Marvel’s android struggle to create a perfect artificial life.
In 2015, Marvel released their second massive Avenger’s film, Age of Ultron. To no one’s surprise, they later announced a solo title following arguably the best part of the film, the mechanical Vision. This is fairly common with the publisher, as they seek to engage fans of the movie with recognizable characters and big adventures.
Then, Tom King joined the team as writer. Under the ex-CIA agent’s (no really, look it up) direction, the title took a strange twist, focusing on the Vision as he attempted to live a normal life in-between super heroics. As normal as an Avenger who created his wife and two children in the same laboratory where the villainous Ultron once worked can be, of course. For a comic featuring a top-tier property, The Vision started off in a different direction and has only gotten stranger.
Before continuing, there are some pretty big spoilers ahead. I highly encourage anyone with even the slightest interest in the Vision, the morality of existence, or offbeat comics to stop here, and read the first seven issues.
The first issue of The Vision wastes no time letting you know that this will be a strange, strange ride, culminating in something far more sinister than the suburban landscape detailed in every panel. Although to the casual observer, the Vision is more than happy with his created wife, Virginia, and children Viv and Vin. They partake in family activities, send their children to school, and generally act as normal as possible. Their actions are met with suspicion and unease from their new neighbors, but for the most part, everything goes according to the Vision’s plan.
Then, Grim Reaper shows up and tries to murder his children.
Unfortunately for the villain, Vision’s family has powers that mimic his own, but without the discretion and experience of using them, and Reaper is killed. Virginia, fearing that her family will be disassembled for the act of killing, buries the body in the back yard. While her children struggle with the rigors of high school, and of being accomplices to murder, Virginia begins to break down under the weight of her secret. Just in time for a neighborhood dog to dig up the corpse of Reaper, electrocuting itself to death in the process. Confronted by the truth, the Vision makes a difficult choice.
If this sounds like a far cry from the colorful, grand adventures of the Avengers, you’d be right. The Vision delves deep into concepts like existence, guilt, and love, letting up for brief breaths of fresh air and subtle comedy. It’s worth noting that a comic book about an artificial man and his artificial family manages to feel so realistic and grounded. It’s also interesting that, despite the Vision’s genuine interest in leading a normal, safe life at home, his actions are not always heroic. While he is the protagonist of this story, he is far from the hero. There is a constant undercurrent of danger running through the book that never tries to hide how alien and powerful the Vision is or the damage he could do if he wanted.
If it isn’t totally clear yet, readers looking for high-flying excitement and larger-than-life storylines won’t find either of those in The Vision. This story is a small one that builds, slowly spiraling out of control. However, it’s a very rewarding read, and every issue feels like it progresses in a meaningful way with little filler. After a stellar first arc and some devastating single issue stories, The Vision is well into its second full arc, delivering on its promise of shaking up the Avenger’s life even more as a prophetic vision reveals that he will, in fact, kill every hero.
Not exactly your standard Avengers tie in.