It feels a bit awkward phasing back into The Vision after a lengthy holiday break. Well – that it is to say – a lengthy time away from writing. Though full of both madness and cheer, the holidays are never lengthy, and I fear that the time away from the “real job” will never be adequate. Rare are the opportunities to be productive during Christmas and New Year’s vacations, though there is always just enough time to pick up a few extra pounds on my way back into the game.
Ain’t that just the way?
Now, fortunately, there is time for comics. My absence from Tom King’s collaborative effort with Gabriel Hernandez Walta and Jordie Bellaire has indeed nurtured my fondness for the book. As time has passed for me, so has it passed for the Visions, moving Autumn into Winter, and bringing with it that lonesome melancholy that tends to manifest around the heart this time of year. It’s a poetic sort of nostalgia, and I perceive that same feeling reflected in the pages of issues 10-11 of The Vision. In them, we see a family broken by the trauma of a lost son and brother, and a father who is, for all intent and purpose, designed to be a killer – a killer who, despite his creator, defied his programming to fight for the forces of light. For good. For the moral.
For the just.
Initially, we see the Vision alone in a darkness that’s interrupted by his striking of Captain America’s lighter, bathing his face in alternating flame and shadow, one panel at a time. Within this rhythm he is considering concepts of justice, both abstract and concrete, and inside them he is unable to find a scenario in which his son’s fate is just. One of the things that’s consistently pleased me throughout this series is how the artists utilize light, dark, and shadow, and here they play to masterful effect.
More than having entertained me, these issues have raised a host of moral questions that I cannot immediately answer. We’ve all heard the maxim “an eye for an eye,” but I’m more concerned by the events precipitating the taking of the first eye. If this is justice, how can we possibly begin to know where in time the first injury occurred, or when will be the final act of mitigating retribution? For does that act in itself not spur further cause for injury to involved parties? It’s in the consideration of this notion that we see the Vision cannot choose between two evils, and so therefore must only choose to act. It is not a rational conclusion, but it is the choice that human beings so often make.
Further, in what is a profoundly emotional series of panels, the Vision phases through Viv’s bedroom door to find her praying. He is taken aback by the sight and concept, but nonetheless requests to join her in prayer. Though they both acknowledge the unlikelihood of a god’s existence, the two of them choose to pray for that existence together, so that their petition will be heard.
The simplicity with which King demonstrates the Ouroboros nature of our behavior to rely upon the illogical to reach the logical is outstanding, and these pages moved me to tears. Interesting, too, is that we’re also given four equal panels during this moment, wherein we’re specifically shown the four gifts from Captain America, Scarlet Witch, Silver Surfer, and Black Panther, respectively. The creators have not been shy in their use of foreshadowing and symbolism throughout this run, so the sense of mystery delivered here is incredible.
In what can only be the final moment of consideration before enacting vengeance upon his brother, the Vision phases into the darkened bedroom of the deceased Vin. In it, he (quite symbolically) removes his own eye, and projects a recorded memory of his son’s Shakespearian recitals. Throughout the recording, Vin vies for his father’s attention, but the Vision is preoccupied and refuses to acknowledge his son’s passion. The Vision stops the recording, leaving him alone in the darkness. This is the last memory he will ever make with his child before going to his doom, and it is utterly heart-wrenching.
Ever since Agatha Harkness delivered her bloody revelation to a slew of super-powered heroes, I’d been on pins and needles imagining what a fight between them and the Vision would be like. And, friends and neighbors, I’m here to tell you – there is absolutely no doubt that watching the Vision take on a massive collection of Avengers past and present is breath-taking. The action unfolds in such a methodical, story-boarded way, that you can easily perceive how the Vision is a master of his abilities, and uses every talent and power at his disposal in a way that can only be considered art. We follow Vision’s trail of straight-up Avenger’s ass-stomping all the way to the cell of Victor Mancha, wherein he will take part in the last conversation he will ever have with the second child of Ultron.
While these entries of mine will sometimes contain spoilers for the preceding issues, I want to be clear that I do not want, in anway way, to give away the ending of this book. I will say, however, that what took place in that room left me shook, and I am still processing the magnitude of what happened there. Though, In many ways, it was the only thing that could have happened, and the book has been telegraphing this to us for some time.
Issues 10-11 serve as a penultimate swell before what we’re led to believe will be an apocalyptic crescendo, and it is summarily concluded by some of the most haunting words I’ve heard the Vision speak. Within an attempt by the Scarlet Witch to dissuade him of his vengeance, and only before gripping the heart inside of her chest, he tells her one thing.
“I do not think that you understand. That you EVER understood. I WANT to be like everyone else.”