Meet the Other Vision
In ‘Vision Quest,’ the synthezoid Avenger is disassembled, reprogrammed, then returned to his team. Read what happens next.
Who is the all-white Vision? In an incredible arc by writer and artist John Byrne, Vision, the manmade mold of Ultron, Wonder Man, or (maybe) the original Human Torch, is kidnapped, disassembled, and reprogrammed. This unwitting makeover came at the hands of an organization called Vigilance, a watch agency that aimed to restore world order by wiping the slate clean. The red and green synthezoid that we knew and loved was forever changed in “Vision Quest,” running through WEST COAST AVEGERS (1985) #42-45. Although, the ramifications of the “White Vision’s” transformation played out in the comics for well over a year, and was considered the first unraveling in his marriage to Scarlet Witch. This storyline also precipitated the shocking reveal behind the true nature of Vision’s children with Wanda Maximoff.
In issue #42, the Vision went missing. By issue #43, he was ripped apart in his entirety. Who, or what, is Project Vigilance? Led by a shady sort of character named Cameron Brock, the Vision, arguably one of the most powerful weapons in the Avengers’ arsenal, was reverse engineered under Vigilance orders. But Cameron Brock had his own motives for this heinous experiment. Several months prior, Vision had seized control of the world’s computer systems and America’s nuclear codes. Concerned for the state of global security, Brock considered Vision too great a risk in his current model, and decided a retooling was in order.
Estranged teammate Mockingbird (and the recently estranged wife of team leader Hawkeye) actually orchestrated the Vision’s kidnapping from the Avengers’ West Coast compound. She did have a change of heart, but by then the damage was done.
WANDA AND VISION: THE END
After marrying in GIANT-SIZE AVENGERS (1974) #4, the Vision and Scarlet Witch enjoyed over a year of wedded bliss in the pages of VISION AND THE SCARLET WITCH (1985). But every good thing must come to an end.
Because Vigilance had planted a few bugs in the Avengers’ systems, Hank Pym was unable to replicate the brain patterns and cumulative data that comprised the Vision. The best that Pym could offer was a recreation of the Vision’s body, bio-synthetic skin and all, without any of the emotional imprint or memories. As a result, Wanda was reacquainted with a hollow shell of her husband, an automaton who was “programmed” to feel, but had no real connection to their marriage or to their children. It is interesting to note that while Wonder Man was given the choice to sync up his consciousness to the Vision, (as he had done for the original), he opted not to, choosing instead to let his unrequited love for Wanda languish. With a mind-wiped husband, and no shot at regaining their “normal” life together, Scarlet Witch knew that the demise of her marriage was close at hand. But she didn’t give up quietly.
Instead, their breakup was a long, drawn out affair through WEST COAST AVENGERS #63. While speaking to Wonder Man over the phone, the Vision eventually ended things with Scarlet Witch, thus concluding one of the strangest (and more romantic) marriages in Marvel history.
[RELATED: The Love Story of Scarlet Witch and Vision]
MEET THE GREAT LAKES AVENGERS...
In their (subjectively) spectacular debut!
John Byrne delighted and baffled Marvel audiences with the introduction of this Milwaukee-based team. On a mission to restore the Avengers name (and possibly their marriage), Hawkeye and Mockingbird discovered that these “imposters” were the Great Lakes Avengers, super-powered people with some of the oddest abilities in comic book canon. You have Flatman, blessed with the power of being flat! Dinah Soar, a prehistoric-like being capable of flight! And leader Mister Immortal, a man who cannot die no matter how hard he tries! Read their first appearance in issue #46.
U.S.AGENT JOINS THE TEAM
We should also mention that in issue #44, John Walker, Super-Soldier-for-hire, became a regular fixture on the team. While he may have had an ignominious start to his career, Walker changed the minds of his teammates by showing off his resiliency and Cap-like resolve, especially when dealing with the return of the original Human Torch. Although, Vision’s disembodied “I don’t need pants” mentality was a step too far for this conservatively-minded Fed.
HANK PYM SHRINKS TIGRA
In yet another “Vision Quest” subplot that makes our list, team scientist Hank Pym pulled off the second to third most ethically unsound experiment of his career when he shrunk down Tigra to kitten size. Greer Grant was in a rapid state of devolution throughout this arc, going so far as to attack her teammates and the mice in the compound’s kitchen pantry. After a feral snarl too far, Hank put Tigra on ice, using his Pym particles to keep her in a “manageable” state. Science!
BILLY AND TOMMY: THE CASE OF THE DISAPPEARING TWINS
In addition to the Vision’s identity crisis, Scarlet Witch also had to grapple with the mystical possibility that her children were not her own!
Like a bad dream that kept happening, Wanda Maximoff frantically maintained the illusion of her children... by hiring one governess after another. But everyone on staff kept reporting the same thing—whenever their mother was not around or on a mission, the twins vanished from plain sight/ceased to exist. A troubling revelation for the Scarlet Witch, and a tipping off point for one of the arc’s most important guest stars...
AGATHA HARKNESS: SHE’S NOT DEAD YET
We thought she burned at the stake in VISION AND THE SCARLET WITCH #3, but given that Agatha Harkness has been around since the Salem witch trials, it was not surprising that this ancient mystic pulled through. Following her “disagreement” with the coven of Salem’s Seven, Wanda’s tutor abruptly reappeared to the West Coast team in issue #50, coming in loaded with a foreboding word about the twins.
Prior to her “death,” Agatha manifested as an astral form to Wanda, encouraging her student to use her reality-altering abilities to dispel a magical excess. Little did Agatha know that Wanda used this surplus energy to make herself pregnant, borne of her latent desire to have children with the Vision. Once Agatha caught on to the truth about Billy and Tommy, she did her best to pull Wanda back to reality without serious trauma or upset. Or so she thought.
[RELATED: Who Is Agatha Harkness?]
ENTER: MASTER PANDEMONIUM
So, if Billy and Tommy are not the natural/magical byproducts of their parents’ love, who do they belong to?
Martin Preston, Hollywood executive-turned-demon master, lost his right arm in a car accident that very nearly claimed his life. Never one to turn down the exploitation of a fading mortal, the Hell-lord Mephisto appeared at the scene of the accident, offering Preston unlimited access to a “Dark Realm” of demons in exchange for his soul. Preston agreed, and Master Pandemonium was born.
But like any savvy producer, Master P quickly realized that he had agreed to a sour deal. In an effort to reclaim the stolen fragments of his soul, Pandemonium began a crusade against the West Coast Avengers, kidnapping Billy and Tommy. Under Mephisto’s ruse, Pandemonium was led to believe that the twins were missing pieces of his essence, when in reality, they belonged to Mephisto. Agatha Harkness picked up on this double-cross first, but by that point, the twins had already been reabsorbed as dark puppets of chaos.
THE TWINS ERASED
During the team’s frantic scramble inside Pandemonium’s realm, Agatha Harkness remained in the West Coast compound... yet pulled strings from afar. Ebony, her black cat and familiar, was sent out by her master to try and rescue the twins by any means. But when Mephisto dropped in unannounced on Pandemonium and the Avengers, a greater boost of power was required. While Ebony distracted Mephisto by transforming into a ferocious beast, Agatha “opened her mind” to Wanda, once again encouraging her student to let loose a stream of magic so powerful that even Mephisto was halted in his tracks.
But despite this extraordinary show of force, the twins were lost to the demon’s realm. As Agatha explained, Billy and Tommy were never Wanda’s to begin with, and, as manifestations of Mephisto’s soul, it was only a matter of time before they outright disappeared if not became “little creatures” themselves. To spare Wanda the agony of grief, Agatha sealed off Billy and Tommy from their mother’s memory, wiping out their existence with a single, suggestive thought. An objectively terrible move, but a necessary one. Wanda’s children were forever lost to her following issue #52, and while they would be restored years later, the family that Scarlet Witch had built with the Vision reached its tragic end.
[RELATED: The Comics History of Billy and Tommy]
Read the complete “Vision Quest” story on Marvel Unlimited today for the final fate of the Vision, the twins, and the aftermath to Scarlet Witch’s battle against Mephisto!
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