Wiccan. Art by Jim Cheung.
|First appearance||Young Avengers #1 (April, 2005).|
|Created by||Allan Heinberg
|Alter ego||William “Billy” Kaplan|
|Team affiliations||Secret Avengers
Wiccan (real name William “Billy” Kaplan) is a comic book character, a member of the Young Avengers, a team of superheroes in the Marvel Universe. His appearance is patterned on that of Thor and Scarlet Witch.
He first appeared in Young Avengers #1 (April, 2005). The issue was scripted by Allan Heinberg and drawn by Jim Cheung.
Billy Kaplan is the eldest of three sons born to Reform Jews Jeff Kaplan (a cardiologist ) and Rebecca Kaplan (a psychologist)
Regularly bullied in school, 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 heals Billy’s wounds and a few weeks later he stands up for another kid being bullied, and demonstrates his powers for the first time, but is not fully prepared for their effects.
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 out of fragments of the soul of the demon Mephisto. 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 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.
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.
Billy, with the other Young Avengers, teams up with the Runaways again when the Skrulls invade.
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.
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, 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.
Wiccan is one of the many possible candidates for the title of Sorcerer Supreme, having been described by the Vision as “one of the most powerful mages on the planet.”
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.
Exchanges between Wiccan and Hulkling had led some readers to speculate 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 (“ass-guardian” is implied, but not explicitly mentioned) 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, and 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 blatantly 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.
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…” 
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.
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.