There is arguably no Marvel lore weirder than that of Bova and Mount Wundagore. With WandaVision putting direct allusions to the genetically modified cow into the second episode of the series—hinting that she might be a big part of the central mystery—it’s the perfect time to properly introduce you to Wanda and Pietro’s animal matriarch. Strap in, true believers. You’re in for a wild ride.
Who Is Bova?
The history of Wanda Maximoff is a strange one with a long evolution. She first appeared with her brother Pietro in 1964’s X-Men #4. A decade later, in Giant-Size Avengers #1 by Roy Thomas and Rich Buckler, the story expands with a flashback. Introduced by the Golden Age hero the Whizzer, this Mount Wundagore myth leads to a confession. The speedster Robert Frank claims to be Wanda’s long-lost father. This story is also where we first meet Bova as the midwife to Wanda and Pietro’s mother.
Bova becomes the storyteller five years later in Avengers #186, telling Pietro of her own origin. She was a cow evolved to human form by super-geneticist the High Evolutionary in his Wundagore lab. Bova then contradicted the Whizzer’s tale, informing Pietro that his mother was a distraught wanderer named Magda.
Magda met the genetically modified humanoid cow while fleeing her husband who developed terrible powers. Bova delivered her two children, and then briefly took them in and cared for them. After Robert Frank declined to raise the children following the stillborn birth of his own child, the High Evolutionary gave the twins to a family of travelers: the Maximoffs.
What Does Bova Have to Do with WandaVision?
During the opening credits of episode two, you may have noticed a sign that reads Bova Milk. That could just be a cheeky reference to this weird part of comics history. But we think that it might mean something more. That’s especially evident when we look at Wanda and Vision’s new neighbors. The inhabitants of Westview are definitely a strange lot. But there’s one particular new friend who shares a moniker with the High Evolutionary himself: Herbert.
Who Is the High Evolutionary?
We don’t know much about WandaVision‘s Westview resident Herbert. In the comics, the High Evolutionary a.k.a. Herbert Edgar Wyndham was a key part of Wanda’s backstory. Created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby in Thor #134, he’s a genius scientist driven by his own thirst for knowledge. Herbert moved his ever-more dangerous experiments to Mount Wundagore; this is, of course, where he came across Wanda and Pietro for the very first time.
This might seem like a thin connection, but with the nod to Bova and the amount of magic characters seemingly inhabiting WandaVision it actually makes a lot of sense that the show’s Herbert might really be the High Evolutionary. We already believe that Agnes (Kathryn Hahn) is likely Agatha Harkness. That witchy woman is a key magical character in Wanda’s life. The fact that she’s also in whatever strange reality Wanda and Vision have found themselves in is no coincidence.
Why Would These Magical Characters Appear in WandaVision?
A hint could come from the figure in the beekeeper costume, whom we saw at the end of the second episode. “Beekeeper” is the slang term for A.I.M. (Advanced Idea Mechanics) operatives, so we think they could be trying to control the magic wielders in order to steal their power.
This organization loves to create mythical and magical weapons, so it would make a lot of sense. And though we haven’t 100% decided on which of Wanda and Vision’s neighbors might be Bova in disguise, there are plenty of options. The bossy Dottie and the kindly Bev could both end up revealing themselves as the creature who raised the twins. But there’s another option, too—one that would be more fitting within the realistic world of the MCU and the trauma of Wanda’s life.
Wanda may in fact be in a prison of her own making, like a pocket dimension she created to deal with the trauma of Vision’s death. Alternatively, as some moments have implied, she may be trapped by some outside force. Regardless, the appearance of Mount Wundagore, Agatha, Bova, and the High Evolutionary could just be her processing her own life and memories. She’s clearly lost when we meet her at the beginning of WandaVision, with no idea of who she really is or why she’s there.
So while we might never see a humanoid cow (but we can dream!), if these are truly allusions to Wanda’s past then we’re seeing some of the strangest parts of the comic books become canon in the MCU. Luckily, WandaVision is going for the weird. So maybe, just maybe, when Wanda escapes from the suburban hell she’s in, we’ll get to see the real, fantastical faces of those she’s with. And if one of them is a cow in a checked shirt… so be it.