Folks, we’ve followed our favorite synthezoid and his family now for five full issues, and this sixth book marks the denouement of an arc that began in the first pages of The Vision. It holds the release of all of the tension and hostility that had been building since Virginia’s domestic altercation with Grim Reaper, and it culminates in a final scene that’s as intense a closing panel as I’ve beheld in recent comic book history.
Here, it all comes to light. The blood. The lies. Where the body is buried, so to speak. All is laid bare.
And I’m here to tell you – this one is a humdinger.
Issue six starts simply enough, with our writer utilizing captions to convey a concept within the panels of Walta’s illustrated goings on of everyday suburban life. Granted, this is a common method at the front end of any comic, but I especially love the way that King leads with an innocuous series of actions, then jolts you out of your seat with an image that will shock or, at the least, fill you with enough excitement to keep you turning pages.
King draws this issue’s title from the computer science notion of P vs NP (or class P vs nondeterministic polynomial time – we’ll stick with P vs NP though – because obviously), which is a somewhat paradoxical expression that asks whether or not a calculable problem is equal, in terms of algorithmic processing, to NP – a problem that cannot be solved quickly or at all, yet possesses a solution that can be verified by a computer all the same. The implication being that if P = NP, then a computer could, theoretically, provide a veritable skeleton key to the unlocking of cosmic secrets.
The problem is one that has long plagued further development of computational theory. Similarly, I’ve continued to question myself and my regard for what I value to be human, and this issue brings me leagues closer to the clarity I seek. The problem of P vs NP presents to us the way one would assume that the Vision perceives the world and the value of his actions within it. It would be a perception of cold logic – 1’s and 0’s. Yes and No. On and Off. Now, having stumbled upon the smoldering ruin of the neighbor’s canine, one that had only just electrocuted itself on the scythe attached to the rotting cadaver of a missing super-villain – the Vision makes a tremendous leap through logic, and enacts a calculated choice to respond with the illogical.
As such, I cannot identify with the Vision as a synthezoid or an Avenger. I can, however, identify with him as both a husband and father.
You cannot approach an illogical problem with rationality. The human heart follows no reasonable logic, no specific algorithm. I know now that there are instances in which I would refuse logic, would, in fact, be incapable of it. The notion of something threatening my family is unnerving; I’m frightened of the lengths that I would travel to ensure their safety. There would remain no moral boundary in my quest to do what is necessary to take care of business. I know that there would be no consideration of the next logical step.
Sometimes those threats are not external, but exist in turmoil created from within. How often have we seen love on the rocks attempt to right itself with expensive gifts or, gods forbid, a child? More children, even? In the case of our protagonist, the Vision, surely we may consider his bringing home a new puppy a less offensive attempt to fix the unfixable. In fact, we may even applaud his determination to make the preservation of his family the Prime Directive.
If the Vision deems his familial experiment failed, he will be a pariah amongst his peers, mistrusted by society. He will lose his family. If he acts against his perceived values, and aids in the coverup of Virginia’s crime, he will be that very thing against which he combats alongside the Avengers. To make these sorts of choices is nothing short of human, and it is here that I find the most value in King’s writing.
As the midway point in a twelve issue series, issue six closes the opening arc of the story beautifully. At the core, this issue is about faith and the sacrifices that we all make for our families, be they our kids, immediate relatives, or even our adopted fur-children. Life can often reflect the notion that it will always level out to being “You vs Them,” the family unit against the world. This calls to mind this issue’s cover art which, same as the fifth issue, is provided to us by the shining Marco D’Alfonso. The artist shows us both the Vision and Virginia kissing deeply, locked within a lover’s embrace. Their vandalized home blazes behind them, catching fire to the trees and lawn outside. They are oblivious – and it is a beautiful capitulation to our story’s theme.
That which is most beautiful about the Vision, however, is also that which is most frightening. The world is not prepared to take him on and – should it make the attempt – it will almost certainly lose, and spectacularly so.
The Vision is heedless to all else.