses Martha Williams as ‘Mother’ and reminds her how, nine months ago, she learned she had two sons, where only one had been before, and now she has two grandsons. ‘As do you…Magneto!’ Wanda remarks, looking over at her father. Glamor asks Wanda what name she finally settled on for the second baby, and Wanda announces that her sons name is William, as in Simon Williams.
The Vision remarks that their sons have no last name, but that he wanted to carry the Williams name forward somehow. Martha exclaims that she is so proud to be their mother, to which Simon tells them not to change their minds about the last name, as “William Williams” doesn’t quite fit. ‘Billy Dee Williams does all right!’ Holly remarks, but Wanda exclaims that there will be no changing, ‘Just Tommy and Billy and Wanda and Vizh – our family!’
Magneto thinks to himself that both boys are named from the Vision’s side of the family, but decides he should expect that, and thinks that it is enough Wanda allows him to visit…for now. Illusion looks at his wife and thinks that they will have to steal a silver service soon and have it melted down for baby cups, while Wonder Man smiles and thinks that he will have to get his nephews down to the coast one day. The last words belong to the babies, who begin crying. The Vision and the Scarlet Witch just smile.
Scarlet Witch & Vision
Thomas “Tommy” & William “Billy” Maximoff Williams
Glamour & Illusion
Brady Kent / “Simon Williams”
Doctor Josie Marino
Various hospital staff
Bernie, a shop owner and his friend
In Flashback Images:
In Flashback Images:
The Vision’s comment about a baby not slowing the Fantastic Four down is a reference to Mr. Fantastic and the Invisible Woman’s son, Franklin Richards, and how both Mr. Fantastic and the Invisible Woman continue to serve with the team.
Phineas Thomas Horton was the man who created the original Human Torch, way back in Marvel Mystery #11 (1939) – of course the events of Avengers West Coast #50 reveal that the Vision and the original Human Torch do not share the same body…
The Grim Reaper’s battle with the Vision and Wonder Man took place in Vision & Scarlet Witch (2nd series) #1-2 and West Coast Avengers (2nd series) #2. The “zombie Simon Williams” was seen in these issues also, along with the Grim Reaper and his allies attempt to put the Vision and Wonder Man’s minds into him.
Nekra learned from the Cult of Kali in Spider-Woman (1st series) #16, and from the tribes of West Africa in Shanna the She-Devil (1st series) #5.
A footnote indicates that Wonder Man’s upcoming movie is Arkon IV, alongside Arnold Schwarzburger, and “coming to the theater near you, this Christmas”.
Crystal and Norm Webster met in Vision & Scarlet Witch (2nd series) #6. Their affair took place over issues #7-9, during which time Holly Ladonna learned they were seeing each other, and Crystal overdosed on the medication that the Inhuman’s must take in order to spend time on Earth. In issue #10 their affair was revealed, and Quicksilver abandoned Crystal.
Magneto became leader of the X-Men in Uncanny X-Men #200. He fought alongside the Avengers against the Beyonder during the Secret Wars II crossover, and fought with Wonder Man and the Vision against the Toad in Vision & Scarlet Witch (2nd series) #6.
The Scarlet Witch & Quicksilver and Wanda’s twin sons are not the only twins in the Marvel universe – others include Northstar & Aurora, Darkstar & Vanguard, Pathway & Goblyn from Beta Flight, Andreas & Andrea Strucker (a.k.a. Fenris) Karma & Tran Coy Manh and their younger siblings Leong & Nga Coy Manh, Claudette & Nicole St. Croix (the M-Twins), and presumably Double Trouble (from Weapon P.R.I.M.E.).
Norm Webster goes on to make one final appearance, where he and Crystal tie up their loose ends in Fantastic Four (1st series) #311.
Final appearance to date of Holly Ladonna.
Glamor & Illusion appear many years later in the Witches mini series.
Martha Williams next appears, years later, in the Avengers Two: Wonder Man and the Beast mini series.
Final appearance of Brady Kent.
The Grim Reaper and Nekra both return during "The Reaper and the Robot" storyline [Avengers West Coast #65-68.
Martha Williams learnt that the Vision was her “son” in West Coast Avengers (2nd series) #2. Obviously, the Vision’s comment about her having two sons is ignoring the Grim Reaper.
The Vision and Scarlet Witch soon join the West Coast branch of the Avengers beginning with West Coast Avengers (2nd series) #30, where Wanda remains throughout its disbanding and reforming as Force Works. The Vision however only stays a short time, before returning to the East Coast Avengers.
As it turns out, a mutant and a robot cannot have children: During various issues of West Coast Avengers (2nd series) / Avengers West Coast, Wanda’s children disappear whenever she is not around them. As it turns out, the children were created from two of the five parts of Mephisto’s lost souls, which Wanda’s desire and longing to have children latched out onto, and created the child’s forms within herself. [Avengers West Coast #51-52] The loss of Wanda’s children, sends her temporarily insane for several issues of Avengers West Coast.
During “The Crossing” there were two characters that appeared called Malachi and Tobias. While little was revealed about them, there were several hints and suggestions that they may be adult versions of The Scarlet Witch’s children. However, with so much going on in what was perhaps one of the most confusing saga’s in all of Marvel, the characters were all but forgotten about. Whatever the real intention behind the characters no longer matters, as they were revealed to just be Space Phantoms during the Avengers Forever mini series.
In addition Young Avengers characters Wiccan and his mysterious twin brother Speed (Young Avengers #11-12) are heavily hinted to be teenage versions of the Scarlet Witch’s kids.
This time of year was a bad time for babies to be born in the Marvel Universe, for over in Alpha Flight (1st series) #37-38, Snowbird’s baby would be possessed by the horror that is Pestilence.
Issue Summary written by: Daytripper (Steven Bishop)