Monday, November 28, 2016

Crabs, Assemble!, Part Fourteen: Avengers: Vision and The Scarlet Witch- A Year in the Life

 I passed on this when it was first released, because I vividly remember this mini-series from when I was a kid, and I remember it being not too good.

Fiscally responsible decision.

 Fast-forward nearly six years. I am with my wife and kids at Universal's Islands of Adventure, having a ball. I decide to stop into the comic store near the Spider-Man ride, and three terrible things happened:

 1)- I picked up this book, as well as their previous collection AVENGERS: VISION AND THE SCARLET WITCH, FOR FULL PRICE!!!! (It never pays to have a good time, because then you may be lulled into buying things that you don't want!) Full price...ugh. My heart and wallet still hurt.

 2)- While I was waiting for the molasses-like cashier to take all of my money, she also took a piece of my soul by making me not only miss meeting Captain America, but making me miss MY SON meeting Captain America. To make matters worse, my wife neglected to take a picture of my son and Cap saluting each other.

 3)- My wife was so sick of waiting for me that she refused to stand around any more, meaning that my lifelong dream of meeting Doctor Doom was crushed. As I walked past him with a heavy heart, he looked at me and nodded solemnly. Maybe next time, Doctor....

 Anyhoo, this book collects the twelve-issue VISION AND THE SCARLET WITCH mini-series, as well as WEST COAST AVENGERS #2. (See HERE for the review of the four-part crossover that opens the book.) This book only contains the second issue of WEST COAST AVENGERS, which is an odd choice. The first issue didn't feature The Vision of The Scarlet Witch, but I do think that it's fairly essential to the plot of the crossover. Strange decision. (Oh, this collection also features the same MARVEL AGE article about the crossover that the WEST COAST AVENGERS volume reprinted, and it's run at the same tiny thumbnail size....damn my eyes!)

 The gimmick of this mini-series was that it pretty much happened in real time. Each issue was a snapshot of the title couple that took place in the month that it was released in, so you have a Halloween adventure, a Thanksgiving story that features The Avengers eating Turkey with Magneto, a Mardi Gras story that finds The Vision seduced by The Enchantress, a tax-day tale featuring Spider-man, of all people....and all the while, The Scarlet Witch is pregnant, about to give birth to one of the great clusterfucks of Marvel continuity.

 This book was, sadly, a chore to get through. There are huge long stretches that had me wanting to do anything but keep reading, and, if I weren't in the middle of this AVENGERS marathon, I probably would have just chalked it up at moved on. When you find yourself playing Minesweeper and surfing the net rather than reading, you know you're in trouble.

 That said, there are some good moments to be found within this volume. The Vision and The Scarlet Witch are the epicenter of some truly epic family drama, and this book shines when it centers on their immediate and extended families. Magneto, Quicksliver, Wonder Man, The Inhumans, and Agatha Harkness all figure prominently, and writer Steve Englehart is at his best in these sequences. The rest of the book is typical overwordy Englehart, and was a struggle to get through.

 I can just barely, baaaaarely recommend this collection based solely on the soap-opera aspects, which are like catnip to old continuity-hounds like me. The art, by Richard Howell, is very old-school, and will probably turn off a lot of modern fans, but I appreciated his clean lines as a kid, and the art still holds up for me. Your mileage may vary.

 I am really looking forward to getting back to Roger Stern's main AVENGERS book for the next two collections in the marathon. A little Englehart goes a long way.

 AVENGERS: VISION AND THE SCARLET WITCH- A YEAR IN THE LIFE earns a barely passable five out of ten devil heads.

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