Marvel Pick Of The Week – February 3, 2016 [SPOILERS]


Pick Of The Week:

The Vision 4, by Tom King and Gabriel Hernandez Walta

The Vision has been one of the best titles Marvel has published since Secret Wars, a surprising horror tale about family and fitting in. In the first three issues, The Vision, his wife, and their teen children move to a suburb of Washington, D.C. A villain from his past attacked while The Vision was out, and Virginia killed him to save Vin and Viv. As more neighbors were speaking out against androids in the school, Vin lashed out and hurt a classmate, Chris. Virginia also received threats of blackmail from someone who recorded her burying the villain’s body in the yard.

This issue, the family is trying to put pieces back in order. The kids play football in the front yard, in a funny inversion of Peanuts – the sister holds the football, but time after time, the boy phases instead of kicking it, annoying her the way brothers have always annoyed sisters. At school, Chris has a sweet romantic moment where he tells Viv that he’d rather understand her family than just hate them. Virginia calls Vision at work to ask if he’d come be with the children (except work means that Vision is punching out a Mole Man monster). But the blackmail plot continues, pushing Virginia closer to a gruesome resolution.

As with the rest of these issues, the scares are only part of the appeal. These books are the way Tom King is teaching us to understand human nature. The local high school recently changed mascots from “The Fighting Redskins” but Vision knows that “they change, but they do not change,” a theme that echoes throughout with ominous foreshadowing about Virginia’s decisions. Chris’s statement to Viv that “people say things, but, like, no one understands things” pops up a few more times as well, inspiring hope that the humans will overcome their xenophobia but, like Lucy and Charlie Brown, there are only so many times you can try to play football with someone who always lets you down the same way. And most frightening, the android children argue about justice as they play ball. Vin wants things to be fair, but Viv asserts that fairness is just simple mathematical balance, and if they want to be human, they need to focus on preeminence, asserting the value of something that goes above instinctual norm. It’s a discussion held in an innocent light, but it’s a rumble that humans and synthezoids will never accept equality if they have the chance to triumph over the other. This is a great story, and as a social allegory, it is frightening and condemnatory. I want to share with people who are different from me, but I am scared to lose my sense of superiority over them. This is a political weapon. This is a social tool. This is literature at its finest. And it’s told with a bunch of colored pages.

Honorable Mentions:

Spider(Fly) Effect 2, because anyone who can acknowledge weird Oedipal issues in comic book relationships is a friend of mine. And I love that Silk is taking none of Peter Parker’s crap today.

Captain America: Sam Wilson 6, because this issue was an amazing work, with Sam Wilson taking a surprising compromise in his fight against corporate power, but the best panel was capitalist snake Viper making a surprisingly sympathetic whine about millenials and intellectual property. Don’t steal, you guys.

Scarlet Witch 3, because every artist on this series so far has found an awesome way to interpret her costume for modern life, and Steve Dillon’s take on what she would wear to the airport is fashionable and heroic. It’s a simple look that I hope to see in cosplay at the next convention.

Spider-Man 1, because this redesign of Blackheart is so metal it hurts. Love it.

Uncanny X-Men 3, because when Greg Land wants to do a scary Magneto, you get a dang scary Magneto.

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