Tom King & Gabriel Hernandez Walta
To me, the Vision is the character I would get stuck playing as in the Captain America and the Avengers arcade game even though I wanted to be Hawkeye (I never forgave you Jeff; you just wanted to spite me). I always kind of held that against him and never found myself interested in him. His villain “father” Ultron was always the most interesting aspect of the character. Hell, I didn’t even think he was interesting in Avengers: Age of Ultron. Other than that, he was just that robot that was famous for crying. Those low expectations proved to be a blessing for Vision.
The story is simple enough: the Vision has decided to create a family for himself and move them out to the suburbs of Virginia right outside Washington D.C., while he acts as the Avengers liaison to the White House. His new wife Virginia struggles with bringing her family together while brother/sister twins Vin and Viv deal with high school. On paper, that sounds like a relatively bland and tired story of a hero trying to manage the stress of home life with the duties of being a superhero. Thankfully, Vision is not that story. It is a horror/morality tale about isolation while struggling with one’s own depression and anxiety.
From the first page, the book was oozing with a sense of looming dread. The line “They made the compromises that are necessary to raise a family” manages to terrify you before meeting your protagonist family. When the Visions are presented it’s not played as a moment of meeting your heroes but, rather, these robots are going to mess you up. I had no idea what I was reading but I couldn’t stop. An unnamed narrator tells you that this family isn’t going to work. People in the neighborhood will die at the hands of the Vision family. I felt a lump growing in my gut and I was genuinely scared anytime people interacted with the family . This felt like a Vertigo book and I had to keep double checking to make sure this was actually put out by Marvel proper. This whole thing is a feat from the team of writer Tom King and artist Gabriel Hernandez Walta with colors by Jordie Bellaire.
They’ve crafted a tale that is not really about heroes at all. The actions committed by the Vision family make them seem like insane people trying to make themselves seem real; nothing, however, in their life or humanity is that real. Vision puts forth the idea that the core mission of humanity is “to assert as truth that which has no meaning.” The phrase becomes the book’s mission statement as they try to assert their own personal truths by any means necessary.
King makes it painfully clear that the Vision has made this family because he lost the family he did love. It’s the Vision’s mission to love this family. He has to, he must, according to his thoughts. The family picks up on this and can barely seem to process the world around them. They were made by an imperfect being who thought of himself as perfect and demands perfection from them. It’s a selfish thought and even more apparent as the world around them fears them and wants them out of their lives.
Walta’s art is the perfect fit to showcase this uneasiness and frustration of the Visions. He manages to make them as cold and out of place as they should be in their movements while making their faces some of the most heartbreaking images I have seen in a while. The acting is this book is top notch and it is entirely Walta’s art.
As you can tell, I’m being rather vague about the plot because I don’t really want to give anything away. The series hooks you like the best of TV shows and makes you want the next issue immediately. Telling you anything aside from the bare minimum will lessen the effect. And make some space on your bookshelf. This whole story will be told by one team in twelve issues and will make for a helluva collection when it’s done. So come and watch the world crumble around the Vision family and feel scared half to death.
First Collection: Vision, Vol. 1: Little Worse than a Man (July)