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Why This Avengers Comic Is So Important To WandaVision

If you've ever wanted to be more like the protagonists in psychological thrillers who develop an unhealthy obsession with strings of numbers and symbols, comic book movies and TV shows are a great place to start. It's a time-honored tradition that any prop or set piece with text written on it must be utilized in the pursuit of turning the audience into that Leonardo DiCaprio pointing meme. From Heroes giving George Takei's limo an "NCC-1701" license plate to Bucky being crammed into cell D-23 in Captain America: Civil War, nerdery is all about seeing how hungry a pop culture snake can get for its own tail, and WandaVision is perhaps the most flamboyant example of this tendency. 

The references run deep. If you could physically see the warehouse full of mystery boxes that the show's plot is built around, there's a good chance that they'd each have the social security numbers of classic comic book artists in stenciled spray paint on their sides. So when a brightly colored S.W.O.R.D. helicopter drone popped up in episode 4, the savvier viewers undoubtedly smashed the pause button into dust like it was Peter Parker in that scene at the end of Infinity War. The wee tiny chopper is labeled "S-57." Something, clearly, is afoot. But what?

Well, break out the long box and string another length of red yarn up on the wall, because we've got you covered.

WandaVision drones on about the comics

You'd be forgiven if you missed your shot at grabbing Avengers #57 when it first hit comic book stands, since that was over half a century ago. Let's look at the Cliff's Notes version of its story.

Avengers #57 was notable for a few reasons. It featured art by comics legend John Buscema, and was written by Roy Thomas, the co-creator of classic characters like Ghost Rider, Valkyrie, and Wolverine. More relevantly, it featured the debut of another of Thomas' most famous creations: a ghostly, green and red robotic spectre known as the Vision. This mysterious synthezoid, described by Hank Pym as "every inch a human being ... except that all his bodily organs are constructed of synthetic materials!" was determined to be the creation of Ultron, sent to destroy the World's Greatest Heroes before a hasty morality flip saw him fighting against his maker.

Vision's origin story in the MCU has already been covered, and the narrative presented in Avengers #57 wouldn't make a lick of sense if WandaVision put it on screen, but the callout to the character's first day at work was a nice, subtle tribute to the source material. Now, back to combing through S.W.O.R.D.'s files on the denizens of Westview to see if any of them call back to old issues of Alpha Flight.