Friday, February 5, 2016

That Family Is Not Like Us: The Vision

Marvel Comics have been advertising recently that they are ‘all-new’ and ‘all-different’; one of the series that actually delivers on this promise is ‘The Vision’. In my view, the first four issues of this series are some of the best Vision stories ever.[1] For this series, writer Tom King had the somewhat unusual idea of having the Vision try and settle down in the suburbs with a family of Vision-like synthezoids – wife Virginia, and children Vin and Viv. The Visions want to fit in, but not all of their neighbours are welcoming. And when the family comes under attack, things start to become even more complicated.
The Vision almost takes a backseat here to his heretofore unfamiliar family. Long-time Avengers readers will know that the Vision has tried to settle down for a quiet life in the suburbs with his family before, back when he was married to fellow Avenger the Scarlet Witch. So I did wonder a bit why they didn’t just use Wanda here, but created the new character of Virginia instead. The Scarlet Witch has shown a dark side in the past as well, so it seemed like one could just as well use her. But on further reflection, a difference is that, while we have seen an ‘evil’ Scarlet Witch before, readers probably feel like they know her limits by now. Virginia on the other hand is an unknown to us – we’re not sure yet what lengths she will go to.

Similarly for Vin and Viv. One of these characters suffers badly early on in the series, and it’s heartbreaking to watch. After that one isn’t sure quite how they will react to that incident, plus the difficulties they face fitting into their new school. They seem to vacillate between wanting to fit in, and being ticking time-bombs that will show those silly, narrow-minded humans what is what. In a country plagued by school shootings and violence, there is a not wholly unreasonable basis to their neighbours’ fears.

Distrust of a family that is different has been done before, but King keeps throwing curveballs into the plot that significantly change the story’s course. Four issues in then I still don’t have a strong view how the Visions’ attempts to fit in will end – in failure or success? This set-up though has made the Vision more interesting than he has been for years. Marvel has surprised me with this one.

Read here for Comic Book Resources’ interview with writer Tom King.

[1] The others: Roy Thomas’ ‘Behold The Vision’ and ‘Even An Android Can Cry’, which were the Vision’s first two appearances, and Bob Harras’ one-issue examination of the Vision in ‘Avengers’ #348.

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