Marvel Pick Of The Week – November 4, 2015 [SPOILERS]


Pick Of The Week:

The Vision 1, by Tom King, Gabriel Hernandez Walta, and Jordie Bellaire

Fans of the Marvel Cinematic Universe know the Vision as the purple robot guy that flew around and picked up Thor’s hammer. That guy was cool, but fans of the comic book know a different character. The Vision has been a member of the Avengers (the original team, the West Coast spinoff, and Avengers A.I.) off and on for most of their publication history, marrying the Scarlet Witch, gaining and losing his programming for emotions, and even taking over the world once. He was on the first Avengers team I read when I started comics, and I remember he was also my favorite playable character in the arcade game.

But his heroic representations sometimes overshadow how freaking scary he started out. He got his name because he is a creepy robot – sorry, synthezoid, but come on, that is not a word – who was floating through the floor of Avengers mansion to infiltrate the team, and he scared Wasp, and she called him a “vision,” which no living person has ever accidentally uttered, in fright or otherwise. But yes, if you saw a red and green mechanical man walking through a wall, you may be shocked into purple prose as well.

And this book remembers that and casts the Vision as the star in a new horror comic. I almost didn’t pick the book up, what with the promotional materials selling it as the Vision trying to fit in to the suburbs with a kooky synthetic family. But the book itself is a densely-worded exercise in skin-crawling tone. The Vision deleted the programming allowing him to have feelings (again) in an effort to boost processing speed, and he has decided to make a wife, Virginia, and splice copies of their brain patterns into twins Viv and Vin. He sets his family up in the suburbs of Washington, D.C., and works as an Avengers liaison to the President. The neighbors drop by to meet them, and the glorious narration boxes contrast the beautiful description of this ordinary couple (“He enjoyed hot wings, but he always ordered them too spicy for his own taste”) with the fantastic Avengers trophies the metal man of the house shows them and the chilling warning, “Near the end of our story, one of the visions will set George and Nora’s house on fire. They will die in the flames.” Throughout the book, the robots’ language is fun and engaging but academic and unsettling in its perfect word choices, and there’s a scene of shocking violence to close this first issue that spins everything the reader has seen into chaos and ripping metal.

I haven’t read much out of Tom King, but he nails the horror tone, and this character now has the potential to serve as Marvel’s Cryptkeeper, walking us through Marvel’s more ghastly collection of ghoulish tales. Walta proved himself on Cullen Bunn’s fantastic Magneto series, and this book is a natural development from the violent shocks and unsettling realism of that villain book. Jordie Bellaire has become arguably the most famous colorist in comics today, and her work here is just as chilling as her career-defining Moon Knight pages. Cover artist Mike Del Mundo brings a lush touch that makes the Ozzie And Harriet vibe drip with hidden menace. Everything about this book suggests it’s going to be the sleeper hit of the All-New All-Different post-Wars Marvel landscape.

Honorable Mentions:

Uncanny X-Men 600, because this is the start of a conversation establishing that Iceman has been in the closet for years and is ready to come out. Yes, it’s a retcon. But that’s what closets are like. You spend decades acting one way until you stop and act the way that respresents your truth. And there are worse ways to do that than telepthic redheads.

Dr. Strange 2, because the issue is just full of expertly-timed jokes about the interface between the magical and the mundane, such as this one below:

Drax 1, because this is what happens when someone doesn’t have enough hobbies. Drax, might I suggest reading comic books?

Howard The Duck 1, because I bet Felicia Hardy is soooo ready for this annoying slang to be over with. Me, too, Black Cat.


Hercules 1, because I must say, Marvel seems a little conflicted in their exaggerated defense that there is nothing bisexual about this version of Hercules if he can’t put clothes on around his roommate or his landlady…

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