Marvel Pick Of The Week – December 2, 2015 [SPOILERS]


Pick Of The Week:

The Vision 2, by Tom King and Gabriel Hernandez Walta

A month ago, The Vision‘s first issue took Pick Of The Week by framing a science fiction story in some amazing horror phrasing, then pulling a shocking scene of terror to close out the book. I was on the fence about buying the issue at all, given the fairly bland reputation of the title character and the lack of any other Avengers; this week, I started my stack with the second issue, and nothing else Marvel printed even came close.

The setup of the first issue was that The Vision has turned off his emotions in order to run more efficiently, and he has made a synthezoid bride (autocorrect has no idea what to do with that because it is a stupid Silver Age word, and I hate it, too, but this book is awesome) and some intentionally incomplete teen children, and he has moved them to the suburbs of the nation’s capital. In the opening narration, some normal neighbors met them, and the caption boxes told us they were going to die in a tragic fire. While The Vision was out, an old enemy attacked his family, and his wife killed to save her children.

This week, we learn that Even An Android Can Lie! as Virginia hides her actions with a cover story flooded in the kind of detail we expect from a person who can’t naturally read social cues (“The damage caused by the laser, and obviously the potential future damage that might be caused by the laser, appeared to give him pause. He fled.”). Her husband buys it, but by the end of the book, she has received a high-tech blackmail note from someone who can prove her role in the death of the bad guy. It’s a scene drowning in emotion – holding the note, the caption reads, “Each of those problems seemed to be so small, so tiny. All of them together seemed to easily fit in the palm of her hand.” And she is so startled that she goes intangible, allowing Walta to show a gorgeous shot of the note slipping literally through her fingers.

Virginia is not the only Vision with problems. Teen son Vin is so traumatized by the home invasion that he is phasing through floors at school and lashes out at a xenophobic classmate, squeezing his neck in a carotid massage that he equates to a machine’s off-button. I’m a doctor, and the carotid massage is one of my favorite anatomical tricks, and I will never use it the same way again. The resultant parent-principal meeting has the scary narration I love (“Principal… will remember this moment for the rest of his life… if he had acted right then, right at the beginning, maybe he too could’ve saved the world.”) but also gives compelling voice to both sides of the argument around androids in school. Vision demands that Vin receive the punishment any student would get for fighting, but the principal is concerned that these metal children are too dangerous to be allowed in school. We are seeing the same argument globally about Syrian refugees in a way I doubt Tom King predicted when writing this issue, and the book allows its reader to sit without resolution of this.

As much as I adore the discomfort of this book, the fear in the edges of the text boxes, the dangerous game Virginia is playing with her coverup, the political allegory, as great as those are, the reason I picked this book for the second consecutive Pick Of The Week comes down to four panels. In the first, The Vision and Virginia are flying home from the confrontation with the principal, and both of them are ticked, but Walta draws a sweet middle-class couple flying over an autumn suburb, and King places simple dialogue of “I love you” and “I love you, too.” It’s mundane amidst majesty, and it pulled my heart to my throat, and on the next page, a three-panel spread has this emotionally-stunted android wish her husband, “Luck, too, is an illusion. But illusions are not without worth. And as such, good luck.” This is a couple determined to love one another, even if that means teaching themselves how, and I think that’s one of the most romantic and realistic concepts in comics this month. This is why we read science fiction.

Hell, this is why we read.

Honorable Mentions:

Daredevil 1, because Ron Garney draws one Hell of a Daredevil. Welcome back to New York, Murdock.

Dr. Strange 3, for a really excellent bit of horror writing here. And also for cute doggies.

Guardians Of Infinity 1, because according to this, somewhere in the galaxy is a sitcom with an all-dog cast and it is called Golden Growls and Rocket Raccoon loves it and I can not rest until I find this for myself.

Howard The Duck 2, because I pretty much do the same thing in my sleep.

Spidey 1, because of course the writer of Supernatural knows the perfect time to reference Veronica Mars in a Spider-Man comic. I love this.

Extraordinary X-Men 3, because cranky-pants Forge may be my favorite Forge.

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