Written by Tom King
Art by Gabriel Hernandez Walta, Jordie Bellaire
Published by Marvel Comics
Released November 4, 2015
Older readers can often be found complaining that comics do not take the time to analyze life and issues as they used to do “back in the day.” It’s too easy to allow ourselves to slip into this rant, when the likes of Deadpool gallivant about for what we assume is an easy laugh and buck. However, there are plenty of comics attempting to plunge the recesses of life altering choices. There are comics that have attempted to tackling heavy-hitting realities in life. Meanwhile, the day-to-day continues to go unchallenged. This week, Vision reveals itself to be the comic that entertains and challenges your everyday existence.
King, Walta and Bellaire set the stage with an almost Leave It To Beaver setting. Suburbs, cars, trees and neighbors are in panel after panel while an unknown narrator monologues generic lifestyles choices. Then the floating mailbox happens. It’s the one sore thumb sticking out that lets you know the house we are about to explore is different. The Vision has a synthezoid family that he has built and created himself. Even in the world of the Avengers this is different. Different and the suburbs do not coexist well; different and the world do not often coexist well.
King uses the dialogue of the neighbors to make analogies to continued issues with racism and bigotry in society. Clayton Cowles’ use of color and font helps provide that slight note of the difference between the Visions and the rest of society. The neighbor’s visit on the surface seems like clever use of exposition. It fits in a quick recap of the Vision’s choice to erase his memory, as seen in the Avengers #0 preview, nicely. There are key moments, such as revelation the entire family is named after Vision, that hint at ego and desire for conformity that is discomforting. Then, as the neighbors take their leave, the almost sanitized narrator drops such a horrific fact in the readers lap. You’re mind is left reeling while the note itself was presented as if it were merely providing the reader with an update on a lunch menu. Five pages into the story, and readers will recognize that Vision is a tragic horror story, wrapped in the guise of family drama.
From discussions about the futility of language and education, to the necessity for humanity to strive for what is impossible, King’s dialogue challenges readers at every turn. Why do humans go about their daily routines and follow instep with everything expected of them, when all the odds are against them? For younger readers it might read as a self-indulgent and existential nonsense, by someone obsessed with pointlessness. However, for older readers this single issue alone has the potential to drive them into defining their desires and existence in so many different directions. The levels at which this book can be dissected and analyzed are endless. This is the type of story egotistical hot-shot writers just out of high school try to tell, only come across as arrogant and self-congratulatory. This creative team however tells a story that almost any reader relate to and convict them in how they exist in the world.
Walta and Bellaire create a dynamic style of living given the almost mundane setting. Straight, traditional panels are used throughout the majority of the book. It drives normality of the existence that Vision’s self-created family are striving to create. The backgrounds are detailed and exacting to the surroundings of the characters. Colors stay in place and the orderly nature of the The Visions, is also found in the orderly nature of the art. The one exception being how emotions are conveyed on the synthyzoid’s faces, which speak of things that are better left unsaid. The full details of how Vision created his family is only briefly explored through almost painful interactions between him and his wife. Once violence enters their home, the panels start to slightly skew, the lines not as clean and neat, the motion and almost adrenaline like feeling taking over. Backgrounds stop being detailed in nature, and Bellaire uses textured solids, especially in the final page. It’s in this last panel where color does the most dramatic storytelling, that speaks to act of violence and how it can take over.
At it’s most basic, Vision is a book about an AI that creates his own family in an attempt to be more human; and the repercussions that fall upon his new family, because of his decisions. At it’s core, Vision is an examination of family, humanity, self-fulfillment, playing god and emotional distance. Vision is a brutal read, in the best way possible. It allows the reader to examine the question of what it means to be human, and if we are really doing those things in our own lives.
The Verdict: 10/10