The Vision was the runaway star of Avengers: Age of Ultron, and while the current volume focuses on a different Vision from the film, it has got to be the runaway star of the current stable of Marvel comics.
Yeah, yeah, yeah, we get it, the Vision is some kind of super-powered android cyborg or whatever (the right term is synthezoid) and he’s done his share of legendary shit in his time with the Avengers. But now, thanks to the completely warranted and never sarcastically derided All-New All-Different Marvel event, we get to see a Vision that’s doing his best to live a life as ordinary as possible. Except you don’t really get that choice when you’re a superhero right, especially because of the whole great power, great responsibility trope they dumped on us way back when. To add another layer of absurdity to Vision’s pursuit of normalcy is the introduction of his synthezoid nuclear family, including housewife Virginia, and kids Viv and Vin, who are both in High School. Are we normalised yet? No. Not by a longshot. In fact, ‘normal’ is in short supply in The Vision’s opening arc. Instead, writer Tom King and artists Gabriel Hernandez Walta and Jordie Bellaire serve up something that deserves every accolade it receives and every award nomination it garners.
The Vision’s pursuit of a ‘normal’ life with his family in Virginia while acting as the Avengers’ man in the White House doesn’t seem like the Vision at all. Besides, everyone knows that the American suburbs are far from ‘normal.’ They’re possibly one of the most abnormal places in the world. Wouldn’t the Vision know this already? Why would he waste time on a pointless endeavour like that, when there are so many secret wars and civil wars and incursions and ages of apocalypse and onslaughts and heroes reborn to have to contend with or succumb to as the case may be. The answer? Is it time to get preachy in a blog post yet? No. Let me just take a moment to yap about the other cool stuff going on in these pages.
King himself has acknowledged Hernandez Walta’s visionary (that pun was bound to happen) direction for the comic’s artwork. There are so many things the art team got right on this title. Simple elements like the choice of panels per page, their arrangement, and the sharp, textured images on every page are all great cases in point. The artist has chosen sober and sombre elements in his penciling work which is a fantastic pairing for a story so mature and rich. Yes, mature. Sex, secrecy, lies and a good helping of violence are all part and parcel of this book, and their inclusion in the story only helps its cause. Ok, you’ve waited long enough, gentle reader, and so, like Marvel Cinematic Universe Natasha Romanoff did to Steve Rogers, Clint Dempsey and Bruce Banner it’s time to move on!
Remember the bit about the Vision’s quest for a normal life and all that spaz? Cue the inspirational music, and lets get preachy! Maybe King was trying to tell us that the idea of seeking normalcy was absurd because normal was a concept that evolved and changed and was entirely a matter of perspective, what with the thing that’s normal for the spider being pure chaos for the fly. Clearly a man who loves reading and writing, King addressed a reader who quizzed him about the possibility of metaphor in his script and the meaning of the floating water vase of Zenn-La. King’s response spoke volumes about his intentions.”The purpose of stories is not for the writer to tell you how he or she feels about something; that’s what essays are for. Stories are trying to dig into deeper truths that we can’t express directly because of the limitations of language. These sort of truths can only be seen obliquely through symbols and actions.” Respect!
Long story short, The Vision was far better than expected, with its murky take on the dark secrets of the American suburbs and the warped vision (last time, I promise) of what normal is. Whether you agree with her reasoning or not, Virginia’s actions throughout the book have the quality to stay with you long after you’ve put down the book, and that’s the sign of a truly great read.
Writer – Tom King
Artists – Gabriel Hernandez Walta, Jordie Bellaire