Saturday, October 17, 2015

COUNTDOWN TO HALLOWEEN (Day 17): Wanda the Good Witch

I grew up on comic books, Marvel Comics co-created by Stan Lee, Jack Kirby and Steve Ditko for the most part. And if I had to pick a few series that I’d point to as the most influential, The Avengers would be one of those two.

A team of multiple heroes gathered to face down a threat to the world so great that not one of them could handle it alone—that is the definition of The Avengers.  But what made them stand out, in my mind, was the fact that they had relationships outside of their “jobs” as super-people.

I loved the fact that they lived together, most of the core of the team, in a big house (Avengers Mansion).  They ate together, drank together, argued with each other and even occasionally dated one another.  Hell, there were even a few couples who married!

One of those couples were founding members of the team Hank Pym and Janet Van Dyne (Ant-Man and The Wasp), which wasn’t really a surprise to long-time readers because they’d been a couple for years of ups and downs.  The other couple, however, was a result of I don’t know what to call it but a sign of the times--times that were changing.

The Vision was a synthezoid (that’s right, that word is making my autocorrect shit bricks), an artificial humanoid created by an enemy of The Avengers to destroy them.  Wanda Maximoff was an “evil” mutant who was making an attempt, with her twin brother, to reform after years of servitude to the leader of the brotherhood, Magneto.

Wanda was called The Scarlet Witch.  She was not a witch, but she was given that name because her mutant ability was to alter probabilities in order to make the impossible probable or actual.  If an enemy were standing over a gas line that was freshly built, it would suddenly explode as if it were fifty years old.  So weird shit would happen around her and most of the time it would be to her or her teammate’s advantage.  That freaked them out enough that she was called a witch.

Eventually, she began to study and became adept at witchcraft when she lost her mutant powers for a while.  Although, what she was actually doing was simply using her probability altering powers to tap into the magical energies out there.  So the name “Witch” became more apt, more witchy and more scary to her enemies.  Now around this time, she and her brother discovered that their former leader in the Brotherhood of Mutants, Magneto, was their true father.  Add to that possession by a demonic entity known as Chthon and the the witch part of her name started to hold a lot more weight.

Meanwhile, she’d married her synthezoid (there goes that word again) boyfriend/teammate.  And while life wasn’t perfect, he and she knew happiness together.  Now I could get into the vast amount of history that came later, how they’d had impossible kids, she’d gone crazy and wiped out a race and destroyed The Avengers—killing her husband in the process—but I won’t.  That could take hours.  And, frankly, it doesn’t matter.

The point is she went from a frail young lady to a woman of power, a woman of so much power that it became scary to all those around her.  And while her teammates cared for her, they certainly feared her abilities enough to take measures to protect themselves and their world.  The point being, even a good witch, a good woman of power, should be treated with respect... and a good amount of caution!

And now, right here on our stage, it's ZZ TOP frontman Billy Gibbons in his psychedelic blues band that he fronted before he became a sharp dressed man...

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