NY Vulture wrote about the publication history WandaVision appears to be drawing from after 8 episodes: the time John Byrne scripted West Coast Avengers for about a year or so in 1989-90, and, while it may be one thing to reverse the birth of Wanda’s children with Vision, it was another to turn her into a madwoman, though the real problem here is that the writer has a very slapdash grip on what followed afterwards:
…At the very end of “Previously On,” viewers were treated to the sight of what appeared to be Vision’s reassembled original body, now pure white, as it was activated by S.W.O.R.D. director Tyler Hayward. This form of Vision has a comics history of its own, as a creation by John Byrne meant to specifically distance the character from his relationship with Wanda; there, it was the result of a disassembly, complete with his original programming being erased. When he was restored shortly after, it was without the emotional components copied from fellow Avenger Wonder Man, resulting in a colder, more robotic personality.
It was a somewhat misogynistic story line, one that heaped trauma and mental instability upon Wanda, forcing her to endure the loss of her children and her husband, followed by the reveal that those things had never been real to begin with but rather illusions born of her desires. Vision would eventually be restored to his normal form, but the damage was done, and so was his relationship with Wanda. He went back to being a regular superhero, while Wanda was demonized for her struggles with mental health, written as a sobbing, hysterical stereotype who committed progressively horrific crimes as the years passed.
You could say the Byrne storyline suffered from potential misogyny, or at least a ludicrous, overbearing focus on turning Wanda into a self-pitying mess, culminating in her going back into association with Magneto briefly, and a scene where she scratched Wonder Man across his chest after paralyzing him and a few WCA team members. But at the time, that storyline was put to an end when Roy and Dann Thomas were taking up the writing shortly after, and it wasn’t until Brian Bendis got his mitts on the Avengers franchise that he just had to drag out the kind of story elements nobody finds appealing in the long run, and turn her into a mental case again, instead of a girl who could keep her head screwed on tight. I don’t know if this derived from Phoenix influence, but I do know the way it was handled did not have to be, and nor for that matter did this ambiguous distortion of how things were handled as the years passed. Mainly because the article has such a non-committal feeling to it, like they’re drifting away from being seriously objective about a problem that could’ve been avoided. It continues:
The Marvel Cinematic Universe has already started to adapt that aspect of her character, what with the events of Captain America: Civil War and Wanda’s subsequent house arrest, followed by a turn as a fugitive. It’s hard to say where character arcs will go once the series concludes, but WandaVision, at least, seems to be putting work into giving Wanda a sense of agency. Make no mistake, her usurpation of the lives of Westview’s residents is still an act to be condemned, but it’s a far cry from some of the atrocities her comic-book counterpart has been responsible for. Additionally, while it’s true that she’s still created illusory children, she’s aware of this. That’s a significant point; no longer are these simply things happening to her; they’re manifested extensions of her attempts to process an immense amount of grief. Similarly, what seemed early in the season to be a violation of Vision’s explicit wishes upon his death turned out not to be the case; as “Previously On” confirms, the Vision that exists inside of her hex bubble around Westview is born entirely of her memory and power, created from thin air.
And here, unshockingly, they fail to distinguish between bad writing and a fictional character. All this in an article about a character who’s depicted suffering mental insanity. Who’s the real nutcase then?
And this only enforces my decision not to grant any audience to WandaVision. I’m not awarding Bendis after the serious damage he caused, which the MSM now compounds through their distortions and acceptance of badness. It goes without saying all these live action TV shows and movies can’t and shouldn’t replace the original four color stories from better eras either.
Since the Phoenix was mentioned, I found an article on The Direct with something most unpleasant to tell about episode 8:
And while it is still unknown the specifics of what that title means in the lore of witchcraft in the MCU, it is implied that Wanda is the embodiment of a dark force that has been feared throughout history.
This is a vintage MCU twist on a classic comic book property that no one saw coming, but it does draw some parallels to The Dark Phoenix Saga. That story has been adapted twice in FOX’s X-Men franchise over the past two decades and has faced criticism of execution. Here is a look at the similarities and differences between FOX’s Jean Grey and the MCU’s Wanda Maximoff.
It’s not often I feel such disgust washing over me. Again, this merely enforces my decision to avoid this Disney+ TV show like the plague.
Originally published here.