The Vision used to be the Avenger. He was up in the corner of every Avengers cover for well over a decade. There wasn’t an Avengers team without him. He was that popular, and then through the acts of several different writers over the course of a few years, he was gone. Now, in Avengers Assemble Annual #1, the Vision is back finally. More after the jump.
Bendis’ Vision, or Lack Thereof
We didn’t really see much of the Vision during the Brian Michael Bendis era of the Avengers. As a matter of fact, one of the first things the writer did when he took over the A franchise was literally tear the android Avenger in half. There he was, dead for most of the writer’s run on the team. Principally he was simply a tool to show just how deranged the Scarlet Witch really was – she had the She-Hulk rip him apart.
When Bendis did finally return the Vision to the team(s), it seemed apparent he did not know who the character was. Tool seemed to sum his interpretation up nicely. Bendis wrote the Vision as a machine, almost an appliance. This is probably due to writers like John Byrne who was the first to dismantle both the Vision, and his and the Scarlet Witch’s relationship. Considering the Witch’s sanity, and her ‘imaginary’ children being the crux of that instability, it’s no wonder.
I love the Vision. I could write about him all day, and I have, here, and even a little bit more here. He’s one of my favorite Avengers, and that’s why I was so happy to see Avengers Assemble Annual #1 – a spotlight on the android Avenger. I was even happier to see it was written by Christos Gage, a creator who has shown both a Silver/Bronze Age edge and knowledge in the past.
In just the opening pages, illustrated by Tomm Coker using a style I at first thought too realistic and gritty for the Vision, but which I grew to enjoy, we are treated to a proper interpretation of the hero. We see him interacting well with Jewel’s baby girl, and then re-upping his relationship with Carol Danvers, which dates back to her early days on the team. Remembering those days in the late 1970s and early1980s, the Vision’s twilight heyday, I can feel Gage channeling writer David Michelinie with this great bit of solid, and accurate, characterization.
Christos Gage solidifies immediately what it was that made the Vision such a terrific character back in the day. Carol tries to spur her fellow Avenger to get to know his children Wiccan and Speed, and he reacts emotionally, thinking of what the Scarlet Witch did to him. Carol notes this as “…the first hint I’ve seen that the man I used to know is still in there.”
And that’s exactly right. Despite his android origin, the Vision was always the most human of the Avengers, very emotional, compassionate. He was not Data from “Star Trek,” a machine trying to become human, he was human, but always treated as a machine. Take a look at the Steve Englehart era Avengers comics – the Vision was overflowing with emotion. After all, how many other heroes did we see cry? It was when the Vision started acting like a machine that you had to worry. Anyone else remember when he took down Count Nefaria with Thor? He was like a deadly fighting machine.
Just as things are getting good, the Avengers (and it’s a great classic line-up – Vision, Captain Marvel, Iron Man, Quicksilver, and Giant-Man) are called to assemble. The Sunturion, normally a good guy has started to attack Roxxon, not the nicest of companies, but still the man’s employer. The Vision talks him down, and offers the Avengers’ help. Again, this is a different kind of team dynamic than we have seen in years. Very little fighting, and trying to help people – sadly forgotten Avengers concepts.
Eventually, there is fighting, but it is fighting to save the opponent, not put him down. The heroes were fighting to save Sunturion, and do the right thing. That, and the great character bits (I loved the exchanges between Vision and Quicksilver, and Iron Man and Giant-Man), as well as the episodic chapter feel of this annual made it like something I might have bought off an Eckerd Drugs spinner rack in 1978 – and that’s a good thing.
The salvation of Sunturion, or at least as much as he allows, and the Vision’s decisive solution against Roxxon for his own reasons, as well as his rejection of Quicksilver as anything other than a tolerated teammate, says volumes about the character’s liberation from the prison he’s been in for over two decades.
The Vision is back, and he is moving forward from the past, while learning to accept his probable children. I like this old/new character and look forward to seeing more of him – hopefully under the pen of the fantastic Christos Gage.
…now let’s just hope the Vision survives The Age of Ultron…