Marvel Fanfare (1st series) #58

Issue Date: 
August 1991
Story Title: 
Second Story: Hometown!

Second Story: Bill Mantlo (writer), Sandy Plunkett & Armando Gil (artists), Diana Albers (letterer), Bob Sharen (colorist), Bob Budiansky & Al Milgrom (editors), Tom DeFalco (editor-in-chief)

Brief Description: 

2nd story:
The Vision watches the Scarlet Witch sleep and contemplates his life and his relationship with Wanda. Before the sun rises, a strange ship lands in Leonia, the hometown of the Vision and Scarlet Witch, and an even stranger creature starts to emerge from it. The Vision retrieves the morning newspaper, startling the paperboy, before going into the kitchen where he finds Wanda having tea with an elderly neighbor, a woman called Mrs Childers. The old woman has visited the former Avengers on behalf of the neighborhood to try to convince them to consider settling elsewhere. This infuriates Wanda, who argues with the old woman, then tells her to leave. As she leaves their home, Mrs Childers examines a strange flower, unaware that it was once a rose. Wanda is upset about the visit, and reminds the Vision that all they want is to be left alone and live in peace. They decide to arrange a meeting with the Mayor, but the Vision then suggests that they confront the townspeople immediately. However, when the Vision flies out of the house, he is met by a transformed Leonia. They Scarlet Witch joins her husband outside and they discover that the townspeople have been transformed as part of this nightmarish realm. Wanda detects black magic in use, and they follow the procession of their transformed neighbors to a church, where they worship a pit of light – and sitting over the pit is the strange creature who emerged from the craft. The creature reveals it has travelled here from its own dimension because it senses the great magic that resides on this planet. The townspeople attack the Vision and Wanda, and the demon strikes the Vision with a spell. The Vision fights back, but it is a hex spell from Wanda that sets the creature's own magic back on itself, consuming it in fire, as it reteats into the pit of power that it had sought to claim for itself. Wanda isn't exactly sure what happened, other than that she “knew” the demon wanted the power from the pit, and it was that power that drew the creature here. The pit fades from view and reality is restored, but the Scarlet Witch fears that the pit will return, drawn by her own power.

Full Summary: 

2nd story:
Leonia, New Jersey, as yet ungraced by dawn.
The soft silver glow of moonlight spills across a gabled roof, and slips into a silent bed chamber, where sits a man gazing longingly, lovingly at his sleeping wife. A man? Well, yes, perhaps. And perhaps no. A parody of a man, say those who hate and fear him. Made in the image of man, his friends reply... a Vision of the best mankind is capable of becoming, his beloved wife would respond. His wife.

The Vision gets up from the seat he rests in and walks over to the bed where Wanda Maximoff a.k.a. the Scarlet Witch lies still. How he loves her, how he loves, and is loved by her. How, he wonders, did he come by such happiness?

The Vision goes over to an open window and remembers that he was created, after all, a sleepless synthezoid, aspiring to the joys of being human begins, but ever feeling set apart. It was Wanda who made him realize that an artificial man had as much right to happiness as any man or woman. Thinking of the light the Scarlet Witch brought into his android life, the Vision fails to note another light as it streaks across the starry sky – and settles silently and unseen, to Earth on the outskirts of Leonia. The orb like vessel suddenly opens, and red eyes glow from inside it, as large tentacles start to spill out, startling a hare which rushes for safety.

It is hard to say when day actually breaks over Leonia, for the entire town is swathed in a thick blanket of impenetrable fog. Despite the mist that has settled over this quiet community like a shroud, life in Leonia goes on. A paperboy pulls up outside the Vision and Wanda's home, delivering the “Daily Bugle”. The boy tosses it towards their front door, where the Vision stands – and phases his hand through the door to catch the newspaper, startling the now wide-eyed boy, who quickly speeds away on his bicycle.

The Vision walks into the kitchen, where Wanda sits at a table with an elderly woman. Wanda pours some tea and asks the Vision if he got the morning paper. The Vision replies that he did, but he fears that the sight of him gave their newsboy something of a fright. 'But perhaps it was merely the fog which made him frightened' the Vision suggests as he puts his hands on Wanda's shoulders. 'Fog?' Wanda asks, looking up at her husband. The elderly woman  raises her cup of tea and announces that it is positively beastly outside this morning. 'One can't see one's hand before one's face' she adds.

Wanda addresses the woman as Mrs Childers and tells her that she admires her for venturing forth to visit them. 'Well, the ladies did ask me to speak to you – about your and your husband's plans. What I mean is, how long do you intend to stay... in our town?' the old woman asks. 'Your town? Your town?' Wanda scowls. Spinning around, she declares that she and the Vision purchased this property with money they earned as Avengers. 'That makes Leonia our town as well as yours!' The Vision adds that they do intend to live here, as is their right.

Mrs Childers stands up and informs the Scarlet Witch and the Vision that they might as well be aware that their neighbors are not pleased. 'We have invested considerable sums in our homes...' she explains. 'And you're all afraid that having super-powered beings living next door will lower the property values?' Wanda asks, before informing the old woman that they are staying. 'And I'll thank you to get out of our house – NOW!'

The door slams behind Mrs Childers, 'Well!' she remarks to herself, admitting that she had hoped they would be more reasonable. Descending the back steps, Mrs Childers spies Wanda's garden, and approaches a blue flower. 'My, what a strange flower – but lovely!' she remarks, as something from a vine above the flower drips onto her hand. This flower had been but an ordinary rose – before the fog touched it!

Back inside, Wanda is sitting on an armchair, head in her hands. The Vision goes over to her and tells her that women like that are not worth the salt of her tears. 'Why can't they leave us in peace, Vision? Why can't they just forget that we're different... and accept us for what we are?' Wanda cries. She rests her head against the Vision's body and reminds him that all they wanted to do when they left the Avengers was lead normal lives among normal people. The Vision suggests that perhaps it is time the people of Leonia reassessed their definition of normalcy to encompass who and what they are. Wanda tells her husband that he is right. 'After all we've done for mankind, we've more than earned acceptance!' Wanda decides that Leonia should now prove itself worthy of acceptance by them. She picks up the telephone receiver and starts to dial, announcing that she will arrange with the mayor's office to let them state their position publicly, before the entire town assembly. The Vision concurs with Wanda's decision to challenge the townspeople's prejudices. He asks her why do so by telephone and delay, when they can confront them directly.

Becoming as intangible, as ethereal as his name implies, the Vision rises through the roof of his house expecting the familiar vista of Leonia to unfold before his android eyes, but sees instead: 'Insanity!' he cries. 'A world gone mad!' the Vision shouts as he sees the landscape around him transformed. Trees spiral skyward, the town of Leonia rests on a slant, and strange creatures appear before him. Hearing the disbelief in her husband's cry, and accustomed to responding swiftly to the unexpected, the Scarlet Witch dons her costume and joins the Vision on what had once been their front walk, but which is now a pathway to some sinister, unspeakable nightmare realm! 'What is it, Wanda? What has happened to our town?' the Vision asks. Wanda announces that she senses evil in the fog, evil which transforms all that it touches – even the townspeople themselves. The heroes see the townspeople lurching slowly through the town, stalking, strangely shuffling, twisted and tormented, transmutated into things no longer human by the alien vapor’s cold caress.

The Vision asks Wanda what foe or force is responsible for this terrible transformation, to which Wanda, still examining her surroundings, replies 'Magic, Vision! Magic black and baleful!' Wanda remarks that though she was born a mutant and not the “witch” that men named her, she has still received instruction enough in the arcane arts to recognize the supernatural at work.

At that moment, they see their elderly neighbor, Mrs Childers, transformed, walk amongst the other townspeople. They form a grim goblin procession, the transformed townspeople move like shadows through the fog. Their line of march causing them to converge on one of Leonia's houses of worship. 'Something draws our neighbors to the church. And, look, Wanda, where once was the altar – now is a yawning pit from which a blue light beams forth' the Vision points out as he and Wanda climb a wide tree branch that spirals up to the church like a path. They stare into the church and see the townspeople kneeling before the pit, and as the goblin creatures adulate the light, the unearthly horror that sits entrapped by it – a large snake like monster with large tentacles, sitting on the altar over the pit. 'That creature, Wanda...!' the Vision gasps as he and the Scarlet Witch drop into the church. 'It's not of Earth, my darling!' Wanda declares.

The creature and the townspeople turn to the former Avengers, and the creature announces that it is not of this physical realm, or any other, but that it has been drawn hither from its own mystical dimension. 'Because I sense that great magic resides here on this planet!' the creature adds. Watching as the townspeople lurch closer to them, the Vision asks Wanda if the creature means that her own magic-stimulating mutant powers attracted it. Wanda replies that if so, then the people of Leonia were right to fear their coming to dwell in this town! As one of the townspeople lunges at the Vision, the android phases and the man passes through him, as the Vision declares that he will not countenance the thought that they are responsible for the horror that unfolds here. More townspeople climb into the church, and Wanda tells the Vision that it doesn't matter if it was her mutant ability that drew the alien from his own mystic realm, because it is their only means of returning the creature to that dimension. 'And we must doo so without harming our neighbors who have been forced to -' Wanda begins, but suddenly, one of the transformed townspeople grabs her from behind.

For the entranced townspeople of Leonia have no such qualms, and Wanda is pulled to the ground by three of them. 'WANDA!' the Vision shouts, before knocking back a shirtless man with rams horns sticking out of his head. As he strikes out, he revels in the thought that the very creatures he is hurting are the same neighbors who would deny the right of him and his wife to reside in a home of their choosing. However, as soon as the idea occurs to him, the Vision is ashamed of it and himself. Not that there is time for regret, as the Vision cries out in pain as a surge of energy strikes him. The creature has slithered towards the Vision, who turns to it, and informs it that its spell hurt him. 'But it did not slay you, sd was intended! Had you been any other human...' the alien replies. 'Were I any other human, I would not be the Vision!' the android declares, as energy from the solar jewel implanted on his brow surges from his eyes as a searing beam of heat – but his science-spawned powers are, it seems, as nothing before the demon's magic, as the creature blasts the Vision once more, knocking the android to the feet of the Scarlet Witch, who has escaped her attackers.

Between the still form of her husband and the coiled evil of the extradimensional demon, the Scarlet Witch makes her stand. 'You have invaded the sanctity of my hometown, demon, and hurt the one I love! I swear. By all the power I possess – that for both acts you shall pay!' Wanda warns the creature.

Is it magic that rips the fabric of night... or mutant might so supernatural in substance that it is impossible – indeed, unimportant – to distinguish between it and the mystic arts? Wanda raises her hands, green energy surrounds them, and the demon is moved backwards: 'You gesture, and call forth the wind?' it asks. Wanda explains that her hex-spheres merely affect probabilities – the chance that the winds might rise – and sweep the demon from the Earth! The demon fights back with magic of its own, causing the fire from the church candelabras to flare forth, but Wanda's hex affects that probability, coiling the fire around the creature, striking it with its own attack. The cathedral reverberates with the soul-rending sound of the demon's screams! 'I burn! I burn!' it screams as it falls backwards, closer to the pit.

The Vision wakes to this scene, and sees the demon retreating into the pit. 'No, Vision! This demon who wished to claim the power of the pit, has instead been claimed by it!' Wanda declares. They stand over the pit and the Vision tells Wanda to explain. 'I... cannot. I can only speak of that which I... sense' Wanda replies. The Vision takes Wanda in his arms as she tells him that as she fought the demon, she somehow “knew” that it was the power flowing from the pit that drew the creature here to their dimension, and though the demon is gone, the pit – and its evil – remains. The demon's tentacles fade into the pit, while the Vision tells Wanda that she underestimates her hex power, and points out that even know the church changes back, and the pit itself fades and vanishes. 'Would that I could claim it was my doing, Vision' Wanda remarks, explaining that the pit fades away because it has consumed the mysticism on which it apparently feeds – today, the demon's magic. Wanda states that the demon will return when it hungers again, and she fears it will be drawn by the power... of the Scarlet Witch!

Characters Involved: 

2nd story:
Scarlet Witch & Vision

Mrs Childers
Citizens of Leonia


Story Notes: 

First Story:
Political Animal starring Shanna the She-Devil.

This issue features pin-ups of Wonder Man, Nick Fury and the Punisher.

2nd story:
With a release date of 1991, possibly this story had been sitting in the Marvel vault for some time, as it takes place during the Scarlet Witch and Vision's marriage, which ended had ended in 1989. It possibly takes place between Marvel Team-Up (1st series) #129-130 and Defenders (1st series) #123-124.

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