'Splainin to Do
Grim Reaper and Swarm: Marvel teases 2 major villains in 'WandaVision' Ep 2
“That which has been duly sown, shall now be harvested.”
WandaVision isn't your typical Marvel adventure. There's no big fight scenes and no monologuing supervillain — at least not yet. However, a closer look at WandaVision Episode 2 reveals subtle clues and Easter eggs that could reveal the bad guy who's secretly tormenting Wanda and Vision, and it's not who you think. Warning! Spoilers ahead.
The reveal that Wanda and Vision are pregnant at the end of WandaVision Episode 2 might raise alarm bells that the demon Mephisto is involved in a potential House of M plotline. But if you were paying close attention, you might have caught a clue pointing to the try villain: The Grim Reaper. (Oh, and also the Spider-Man villain Swarm, but more on that at the bottom of the article.)
In Episode 2's Bewitched-inspired animated intro, the supervillain originally known as Eric Williams gets a subtle shoutout. As Vision phases through the ceiling of his own house, we see a crawlspace between the floors. Hidden in that crawlspace? A weird looking helmet.
It's subtle but unmistakable. That's the Grim Reaper's helmet!
Who is the Grim Reaper in Marvel comics?
Originally named Eric Williams, the Grim Reaper started out his criminal career by joining a low-stakes crime syndicate called the Maggia. However, after his brother Simon got involved in an evil scheme orchestrated by Baron Zemo to take down the Avengers, Eric blamed Earth's Mightiest Heroes for Simon's death and vowed to get revenge.
To take on the Avengers, Eric obtained a special scythe weapon from the Tinkerer and used it to attack the Avengers. He almost won, but was defeated by Black Panther. Later, the Grim Reaper assembled an evil team called the Lethal Legion after realizing that he couldn't kill Vision on his own.
The Grim Reaper was introduced in the 1968 comic Avengers #52. His scythe, which replaced his right hand, is a massive blade that also contains multiple other weapons, including:
- a plasma blaster
- a stunner that puts people in a coma and kills them
- knock-out gas spray
- an extremely high-speed buzz saw that doubles as a shield against bullets or a helicopter blade
The Grim Reaper has a long history of interacting with Vision, even at one time offering to put Vision's mind into the body of Eric's dead brother Simon (Vision declined). However, it's unclear how this supervillain might be involved in whatever the heck is happening in WandaVision.
What about Swarm in Marvel's WandaVision?
Personally, I still think the literal beekeeper at the end of WandaVision Episode 2 was a reference to the "beekeepers" in Marvel (aka, the terrorist-scientist organization A.I.M.), however, it's possible this could also be a clue for the Spider-Man villain Swarm.
Fritz von Meyer was one of Hitler's top scientists and a bee expert. After the war, he escaped to South America and discovered a hive of mutant bees. When he tried to enslave the queen, the entire colony ate him alive, leaving behind a skeleton. However, because these were mutant bees, Meyer's consciousness was transferred into the hive, giving him the ability to control the bees. So, of course, he named himself Swarm and became a supervillain.
After initially fighting the Marvel superhero team the Champions, Swarm became a recurring Spider-Man villain. He doesn't have any history in the comics with Wanda or Vision, but that doesn't mean he can't show up here. After all, if there are bees in a Marvel story, there's a decent chance the Swarm is close behind...
WandaVision is streaming now on Disney+.