Artwork from the cover to Avengers: The Children's Crusade #1 by Jim Cheung.
|First appearance||Young Avengers #1 (April 2005).|
|Created by||Allan Heinberg
|Alter ego||William "Billy" Kaplan|
|Team affiliations||Young Avengers|
Wiccan (real name William "Billy" Kaplan) is a comic book character, a member of the Young Avengers, a team of teenage superheroes in the Marvel Universe. His appearance is patterned on that of two prominent Marvel superheroes, Thor and Scarlet Witch, both of whom are members of the Avengers. Like the Scarlet Witch, Billy possesses very powerful magical abilities which make him a key member of his superhero team.
Prominently, Wiccan is a high profile gay superhero. His story sees him discover that he and the super fast teen hero Speed are in fact long lost twin brothers, and that the pair are in fact the sons of the Scarlet Witch and her husband Vision. Prominent storylines for the character include him and his brother's search for their missing mother, learning to master his powers, and his ongoing relationship with his alien teammate Hulkling.
- 1 Publication history
- 2 Fictional character biography
- 3 Powers and abilities
- 4 Parentage
- 5 Relationships
- 6 Origin of name
- 7 Reception
- 8 Other versions
- 9 In other media
- 10 See also
- 11 References
- 12 External links
Wiccan first appeared in Young Avengers #1 (April 2005). The issue was scripted by Allan Heinberg and drawn by Jim Cheung. One of the original four members of the Young Avengers, the team was founded after the Avengers disbanded in the story line Avengers Disassembled.
Initially, Heinberg assumed that Marvel would not allow him to write two leading homosexual characters. Because of this, he originally planned to write Billy's love interest, Hulkling, as a female shapeshifter named Chimera. Chimera would discover that her true form was male, which would force Billy to decide if he was still in love with him. However, due to the complexity of this proposed story line, editor Tom Brevoort suggested simply making both characters gay.
Fictional character biography
Regularly bullied in school because of his homosexuality, Billy found solace outside the gates of the Avengers Mansion. One day, Billy encountered the Avenger the Scarlet Witch, who told him to stand his ground the next time it happens. She then touched his head, causing a red light to flash briefly. The flash healed Billy's wounds, and a few weeks later, he stood up for another kid being bullied, demonstrating his powers for the first time, and nearly killing his tormentor.
He was one of the Young Avengers chosen as a result of the Vision's plan for the reformation of the Avengers, in the event the team ever disbanded. He originally chose the code name Asgardian, but later changed it to Wiccan.
The full extent of his powers are unknown, though they include flight and lightning generation. He can cast spells using a technique learned from "self-help books" owned by fellow Young Avenger Hulkling's mother. By chanting a mantra/statement of intent (for example, "I want Iron Lad to forget") and focusing on the outcome he wants to achieve, he can manipulate reality, causing certain events and effects to happen.
Billy has said that Wanda Maximoff, the Scarlet Witch, was his favorite Avenger, and it has been implied that his powers are linked to hers. Billy's possible relationship to Wanda was revealed by the Super-Skrull and Vision.
In the past, Scarlet Witch was so desperate to have children that she used her reality warping powers to create twin sons, unknowingly, from two (of five) scattered fragments of the soul of the demon Mephisto that were previously lost to him in an ill-fated encounter with the powerful mutant child, Franklin Richards. When the boys' souls were reabsorbed into Mephisto, because of the power Wanda put into the soul fragments, they destroyed him and their souls were reincarnated as Thomas Shepherd, the Young Avenger Speed, and Billy.
During the Civil War, Billy and Tommy plan to look for Wanda. S.H.I.E.L.D. arrests the Young Avengers. However, Sam Wilson (Falcon) and Steve Rogers (Captain America) intercept the S.H.I.E.L.D bus which is transporting the prisoners and Wiccan teleports the team out of the situation, into the Resistance Fighters base of operations.
When the Runaways try to stay out of the conflict, they barely manage to escape from the government forces. Hearing of this development in the news, the Young Avengers decide to help the Runaways even though Captain America vetoes the plan. Wiccan uses his magic to locate and teleport to the Runaways. However, the Runaways believe that the Young Avengers have come to capture them and a fight ensues until Eli (Patriot) succeeds in convincing Nico to stop the hostilities. The two teams are later attacked by Noh-Varr, who captures Wiccan, Karolina, and Hulkling, and (apparently) kills the Runaway Xavin. The young heroes become the prisoners of the Warden, who proceeds to practice vivisection on the unconscious Teddy. The boys are rescued by Xavin, whose Skrull physiology allowed him to recover from Noh-Varr's attack. He comes close to killing the Warden, but Teddy stops him.
Wiccan is among the Secret Avengers who takes part in the first major battle of the Civil War and was one of the first two casualties. Tony Stark and Peter Parker realize that the two rebels with teleportation powers needed to be incapacitated to prevent an escape from the ambush. So, Wiccan and Cloak are shot with tranquilizer darts and rendered unconscious. This attack on two of his youngest followers infuriates Steve Rogers (Captain America). A violent battle ensues, by the end of which, Goliath lies dead, slain by Ragnarok, the cyborg clone of Thor. Most of the Anti-Registration group escapes, but Wiccan is left behind and captured by the Pro-Registration side.
Billy and the other imprisoned anti-Registration heroes are eventually freed in a raid led by Captain America. This liberation is made possible largely by Teddy's shape-shifting ability, which allows him to mimic Hank Pym's retinal and voice patterns, and thereby release all the prisoners from their cells.
Billy is shown to be a member of the Initiative, along with Hulkling. However, it is later revealed that some, perhaps most, of the Young Avengers did not actually join The Initiative or even register. They were registered by their Earth-A counterparts; both Wiccan and Hulking are seen complaining about being registered to their "A Selves". It's been subsequently shown that since registration, Billy has spent most of his time at home, apparently grounded, with his parents wanting him to register.
The Search for the Scarlet Witch
Wiccan and Speed later search for the Scarlet Witch following the events of Civil War. While Billy and Tommy both search for Wanda (referring to her as "Mom") they encounter Master Pandemonium, who recognizes Wiccan's magic as that of the Scarlet Witch and further explains their original history as the Scarlet Witch's children. However, he likens the boys' search for their past and Wanda to his own former life as rising actor, and tells them that their past was "darkness and chaos" and advises them that they should embrace who they are now. This appears to have satisfied Wiccan, who calls off his search for now, deciding that he is happy with the person he is and the people in his life.
The Skrull Invasion
Dark Reign and Siege
Wiccan gathers the Young Avengers together at the Avengers Mansion to respond to wave of supernatural chaos caused by Chthon. The team is turned to stone by Chthon's magic, except for Vision and Stature, who arrive too late.
Doctor Strange, the former Sorcerer Supreme and one of Marvel's premiere magic users, visits Wiccan to discuss his potential candidacy and ability to assume the position as the new Sorcerer Supreme. When the Hood finds Strange and engages him in magical combat, Wiccan aids him, contrary to Strange's orders to flee. Wiccan and Strange teleport to the New Avengers seeking help. Later, he is seen controlled by Nightmare in Doctor Voodoo.
During the Siege of Asgard, Wiccan and the other Young Avengers were among those who answered Steve Roger's assembly call for the purpose of overthrowing Norman Osborn's regime and defending Asgard. Wiccan, a lover of Asgardian mythology, fought in the battle, and alongside Hulkling defeated the Wrecking Crew, who were looting the Throne Room after the fall of Asgard. He displayed a fearsome level of power producing lightning bolts to conquer the villains, much to Hulkling's worry.
The Children's Crusade
During a fight between a group of nuclear-armed Sons of the Serpent and the Young Avengers, Wiccan loses control of his powers and renders the entire group of terrorists comatose. The Avengers arrive and take Wiccan to their base stating that they want to examine his full capabilities, concerned that, like the Scarlet Witch, if he were to lose control of his powers, he could cause massive devastation. In the process, the Avengers reveal to the team that the Scarlet Witch, having gone insane after losing her twin sons, killed several of her teammates, changed all of reality into House of M, and then was responsible for the depowering and deaths of millions of mutants. Wiccan reiterates his belief that he and Speed are truly the transposed souls of the Scarlet Witch's children and that she may not have been purposefully behind those events. Seeing the Avengers' and his friends' distrust of the Scarlet Witch and their discomfort with him due to uncertainty of his powers, he storms out, only to find that Captain America has informed his parents of what occurred during the early battle. Wiccan, accompanied by Hulkling, goes with Captain America and is situated for observation. However, the other Young Avengers decide to break them out, urging Wiccan to search for the Scarlet Witch. By showing her that the children she lost may be alive and well, the Young Avengers believe that she may be cured of her madness and be able to reverse the damage she had done. In particular, Stature hopes that locating and curing the Scarlet Witch could mean a chance at reviving her father. Immediately, Magneto arrives, stating that he wants Wiccan and Speed to finally know him as their grandfather.
However the Avengers intercede in the conversation and go into battle with Magneto and the Young Avengers. Wiccan is attacked by Wolverine and is then convinced by Ms. Marvel that this is a battle they cannot win. Wiccan then teleports his team and Magneto to Wundagore Mountain in Transia, The Scarlet Witch's birthplace, leaving the Avengers behind, who decide to let Wiccan find the Scarlet Witch so they can take care of both of them at once. Upon arriving, Patriot lashes out in anger at Wiccan, but Hawkeye intercedes and decides that they will look for the Scarlet Witch together. Patriot then confides with Hawkeye that he believes the Avengers are right and that they need to go back. However Hawkeye tells Patriot that he needs to pick a side and walks away angry. The Vision confides his fear that Stature may sacrifice herself to bring back her father, and that that is something that neither he or her father would want. Finally, the group reaches the Grave of Magda, Wanda's mother, and Magneto tells the children about the Scarlet witch and Quicksilver's birth. Wiccan then reaches out with his magic and finds the Scarlet Witch in the town, and Speed goes to investigate, only to run into Quicksilver. Quicksilver then threatens Magneto and kidnaps Wiccan. Speed however catches up with Quicksilver and the two race, with Wiccan being carried by Quicksilver the whole time. Eventually, Quicksilver decides that the only way to stop his father and get Wiccan to help him find his sister is to kill Magneto. He fashions out stakes using fence posts and runs back to the village, throwing wooden stakes at Magneto, who dodges them. In the process, Quicksilver seemingly impales Wanda, who is discovered to be a Doombot, and that Doctor Doom has the real Scarlet Witch.
That night, everyone, Magneto and Quicksilver included, debates over invading Latveria to retrieve the Scarlet Witch, and they decide to sleep on it until the morning. Wiccan secretly leaves the group and is in the middle of a spell to teleport himself to Latveria. Quicksilver interrupts him, pointing out their similarities and again trying to get Wiccan to help him. However, Hulking arrives with the rest of the Young Avengers, threatening Quicksilver and reprimanding Wiccan. Meanwhile, the Avengers meet with Wonder Man, hoping to use him to find Wanda and Wiccan. Simon, however, refuses and decides to go and find Wanda himself and help bring her back. Late that night in Transia, Wiccan writes a note for Hulkling expressing his love and apologizing for leaving for Latveria alone. Wiccan then teleports to Doom's castle and disguises himself as the Scarlet Witch to gain access. He is escorted by Doombots to a room where he is then assaulted by an amnesiac Scarlet Witch. Wiccan tells Wanda that he plans to rescue, omitting that he is her son. However, Wanda states that there is no need for that as she is about to be married. Doctor Doom then arrives to tell Wiccan that it is he whom Wanda will marry, and then attacks Wiccan.
Wiccan tries to tell Wanda about her past life as the Scarlet Witch, but Dr. Doom knocks him unconscious during the battle before Wiccan can finish. Later, Doom tells Wiccan that Wanda came to him, and although he does not understand how, he has truly fallen in love with Wanda. Later, Wanda comes to see Wiccan asking him to tell her everything about the Scarlet Witch before she marries Doom. In the meantime, Magneto and the Young Avengers plan to invade Doom's castle in order to get Wiccan back, but are stopped by Wonder Man, and the Avengers who followed him secretly. A battle ensues, and Wolverine goes to find Wanda and Wiccan to kill them, but is stopped by Iron Lad, who states that the future depends on Wiccan's survival.
Eventually Wanda recovers her memory and powers. Billy asks her to use her magic to determine whether or not they are truly mother and son. It becomes clear that they are, and Wanda begs Billy's forgiveness. Mother and child embrace lovingly and weep for joy. Wanda is now determined to undo the harm she did, and restore the mutants. The first beneficiary is Rictor.
However, the X-Men intervene, and as the Avengers arrive, the two teams fight. Wanda teleports herself and the Young Avengers back to Latveria. Wiccan decides to help Dr. Doom and Wanda cast a spell to give the mutants back their powers. However, Patriot refuses to trust Dr. Doom, and shoots an explosive arrow at him to stop the spell, which results in Dr. Doom attaining Wanda's reality altering powers. The new Dr. Doom teleports the team after Wanda begs him to relinquish the power. Dr. Doom appears in front of the X-Men, the Avengers, X-Factor, the Young Avengers, and Wanda, and a battle ensues ending in Cassie's death. Wanda and Wiccan manage to drain the power from Dr. Doom, and he leaves. Iron Lad wants to take back Cassie's body into the timestream to find someone who could bring her back, but the Vision stops him and is subsequently destroyed. Wanda leaves to find herself, the X-Men go back to Utopia, and the Young Avengers decide to disband.
Wiccan blames himself for everything that has happened, and ends up falling into a depression, but with Hulkling proposing to him the two get back into costume with Hawkeye and Speed (Patriot moved to Arizona) and Captain America makes the team full-fledged Avengers.
In a one-shot issue of Children's Crusade: Young Avengers, a flash to the future shows Billy wearing the uniform of Dr. Strange, implying he has attained the mantle of Sorcerer Supreme at some point in the future.
Powers and abilities
As Wiccan, Billy Kaplan possesses a spellcasting talent that may or may not be related to a reality warping power. While patterning himself after Thor in the guise of Asgardian, Billy limited himself entirely to flight and lightning based spells. By stating an intent and focusing on the outcome, Wiccan is capable of a variety of feats, including, but not limited to tracking and locating others, illusionary disguises, tearing down force-fields, mass teleportation, concussive blasts, enchantments, astral projection, pyrokinesis, and telekinetic force beams.
Billy must be able to hear his spells for them to be successful, but some of Billy's spells can be activated without words. He has consistently been able to create force fields, teleport others, and generate lightning and force blasts with little or no effort. He eventually demonstrates the ability to cast sophisticated spells without speaking, such as changing from his costume to civilian clothing, levitating others, and transforming an entire room. He was able to render twenty armed terrorists comatose with a single thought when he lost control of his powers, causing concern among his teammates and the Avengers. Somehow when he was captured and put into the Cube and the warden put special high-tech ear-plugs on him that allowed him to hear everything but his own voice, he was unable to cast any kind of spell and was rendered helpless.
In Young Avengers vol. 2, it is revealed by Loki that Wiccan is destined to ascend to a god-like reality warper who will rewrite the rules of magic known as the Demiurge. He briefly achieves this form, and is able to view the past, present and future, as well as freely alter the universe. However, deciding that he is not ready to wield this power, he relinquishes it and reverts to his human form.
Heinberg stated on the situation in a transcript with fans, "According to Billy's theory, the souls of Wanda's twins inhabited his and Tommy's bodies when they were dispersed from Mephisto. But it's only a theory." He also stated in another interview that his plans for the new 'season' involved the two searching for Wanda, stating "If everything goes according to plan, Wanda will indeed return to Young Avengers early in Season Two, when Billy and Tommy embark on a search for the true source of their powers." Indeed the Young Avengers Present issue from March 2008 involves the "twin brothers" Wiccan and Speed looking for their "mother Wanda".
The Super-Skrull and the Vision's files consider Kaplan and Shepherd to be siblings. While Kaplan believes himself and Shepherd may be Wanda Maximoff's reincarnated children, Shepherd is more skeptical about the situation.
During their search for the Scarlet Witch, Wiccan is even more certain that he and Tommy are siblings. Both boys refer to one another as "brothers" and Speed claims to be the older of the two (though neither knows for certain) and also refer to the Scarlet Witch as "Mom" while searching for her.
In Children's Crusade #6, Scarlet Witch confirms that Billy and Tommy are the reincarnations of her sons
Exchanges between Wiccan and Hulkling had led to speculation that the two teens had a much more intimate bond than mere friendship. Allan Heinberg confirmed this speculation, stating that his intent was to reveal the relationship, and he was surprised that his subtle clues were picked up on so quickly.
Kate advises that Asgardian should change his codename to avoid the obvious puns when the press discovers that he's in a relationship with Hulkling, implying that the others already knew the two are gay. Kate, along with Stature, suggested the codename, "Wiccan," which Billy adopts.
When the team agrees to give an interview to Kat Farrell, Jessica Jones warns Billy and Teddy that Farrell will probably ask if the rumors about them are true. After some deliberation, the two decide to tell Farrell, with Teddy adding, "Why should Northstar have all the fun?"
In Young Avengers Presents #3, Hulkling and Wiccan's romantic relationship is handled much more openly than previous issues. In it, they refer to one another as boyfriends. Speed also asks if their relationship is "getting hot and heavy" and jokes that Billy and Teddy would have a disastrous "mixed marriage" due to Teddy's alien heritage.
In the aftermath of The Children's Crusade, Billy falls into a months long depression, watching from the sidelines as New York is turned into "Spider Island" and the Human Torch is resurrected. Teddy is able to bring Billy back "out of the dark" by proposing to him.
Origin of name
Asked about Billy's codename, Heinberg said "It turns out that code names are the trickiest part of creating new characters. When Kate suggests 'Wiccan' to Billy in Young Avengers #6, she, like me, was not thinking in terms of the specific religious practice of Wicca, but rather attempting to find a suitable counterpart for the word 'witch.' It was certainly not my intention to offend anyone with 'Wiccan.' And since adopting the code name, rest assured Billy has been doing his Wiccan homework, so keep reading..." 
Wiccan has received generally positive reception, with particular focus on his relationship with Hulkling. Heinberg reported that when the relationship was initially suspected before its confirmation, most fan were supportive, with minimal negative reaction. Wiccan and Hulkling have been called "Marvel's most prominent gay couple," and received praise for showing diversity and progression in comics. Writer Andrew Wheeler ranked the couple as #6 on a list of fifty comics and characters that LGBT readers have connected to. He wrote: "Something about the sweetness of the love between Hulkling and Wiccan, aka Billy and Teddy, has struck a strong chord with readers looking for a little romance to melt their hearts. After dealing with time travellers, alien invasions and mad mutants, their story stands out as an It Gets Better for the superhero set."
Avengers Fairy Tales
Exiles: Days of Then And Now
In a reality where after the Hulk was jettisoned into space and discovered by Annihilus, killing him and taking the Annihilation Wave to Earth; Wiccan appears as one of the few remaining superhumans and part of Quentin Quire's Exiles. Like his mainstream counterpart, he refers to Speed as his brother and the Scarlet Witch as his mother.
The Last Avengers Story
In a one-shot story about the final Avengers story, Billy and Tommy grew up as the children of the Vision and the Scarlet Witch. As a child, Billy witnessed the accidental murder of his mother by his uncle, Quicksilver. Her death eventually caused Billy (known as "Billy Maximoff") to become a villain, calling himself "the Grim Reaper." He and his brother Tommy communicated via holograms where Tommy implored his brother to give up his villainy, stating that he was apprehensive to fight him. Eventually the Reaper joined forces with Kang and Ultron-54 and their "final battle" with the Avengers. Billy appeared to be friends with this future's Oddball and the two discussed Billy's desire for revenge against his brother and father.
Billy and his brother were locked in battle until their father, the Vision, destroyed Ultron, ending the fight. As the Vision lay dying, he implored Billy not to give up on humanity the way he had when Wanda was killed. What exactly became of Billy following the Avengers' victory is unknown.
Unlike Earth-616, Tommy inherited their mother's mystical abilities and the nature of Billy's powers were unspecified. As the Grim Reaper, Billy wielded a scythe of unknown nature, either technological or mystic, that could teleport back to him if it left his hand. The scythe could presumably cut what he wanted it to while harmlessly phasing through what he did not, such as when he impaled Jessie Wingfoot without injuring Ultron-54. During the battle with Tommy, his scythe was able to deflect mystical force bolts conjured at him.
Battle of the Atom
During Battle of the Atom, Billy is seen as a member of the future X-Men who travel back in time to stop a group of impostors led by Beast. He is apparently the Earth's new Sorcerer Supreme, and possesses the Eye of Agamotto.
In other media
- Wiccan makes a cameo appearance in Doctor Strange's ending in Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3. He is shown seated next to Scarlet Witch at a gathering of mystics from across the Marvel and Capcom universes.
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