Thursday, December 15, 2016


I read a lot of comics over the course of a year, and I do read a bunch of superhero ones, too, though I rarely review them here. For this book, I will make an exception. Vision is a recently completed 12-issue series collected into two trade paperbacks. The main character is The Vision, a synthezoid with incredible powers originally created to destroy The Avengers. Now this character has existed for decades and has a very convoluted history, and this series takes it all into account while telling an original, streamlined, and compelling tale. Also, impressively, I feel like it is still completely accessible for someone who is new to the character.

In response to all that has happened to him in the past, Vision decides to literally make a family and move to the suburbs. He synthesizes a wife (Virginia), two children (Viv and Vin), and a dog, and moves to Arlington, Virginia just outside of Washington DC. There, they try to fit in, doing normal things like going to work, keeping a house, and sending their kids to school.

Of course, nothing can ever be normal and things get strange. Villains and shades from the past creep into the present, and there are a few shocking developments that turn into murders. All of these twists and turns seem part of a standard superhero yarn but here are all turned on their heads, put into a much different context, which makes the story so much more interesting, horrifying, and affecting. No matter what is happening in these books, the events are filtered through the reactions and sensibilities of this family, and they are surprisingly well-realized, complicated characters. Their wants, needs, and personalities take center stage and elevate the narrative tremendously. These books are some exceptionally well composed, both in terms of the story and the artwork, with cliffhangers and revelations that hit with great impact.

This series was created by Tom King, a comics writer who has since signed on exclusively to DC Comics, and Gabriel H. Walta, who has drawn a good number of comics for Marvel. Jordie Bellaire colored the entire series, which looks beautifully dark and muted for the most part, though the constant repetition of reds and greens creates an otherworldly tone. Artist Michael Walsh also drew one of the chapters. King speaks more about his view of this series in this interview.

All of the reviews I have read of these books have been full of praise. Rich Johnson piled on some hyperbole, called the series "Marvel’s Watchmen." James Whitbrook wrote, "That complete tonal difference, and the way it holds up a subversive mirror to everything The Vision has been about as a character for years, is what makes The Vision unlike anything we’ve seen from Marvel in such a long time." Laura Sneddon summed up, "Overall, this is an unexpected modern classic from Marvel, and unquestionably their greatest comic this year."

Vision was published by Marvel Comics and they have more info about the entire series and these collections here.

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