A Vision of Ordinary People

You might remember the Vision from Avengers: Age of Ultron.  Tony Stark uploads J.A.R.V.I.S. into a synthetic body and then an Infinity Stone is added to its forehead.  The Vision from the comics has a different origin story.  In print, he is still a powerful synthezoid and becomes an Avenger, but he is not exactly an A-list superhero.  Cats and Dragons become curious when lesser known characters get their own comic.  Even more so when said comic is currently the highest rated Marvel book on the shelf.

The Vision Vol.1: Little Worse Than A Man. Tom King and Gabriel Hernandez Walta. Marvel Comics, 2016.

The Vision Vol.2: Little Better Than A Beast. Tom King, Michael Walsh, Gabriel Hernandez Walta. Marvel Comics, 2016.

When curiosity strikes, the Internet is sometimes a useful place to find out what other people think.  Dragon’s current go-to for comic reviews is ComicBook Round Up.  Over the last few months (and probably its whole 12 issue run), The Vision has consistently remained in the Highest Rated Current Issues list.  How can this be?  Who is this Marvel hero?  Is the hype real?  When volume 2 was solicited for pre-order, Dragon added the already published volume 1 to her stash.  And then waited patiently until volume 2 arrived before reading anything more than the back cover.  Kids, the hype is real.

Vision, the Avenger, has saved the world 37 times and now he has created a family.  The Visions move into a suburban neighbourhood near Washington, D.C. to lead a normal family life. They want to be like everyone else, but we all know they are not like us.  They are synthezoids — some sort of robot or maybe fancy red toasters.  They look different (skin/hair colour).  They act differently (flying/ phasing).  They speak with a different accent (logical thoughts expressed as words at an appropriate volume to be heard).  They don’t eat normally either (cookies from the neighbours are thrown away).  The kids don’t fit in at school.  They don’t belong here and they should move somewhere else.  The Visions are just trying to be ordinary and fit it, but then something goes wrong.

What does it mean to be normal?  What does an ordinary family look like?  As the story progresses, we find out that Vision, Virginia, Viv, and Vin are probably closer to their goal of being human than they realize.  We watch them play fetch with their dog, have arguments around the dinner table, and reflect on the day’s events while undressing for bed.  Does it matter that the dog is a robot, there is never food on the table, and they don’t sleep at night?

This is a powerful book.  The foreshadowing and background are blended with current events at just the right pace.  The Vision will make you think about meaningless social phrases, lines from The Merchant of Venice, and the lyrics to Row, Row, Row Your Boat in a whole new light.  You will ponder logic problems and consider predestination versus free will.  And in the end, you will be granted a vision of ordinary people.

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