To Bova, With Love

Bova's probably not going to appear in WandaVision, but this lifelong fan can dream.

To try and understand the story of Wanda and Pietro Maximoff is to court madness. Perhaps more than any other characters in Marvel’s oeuvre, their history – particularly the former’s – is fractured and convoluted in a way that makes them a difficult pair to track. This makes the simple act of reading their Wikipedia pages feel closer to the boat ride scene in Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory than your standard encyclopedia entry, as you’re perpetually attempting to balance yourself against the constantly changing tides of time and corporate decision making.

Are they good or are they bad? 18

Are they mutants or are they not? 19

Who is their father at this given moment?

The latter question is the trickiest, as this duo was long in pursuit of that very same answer. Was it Magneto, the much maligned Master of Magnetism? Was it The Whizzer, the speedster from the Golden Age of Marvel? 20 Was it Django Maximoff, their father in name if not blood? These aren’t rhetorical questions either. I’m genuinely asking you because I just read their respective Wikipedia pages as well as other online entries and still cannot tell, with their Marvel Fandom Wiki straight up not even identifying a single character as their “father.”

Their blood mother is equally turbulent, as it seems likely to be either Marya Maximoff 21 or Magda Eisenhardt, Magneto’s deceased wife. I believe it’s the latter, but maybe that’s not even the point. That’s because while their blood parents’ identities waver at a speed only Pietro himself can appreciate, the answer to that riddle doesn’t reveal who their actual mom is. Not really. For as convoluted as Wanda and Pietro’s genetic forebears is, their actual parentage is quite a bit simpler.

It’s Bova Ayrshire, the wondrous anthropomorphic cow woman created for Giant-Size Avengers #1 by Roy Thomas and Rich Buckler, and the one person who truly cared for this duo in lives littered with retcons and betrayal.

Now, this might be read as a wild overstatement about the impact this shining bastion of goodness from the High Evolutionary’s evolved race of anthropomorphic animals – the New Men – had on the pair’s lives. Depending on which version of continuity you’re consulting at any given moment, Bova was either the person that helped Magda birth the pair, an ancillary midwife, or someone who just happened to be near these events, I guess. Regardless of which version of that story is in vogue at the time, the pair was raised by Django and Wanda Maximoff, so their parentage at a certain age is clear. But despite their endlessly evolving story, Bova was the pair’s constant, the one who was always there and simply cared because that’s who she was and they were who they were.

From Avengers #380, art by Mike Deodato, Jr.

Let’s drop the super seriousness for a second and remove all semblance of objectivity. It’s time to be utterly transparent about my Bova takes, because it’s worth stating in this heavily tongue-in-cheek era we live in: I am completely sincere about my love of this character! I have adored Bova ever since I was a kid, and it truly was love at first sight. There I was, a 10-year-old in Anchorage, Alaska, picking up a three issue Avengers arc by Bob Harras and Mike Deodato, Jr. 22 because it was seemingly X-Men adjacent. 23 There she was, an anthropomorphic cow woman on her death bed as her son but also not a son Quicksilver and his wife Crystal stopped by her home at the base of Wundagore Mountain to show some love and potentially say goodbye.

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  1. It depends on when you ask.

  2. Currently not, but who knows what the future holds?

  3. Or Timely as it was known by then.

  4. This is unlikely, given that she was their adopted mother, but as The Coen Brothers proved in Hail, Caesar!, it is legally possible to adopt your own child.

  5. This was Avengers Vol. 1 #380 through #382.

  6. It features Exodus and some of Magneto’s Acolytes. What can I say? I was X-Men thirsty in those days.

  7. The “this is hilarious” of it all never goes away, and not because she’s a cow woman. The character has a lot of weird tropes. I swear, she is eating or making soup in 95% of her appearances.

  8. I’d wager a lot of people think the High Evolutionary is in fact a robot, if only because he never appears out of his armor and Marvel never really addresses his nature in stories he appears. Say it with me, folks, and this time in a Janet from The Good Place voice: Not a robot. The High Evolutionary is not a robot!

  9. Including one of my favorite tropes from superhero team comics from that stretch, which was the “characters dealing with complicated emotions while working out in their respective headquarters’ incredibly weird gyms” beat. It shows up a lot more often than you’d expect!

  10. See: X-Factor #87, when he informed Doc Samson the reason he’s always annoyed is because his life feels like he’s perpetually stuck behind people who don’t know how to use an ATM. The world is frustratingly slow to him, which makes him a jerk.

  11. See: Son of M and its follow-up Silent War, in which he effectively triggers a war because he really wants his powers back post House of M and Decimation. This was back when he was a mutant. I have legit no idea how he lost his powers during House of M if he was actually not a mutant, as has been stated now, but what can I say? Comics are weird.

  12. Even though he does scold Bova for not telling him that she was dying, which is an unbelievable dick move.

  13. That’s what she says when she was given the former supervillain Modred to care for after he’d been mentally regressed into childhood after an encounter with the Elder god Chthon. Comics!

  14. Which is honestly super weird when you think of it.

  15. Jumping the cow? The mind wanders…

  16. Besides in Marvel Two in One #74, in which The Thing – always keeping it real, that guy – responds to the revelation of her face with the stone cold classic, “Holy – -! YER A COW.”

  17. She basically appeared once every half decade for the first two decades of her existence and yet is suggested to be crucial to Wanda and Pietro’s stories in each one.

  18. It depends on when you ask.

  19. Currently not, but who knows what the future holds?

  20. Or Timely as it was known by then.

  21. This is unlikely, given that she was their adopted mother, but as The Coen Brothers proved in Hail, Caesar!, it is legally possible to adopt your own child.

  22. This was Avengers Vol. 1 #380 through #382.

  23. It features Exodus and some of Magneto’s Acolytes. What can I say? I was X-Men thirsty in those days.