As the first Disney+ series starring members of the big-screen Avengers, WandaVision serves as a bold step for the Marvel Cinematic Universe that will impact the direction of the franchise for Phases yet to come, but what of WandaVision’s own influences? There's a large list of comics to be read before WandaVision to enhance one’s viewing experience, and they stand as a true testament to the decades-worth of source material that the series warps and transforms into a new MCU chapter.
Whether it be Wanda Maximoff and Vision’s relationship, their would-be children, potential villains, or their domestic bliss in general, all the elements present in WandaVision spring from the pages of classic Marvel Comics. But much like the Scarlet Witch, the creative minds at Marvel Studios take a pre-existing reality and alter it to match their desires, with audiences at home the lucky beneficiaries of their story-weaving magic.
The Dark Nature Of The Twins Was Revealed In ‘Fragments Of A Greater Darkness,’ And Pandemonium Ensued
The Issues: West Coast Avengers #51-52 (1989) by John Byrne
Not long after the “Vision Quest” - in fact, there are those who tack this story on to it as an epilogue - Master Pandemonium arrived on the West Coast scene to live up to his name in the “Fragments of a Greater Darkness” arc. Hot on the heels of yet another demonic possession of the Scarlet Witch coupled with the revelation that the still-emotionless Vision was not, as it turned out, built from the body of the original Human Torch, the West Coast Avengers were at their most vulnerable. It was about to get a lot worse.
Master Pandemonium revealed that his own master was the demon lord Mephisto, himself a Marvel Comics stand-in for the biblical devil, and that Mephisto had created Wanda and Vision’s medically impossible twins, making them more demonic extensions than actual children. Then, Master Pandemonium rather unceremoniously reabsorbed Thomas and William into himself and out of existence, wearing them around for a while on his hands in truly gruesome fashion before delivering them back to Mephisto.
The revelation devastated the entire team, but of course, none more so than Wanda Maximoff, who didn’t so much lose her children as learn that they had never existed. Her tragedy was made worse by the fact that the Vision still could not feel emotion, leading her into a complete and total mental breakdown.
That’s when her old mentor Agatha Harkness showed up and convinced everyone that the best way to proceed was to erase Wanda’s memories of her children, reasoning that the loss was just too overwhelming for her to otherwise handle. The spell worked, and everything slowly went back to normal, though Wanda and the Vision separated and joined different Avengers teams the very next issue. Wanda’s memories wouldn’t be gone for good, however, and when they returned, they would sow chaos across the entire Marvel Universe - probably not fantastic news for the post-WandaVision Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Wanda Attempted To Resurrect A Love Interest Under An Energy Dome In ‘…Always An Avenger!’
The Issues: Avengers Vol. 3 #10-11 (1998) by Kurt Busiek and George Perez
At first blush, this overwrought two-part saga from the late ‘90s seems divorced from the esoteric sensibilities of WandaVision, but the parallels stack up surprisingly well. “…Always An Avenger” started with Wanda Maximoff studying under Agatha Harkness in the hopes of using her abilities to bring Simon Williams, her former lover and the basis of Vision’s personality, back to life. But when the Grim Reaper and his Legion of the Unliving (complete with a zombified Wonder Man) joined the party, things escalated quickly.
To aid in his strike on the Avengers, the Grim Reaper created a dome of mystical energy over Central Park, trapping them inside. Fortunately, Wanda and Agatha were able to harness enough Chaos Magic to truly resurrect Simon, allowing him to step in and defeat Grim Reaper.
And though this particular tale ended on a pleasant note with Wanda and Simon reunited, like so much of Wanda's comic book life, it paved the way for further heartbreak down the road. It also featured the Scarlet Witch attempting to resurrect a deceased lover inside a mystical dome; an impressive level of correlation between it and WandaVision for a story that only lasted two issues. The Grim Reaper’s helmet also showed up as an Easter egg in “Filmed Before a Live Studio Audience.”
‘Avengers: Disassembled’ Saw The Scarlet Witch Accidentally Dismantle Earth’s Mightiest Heroes
The Issues: Avengers #500-503 (2004) by Brian Michael Bendis and David Finch, others
For a number of years, Wanda Maximoff faded into the periphery of Marvel Comics, making regular appearances as an Avengers supporting character but rarely as the focal point of any one tale. All the while, however, the consequences of earlier storylines were percolating in the back of her mind, and it was long past time for them to be felt by her teammates.
At first, it looked like just another classic threat to the Avengers Mansion. Long-deceased teammate Jack of Hearts showed up and exploded, vaporizing Scott Lang in the process. This caused She-Hulk to lose control, ripping the Vision to pieces in her rage. Then, before anyone had a chance to breathe, the entire Kree Empire attempted to invade New York, with Hawkeye sacrificing his life to help repel them.
All the while, however, several Avengers began to pick up on the fact that not all was as it seemed. As the mystery unraveled, it became clear that one individual was actually responsible for all this misery, in the form of Marvel Comics' own “It’s all Wanda” revelation.
An innocuous comment about giving birth to twins had sparked Wanda’s memories of her lost children which, combined with the manipulations of Doctor Doom, caused her to suffer a relapse in her mental health. Unbeknownst to everyone, herself included, Wanda had begun using her reality-bending powers to lash out at those who mattered most to her, conjuring up threats like Jack of Hearts and the Kree invasion out of thin air, and slaying several teammates in the process.
In the end, the Avengers were formally disbanded, and plans were drawn up for how best to deal with the omnipotent danger the Scarlet Witch had become, much like how S.W.O.R.D. has to reckon with Wanda’s reality-bending in WandaVision. Unfortunately, “Avengers: Disassembled” led to an even bigger cataclysm.
Wanda Maximoff Rewrote Reality Itself Into The ‘House Of M’
The Issues: House of M #1-8 (2005) by Brian Michael Bendis and Olivier Coipel
Following the world-changing events of Avengers: Disassembled, Earth’s Mightiest Heroes still had a major problem on their hands in the form of a Scarlet Witch that had lost her grip on reality but still had the ability to alter said reality at a whim. As they moved to confront her, however, Pietro Maximoff arrived first and convinced her to avoid all the trouble to come by rewriting the whole of reality in a way that would make everyone as happy as she was during the height of her domestic bliss with Vision.
The result was House of M, a crossover series in which the Marvel Universe woke up in a drastically different state. Magneto and his family, Wanda and Pietro included, benevolently ruled a world in which mutants were superior but not dictatorial. Other allies were gifted with what Wanda thought they had always wanted; Carol Danvers was the world’s most famous superhero, Peter Parker had Gwen Stacey back, and Wolverine regained all his memories, including those of the previous reality.
It was thus up to Wolverine to “reawaken” everyone else and muster forces against the Scarlet Witch. Once again, the loss of her twin children - who she had recreated in the House of M - sparked a full nervous breakdown, and Wanda’s new reality came falling down around her, but not before she forever altered the Marvel Universe with three bitter words aimed at her father and brother: “No more mutants.”
That led to a mass depowering of more than 98% of the world’s mutant population. And though that depowering was gradually undone over time in the comics, there are those who are hoping that the Scarlet Witch is on the way to a reverse-House of M of sorts in WandaVision. Only this time, she might say “No, more mutants!” instead.