Sunday

OMU: Ant-Man -- Year Five

Henry Pym, known variously as Ant-Man, Giant-Man, Goliath, and Yellowjacket, continues to enjoy his retirement over the next twelve months of his life, keeping a low profile and largely staying out of the path of danger. His crimefighting partner and wife, the Wasp, remains supportive, though she would prefer to return to their life of adventure. They remain behind the scenes in comic book character limbo throughout, except for a random guest-appearance in a couple issues of Captain Marvel. Even so, as founding members of the Avengers, they maintain an interest in the team’s activities.

Note: The following timeline depicts the Original Marvel Universe (anchored to November 1961 as the first appearance of the Fantastic Four and proceeding forward from there. See previous posts for a detailed explanation of my rationale.) Some information presented on the timeline is speculative and some is based on historical accounts. See the Notes section at the end for clarifications.


Continuing with… The True History of Ant-Man!


January 1966 – Hank Pym and his wife, Janet Pym, continue to stay at their ritzy hotel in Manhattan while their house in Southampton on Long Island is rebuilt. Jan prefers living in the heart of the city, but she accepts that her husband needs a more remote location to safely carry on his various scientific research projects. Hank continues to collaborate occasionally with Bill Foster, who rents his own lab facilities from Jan elsewhere in the city. When Hank discovers a leftover microbe from the A.I.M. virus still in his bloodstream, he decides he’d better avoid using his size-changing abilities whenever possible, lest the microbe be reactivated and trap him at ant-size again. This does not overly concern him, as he is happy to have retired from his role as a superhero.

February 1966 – Hank and Jan send their best wishes to the Scarlet Witch and the Vision at Avengers Mansion after news breaks that the mutant woman and synthezoid man have fallen in love. Their relationship proves to be extremely controversial, but Jan thinks it’s all very romantic, despite not understanding why Wanda would want an artificial lover.

April 1966 – Hank and Jan are shocked to learn that the Avengers have inducted their old enemy the Swordsman into their ranks. Their former teammates assure them that the Swordsman really seems to have reformed this time, thanks to his Vietnamese girlfriend, a martial-arts expert called Mantis.

May 1966 – Hank is shocked when Jan inexplicably changes into a hideous, demonic monster and attacks him. Their battle wrecks their hotel room as the entire city transforms into a weird, alien landscape. Finally, less than an hour after it began, the fight ends as Jan reverts to normal along with the rest of the city. She is in a daze until a few minutes later, when all the damage is suddenly undone, as if by magic. Later, Hank contacts the Avengers, and they explain that the phenomenon was part of one of Loki’ schemes, but the god of mischief has been defeated. Hank and Jan are irritated when the government subsequently insists that it was all the work of a mutant terrorist.

July 1966 – Hank and Jan finally move into their rebuilt house in Southampton, which includes laboratory facilities tailored to Hank’s needs. He is excited to get back to full-time biochemical research and starts studying the dormant microbe in his bloodstream. Jan devotes her time to the Southampton social scene.

November 1966 – Hank and Jan are very concerned when, after a relentlessly negative media campaign tarnishes his reputation, Captain America is accused of murdering a small-time supervillain known as the Tumbler. Breaking out of jail, Cap becomes a fugitive from justice until he clears his name during a battle on the White House lawn with agents of the Secret Empire, a subversive organization bent on conquering America. The Pyms are relieved that their former teammate has been exonerated. Immediately afterward, President Morris N. Richardson appears on television and resigns from office, citing unspecified health problems. Vice President Miller is sworn in to succeed him.

December 1966 – While attending a biochemistry conference in Chicago, Illinois, Hank and Jan hear a report that Rick Jones has been hospitalized in the city after being exposed to a deadly nerve gas. They race to the hospital to see if they can help, whereupon they meet Carol Danvers, a friend of Rick’s who works as a security advisor for the Department of Defense. Carol informs them that Rick was not actually exposed to the nerve gas—that story was a publicity stunt arranged by his manager, Mordecai P. Boggs—though the youth has gone into an unexplained coma. Suddenly hearing the sounds of battle coming from Rick’s room, Hank and Jan change into Ant-Man and the Wasp and charge in to find their old foe, the Living Laser, menacing the comatose Rick, Boggs, and Rick’s singing partner Rachel Dandridge. The Living Laser reveals that he is working for a group called the Lunatic Legion, which sees Rick as an impediment to its plans to destroy the world. His ranting gives the Wasp the chance to sabotage the control panel on his belt so as to disable his laser weapons. However, when he then tries to activate them, they short out and the Living Laser is electrocuted. The Wasp is horrified to think she might have accidentally killed him, but when a doctor examines the body, he reports that the Living Laser was some kind of cyborg. Examining their foe’s weapons, Hank and Jan are curious to find highly polished moonstones incorporated into the control panel. Hank wonders if the name “Lunatic Legion” is some kind of inside joke, since the word lunatic derives from the Latin word for moon.

A little while later, Rick emerges from his coma and demands to know if there is an antidote to the nerve gas. Carol assures him that there is, and that some was delivered to the hospital in case he needed it. Rick leaps out of bed and leads Carol and the Pyms to a room down the hall, where they find Captain Marvel lying unconscious on the floor. Hank and Jan realize that Rick must have traded interdimensional places with Mar-Vell as soon as he entered the room. As it turns out, Captain Marvel was the one exposed to the nerve gas, and, after the antidote has been administered, he makes a full recovery. The Pyms share their ideas about the Lunatic Legion with Mar-Vell, who confirms that the evil organization has crossed paths with Rick twice now. Hank suggests they may actually be based on the moon, and Mar-Vell agrees to check it out. Later, Hank reports to the Avengers that the Living Laser is dead.

Returning to New York, Hank and Jan celebrate a festive Christmas at their home in Southampton.


Notes:

January 1966 – The dormant microbe in Hank Pym’s bloodstream will be revealed in Giant-Size Defenders #4.

February 1966 – News of the love affair between the Scarlet Witch and the Vision breaks in Avengers #113. Janet’s opinion of the Vision is revealed in Avengers West Coast Annual #4.

April 1966 – The Swordsman joins the Avengers (for real this time) in Avengers #114.

May 1966 – Hank and Jan remain behind the scenes in Avengers #118 when Dormammu, working with Loki, tries to merge Earth with his own mystical realm, the Dark Dimension. The Avengers decide to conceal the truth about that event from the public to avoid mass panic, a fact that President Morris N. Richardson’s anti-mutant administration would surely take advantage of.

November 1966 – Captain America’s travails at the hands of the Secret Empire are chronicled in Captain America #169–175. The Morris Richardson who resigns on camera is actually a Life Model Decoy, part of S.H.I.E.L.D.’s cover-up of the President’s role as leader of the Secret Empire.

December 1966 – Ant-Man and the Wasp make their only appearance for the year in Captain Marvel #35–37. (They are behind the scenes in #36, which is mostly a reprint.) The Living Laser is actually an android duplicate and not Arthur Parks transformed into a cyborg, as Hank would have known if he’d examined the body himself. Apparently, he just took the doctor’s word for it.


Jump Back: Ant-Man – Year Four

Next Issue: Ant-Man – Year Six


Tuesday

OMU: Sun Girl

“The truth about Sun Girl was never discovered.” That’s how I ended my OMW: Sun Girl profile many years ago, but even so I’ve remained curious about this extremely obscure superheroine. Now, after a close examination of the stories in which she appeared during the twilight years of Marvel’s first superhero boom, commonly referred to as the Golden Age of Comics, I’ve decided to give her the full chronology treatment. As these are Golden Age stories, I treat them as even less reliable sources than the stories published after 1961, as no effort was made at that time to maintain any kind of consistent continuity. This frees me up to get a little more speculative than I’m normally comfortable with and to answer some of the unanswerable questions raised about who Sun Girl was, where she came from, and where she disappeared to.

Her debut in Sun Girl #1, cover-dated August 1948, shows “the Mysterious Beauty” to have enhanced strength and agility as well as superhuman resistance to injury, not to mention dynamite fighting skills. Curiously, it also suggests that she has not visibly aged in a couple of decades. Subsequently, in Sun Girl #2 and Human Torch Comics #33, Sun Girl refers to other people as “mortals,” suggesting that she may in fact be a goddess. Taking into account other events that occurred in the Original Marvel Universe around this time, one particular (and little-known) goddess struck me as the most likely candidate.

Note: The following timeline depicts the Original Marvel Universe (anchored to November 1961 as the first appearance of the Fantastic Four and proceeding backward from there. See previous posts for a detailed explanation of my rationale.) Much of the information presented on this timeline is highly speculative and some is based on historical accounts. See the Notes section at the end for clarifications.


Prepare to bask in… The True History of Sun Girl, the Mysterious Beauty!


1928 – Concerned about the precarious state of affairs on Earth a decade after the Great War, Odin, king of Asgard, decides to send an agent to infiltrate human society. Not wanting a brash warrior who would draw too much attention to himself, Odin selects instead the sun-goddess Sól, daughter of Mundilfari and a member of the elite Ásynjur. Having an adventurous nature, Sól is eager to undertake such a mission. She bids farewell to her father and her brother Máni, then crosses the Rainbow Bridge to the realm of mortals. Materializing in New York City, the largest metropolis in the world, Sól adopts the alias “Sunny Monday” in an attempt to blend in. Sunny soon befriends a young couple, the Murphys, who help her settle in to life in America.

1930 – With the onset of the Great Depression, Sunny worries that the situation on Earth is deteriorating rapidly. She decides to intervene directly when a mad scientist known as Doctor Drearr tries to conquer the world using his bizarre inventions. The Murphys assist Sunny against Doctor Drearr, only to be killed in the conflict. Determined to avenge their deaths, Sunny apprehends Drearr, who is then sentenced to many years in prison. However, Drearr vows to one day get revenge on the woman who foiled his plans.

A few months later, Sunny learns that the Murphys’ teenage son Johnny, who was placed in foster care following the deaths of his parents, has run afoul of the law. Arranging for Johnny to be released into her custody, Sunny is dismayed to learn that the boy idolizes the notorious gangster Nails Nelson. Thus, she takes Johnny to the pool hall where Nelson and his gang hang out. She tricks Nelson into confessing to a robbery and goads him into a fight. His henchmen flee after she hits them all in the head with pool balls using her infallible aim and starts whipping the cue sticks around like quarterstaffs. Johnny is astonished that this gorgeous lady has defeated a gang of mobsters single-handedly, and when Nelson pulls out a gun and tries to shoot her, the boy throws himself in front of Sunny, catching the bullet in his shoulder. Sunny then punches Nelson through the front window, knocking him out. Nelson is taken into custody as Johnny is rushed to the hospital. Unfortunately, his injured arm must be amputated, but he has learned his lesson and is determined to finish high school and make a positive contribution to society. Nails Nelson is sent to prison for his many crimes.

1931–1941 – Throughout the Depression, Sunny Monday tries to keep a relatively low profile as she helps the people of New York City out of difficult situations and takes various stands against injustice. She gradually becomes frustrated that she can’t take a more active role in fighting the rampant crime she sees plaguing the city.

1942–1945 – When the United States becomes involved in World War II, Sól abandons her Sunny Monday identity and joins the Women’s Army Corps under the name “Mary Mitchell.” She becomes fascinated by the costumed superheroes who begin to emerge on the scene, such as the Human Torch, Captain America, the Angel, the Blue Diamond, the Patriot, the Whizzer, and particularly Miss America. Mary follows the exploits of the Invaders and the Liberty Legion with great interest.

1946–1947 – With the post-war emphasis on domesticity, Mary Mitchell has a hard time readjusting to civilian life, as she has no intention of becoming involved with a mortal man. Seeing that crime and corruption remain a scourge on society, she eventually decides to create a new persona for herself.

July 1948 – All but abandoning her life as Mary Mitchell, Sól designs a black-and-gold superhero costume and assumes the identity of “Sun Girl.” She straps a focusing crystal to her wrist, which enables her to channel the dazzling golden light she can generate within her body. Not wanting to reveal her godly nature, though, she claims the light emanates from the crystal itself, calling the device her “sunbeam ray.” Her initial crimefighting exploits cause her to become a media sensation as she patrols the city in her brand-new black Studebaker Champion convertible, prompting the press to dub her “the Mysterious Beauty.”

When New York’s Chief of Police goes on vacation towards the end of the month, a sudden rash of well-coordinated bank robberies hits the city. The police are frustrated that the criminals easily escape every time. Sun Girl takes an interest in the case, seeing an opportunity to establish a reputation as an enemy of organized crime.

August 1948 – Sun Girl suspects someone in the police force is organizing the crime spree, since the robberies always take place in areas no patrol cars have been assigned to. After delivering some bank robbers to police headquarters, she meets with the vacationing chief’s assistant, Glenn Darwin, and informs him of her plan to smoke out the ringleader by announcing on the radio that she has discovered his identity. She mentions that she plans to enter the radio station through a back alley in case any assassins are lurking out front. Thus, when a gunman is waiting for her in the alley, she realizes that Darwin must be her man. She overpowers the gunman and forces him to confess that Darwin sent him there to kill her. Sun Girl then confronts Darwin in his apartment, disarms him, and threatens to break his arm unless he confesses as well. Darwin is taken into custody, and Sun Girl is relieved when the police chief reports back to work a few days later.

Learning that her old enemy Doctor Drearr is up for parole, Sun Girl goes to Glenrock Prison to try to dissuade the warden from releasing him. She is too late, however, as Drearr has already been sent home. A few days later, Sun Girl finds a 100-foot tall humanoid monster climbing out of the harbor, causing widespread panic. The creature proves impervious to the weaponry of hastily summoned Army and National Guard units, but Sun Girl is able to force it to retreat back to the ocean depths by shining her sunbeam ray into its one good eye. She then tracks Doctor Drearr to the penthouse apartment where he has set up his laboratory. She finds him operating a device to summon more such monsters from the deep. She easily disarms Drearr and forces him to reverse the polarity of his energy beam so the creatures will be driven away from the city. The vengeful scientist tries to shove Sun Girl into the path of the beam, but she punches him in the face. Drearr stumbles into the beam and is shot out into the ocean like a human cannonball, where he drowns. Sun Girl then smashes up Drearr’s equipment with a fireman’s ax. The next day, she returns to the prison to inform the warden of Drearr’s death and the catastrophe he nearly caused.

Sun Girl pays a visit to the one-armed Judge John Murphy to inform him that the man who killed his parents has paid for his crimes with his life. Murphy is astonished that the woman who saved him from becoming a juvenile delinquent almost twenty years ago doesn’t seem to have aged a single day in all that time.

September 1948 – Sun Girl makes the acquaintance of the world-famous android crimefighter known as the Human Torch. His junior partner, Toro, has taken a leave of absence, leaving him feeling unusually lonely, and he is happy to have the company of a beautiful woman who does not fear his flame. The Torch and Sun Girl team up to clear the name of Robert Dammer, who was framed for murder by the mob boss Joe Esterban. Acting on information from Dammer’s girlfriend, the two heroes witness Esterban murdering notorious stool pigeon Morty Vance, whose fraudulent testimony ensured Dammer’s conviction. Thanks to the heroes’ timely intervention, Vance is able to confess to the police before he dies, exonerating Dammer. Esterban is then taken into custody and charged with Vance’s murder, while Dammer is cleared of the charges against him and released from prison.

Following this success, Sun Girl agrees to help the Torch investigate a case of insurance fraud involving a charity called the National Jazz Foundation, which has been linked to two suspicious deaths. They go to question the noted jazz trumpeter “Scorch” Liddel, who has been promoting the charity from the nightclub he manages. When the heroes arrive, they overhear Liddel arguing with his girlfriend Linda, who has recently made the charity the sole beneficiary of her life insurance policy. Before storming out, Linda reveals that the charity is actually run by Liddel’s boss, nightclub owner Timmy Jordan. The Torch suspects that Jordan is responsible for the deaths when he phones Liddel to say that his lost trumpet has been found and Linda is there waiting for him. The Torch flies on ahead to Jordan’s home while Sun Girl drives Liddel there in her sportscar. When they arrive, they find the Torch has caught Jordan attempting to bludgeon Linda to death with the trumpet, intending to frame Liddel. Jordan is taken into custody while Liddel proposes to Linda. Sun Girl realizes that she finds the Human Torch strangely attractive.

October 1948 – Sun Girl and the Human Torch stumble upon a scheme to smuggle diamonds into the country concealed inside lollipops. The surgeon behind the plot redeems himself when he saves a young girl who ingested one of the hidden diamonds, and the Torch decides to treat him with leniency. Shortly afterward, Sun Girl travels to a small city in Appalachia which is crumbling as the mine shafts underneath it collapse. The owner of the mine, Mr. Grimes, at first refuses to take responsibility, claiming that the measures he took when the mine was closed at the start of the Great Depression were satisfactory. This forces Sun Girl to undertake a perilous investigation of the mine, and she barely escapes a cave-in. When Grimes continues to frustrate her efforts to evacuate the city, Sun Girl barges into his mansion outside of town and confronts him. Grimes’s attitude quickly changes when the tunnels under his estate give way, wrecking his mansion and endangering his granddaughter. He then oversees a speedy evacuation of the city, which is utterly destroyed that night by a final, catastrophic collapse. Grimes assures Sun Girl that the insurance settlement will allow him to rebuild the community. Satisfied, she returns to New York.

Sun Girl joins in the manhunt for the mad scientist George Fredericks, who has escaped from the mental institution where he was committed after apparently murdering his research assistant. She tracks him to his abandoned laboratory and finds him about to smash up his complex array of electrical equipment with a lead pipe. Fearing Fredericks will be electrocuted, Sun Girl stops him, but he raves about needing to destroy the entities that killed his assistant. In order to prove his bizarre story, Fredericks activates his machines, which tear open a rift in the spacetime continuum, allowing weirdly translucent green aliens to materialize in the lab. One of the aliens immediately grabs Sun Girl by the throat and tries to strangle her, lending credence to Fredericks’s story, but the alien backs off when she shines her sunbeam ray in its face. Sun Girl then watches in horror as Fredericks sacrifices himself to close the rift, sealing the murderous aliens out of Earth’s dimension forever. The intense heat and vibrations emanating from the destabilized rift drive Sun Girl out of the building just seconds before it is annihilated by an implosion. When the police arrive on the scene, she tells them only that Fredericks was inside the building when it was destroyed, knowing they would never believe the truth. Sun Girl is struck by the irony that Fredericks gave his life to save humanity but will be remembered only as a homicidal maniac.

Sun Girl is giving an interview to newspaper reporter Ches Bradwyck in a coffee shop when their conversation is interrupted by two brothers fighting over their inheritance. Sun Girl breaks up the fight, but the disinherited brother, Dick Worth, and his shrewish wife Laura insult her and storm out. Curious, Sun Girl follows the other brother, John, home, learning that he is a medical doctor. After a large safe is delivered to his house, Sun Girl slips in through a window to check it out, finding herself in a private laboratory. However, John discovers her and warns her away from some radioactive materials he’s using for research. He dismisses her concern that Dick and Laura will try to steal the contents of the safe, so she leaves. After dinner, though, Sun Girl decides she’d better keep a discrete eye on the property in any case. She returns in time to see the greedy couple sneaking into the house and breaking open the safe. They then fight over a small package they find inside. When John surprises them, Dick shoots him in the chest, prompting Sun Girl to charge into the room and disarm him. She then informs the would-be thieves that the package they took from the lead-lined safe contains more radioactive materials, and by handling it without proper protection, they’ve given themselves fatal radiation poisoning. John is then rushed to the hospital, where he recovers from his gunshot wound, while Dick and Laura are sent to prison. They soon succumb to radiation sickness, but Sun Girl is satisfied that they’ve gotten their just deserts.

Sun Girl is enjoying the fall colors at the Quartz Lake recreation area when she saves a lovesick loser named Ferd Farrel from drowning. No sooner has she dragged him to safety than a gigantic humanoid shape made of crystal shards emerges from the water and wanders into the woods, where any living thing it touches is instantly petrified. To get help, Ferd leads Sun Girl to the chemical research laboratory where he works, about half a mile away. Unfortunately, Ferd’s boss, Professor Weaver, has already fallen victim to the monster’s touch. Leaving the scientist’s distraught daughter Elsie behind, Sun Girl and Ferd race to warn the residents of the nearest town. As the evacuation begins, Sun Girl sees more crystal monsters emerging from the lake and realizes they will likely reach New York City in a week if they can’t be stopped. When the military’s attempt to bomb the monsters ends in failure, Ferd admits that he is responsible for their rampage—after getting into an argument with Professor Weaver while attempting to impress Elsie with his assertiveness, Ferd stole the chemical mixture they were working on in a fit of pique and threw it into the lake, just moments before Sun Girl rescued him. Assuming that the chemical somehow interacted with the minerals in the lake water to produce the crystal monsters, Sun Girl takes Ferd back to the laboratory, where he works with Elsie to recreate the experiment. There, Sun Girl discovers the monsters’ weakness—dry ice breaks down their crystalline lattice, causing them to disintegrate. She quickly informs the military, which then uses bombers to drop packages of dry ice onto the shambling monsters, destroying them. Over the following week, the military neutralizes the chemicals in the lake after making a thorough study of the contaminated water. Meanwhile, Sun Girl plays matchmaker and convinces Elsie to pursue a romantic relationship with Ferd. She decides to keep the young couple’s role in the crisis a secret to protect their privacy.

November 1948 – Inspired by her own advice to Elsie Weaver, Sun Girl initiates a romance with the Human Torch. He proves to be very receptive to her advances, and although he is a synthetic man created in a laboratory only a decade ago, she finds him to be a very sensuous lover. The fact that he does not age also appeals to her. Shortly afterward, thousands of household pets and other domesticated animals suddenly start attacking and killing their owners, prompting the nation’s scientists to convene to analyze the strange phenomenon. Sun Girl and the Torch meet up with Captain America, his teammate in the All-Winners Squad, at a research institute in Manhattan where a Professor Jefferson reveals that the violence is being caused by energy rays emanating from another dimension. Jefferson speculates that the effect will soon spread to people, causing the human race to destroy itself in a paroxysm of murderous madness. However, he believes the Human Torch could use his dimensional-rift generator to travel to the other world and cut the rays off at the source. Sun Girl and Captain America are willing to accompany him, but since he alone possesses the power of flight, the Torch realizes he must undertake the dangerous mission alone. As Jefferson needs many hours to make the proper preparations, Sun Girl and the Torch spend a passionate night together, knowing it may be his last.

The next morning, they all meet up again on the tarmac at LaGuardia Airport in Queens, where Professor Jefferson has set up his dimensional-rift generator. As the Torch says his farewells, Sun Girl is surprised to find herself getting really emotional about it. A crowd of spectators watches in awe as the Torch flies through Jefferson’s dimensional gateway. Sun Girl and Captain America then join Jefferson in his control room to anxiously await the Torch’s return. Several hours later, Jefferson announces that the energy rays have ceased, meaning the Torch succeeded in that phase of his mission, but it remains to be seen if he’ll make it back to Earth safely. Soon after, the Torch comes hurtling out of the dimensional gateway with his flame extinguished. Captain America leaps into action and breaks his teammate’s fall, though both men are stunned by the impact. Sun Girl fears they’ve been killed, but they quickly revive. The Torch then reports that he encountered a race of demonic-looking creatures that inhabited a hellish landscape. They nearly overwhelmed him as he traced the energy rays back to their source, a huge boiling pool of fluid inside a cave. Several of the creatures were killed by a sudden meteor bombardment, he reveals, and the rest were drowned when he melted the basin that contained the unearthly fluid, flooding the cavern. After sealing the cave, he made the perilous journey back to Earth. Sun Girl is thrilled by her lover’s victory, and Captain America commends his bravery.

After entertaining the kids at a children’s hospital in Manhattan, Sun Girl playfully challenges the Human Torch to solve his next case without using his flame powers. The Torch accepts, adding that if he is forced to use his powers, he’ll donate $1,000 to the hospital for each time he flames on. A new case soon presents itself as the Torch is summoned to the state penitentiary to discuss a situation involving Dan Patcher, an armed robber whom the Torch apprehended back in 1940. There, Patcher reveals that the rest of his gang, who escaped capture, has been threatening his wife and nine-year-old son to force him to reveal the location of the loot from his last job. The Torch decides to disguise himself as Patcher to infiltrate the gang while Sun Girl guards his family. The next day, after getting tipped off by the Torch, Sun Girl leads the police to an abandoned building where the gang is holed up. Hearing machine gun fire, they storm in and find the Torch has been badly beaten by the gang after they discovered his deception. The criminals are quickly apprehended, and the Torch is rushed to the hospital for treatment. Sun Girl is very impressed that he took a beating without resorting to his flame powers. When the Torch also donates the $20,000 reward to the children’s hospital, Sun Girl decides to reward him with some tender loving.

While the Torch recuperates, Sun Girl pays a visit to Appalachia to check on the progress of the community devastated by the mine collapse. Mr. Grimes and his granddaughter drive her out to a new housing development to be named Suntown in her honor. Sun Girl agrees to come back for the dedication ceremony when the first phase of the planned 700 units is complete.

December 1948 – Sun Girl and the Human Torch face a diabolical death trap while assisting the police with tracking down a bank robber known in the media as “the Granite Bandit” for his use of quick-hardening liquid stone to immobilize his victims. The crook, a failed sculptor named Corelli, invites the heroic couple to his studio, where a trap door sends them into a deep shaft that quickly fills up with the liquid stone compound. Luckily, Corelli lowers breathing tubes to them before the sludge hardens, hoping to prolong their agony. This enables the Torch to use his flame to melt away the stone over the course of several hours. When Corelli and his gang return from another robbery that evening, Sun Girl and the Torch take them by surprise and confiscate the sludge-spraying “granite gun.” Though the gang is apprehended, Corelli manages to slip away in the confusion. Several days later, he takes Sun Girl by surprise and encases her in his liquid stone, having recreated his strange weapon. Unable to break free, she remains trapped for several hours before being rescued again by the Torch, who has finally captured Corelli. When the Torch asks Sun Girl how she’s doing after her grueling ordeal, she admits only to feeling hungry.

The appearance of an army of extraterrestrial phantoms in New York City causes a general panic, prompting Sun Girl to investigate. This leads her to the Westchester County estate of an elderly physicist named Professor Blair, whose adventurous son Arthur captured one of the aliens and confiscated its interdimensional transport device. Unfortunately, Arthur was fatally wounded while scouting out the alien dimension and has died. Having learned from his son that the phantoms are the spearhead of an invasion force, Professor Blair offers the transport device to Sun Girl. She agrees to travel to the aliens’ realm to try to head off the invasion. Once there, she is soon captured by the aliens’ ruthless dictator, Kain, and taken back to his palace, where she convinces Kain’s lover, Princess Cara, to aid her. Sun Girl then uses her sunbeam ray like a laser to destroy the armament factory where the transport devices are manufactured along with other weaponry. Following Kain and his troops into the interdimensional vortex, Sun Girl uses her sunbeam ray to destroy the transport devices on their belts. The resulting explosions tear apart Kain’s army and blast their bodies into Upper New York Bay, where they are soon washed into the ocean. Materializing in the harbor, Sun Girl swims to Battery Park and learns from Professor Blair that the aliens’ advance preparations caused only very limited damage. She is confident that Princess Cara will not pursue Kain’s dreams of conquest.

After helping the authorities stop a large gorilla that escaped from a circus, Sun Girl rescues a scientist who is drifting through the sky after an anti-gravity experiment goes awry. The scientist explains that he inadvertently recruited the small-time crook “Peanuts” McCoy as a test subject. The experiment granted McCoy the ability to leap high into the air and land without injury, like a human grasshopper. McCoy then used the anti-gravity device to render the scientist weightless and made good his escape. However, while pursuing McCoy, Sun Girl and the crook are both abducted by aliens and taken to their distant planet, Zarko. There, the Zarkovian Council of Elders informs the pair that they are to be indoctrinated in Zarkovian philosophy and returned to Earth as their emissaries. Balking at the prospect, McCoy produces a gun and shoots a couple of the councilors before Sun Girl can tackle him. The disgusted Zarkovians immediately gas their two prisoners into unconsciousness.

January 1949 – When Sun Girl comes to, she finds herself and “Peanuts” McCoy lying in a field on Earth. To his chagrin, McCoy discovers that he has lost his superhuman leaping ability, the effects of the anti-gravity experiment having worn off while he was in space. Sun Girl easily apprehends the crook and delivers him to the nearest police station, where she learns a month has passed since their abduction. She assumes the Zarkovians canceled their plans after witnessing human brutality firsthand.

Sun Girl contacts the Human Torch, who has been frantic with worry since she vanished four weeks ago, and they resume their torrid love affair. After having sex in his apartment, they are watching television coverage of a hockey game when the broadcast is interrupted by a news bulletin. The heroes are shocked to learn that U.S. President Harry S. Truman has vanished into thin air outside the White House. They race to Washington, DC to offer their help to the investigation. When various random people and objects continue to disappear throughout the day, the Torch, acting on a hunch, takes Sun Girl to Independence Hall in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. There, they manage to grab onto the Liberty Bell as it begins to disappear and find themselves transported to another dimension, where everything appears strangely distorted. They quickly rescue President Truman from a museum where he has been put on display with the other loot from Earth. The aliens are not prepared for the Torch’s flame powers, and he is thus able to force them to surrender. All the kidnapped people and stolen objects are then returned to their point of origin, and Sun Girl and the Human Torch head back to New York City.

Sun Girl and the Human Torch investigate the crime spree of a down-on-his-luck comedian known as Mark Funny, who has developed a hypnotic ability that causes people to laugh uncontrollably. When Funny forces three elderly millionaires to laugh themselves to death, the heroes realize he has moved beyond armed robbery and is now a murderer. They track Funny to his hideout in the basement of his mentor’s mansion and take him into custody. Funny is subsequently sentenced to die in the electric chair.

Sun Girl takes a train out to the Hopi Reservation in Arizona when she is invited to participate in their Festival of the Sun. She is met by a tribal delegation and is treated to a traditional Hopi feast that evening, followed by a meet-and-greet event for local VIPs. Afterwards, while relaxing in her hotel room, Sun Girl hears a news bulletin on the radio reporting that a nearby jewelry store has been robbed by “unearthly beings.” Tired out by her busy day, she decides to let the local police handle it. Over breakfast the next morning, she reads more about the robbery and subsequent crimes, which seem to have been committed by a trio of small robots who are only interested in gold, ignoring all other valuables. Though intrigued by the strange case, she heads off to the Hopi festival, where she is greeted with much pomp and circumstance. She gives a speech expressing her deep appreciation for Hopi culture, but when the Hopi hail her as “the golden goddess,” she begins to worry that they have somehow divined her true identity. She leaves the festival without stopping to sign autographs, only to be ambushed by the three robots, who shock her into unconsciousness.

When she comes to, Sun Girl discovers she has again been kidnapped by aliens and is en route to their home planet, Autan. The robots reveal that they were sent to Earth to get gold, for which their “brain-master” has an insatiable appetite. For some reason, the robots believe Sun Girl to be “all gold.” When the ship lands on the gloomy, barren world, the robots shackle Sun Girl’s wrists behind her back and chain her ankles together. She is then led into the presence of the brain-master, a hideous cyborg creature composed of a gigantic organic brain with a sort of face beneath it and various mechanical appendages. Communicating telepathically, the brain-master tells Sun Girl of its plan to strip-mine Earth for all its gold. She finds the telepathic touch of its thoughts loathsome in the extreme. Another robot then enters and reports that the humanoid slaves who labor in the brain-master’s gold mines are refusing to work. Unwilling to stand by while the slaves are summarily executed, Sun Girl offers to intercede on the brain-master’s behalf. The monster relents and orders the robots to take Sun Girl out to the gold mines, though she is to remain shackled at all times.

Arriving at the labor camp, Sun Girl finds a ragtag group of half-naked slaves with their leader, Grail, a tall, well-built man. She convinces Grail not to offer any resistance until he hears her proposals. They are then joined by Grail’s blind wife, Mara, whereupon Sun Girl quietly outlines her plan to destroy the brain-master and free the slaves. Thus, Grail announces that the revolt is over and that his people will return to work while he is taken hostage. The robots shackle Grail in the same manner as Sun Girl and transport the two prisoners back to the brain-master’s lair. When he sees the brain-master for the first time, Grail recoils in exaggerated horror and purposefully backs into Sun Girl. She activates her sunbeam ray and disintegrates Grail’s shackles. While he keeps the monster busy, Sun Girl frees herself, then fires a searing energy beam at the gigantic brain, burning through its quivering tissues. As the brain-master dies, its robots cease to function and collapse. Sun Girl and Grail then hike back to the gold mines to liberate the slaves. Subsequently, Grail and Mara take Sun Girl back to Earth in the robots’ spaceship and drop her off. Sun Girl feels pretty proud of herself for literally saving an entire civilization with both hands tied behind her back.

February 1949 – Sun Girl and the Human Torch take a romantic vacation to a ski resort in the Swiss Alps. While there, they discover that a mad scientist called Professor Grimm has kidnapped a toddler from a hospital in Geneva and turned him into a giant he refers to as “Borkor.” The giant toddler begins terrorizing the resort and the nearby village as Grimm steals resources to continue his experiments. The heroes track Borkor to Grimm’s hidden laboratory in a cave high up on the mountain. When Grimm heads down to the village for supplies, Sun Girl and the Human Torch slip into the cave. Using Grimm’s notes, they create a serum to reverse the effects of the experiment and inject it into Borkor’s body. He immediately goes berserk and charges down the mountain to the village, where he accidentally crushes Grimm to death with a broken tree trunk. The serum then finally takes effect, changing Borkor back to his normal size. After contacting the authorities in Geneva, Sun Girl and the Torch reunite Borkor, whose real name turns out to be Felix, with his parents. The grateful couple insists that the heroes join them for a homecooked meal and a cozy evening in front of the fireplace. After enjoying the rest of their lovers’ getaway, Sun Girl and the Human Torch head home to New York City.

Sun Girl arranges to interview a young astronomer, Elmo Vandal, who is doing some interesting research on cosmic rays. When she arrives at the observatory, though, she finds Vandal and his senior colleague, Professor Lowe, frantically trying to track a strange metallic sphere with their telescope. Vandal explains that the sphere seems to be giving off a rhythmic signal, such as might be produced by an alien intelligence. Professor Lowe takes a moment to introduce Sun Girl to his daughter Inez and his research assistant Roger Reed. Suddenly, the telescope’s scanner screen explodes in Vandal’s face, dazzling him with an intense burst of light. Vandal refuses to seek medical attention and orders everyone except Reed to vacate the premises. Outside, Lowe apologizes to Sun Girl for the cancellation of the interview. Noting an abrupt change in Vandal’s demeanor following the explosion, Sun Girl returns home. Not long after, she meets with newspaper reporter Ches Bradwyck again and tells him all about her encounter with the Worth family, revealing that John Worth has returned to his medical research while Dick and Laura are dying of radiation poisoning in jail. Breswyck admits that it’s a crackerjack story.

March 1949 – Sun Girl is surprised when Inez Lowe turns up on her doorstep, clearly despondent over recent events at the observatory. Concerned by the situation, Sun Girl returns to the scene and arrives in time to watch as the strange metallic sphere comes in for a gentle landing near the building. Vandal and Reed run outside to meet it, only to be menaced by slimy tentacles that emerge from portholes on the sphere’s surface. Sun Girl charges in, but one of the tentacles whips around and slams her into a tree branch, knocking her out. When she comes to, Sun Girl sees Vandal, apparently under the mental domination of the creature within the sphere, shoot Reed in the back. She tackles Vandal and disarms him just as Professor Lowe and Inez arrive in their car. Though grievously wounded, Reed tells Inez to get inside the observatory and shut off Vandal’s machine. Sun Girl keeps the tentacles busy to allow Inez to succeed. The sphere immediately lifts off, but a tentacle shoots out and grabs Vandal, carrying him up into the sky. Sun Girl is content to let Vandal die in the upper atmosphere, but Professor Lowe insists they try to save him by reactivating the machine. They enter the observatory but find that Inez has wrecked the machine with a fireman’s ax and set it on fire. Inez regrets her rash action, though, when she realizes that Reed’s wounds are not fatal. Reed is taken to the hospital, where he makes a full recovery. He confirms that the creature within the sphere was bent on world conquest and was using Vandal like a puppet. Having looked through the telescope, Sun Girl knows that Vandal was hauled inside the sphere as it rose through the air, and she wonders what horrors the hapless scientist will face in outer space.

Sun Girl and the Human Torch take a transcontinental flight aboard a DC-3 from New York City to Los Angeles. Somewhere over the Grand Canyon, a dazzling beam of light shoots up from the ground and disables the plane’s systems. The Human Torch exits the aircraft and enables it to make a safe landing at the nearest airstrip. Upon investigation, the two heroes discover a plot to drive the airline into bankruptcy so it can be taken over by the Eastern Star corporation. The treacherous executive is exposed, and his energy beam is destroyed by the Torch. With the situation resolved, Sun Girl and the Human Torch continue on their way to California.

April 1949 – Back in New York City, Sun Girl and the Human Torch are frustrated by the ingenious crime spree of Dizzy Daze, a goofy-looking crook in a clownish outfit. His latest heist, committed the previous day, was stealing the world’s largest emerald from Tiffany & Co. on Fifth Avenue, right out from under the nose of the store’s security team. The heroes head out to locate Daze, and they soon find him and his partner-in-crime, Monk Mayhem, flying around high above the city in a single-engine plane trailing a banner emblazoned with a challenge to the Torch. The heroes approach somewhat overconfidently and are captured by Daze’s elaborate gizmos. Dangling Sun Girl beneath the plane, Daze demands that the Torch sell the stolen emerald back to Tiffany’s for a million dollars. Worried for his lover’s safety, the Torch agrees. He takes the emerald and flies off through the clouds. Sometime later, he returns carrying a check, and Sun Girl is irritated that Daze has gotten the better of them. A moment later, things go from bad to worse when Daze suddenly sends her plummeting toward the ground. The Torch comes blazing out of the plane and saves her, setting her safely down on terra firma before streaking off after their foes again. A few hours later, Sun Girl rendezvous with the Human Torch, and she is gratified to learn that both Daze and Mayhem are in police custody. She commends the Torch for remaining undefeated.

Soon after, the Human Torch’s regular partner, the 20-year-old Toro, returns from his leave of absence. He is not happy to find he’s been replaced by a woman and is clearly jealous of the Torch’s relationship with the blond bombshell. Sun Girl quickly grows annoyed with the Torch’s inability to resolve his divided loyalties, and as tensions escalate, the couple decides to take a break from each other. Sun Girl elects to leave New York for a while and travel the world. She soon convinces herself that her relationship with the Human Torch was only tying her down, though she hopes their estrangement will ultimately convince the Torch to choose her over Toro.

May 1949 – Hearing tales of a lost tribe of Aztecs who still worship the sun, Sun Girl hooks up with a scientific expedition in that region of Mexico that is setting up to photograph a total solar eclipse. She hits it off with the handsome Professor Leary and is disturbed several days later when Leary is kidnapped by the lost tribe while off with a scouting party in the jungle. Unwilling to wait for government troops to handle the situation, Sun Girl sets off into the jungle to rescue Leary on her own. She soon discovers the Aztecs in a remote valley and is horrified to see that they are literally cooking Leary to death using large lenses to focus the sun’s rays on him while he is tied to a post atop their temple. She tries to convince the high priest that she is a messenger from their sun god, Huitzilopochtli, but the priest is not fooled since he was educated out in the civilized world. He orders the temple guards to chain Sun Girl to a post next to Leary, who is mumbling deliriously about the impending solar eclipse. Realizing it’s about to start, Sun Girl calls out to the Aztecs, warning them that the wrath of Huitzilopochtli will darken the sky. When this comes to pass, the terrified Aztecs turn on their high priest and, ignoring his attempts to explain the phenomenon, hurl him from the top of the temple. He is killed instantly when his body hits the ground. After the eclipse passes, the grateful Aztecs escort Sun Girl and Leary out of the valley. Back at their base camp, Sun Girl decides not to pursue a relationship with Leary, feeling ready to return to the United States. She does consider writing their experience up as an adventure novel, though.

June 1949 – Back in New York City, Sun Girl is reluctant to contact the Human Torch, hoping he’ll make the first move. She regrets her stratagem, though, when it is reported that both the Torch and Toro have vanished without a trace. She immediately begins an investigation into their disappearances, but the few clues she finds all lead to dead ends. She worries that the Torch’s winning streak against organized crime has finally come to an ignominious end. Despite her own efforts and a full-scale police investigation, no sign of the two flaming crimefighters can be found. Sun Girl is emotionally devastated. Soon after, the remaining members of the All-Winners Squad decide to disband.

July 1949 – Sun Girl realizes that the age of superheroes has come to a close. She acknowledges that her own war on crime has fizzled out due to her obsessive search for her android lover, and so she decides to hang up her black-and-gold costume once and for all.

August 1949 – Odin contacts Sun Girl and commands her to return to Asgard and resume her true identity as Sól, goddess of the sun. The All-Father reveals that he has banished his headstrong son Thor to Earth in the form of a mortal medical student and doesn’t want to risk him encountering any other Asgardians. Sól dutifully obeys and abandons her life on Earth, soon reuniting with Mundilfari and Máni in Odin’s kingdom.

October 1949 – Sól joins the rest of the Ásynjur as they begin their scheduled 20-year shift watching over the nine Young Gods that have been gathered over the last millennium and kept in suspended animation in anticipation of the coming of the Fourth Host of the Celestials. In their hidden underground temple, which is unwittingly guarded by Fafnir the Dragon, Sól regales the other goddesses with stories of her two decades of adventure on Midgard.


Notes:

1928–1930 – Sun Girl’s history with Doctor Drearr and Johnny Murphy is revealed in the second and third stories in Sun Girl #1. At the end of Johnny’s tale, he appears with Sun Girl as an adult judge in his courtroom, indicating that the bulk of the story took place many years previously. I believe it was long before she adopted her superhero identity, and so the depiction of her as Sun Girl in the story is inaccurate. Interestingly, this is about the only story in which she appears in civilian clothes. I derived the alias “Sunny Monday” from her real name (Sól, daughter of Mundilfari) with the presumption that her first attempt at creating a human identity would not be entirely convincing. As far as I know, the Norse goddess Sól has never appeared in a Marvel comic.

1931–1947 – The name “Mary Mitchell” comes from Roy Thomas’s non-canonical Saga of the Original Human Torch #3, where, true to form, he made her a simpering secretary with no superpowers.

July–August 1948 – Sun Girl roots out corruption in the police department in the first story in Sun Girl #1, in which her reputation as a crimefighter is already established. She never received a proper origin story during her original run. Doctor Drearr seeks revenge on her in the second story in the same issue. Presumably, the monsters from the deep that Doctor Drearr summons are the result of the Deviants’ genetic experiments. As mentioned above, Sun Girl makes a one-panel cameo in the present day with Judge John Murphy at the end of the third story. She does not appear to have aged at all since he was a teenager.

September 1948 – Sun Girl first joins forces with the original Human Torch in two stories in Human Torch Comics #32. This issue also features the first appearance of Sun Girl’s black sportscar, which looks like a bullet-nosed Studebaker Champion to me.

October 1948 – Sun Girl assists the Human Torch with the case of the deadly lollipops in Marvel Mystery Comics #88. Later in the same issue, she goes solo to Appalachia. The collapsing city is fictionalized as “Largetown” but may be in the vicinity of ill-fated Clairton, West Virginia. Sun Girl then meets George Fredericks, the Worth family, and Ferd Farrel in the three stories in Sun Girl #2.

November 1948 – The Captain America who appears in Human Torch Comics #33 is Jeff Mace, the third man to wear the costume. He served in the Liberty Legion during the war as the Patriot. In the story as written, the Human Torch flies to the planet Jupiter under his own power. This is, of course, impossible, so I decided the aliens must inhabit some hellish other dimension instead. It seems likely, in fact, that the demonic creatures seen in this story are actually the N’Garai. Their boiling pool of fluid that emits some kind of energy that drives mortal beings into murderous madness is similar in many ways to the Sa’arpools used by the N’Garai. This may reveal what sort of thing lies on the other side of the three Sa’arpools on Earth. I would speculate that the Torch’s description of his experience convinced Professor Jefferson that he’d created a portal to hell, and he then destroyed his dimensional-rift generator out of religious conviction. Sun Girl and the Human Torch then team up to help the Patcher family in Captain America Comics #69. Sun Girl returns to Appalachia in the last four panels of the second story in Marvel Mystery Comics #88.

December 1948 – Sun Girl and the Human Torch defeat the Granite Bandit in the first story in Marvel Mystery Comics #89. Sun Girl’s hours-long imprisonment inside a shell of stone suggests that she cannot die from suffocation. In the second story in the same issue, Sun Girl works alone to stop Kain’s invasion of Earth. It is here revealed that her “sunbeam ray” is a devastating weapon rather than just a powerful flashlight. Sun Girl then stops the rampaging gorilla (I believe the King Kong elements of the story are exaggerated) and captures the obnoxious “Peanuts” McCoy in the two stories in Sun Girl #3, the last issue of her solo series.

January 1949 – Sun Girl and the Human Torch rescue President Truman from a dimension with the unlikely name of “Flatula,” they stop the murderous crime spree of a comedian with the unlikely name of “Mark Funny,” and she goes it alone (while in bondage) against the unlikely threat of the gold-eating alien brain-master in the three rather crude tales presented in Human Torch Comics #34. The location of the Hopi Reservation is misidentified in the story as New Mexico rather than Arizona.

February 1949 – Sun Girl and the Human Torch take a ski trip to Europe and fight a big baby in the first story in Marvel Mystery Comics #90. She then visits Professor Lowe’s observatory in the first part of the second story in the same issue. Her visit with Ches Bradwyck occurs in the last panel of the second story in Sun Girl #2.

March 1949 – The adventure at Professor Lowe’s observatory picks up a month later in the second part of the second story in Marvel Mystery Comics #90. Sun Girl and the Human Torch then travel to Los Angeles for some reason (and foil some corporate shenanigans along the way) in Human Torch Comics #35, at which point that series was cancelled.

April 1949 – Sun Girl and the Human Torch have their last adventure together in Marvel Mystery Comics #91, taking on the clownish Dizzy Daze.

May 1949 – We next see Sun Girl in an odd little two-page featurette published a year and half later in Marvel Tales #97. (Marvel Mystery Comics was re-christened after it was converted into a horror anthology book). It may well have been pieced together using panels from a leftover story. The Aztecs are misidentified as Incas, and they are said to worship the Egyptian god Ra for some unfathomable reason. Clearly, the writer of this tale didn’t do any research at all, so I fixed it. This would prove to be the character’s final appearance.

June 1949 – The disappearance of the Human Torch and Toro is revealed a few years later in Young Men #24.

July 1949 – Captain America Comics also came to an end at this time, drawing the curtain down on Marvel’s Golden Age of Superheroes.

August 1949 – Thor’s banishment to Earth is first shown in Thor #159 and revisited much later in Thor #415. I place it at this point in the chronology to have enough time for Donald Blake to complete his medical education and establish his own private practice before regaining his godly identity in 1962. For more details, see my Thor chronology.

October 1949 – The Ásynjur are seen returning to Asgard in Thor #274, which takes place in 1969. It’s possible that Sól is one of the unidentified blond goddesses appearing in that scene. Their role in the plan to stop the Fourth Host of the Celestials from destroying the world is explained in Thor #301.

To view these events in a wider context, see OMU: Ancient History 4.


Next Issue: Ant-Man – Year Five


Friday

OMU History: Avengers 1966

The Fifth Annual Avengers Christmas Charity Benefit, December 1966.

Vision, Scarlet Witch, Black Panther, Thor, Iron Man, Captain America, Swordsman, and Mantis standing in front of an Avengers Mansion fireplace next to a Christmas tree.

L to R: Vision, Scarlet Witch, Black Panther, Thor, Iron Man, Captain America, Swordsman, Mantis

Wednesday

OMU: Scarlet Witch -- Part Five

The Scarlet Witch struggles with anti-mutant prejudice over the next twelve months of her career and becomes something of a pariah among her teammates in the Avengers when she meets fear with loathing. Following another humiliating experience at the hands of Magneto and the breakdown of her relationship with her twin brother Quicksilver, Wanda is unable to deal with the public backlash after her romance with the android Vision makes headlines. Worse, a fanatical “human-supremacist” terrorist group pushes her past her breaking point, sending Wanda into an emotional tailspin. She becomes bitter and intolerant, routinely making bigoted comments about the failings of Homo sapiens, and the Vision’s cold, analytical responses only stoke Wanda’s anger. It even reaches the point where their love affair starts to buckle under the stress. A turning point is reached, though, when Wanda receives some startling revelations about her origins.

Note: The following timeline depicts the Original Marvel Universe (anchored to November 1961 as the first appearance of the Fantastic Four and proceeding forward from there. See previous posts for a detailed explanation of my rationale.) Some information presented on the timeline is speculative and some is based on historical accounts. See the Notes section at the end for clarifications.


Here, then, is the fifth installment of… The True History of the Scarlet Witch!


January 1966 – The Scarlet Witch’s search for her missing brother, Quicksilver, finally ends one morning when Thor interrupts an Avengers training session to summon her to the communications room. Also accompanied by the Vision, Captain America, Iron Man, and the Black Panther, Wanda enters to see Pietro on the large viewscreen, calling from the Great Refuge of the Inhumans. Standing next to him is Crystal, the Human Torch’s ex-girlfriend and a member of the Inhumans’ royal family. Wanda’s heart leaps for joy and she feels a tide of relief wash over her as Pietro explains that he has been unable to contact her before now since he’s been recovering from near-fatal wounds sustained while attempting to rescue Wanda from the Sentinels’ Australian base last October. Crystal rescued him with the help of her teleporting dog Lockjaw, he reveals, and has nursed him back to health. Wanda is overjoyed to hear that Pietro and Crystal have fallen in love and are planning on getting married, and she announces that she, too, has fallen in love—with the Vision. Pietro is unexpectedly angered by this declaration, leading to an argument that makes the rest of the Avengers rather uncomfortable. Finally, Pietro flatly forbids the match and hangs up on her. The Vision moves in to comfort Wanda as she starts to cry. Suddenly, the team receives a transmission from the X-Men’s secret headquarters, which has been trashed in a battle. Their leader, Professor Charles Xavier, speaks defiantly to the villain who is filming him, but then the screen goes dark. The Avengers agree to seek out the X-Men’s mansion and do what they can to help their fellow superheroes.

En route to the secluded estate in Westchester County, Cap tries to reassure Wanda that she doesn’t have to play by her brother’s rules—if Pietro can’t accept her relationship with the Vision, that’s his choice, not hers. Wanda appreciates Cap’s efforts but tries to focus her mind on the mission at hand. When the Avengers arrive, they quickly discover Professor X, Cyclops, Marvel Girl, and Iceman in the wreckage, all of whom appear to be comatose. Iron Man carries out a winged man they assume to be the Angel, only to face four rampaging dinosaurs that are under the control of a sort of Pied Piper figure who emerges from the woods. After defeating the dinosaurs, the Avengers try to capture the Piper, but they are stopped by Magneto, who is wearing the Angel’s black-and-white costume and laughing about how he fooled Iron Man with a pair of false wings. Wanda is horrified to see her tormentor again, having dreaded this moment since he disappeared after raiding a government research facility in the Pacific Northwest a year ago. Announcing that he is kidnapping the X-Men, Magneto grabs Wanda and uses his powers to send Iron Man crashing into Captain America, knocking them both out. Then, covering his escape with a flurry of boulders, Magneto carries Wanda and his six other prisoners into the Quinjet and takes off. The villain laughs maniacally and boasts of his new mind-control powers as Wanda tries desperately to rouse Cap, Iron Man, Cyclops, Marvel Girl, Iceman, and Professor X. Finally, she feels her own will being sapped away, knowing that she will soon be Magneto’s helpless slave.

Wanda struggles to resist as Magneto marches his new superhero slaves into his underground lair, but to no avail. As the others watch impassively, Wanda burns with shame as she is forced to dance for the villain’s perverse enjoyment. His obsequious lackey, Piper, also enjoys the lewd display, adding to Wanda’s humiliation. She dreads to think what she will be made to do that night, remembering the previous times Magneto had her in his power. After nightfall, however, Magneto orders his slaves back aboard the stolen Quinjet and flies them to another remote mansion where a meeting of the Atomic Energy Commission is being held. The Secret Service agents on the scene are easily defeated, and the commissioners are being marched to the Quinjet when the Vision, Thor, and the Black Panther storm in, accompanied by the Black Widow and Daredevil. Unfortunately, they fail to prevent Magneto from kidnapping the commissioners. Thor pursues their airship but is forced to disengage when Iron Man dangles Captain America out of the hatch. Wanda is sickened by the way they are being used like puppets, but, try as she might, she cannot break free of Magneto’s control.

In his subterranean headquarters, Magneto rants and raves to the commissioners about his plan to inundate the world with radiation, thereby killing off 92% of the human race and turning the few survivors into mutants that he can rule. Wanda can only wonder what has happened to Magneto, as he seems highly erratic and hardly the man she remembers. As the villain concentrates on taking over the minds of the commissioners, Wanda is relieved when Thor, the Black Panther, the Black Widow, and Daredevil come crashing into the hideout, though she immediately worries about what has become of the Vision, who is conspicuously absent. Magneto then directs her and her fellow captives to attack their rescuers, seeming as though he merely finds the battle amusing. When Magneto easily brings the Black Widow under his control, Wanda starts to lose heart. However, Piper calmly walks up behind Magneto and knocks him out with a karate chop to the back of the neck. To Wanda’s relief, the Vision then phases out of Piper’s body, explaining that he used his ability to alter his density to affect his own form of mind control. Professor X then places Magneto into a telepathically induced coma, freeing Wanda and the others from the villain’s mental domination. The Professor is concerned when Iron Man notes that they found no trace of the Angel in the wrecked mansion, as his disappearance remains unexplained. The X-Men then take the unconscious Magneto and Piper back to their nearby headquarters. Captain America conveys the Avengers’ thanks to Daredevil and the Black Widow and offers them full membership on the team. Daredevil declines but the Black Widow accepts, causing a rift between them. Daredevil leaves in a huff, and later the Black Panther arranges for a Quinjet to take him back to San Francisco. Thoroughly exhausted, Wanda falls into the Vision’s arms, grateful to have been rescued from Magneto’s clutches before he could molest her again. However, she still considers the abuse she suffered in the past to be her deepest, darkest secret.

Back at Avengers Mansion, Wanda intervenes to spare the Black Widow from Iron Man’s lecherous attentions. While showing Natasha to the room that the butler, Edwin Jarvis, has prepared for her, Wanda gushes about her love affair with the Vision but immediately regrets it when she remembers that the Black Widow has just broken up with Daredevil. They are distracted when a mob of African-American militants pounds on the front door, demanding that the Black Panther come outside. Before the Avengers can react, the mob breaks down the door and opens fire with rifles. The Scarlet Witch and Iron Man drive them back, but they continue to chant that the Black Panther must return to Africa, where his people need him. As the situation escalates, a man in a trenchcoat emerges from the crowd and forces the Black Panther to worship him. The man suddenly transforms into a gigantic armored demon who calls himself the “Lion God,” then teleports away with the Black Panther, leaving the mob disoriented and confused. As the crowd disperses, the frustrated Avengers realize the people had been entranced by the Lion God just as the Black Panther was. As Captain America leaves to consult with S.H.I.E.L.D., the Scarlet Witch follows the other Avengers to their conference room for a strategy session. However, it’s not long before the Lion God appears, with the Black Panther his helpless prisoner, and attacks them. After quickly taking out Thor and the Vision, the Lion God causes two lions to materialize and sets them on the rest of the team. Iron Man is knocked out while saving the Black Widow from one of the lions. The Black Panther breaks out of his shackles and saves Wanda from the other lion while she is tending to the unconscious Vision, but she and the Black Widow are almost immediately knocked out by another blast from the villain’s totem-stick. When she comes to, Wanda finds that Thor managed to defeat the Lion God by blowing up his totem-stick with a lightning strike, which caused their foe to vanish in a burst of blinding light. Thor assumes the Lion God has been destroyed, but Iron Man isn’t convinced and decides to have some additional security devices installed throughout the mansion. Wanda is very disappointed when the Black Widow resigns from the team to return to San Francisco to be with Daredevil, as she enjoyed having another woman around the mansion to talk to.

February 1966 – Wanda is surprised when Pietro arrives at Avengers Mansion towards the middle of the month, intent on talking her out of her love affair with their synthezoid teammate. The twins argue for an entire day, but neither is willing to budge and their exchange becomes increasingly heated. The Vision maintains a respectful distance throughout, but Thor becomes concerned that the twins will both say something they’ll regret. Thus, he makes sure that Captain America and the Black Panther are on hand the next day for Sunday brunch. Wanda is clearly distraught and Pietro is sullen as Jarvis serves the meal. Suddenly, the entire building is transported to the 23rd century by Kang the Conqueror. With the element of surprise, Kang is able to knock out everyone in the mansion. Wanda awakens sometime later to find herself and her teammates in the shattered remains of a bank of stasis tubes in Kang’s fortress. Iron Man is now among them, obviously having been captured as well. They have been freed by Black Bolt, Gorgon, Karnak, and Triton of the Inhumans, while Kang lies defeated under some rubble nearby. Spider-Man then enters, having captured Thor’s old foe Zarrko the Tomorrow Man. However, as Spider-Man hustles everyone out of the citadel for transport back to the 20th century, they discover that Kang tricked them with a robot double and made good his escape. The voice of the real Kang then mocks them over the loudspeaker. As Zarrko is turned over to the local authorities, Spider-Man explains how he and the Human Torch tracked down and destroyed three chronal-displacement bombs that Zarrko sent back to the 20th century to destroy civilization, after which Black Bolt’s brother, Maximus the Mad, was able to convert one of the bombs into a crude but effective time machine. Suddenly, with a blinding flash of light, the Scarlet Witch, Quicksilver, the Vision, Captain America, Thor, Iron Man, the Black Panther, Spider-Man, and Jarvis find themselves back on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan, standing outside Avengers Mansion. Assuming the Inhumans returned directly to their Great Refuge in the Himalayas, Thor notes that the team owes them a profound debt of gratitude. Feeling slighted, Spider-Man makes a wise-ass remark and swings away. Entering their headquarters, the Avengers find they’ve been gone for two days. Realizing that his arguments are falling on deaf ears, Pietro issues Wanda an ultimatum and storms out to return to the Inhumans’ hidden city. Devastated, Wanda retires to her bedroom and sobs until the Vision comes to comfort her. She clings to him, feeling that he’s all she has left.

The Scarlet Witch, the Vision, Captain America, Thor, Iron Man, and the Black Panther respond when the Avengers are called in by the city to make repairs to the Statue of Liberty, which was heavily damaged by a giant monster a few months ago. A mishap causes the statue’s right hand to break off and plummet toward Wanda. The Vision swoops in to rescue her as their teammates deal with the falling debris. Overcome with passion, Wanda embraces the Vision and kisses him, much to the shock of the crowds watching from below. By the time the heroes return to Avengers Mansion, news of the romance between the mutant woman and the android man has spread like wildfire. The next day, they receive mountains of mail expressing all manner of views on the relationship, some of it positive. Wanda admits to the Vision that she had expected much more negativity from the general public due to pervasive anti-mutant prejudice and is feeling cautiously optimistic. He expresses his own apprehensions about the shifting tides of public opinion. When some of New York’s more obnoxious residents appear at the mansion’s front door, Iron Man and the Black Panther send them away. After a few days, the hubbub dies down.

March 1966 – Wanda celebrates her 16th birthday, though she continues to claim to have forgotten how old she is, not wanting her teammates to treat her like a junior member. She feels rather melancholy, though, as this is the first time she and Pietro have not celebrated their birthday together. Worse, they’re not even on speaking terms. The Vision is very attentive, though, and helps her keep her spirits up.

The Scarlet Witch and the Vision join Captain America, Thor, Iron Man, and the Black Panther when they go out to stop a gang of neo-Nazis that is beating up Jews in the street. The Avengers make short work of the neo-Nazis, but suddenly they are rushed by a suicide bomber who detonates the explosives strapped to her chest and seriously damages the Vision, who appears to have been her target. Wanda is shocked and horrified, but Thor and Iron Man think they can save the Vision by working from the schematics Ant-Man drew up after his explorations of the synthezoid’s interior last year. Cradling the Vision in his arms, Iron Man flies at once to the Long Island laboratories of Stark Industries. Desperate to make some sense of the situation, Wanda asks Thor if he, being something more than human, has any insight into why anyone would do such a thing. The thunder god responds that it seems to be blind, unreasoning hatred and nothing more. As Thor flies off to fetch the surgeon Donald Blake, Wanda feels such a hatred swelling in her heart—a hatred for that evolutionary dead end called Homo sapiens.

Shortly after arriving at Stark Industries, Wanda is called into a sophisticated laboratory where the Black Panther, Don Blake, and Tony Stark are feeding concentrated solar energy directly into the jewel on the Vision’s forehead. Unfortunately, they report, the Vision had begun to increase his density just before the explosion, and it remains too high for them to penetrate his flesh. Thus, Wanda takes the Vision’s hand and whispers into his ear, gently pleading with him to relax. The tactic works, and Blake is soon able to make an incision into the patient’s chest cavity. The men work feverishly for some time while Wanda watches anxiously. When they hear an explosion outside, Wanda runs out to see what’s going on and discovers that more suicide bombers have come to finish the Vision off. Outraged, Wanda slams the intruders battling Captain America with a hex blast, then returns to the lab to warn the others. Stark steps out to summon Iron Man to lend a hand, and when he returns several minutes later, he suggests that Blake see if he can find Thor. After Blake has left, Stark encourages the Scarlet Witch and the Black Panther to join the fray as well, insisting that he can finish the repairs on his own. They do so, and within a few minutes, the last of the bombers detonate their explosives and kill themselves. The Avengers are shocked by such reckless fanaticism. A few minutes later, Stark emerges from the laboratory to announce that the Vision should make a full recovery. Wanda’s relief is overwhelmed by an indignant rage, and she rants about the way the Vision has been treated—even by her own brother—despite his many heroic acts. Shaking with anger and grief, she storms out and slams the door. She spends the rest of the month helping the Vision through his recovery. With all the suicide bombers dead, the Avengers are unable to learn anything more about their motives.

April 1966 – Wanda realizes that she’s coming around to Pietro’s way of thinking about non-mutants, having previously dismissed his rants as foolishness. She suspects that part of Crystal’s appeal is that Pietro would never have to live among humans as long as they’re together, which prompts her to fantasize about retreating with the Vision to some remote tropical island. Passing the team’s combat-simulation room, she finds Captain America and Iron Man putting the Vision through his paces to judge whether he has recovered enough to return to active duty. Wanda is offended when Captain America makes a big deal about how different the Vision is from an ordinary man, feeling that even their so-called friends seem to go out of their way to make the couple feel like freaks. Throwing on some street clothes, Wanda storms out of the mansion and goes for a walk down Fifth Avenue. Outside a construction site, though, she is harassed by a couple of construction workers. Their obscene comments make Wanda’s rage boil over and she unleashes a hex bolt on them, sending one man crashing into a nearby hot dog cart. The second man manages to slap Wanda down before she can defend herself, but a willowy Vietnamese woman calling herself Mantis appears out of nowhere and easily takes out the burly construction worker with an astonishing display of martial arts prowess. Mantis then walks Wanda back to the mansion, where they are met by the Vision, Cap, Iron Man, Thor, and the Black Panther. Suddenly, Mantis’s lover, the Swordsman, saunters in, insisting that he’s reformed and petitioning to join the team (legitimately this time) as Hawkeye’s replacement. Cap tells the former supervillain to keep dreaming, but Wanda objects, accusing Cap of being ruled by his prejudices. Iron Man is forced to concur, pointing out that the Scarlet Witch, Quicksilver, Hawkeye, and the Black Widow were all considered “villains” before getting a shot at redemption. When Thor volunteers to take full responsibility for the Swordsman’s behavior during a probationary period, Cap grudgingly bows to the will of the majority. Glad to have another woman to talk to, Wanda assures Mantis that she’s welcome there, even if she’s not interested in joining the team. After a week of working closely together, Thor recommends that the Swordsman be granted all the privileges of Avengers membership. Despite Cap’s reservations, the team votes to induct him into their ranks and all agree to trust that the Swordsman really has reformed.

A week or so later, the Avengers see a news report of Hawkeye and the Hulk on the waterfront battling a giant creature made of electricity. They discuss the fact that the archer has returned to New York without contacting them, indicating that he really does intend to go his own way from now on. Suddenly, the Lion God smashes into the chamber, apparently abetted by the Swordsman and Mantis. Shocked, Wanda takes it as evidence that non-mutants simply can’t be trusted. She is astonished when Mantis takes out Thor with her martial arts skills. The Lion God then blasts Iron Man into unconsciousness with searing energy rays from his hunting spear. As the Vision falls to the Swordsman, Mantis knocks out Captain America and the Scarlet Witch with painless nerve-pinches. When she regains consciousness, Wanda learns that, with the help of the Swordsman and Mantis, Iron Man was able to trap the Lion God within an adamantium cylinder until Thor could banish him to another dimension. Mantis explains that she had sensed a malignant force lurking around the mansion and worked with the Swordsman to lure it out into the open. They then pretended to cooperate with the Lion God, planning all the while to turn the tables on him at the crucial moment. Impressed by the couple’s daring, Thor expresses the team’s profound gratitude. Cap is clearly still suspicious, but the others agree that, if nothing else, the Swordsman and Mantis have earned the benefit of the doubt.

May 1966 – Realizing that no one’s heard from the Black Knight in several months, the Avengers decide to return to Garrett Castle in England to check up on him. As soon as their Quinjet enters British airspace, though, they are harassed by S.H.I.E.L.D., which objects to the Swordsman and Mantis, both of whom have criminal records, entering the United Kingdom. Fortunately, the Avengers are able to clear the matter up and soon touch down in a meadow outside the castle. However, they are surprised to discover the entire structure is surrounded by an invisible force field which they are unable to penetrate. Mantis performs some kind of mystic probe and determines that the barrier was erected by Doctor Strange. Suddenly, a large group of ragged, primitive-looking men with medieval weapons streams out of camouflaged holes in the ground and attacks the heroes, knocking them out with crude bombs that release a potent toxic gas. When she comes to, the Scarlet Witch finds she and her teammates being held prisoner in a network of caverns, presumably beneath the Black Knight’s estate. The primitives are upset because the force field is preventing them from looting the castle’s storehouses, which is how they’ve sustained themselves since retreating underground to escape persecution hundreds of years ago. Wanda realizes that generations of inbreeding has caused the cave-dwellers to become savage barbarians, but their toxic gas prevents most of her teammates from fighting back. Luckily, the Vision, Thor, and Mantis seem immune to its effects, and they hold off a giant insectoid monster long enough for the Black Panther to force their captors to surrender. The Avengers march the defeated barbarians back to the surface, where they call in medical and government aid for the lost tribe. The barbarian king informs the Avengers that the Black Knight was taken away by people in weird costumes before the castle was sealed off by the invisible wall. The heroes decide to head at once to Doctor Strange’s Sanctum Sanctorum back in New York to ask him about it.

However, when the Avengers reach the sorcerer’s home in Greenwich Village, they are repelled by a mysterious force. Thor smashes down the front door with his hammer and forces his way inside, where Mantis roughs up Doctor Strange’s Chinese butler. They catch of glimpse of the Black Knight in an interior room, having apparently been turned to stone, and assume that Doctor Strange is responsible. Before they can react, though, the Avengers are ejected from the building by hurricane-force winds. Thor rages at the unseen sorcerer, saying they will return when they’ve figured out how to overcome his magic, and then the Avengers return to their headquarters, seething with indignation. Shortly afterwards, a psychic projection of Loki materializes in the mansion to warn the Avengers that Doctor Strange is leading a cabal of super-powered misfits on a quest to obtain the six segments of the legendary weapon known as the Evil Eye of Avalon, which has the power to destroy the world. Joining the mysterious master of black magic is the bestial Hulk, whose hatred for humanity is well known; the savage Sub-Mariner, who has long warred against the human race; the Silver Surfer, the bitter alien imprisoned on Earth; the Valkyrie, who desires revenge for her defeat at the hands of the Avengers a couple years ago; and even their former teammate Hawkeye, who wants to strike back at those he believes betrayed him. Though Thor is not inclined to believe anything his adopted brother says, the other Avengers convince him that they should check it out.

Thus, the Scarlet Witch and the Vision take a Quinjet to the island of Rurutu in French Polynesia while their teammates cover the other five locations provided by Loki. Upon arrival, Vision expresses his doubts about Loki’s claims, but Wanda is not inclined to trust Doctor Strange or any of his associates. Vision then phases through the fuselage and flies off to search the island. Piloting the craft over an active volcano, Wanda is caught off guard by a sudden explosive eruption. The Quinjet is completely destroyed, but Wanda manages to bail out before losing consciousness. When she comes to, Vision informs her that the Silver Surfer caused the eruption and has escaped with a segment of the Evil Eye. Having located the wreckage of the Quinjet, Vision treats Wanda’s burns, then radios a warning to the other Avengers. Wanda confesses that she’s frightened by the thought of going up against such powerful foes. Vision concurs, hoping that their teammates fare better than they did.

A little while later, Captain America arrives in a Quinjet to pick the couple up. They are surprised to find he is accompanied by the Sub-Mariner, who has one of the Evil Eye segments. They explain that Loki has duped both teams into working against each other, confirming the Vision’s suspicions. After collecting Iron Man, the Black Panther, the Swordsman, and Mantis, they fly back to New York, where the Sub-Mariner leads them into Doctor Strange’s Sanctum Sanctorum without incident. They find the sorcerer, Hawkeye, the Silver Surfer, and the Valkyrie in a well-appointed sitting room. Wanda notices the Black Knight, turned to stone, standing in a corner of the room. The Sub-Mariner informs his shocked teammates that Loki told the Avengers that their team, which they call the Defenders, was out to conquer the world. The Valkyrie assures the Avengers that they sought out the Evil Eye only so they could use its mystical power to release the Black Knight from the petrification spell placed on him by the Enchantress. Wanda is confused, since she remembers the Valkyrie being merely an illusion the Enchantress used to disguise herself, but such matters are explained as the two teams get to know each other better over the next half hour. The Silver Surfer apologizes for inadvertently putting the Scarlet Witch in danger and explains what actually happened in Rurutu. Finally, Iron Man realizes that Thor and the Hulk are still out on the battlefield and could be laying waste to Los Angeles at that very moment. Thus, Doctor Strange weaves a spell that teleports everyone out to California.

There, they find Thor and the Hulk locked in a stalemate, each one’s super-strong muscles straining against the other’s as they grapple, but Doctor Strange convinces them to stand down. The Avengers and the Defenders then compare notes and realize that Thor was fighting Loki in Rutland, Vermont, last Halloween at the same time that the Defenders were battling Dormammu there. They speculate that the two arch-villains must have teamed up. Their suspicions are confirmed when the six segments of the Evil Eye are suddenly stolen by Dormammu’s servant Asti the All-Seeing. Despite the best efforts of the assembled heroes, Asti escapes with the segments into another dimension. Almost immediately, the city around them begins to transform into a nightmarish world of horror, the people metamorphosing into monstrous demons. An image of Dormammu’s flaming head appears in the sky, announcing that he is using the Evil Eye to bring Earth into his Dark Dimension, thereby enabling him to conquer the planet without violating his oath to never invade our universe. The Avengers and the Defenders vow to prevent this at any cost. However, the transformed bystanders begin to attack the heroes, forcing them to fight back. The Scarlet Witch helps keep the monsters at bay while Doctor Strange casts a spell to prevent any of the 14 superheroes present from changing into monsters themselves. The sorcerer then tries to convince Captain America that both teams need to take the fight directly to Dormammu in the Dark Dimension. Cap is reluctant to abandon the earth in such a time of crisis but relents when Nick Fury and the forces of S.H.I.E.L.D. arrive on the scene. Leaving Fury and his agents to deal with the monsters, Doctor Strange casts a spell to transport the Avengers and the Defenders into Dormammu’s realm.

In the weird landscape of the Dark Dimension, Doctor Strange yells at the headstrong Avengers to keep them from blundering to their doom, prompting Thor to order his teammates to defer to the sorcerer’s expertise. Then, after beating off the numberless hordes of the Mindless Ones, the heroes find Dormammu brandishing the Evil Eye, with Loki imprisoned in a cage of flames. To everyone’s surprise, the Watcher is also present, looking on enigmatically. Doctor Strange manages to breach the mystic barrier separating them, but with one wave of his hand, Dormammu’s augmented magic instantly renders the six Defenders unconscious. Undaunted, Thor leads the Avengers in a desperate charge, but Dormammu turns the ground under their feet into quicksand. Thor, Iron Man, and the Scarlet Witch avoid the trap, and she calls to the Vision to free himself. However, the synthezoid is in the grip of some kind of panic attack, which unnerves Wanda. Nevertheless, she presses on with Thor and Iron Man, only to see the two men quickly fall to Dormammu’s power. Finding herself the last hero left standing, the Scarlet Witch continues her advance until Dormammu conjures up a rain of glue to stop her. As the sticky fluid starts to harden, Wanda struggles to raise her arms. Luckily, Dormammu is distracted when Loki escapes from the flaming cage and grapples with his captor. Summoning all her will power, Wanda casts her most powerful hex bolt, enveloping the villains in a dazzling sphere of mutant energy. There is a flash of light and then Dormammu is gone, leaving Loki gibbering like a madman. As the Avengers and the Defenders regroup, the Watcher congratulates the 14 heroes on their great victory. He explains that the hex caused the Evil Eye to malfunction, whereupon it disintegrated Dormammu, absorbed his mystical energies, and blasted them out again straight through Loki’s brain. The Asgardian god’s mind has been shattered, leaving him with the intellect of an infant. And though Dormammu’s corporeal form has been destroyed, the Watcher warns, he will eventually reintegrate himself with the aid of his many black-hearted worshipers. The Watcher then asks the Vision about his panic attack, but he is at a loss to understand it. Though she is sympathetic, Wanda is deeply concerned that the Vision froze up in the middle of a fight and feels that he has let her down for the first time. Doctor Strange then retrieves the Evil Eye and casts a spell that returns the two teams to Los Angeles.

The Avengers and the Defenders materialize on the same street in L.A. to find the crisis is over. The people who had been transformed into monsters have reverted to normal and are wandering around the rubble-strewn streets in a daze. Nick Fury offers the two teams his congratulations on their victory, but Wanda is very ungracious about it. Then, wishing to keep the existence of the Defenders a secret, Doctor Strange removes all memory of their involvement from Fury and his agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., as well as any bystanders who witnessed their presence earlier in the day. Furthermore, he combines the power of the Evil Eye with his own sorcerous might to undo all damage and destruction the world over caused by Dormammu’s scheme, leaving everyone believing they had just suffered a mass hallucination. Finally, after bidding farewell to the Avengers, Strange teleports his team back to his Sanctum Sanctorum to attend to the Black Knight. The Avengers borrow a jet from S.H.I.E.L.D. and return to New York as well. Unfortunately, since they do not arrive in a Quinjet, the Avengers are unable to deactivate their mansion’s rooftop security systems ahead of time. Luckily, the Black Panther is able to do it manually. Wanda chides Thor for not having been more alert, insulting “humans” in the process. Vision is surprised by her outburst, but Cap blows it off as post-battle nerves. For her part, Wanda doesn’t care what her teammates think of her, she just wants to be left alone for a while. Then, as Thor and Jarvis get Loki settled into Hawkeye’s old bedroom, Wanda retreats to her own quarters and breaks down crying.

The Avengers are extremely wary of Loki at first, expecting treachery from their old foe, but as time passes, he gives no sign of faking his mental disability. Eventually, Thor decides to take his brother on an extended camping trip to Scandinavia. Near the end of the month, Iron Man informs the Avengers about the threat of Thanos, a renegade from a utopian society hidden inside Saturn’s moon Titan. Thanos is planning to conquer the solar system, he reports, and he has already battled two of Thanos’s agents, vicious aliens called the Blood Brothers. With the help of another alien called Drax the Destroyer, Iron Man drove the villains off and destroyed their New Mexico base, but Thanos is reputed to lead a mercenary army assembled from the dregs of interstellar society and thus remains a clear and present danger to Earth.

June 1966 – The Scarlet Witch and the Vision are with Captain America, Iron Man, and the Black Panther at Avengers Mansion when Rick Jones’s girlfriend, Lou-Ann Savannah, shows up on the verge of exhaustion and babbling about Thanos. The young woman passes out and, while examining her, Iron Man discovers one of the Controller’s slave-discs attached to the nape of Lou-Ann’s neck. Realizing his old foe has returned, Iron Man places her under a device intended to partially inhibit the disc’s operation. She is still there a little while later when Captain Marvel arrives at the mansion, his costume badly shredded in a fight. He quickly switches interdimensional places with Rick Jones, who informs the Avengers that he, Lou-Ann, and Captain Marvel have indeed gotten mixed up with Thanos, who sees conquering Earth merely as a stepping-stone to galactic domination. Rick trades places with Captain Marvel again as they head to the Avengers’ conference room for a full briefing. Wanda presents the Kree hero with a replica of his costume which she had made previously, having always found sewing to be a relaxing hobby. After changing clothes, Captain Marvel then informs the team that Thanos has come to Earth in search of the Cosmic Cube, which the Avengers know could make him invincible. The meeting is interrupted by the Controller, who has broken into the mansion. The Scarlet Witch is knocked out in the fight and, when she awakens, she discovers that part of their headquarters has been completely demolished and she and her teammates are buried in the wreckage. As they dig themselves out, the heroes are frustrated to learn that the Controller kidnapped Lou-Ann and escaped. The Avengers notice that Captain Marvel’s hair has changed from silver to blond, but he says only that he’s had a strange experience that’s given him a new perspective. Work on reconstructing Avengers Mansion begins immediately, coordinated by the various charitable foundations Tony Stark has set up for such emergencies. Captain Marvel soon defeats the Controller and rescues Lou-Ann.

July 1966 – Chaos erupts in the Middle East when a group of super-powered terrorists dubbed the Elementals seals off the Egyptian capital, Cairo, behind an impenetrable force field. The United Nations requests that the Avengers mobilize when the terrorists launch attacks on neighboring countries like Israel and the Sudan, but is reluctant to send the team in for fear of making international tensions in the region worse. Ultimately, freedom fighters within Cairo manage to liberate the city and defeat the Elementals, though details remain sketchy.

August–September 1966 – As the team’s headquarters is reconstructed, Wanda is irritated by all the “human” workmen traipsing around her home, so she spends a lot of her time sequestered in her room. Vision encourages her to have patience, as the work is progressing rapidly.

October 1966 – Thor returns from his Scandinavian camping trip with the catatonic Loki. Then, on Halloween, Mantis senses mystic emanations that portend great danger in Rutland, Vermont. Remembering the events of previous years, the Avengers decide they’d better check it out. When they arrive, Tom Fagan, one of the parade’s organizers, asks them to ride on one of the floats. Captain America, Thor, Iron Man, and the Black Panther agree, hoping to draw out the source of the unknown danger. However, Wanda refuses, not wanting to spend the next few hours being gawked at by humans. The Vision, the Swordsman, and Mantis agree to accompany her on a search of the town using their own methods, and so the two couples set off. About two hours later, Wanda lashes out at some persistent autograph hounds, scattering them with a hex bolt. Shocked, the Swordsman and Mantis decide to split off on their own. Wanda then grouses to the Vision about how people treat them and tells him of her wish that they could just go live on some South Seas island far away from the human race. When Vision responds by chiding her for meeting bigotry with bigotry, Wanda is hurt and angry. Their argument is interrupted when the Swordsman and Mantis call them into the woods, where they have found the real Tom Fagan bound and gagged. They realize that some supervillain, disguised as Fagan, has led the other Avengers into a trap. Vision takes charge of the situation, and they soon free their teammates from the diabolical mastermind, who turns out to be the Collector, while Fagan and a crowd of costumed partygoers provide a distraction. The Collector activates two magic stones that produce a swarm of vampire bats that threaten the entire town, hoping to barter for his freedom. However, Mantis kicks the villain in the face and knocks him out, then uses the magic stones to make the bats vanish again. The real Tom Fagan thanks the Avengers for saving the city and offers them any further assistance he can provide. Thor asks Fagan if he would be willing to take over caring for Loki, feeling that Rutland would be a more appropriate setting for his disabled brother. Fagan agrees, so the Avengers return to their Quinjet and fly back to New York. Unfortunately, the Collector escapes as soon as he regains consciousness.

November 1966 – In the morning, Captain America and Thor take a Quinjet and fly Loki up to Rutland, Vermont. Sometime later, Cap holds a strategy session in which the team reviews their clash in the spring with the Defenders and how they all worked together to defeat the combined might of Loki and Dormammu.

Not long after, the Scarlet Witch and the Vision are shocked to learn that Captain America has been arrested for murder. Sgt. Damian Link, the team’s new liaison officer with the NYPD, comes to meet with them. However, the Swordsman soon exposes Link as Gemini, one of the twelve leaders of the international crime cartel Zodiac. He manages to evade the Avengers’ attempts to apprehend him until Thor punches him into a wall, leaving the villain extremely disoriented. Unfortunately, Gemini is rescued by the rest of Zodiac—Aquarius, Cancer, Capricorn, Libra, Leo, Pisces, Sagittarius, Taurus, Virgo, and replacements for Aries and Scorpio—using their powerful “Star-Blazer” energy weapon. The criminals escape, but Taurus leaves behind a tape recording that reveals that they plan to use a giant version of the Star-Blazer weapon, the “Star-Blaster,” to kill everyone in Manhattan born under the sign of Gemini, after which they will announce their demands. The Scarlet Witch, the Vision, Thor, Iron Man, and Mantis head out to track their foes down, but the Swordsman is too ill to join them. Just before midnight, the Avengers find the Zodiac gang setting up their Star-Blaster cannon on top of the Empire State Building and immediately disable the weapon. Even so, Taurus manages to fire its deadly rays at Mantis, knocking her out. Though Captain America turns up and joins the fray, Aries throws Mantis off the roof. While the Avengers are busy saving her, Zodiac escapes. Captain America assures his teammates he’s been framed but does not accompany them back to the mansion. There, Dr. Donald Blake soon arrives and checks Mantis over. He is shocked to discover she seems to be literally healing herself while in a trance. Iron Man asks the Swordsman to tell them more about Mantis, but he knows little about her past before he met her in a bar in Saigon while he was working for a local crimelord called Monsieur Khruul.

After the Black Panther has joined them, the Avengers spread out over the city to search for Zodiac’s hidden lair. Just before dawn, Thor summons them to a warehouse in New Jersey, where they find seven members of the cartel meeting with the crooked financier Cornelius Van Lunt. The Avengers crash through the window to take their foes by surprise, but Van Lunt slips out during the fight and seals off the warehouse, revealing it to be a deathtrap. Before the Avengers or the seven members of Zodiac can react, Van Lunt launches the building into orbit. Thor tries to smash through the side of the warehouse, only to discover the building is surrounded by the same kind of force field that Zodiac used when they held Manhattan hostage two years ago. His enchanted hammer passes through the field but then is unable to return to him. Appearing to panic, Thor dives behind some crates and hides under a tarp. The other Avengers and Zodiac are confused by the thunder god’s behavior. The Scarlet Witch is able to create a momentary weak spot in the field with her mutant hex power, which allows Iron Man to fly out and retrieve the hammer. Before Iron Man can get back inside, though, Libra arrives in Zodiac’s spaceplane, the Star-Cruiser, and rescues them. Once Thor emerges from his hiding place, everyone joins Libra aboard the Star-Cruiser, and he flies them to Van Lunt’s penthouse. There, Van Lunt is revealed to be Taurus, and though he conspired with Capricorn, Gemini, and Virgo to kill off the other members of the cartel, he convinces his erstwhile partners-in-crime to put aside their differences long enough to destroy the Avengers. However, the Avengers win the fight, which ends when the Vision knocks Taurus into his swimming pool. Taurus panics, though, because he can’t swim, but the Vision makes no move to rescue him. Luckily, Mantis charges in at that moment, dives into the water, and hauls Taurus to the surface. Wanda is shocked and Thor angrily berates the Vision, but the synthezoid offers no defense, even when Wanda presses him on it. Disgusted, Thor demands that Libra explain why he betrayed Taurus and saved them all. Libra admits that it was something of a mistake; he really just wanted to rescue Mantis, having assumed she was with the Avengers—because she is his daughter.

The Avengers turn the rest of Zodiac over to the police and free Sgt. Damian Link, who had been mind-controlled by the real Gemini, but take Libra back to Avengers Mansion for questioning. There, he explains how he met Mantis’s mother when he was fighting in the First Indochina War as a member of the French Foreign Legion. After a whirlwind romance, they were married, but her brother, the crimelord known as Monsieur Khruul objected to the match and tried to have them killed. Mantis was born while they were on the run. Eventually, Khruul’s assassins caught up to them and killed Libra’s wife, but he and his daughter found refuge in a remote monastery. The monks, who called themselves the Priests of Pama, raised Mantis, teaching her their unique form of martial arts. Finally, Libra admits, he left her there and returned to Europe. Consumed with rage, Mantis attacks Libra, but he subdues her, having learned the same fighting techniques that she did. Suddenly, the Avengers realize that the Swordsman has taken a Quinjet and is heading to Vietnam to take vengeance on Monsieur Khruul. Before they can follow, though, Iron Man must fly to Van Lunt’s property in New Jersey to retrieve their other Quinjet, a delay that Wanda chalks up to “human” ineptitude. When Iron Man returns, the Avengers finally set off, accompanied by Libra.

When the Avengers arrive at Monsieur Khruul’s villa on the outskirts of Saigon, they find the Swordsman tied to a chair. He admits he broke under torture and told the crimelord about the Priests of Pama and how to find them. The Scarlet Witch volunteers to get the Swordsman to a hospital while the others go after Khruul. After the team has left, though, Wanda realizes the Swordsman is having a complete nervous breakdown. He babbles about being a born loser who is losing Mantis’s respect before he breaks down in tears. Wanda finally convinces him to go to the hospital, and she drives him there in one of Monsieur Khruul’s cars. A little while later, the Avengers collect Wanda from the hospital and, leaving the Swordsman there, fly back to New York in their Quinjets. On the way home, Vision tells Wanda that they were too late to save the Priests of Pama, but Monsieur Khruul was killed by an alien dragon called the Star-Stalker, whom the Avengers prevented from destroying the world. Vision reveals that he and Mantis were instrumental in killing the creature before it could feed on the Earth’s life-energies, and though he is characteristically modest about it, Wanda is very proud of her lover’s heroism. When they arrive in New York City, the Avengers turn Libra over to the police. Unwilling to explain what happened to him aboard Zodiac’s warehouse-rocket, Thor decides to move out of Avengers Mansion.

December 1966 – The Scarlet Witch and the Vision are at the team’s headquarters with Iron Man and the Black Panther when Captain America returns from his recent battle against the Secret Empire in Washington, DC. The team congratulates Cap on clearing his name, but he is in no mood to celebrate. Cap says cryptically that there was more to the situation than was revealed on the news, but he refuses to discuss it further. Thor soon returns from a trip to visit Loki in Rutland, Vermont, and then Mantis brings in the Swordsman, who is just back from Vietnam. A little while later, the Avengers meet with Captain Marvel, Drax the Destroyer, and their enigmatic friend Moondragon to discuss the problem of Thanos. Mar-Vell reports that Thanos has conquered the colony on Titan and worse, is now in possession of the Cosmic Cube. However, the strategy session is cut short when Iron Man, Captain Marvel, Drax, and Moondragon suddenly vanish into thin air. The Avengers realize they must have been kidnapped by Thanos. Though unable to find any trace of their missing friends, the Avengers learn from the space station Starcore One that an armada of spaceships is heading toward Earth from the vicinity of Mars—presumably Thanos’s fleet of space pirates that Captain Marvel warned them about. Deciding to intercept the armada before it reaches Earth, the Avengers take their spaceworthy Quinjet and Zodiac’s confiscated Star-Cruiser out to meet the threat.

As the battle is joined, Thor leaves the Quinjet and smashes into the command deck of the fleet’s flagship, where he takes on an army of armored aliens singlehandedly. Cap pilots the Quinjet, using aerial dogfight tactics he learned during World War II, but the armada still manages to reach Earth. In high orbit, Cap blasts one of the alien ships with the Quinjet’s energy weapons, but, to Wanda’s dismay, it plummets down through the atmosphere and crashes in New York City. The Avengers then detect an amorphous area of utter darkness nearby, so the Vision proposes that he, the Scarlet Witch, the Swordsman, and Mantis don spacesuits and go out to investigate. However, the Swordsman shocks everyone by erupting in a fit of jealous rage, accusing the Vision of trying to steal Mantis from him. Vision refuses to discuss it until the mission is over, but Mantis’s reaction makes Wanda suspicious about what went on between the two of them while they were alone together in Vietnam. While probing for a way to penetrate the black field, Wanda tries to get a rise out of the Vision, but he ignores her sarcastic remarks about Mantis. A hex bolt disrupts the unnatural darkness and they discover it is a cloaking field hiding an enormous spaceship. After boarding the ship and fighting off some alien guards, the quartet discovers it serves as the armada’s central universal translator. Vision disables the cloaking field, then they retreat, allowing the Quinjet and the Star-Cruiser to swoop down and blow up the ship. Back aboard the Quinjet, Wanda and the others see that the Vision’s plan has worked—having lost the ability to communicate with each other, Thanos’s mercenaries are unable to act in a coordinated manner. Gaining the upper hand, the Avengers press their attack and, within the hour, the fleet of invading ships has been destroyed, with a handful of survivors in full retreat. Thor returns to the Quinjet, flush with the thrill of victory, and they soon land on the roof of Avengers Mansion.

Unfortunately, the team quickly discovers that Thanos has used the Cosmic Cube to shift the entire planet out of phase to prevent them from interfering with his plans. The space armada, they realize, was merely a distraction meant to lure the Avengers off Earth while Thanos caused the phase-shift. Still, Mantis is able to contact Captain Marvel and tell him what happened. Captain Marvel and Drax the Destroyer then attack Thanos, their fight soon carrying them away from Avengers Mansion as the team watches helplessly. Mantis sets off after them and, a few minutes later, the phase-shift is abruptly cancelled out. Entering their headquarters, the Avengers discover that Iron Man has returned as well, though he’s not sure how he got there. After comparing notes, they track Mantis to a nearby rooftop, where they find her with Captain Marvel and Drax. Mar-Vell has somehow defeated Thanos by smashing the Cosmic Cube, though he and Mantis give only vague and evasive answers to the Avengers’ questions. As Drax flies off into the night sky, Mar-Vell trades places with Rick Jones, who accompanies the others back to the mansion. Not long afterward, Captain America and Iron Man bring a vintage cryogenic chamber to the team’s headquarters after discovering it in the rubble of an old government research facility that collapsed a few blocks away. Iron Man decides to have some technicians from Stark Industries examine it after the holidays. Rick then says goodbye to the Avengers and sets out on a 15-city concert tour as part of the opening act for a more famous rock-and-roll band.

Feeling outclassed by the exotic, enigmatic Mantis, Wanda is brooding about her relationship with the Vision when she is summoned to a meeting in the mansion’s living room. There, she finds the Black Panther waiting with the ambassador from Rhodesia, Ronald Pershing. They are quickly joined by the Vision, the Swordsman, and Mantis, but Captain America, Thor, and Iron Man are having a private conference in another room. Pershing then describes the death threats sent recently to the staff of the Rhodesian embassy. The threats took on a new urgency that morning, he reports, when their groundskeeper was found burnt to a crisp. On behalf of the team, Vision agrees to look into the matter. Out in the street, however, the Scarlet Witch, the Vision, the Black Panther, the Swordsman, Mantis, and Pershing are suddenly trapped in a force field made of solid sound. Klaw, somehow grown to giant size, looms over them and gloats as his new partner-in-crime, Solarr, hovers nearby inside an energy bubble. Cap, Thor, and Iron Man emerge from the mansion and learn that the villains are threatening to roast their hostages unless the Black Panther surrenders the throne of Wakanda to Klaw, after which he intends to declare war on Rhodesia to pay them back for the harsh treatment he suffered there last year. When the giant Klaw proves to be a sonic illusion, the three senior Avengers leave to search the neighborhood for the real villain. While they are gone, Pershing reveals his white-supremacist views as he tries to badger the Avengers into forcing the Black Panther to accede to their foes’ demands. Worried about what’s going to happen, Wanda insists that the Vision explain what’s going on between him and Mantis, which leads to a lovers’ quarrel. Vision soon cuts off their discussion, though, deciding that Wanda is clearly not in a rational state of mind. She is thus seething with anger when Cap, Thor, and Iron Man return empty handed. Luckily, the Black Panther has deduced that Klaw is, in fact, masquerading as Ambassador Pershing. With their scheme revealed, Klaw and Solarr are quickly defeated, but the Black Panther announces that he must take a leave of absence and return to Wakanda for a while. Thor, as current team chairman, grants the request and calls the Avengers to gather to toast their valiant African comrade. Unfortunately, their celebration is marred when Wanda’s anger boils over and she and the Vision get into another argument about Mantis. The atmosphere around the mansion is still a bit tense a day or two later when the Scarlet Witch and the Vision join the others for the Avengers’ fifth annual Christmas charity benefit.

A few days later, the Avengers respond when an intruder breaks into the lab where the vintage cryogenic vault is being stored, and they are surprised to find that he is the Whizzer, the super-fast crimefighter of the 1940s who was a member of the Liberty Legion, the Invaders, and the post-war All-Winners Squad. The Whizzer claims that the cryogenic vault belongs to him, but the Avengers are dubious until the module opens, revealing a highly radioactive mutant inside. As the mutant smashes its way to freedom and disappears into the city, Wanda is shocked when the Whizzer reveals that the mutant is his son. However, the elderly hero then collapses, suffering a massive heart attack. Wanda orders Jarvis to help her carry the Whizzer upstairs and summon a doctor, while the other Avengers go after the radioactive mutant. Unable to reach Dr. Donald Blake, Jarvis calls another physician, who agrees to come out to the mansion. After examining the Whizzer, the doctor permits Wanda to ask the patient some questions. Though groggy, the Whizzer explains that he and his wife, the superheroine known as Miss America, took jobs as non-costumed security agents at a nuclear power plant in New York after resigning from the All-Winners Squad. Unfortunately, they were both exposed to high levels of radiation while shutting down the reactor following an accident in 1948, not realizing that Miss America was pregnant at the time. When their son was born several months later, he was dangerously radioactive. The government stepped in, he reveals, and placed the baby in an experimental cryogenic device, where he was meant to remain for the next 25 years, at which point the scientists thought his radioactivity might have dropped to acceptable levels. The vault was stored in a research facility in Manhattan, not far from where they are now. The Whizzer drifts off to sleep then, and the doctor suggests that Wanda let him rest. She hopes that her teammates will be able to capture the Whizzer’s son without harming him.

After the doctor has left, the Whizzer regains consciousness and continues his tale, saying that after losing their son, he and his wife took a generous government pension and went on an extended European tour. Wanda’s heart begins to pound as the Whizzer describes their visit to the High Evolutionary’s Citadel of Science on Wundagore Mountain after Miss America became pregnant again. Learning that the pregnancy was producing severe complications, the High Evolutionary agreed to help. Wanda shivers when the Whizzer reports that strange lights were seen coruscating around the mountaintop the night his wife gave birth. The midwife, an artificially evolved cow-woman called Bova, then brought a set of fraternal twins into the waiting room, he says, and told the Whizzer that his wife wanted to name them—Wanda cuts him off, stunned and shaken to her core. She says she knows the names of the children: Wanda and Pietro. The Whizzer is astonished as the Scarlet Witch claims that she must be his daughter. He reveals that Miss America died in childbirth and he was so grief-stricken, he fled from Mount Wundagore, leaving the babies with the High Evolutionary. He returned some years later, he insists, but the twins were long since gone. Wanda tells him of how she and her brother, Quicksilver, lived with a Gypsy tribe for many years, until they were orphaned and left to fend for themselves in the forests of the Balkans. Eventually, they were rescued from a murderous mob by Magneto and served him for a time, finally breaking away from his terrorist group to find redemption as members of the Avengers. Though his breathing has become more haggard, the Whizzer is clearly determined to get back on his feet now that he believes he has found his long-lost children. Wanda feels as though her whole world has suddenly turned topsy-turvy.

Shortly, the mansion is shaken by a force-blast that the Whizzer realizes must have been generated by his son while fighting the Avengers. Heedless of the danger, he picks Wanda up and races to the scene of the battle, where they find his strangely glowing son is being referred to as “Nuklo” by the Avengers. Suffering another heart attack, the Whizzer collapses to the ground. Following his directions, though, Wanda forms a large hex sphere around Nuklo, trapping him. He expends all of his nuclear energies trying to break out of the sphere and finally drops to the ground unconscious. As the Vision carries the Whizzer back to Avengers Mansion, Iron Man arranges for Nuklo to be returned to suspended animation using technology from Stark Industries. Dr. Donald Blake soon arrives and performs open-heart surgery on the Whizzer in the mansion’s medical bay. While that’s taking place, Wanda relates to her teammates the incredible tale that the Whizzer told her, which suggests that her birth parents are Robert and Madeline Frank, better known as the former superheroes the Whizzer and Miss America. Nuklo’s real name, she informs them, is Robert Frank, Jr. Finally, Blake emerges from the operating room and assures Wanda that the Whizzer should make a full recovery. A few hours later, Wanda visits the patient, accompanied by the Vision, Captain America, and Iron Man. She reassures him that his prognosis is good and that she will contact Pietro to inform him that she’s found their father. In a hoarse voice, the groggy Whizzer exhorts Wanda to take good care of her brother, then lapses into unconsciousness. Saddened by the estrangement between Pietro and herself, Wanda starts to cry, prompting the Vision to offer a comforting embrace. Later, before stepping down as team chairman, Thor grants permission for the Whizzer to reside indefinitely at Avengers Mansion while he recuperates. Wanda realizes that these revelations will require her to rethink her entire life, but she immediately feels more confident in her role as an American superhero.


Notes:

January 1966 – The Scarlet Witch’s adventures continue in Avengers #110 and following. Magneto dropped out of sight last year following his raid on the government research facility in Amazing Adventures #10. Following Magneto’s defeat, Wanda is behind the scenes as Iron Man and Professor X discuss the Angel’s disappearance in the flashback in Captain America #173. The Lion God is most likely the Nubian god Apedemak, who is related to the Egyptian pantheon.

February 1966 – The Avengers are rescued from Kang and Zarrko by Spider-Man, Iron Man, the Human Torch, and the Inhumans in Marvel Team-Up #9–11. As seen in Marvels #4 by Kurt Busiek and Alex Ross, the controversial romance between the Scarlet Witch and the Vision was even featured on the cover of Time magazine. Although that series is non-canonical, I find some of its background details interesting.

April 1966 – Apparently, the Lion God never manages to return from the dimension to which Thor banishes him.

May 1966 – The Avengers and the Defenders team up to defeat Loki and Dormammu in a story that crosses over into Defenders #8–11. Additional information is provided in a flashback in Avengers #157. When the natives of Rurutu drag the unconscious Scarlet Witch into the path of the lava flow, it’s possible they are under the influence of the global wave of violence caused by the invading demons of Sominus, as seen in Adventure into Fear #14–15. Iron Man warns the Avengers about Thanos shortly after Iron Man #56.

June 1966 – The Avengers and Captain Marvel battle the Controller in Captain Marvel #27–30.

July 1966 – The United Nations places the Avengers on standby as the Elementals terrorize Cairo in Supernatural Thrillers #13. Wanda and her teammates remain behind the scenes, though.

November 1966 – The Scarlet Witch and the Vision are behind the scenes during Captain America’s strategy session in Defenders #13. The fight with Zodiac must take place atop the Empire State Building rather than the World Trade Center (as depicted in the story), since the Twin Towers haven’t been built yet.

December 1966 – The Avengers team up with Captain Marvel and his friends to battle Thanos and his space armada in Captain Marvel #31–33, which crosses over with Avengers #125. Confusingly, three different time periods are mashed together in the first three pages of Avengers #125—Lou-Ann Savannah’s arrival at the mansion (in June), Libra being taken away by the police (in November), and Captain America returning to the Avengers after defeating the Secret Empire (in December). This is clearly done for dramatic effect. Captain America and Iron Man bring Nuklo’s cryogenic chamber to the mansion in a flashback in Giant-Size Avengers #1, then Rick Jones says goodbye in Captain Marvel #34. The Avengers’ battle with Klaw and Solarr brings us up to Avengers #126. Rhodesia is fictionalized as “Rudyarda,” named after the British author Rudyard Kipling. The Scarlet Witch and the Vision’s argument is seen in one of the many flashbacks in Avengers #280. The team’s encounter with the Whizzer and Nuklo is depicted in Giant-Size Avengers #1. Of course, Wanda’s supposition that the Whizzer and Miss America are her parents eventually proves to be false. As revealed in Avengers #186, Bova offered the Whizzer the infant twins after his wife and child died, not telling him that they had been delivered days earlier by a wandering Gypsy named Magda. Wanda has undoubtedly read about the High Evolutionary and his Citadel of Science in Avengers reports submitted by Thor.


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