Backtracking a bit to an episode of Avengers: Ultron Revolution that aired just after I moved and had no cable, we see the animated introduction of the Vision to Earth’s Mightiest Heroes. Meet me after the jump for my review of “A Friend in Need.”
The question for even casual Avengers readers and even viewers is of course, which Vision is this? The Vision appearing in Avengers comics today, while essentially the same entity, is nothing like the Vision I grew up with in the seventies. And the Marvel Cinematic Universe Vision is then again a different character as well. Whether you follow that he has the original Human Torch’s body, or the mind of Wonder Man or Jarvis (A.I. or human), the Vision’s origins stem from Ultron at some point.
No matter what continuities you follow, or what retcons you throw at this, Ultron considers the Vision his son. And considering that the origins of Ultron have never clearly been addressed on this show (Jarvis was replaced by Friday offscreen), it might not be clear. The series does follow the MCU continuity of the first Avengers movie, and from the look and mannerisms of this Vision, it also follows Age of Ultron.
The Cobalt Man
We open on the Avengers facing off against the Cobalt Man, an old school X-Men villain. Yeah, who would have thought that all the armored villains are not enemies of Iron Man? Unlike his comics counterpart however, this Cobalt Man is not a criminal in a metal suit, but a teleporting robot with an arsenal that includes lasers and missiles.
Good thing Iron Man called the Vision in for help in what is the second of four guest-star episodes. The Vision fits in well with the team, immediately showing just how tough, smart, and powerful he truly is (unlike his performance in Captain America: Civil War). I loved the bits with Hulk and Vision talking friendship, and Thor saving the little girl. Good stuff.
The Vision is chilling at Avengers Tower for a bit, and trying to make friends, but doesn’t quite fit in. It actually reminds me a bit of early Data on Star Trek The Next Generation, which of course reminds me of Roy Thomas’s Vision in Avengers, which predates TNG. Thor offers his hand in, um, friendship to teach the Vision about friendship by taking him to Asgard.
They visit what seems to be some sort of museum or trophy room, and you all know how I feel about trophy rooms. Thor regales the Vision with tales of how he, along with feuding friends Balder and Tyr joined forces against Ulik, and how with the Warriors Three they fought Harokin and the Warlock’s Eye. Fanboy me was loving the Easter eggs, but then they came to the Destroyer armor.
Ghost in the Machine
The Vision hesitates when shown the Destroyer, then continues with Thor on this odd tour. They enter a prison of sorts with containment cells for the aforementioned Ulik, and also Fafnir the dragon, the Fenris wolf, and Loki. The lord of lies addresses the Vision as a friend, uh oh, this is not good. Thor does not have ample time to process this information however, as Ulik escapes.
The two Avengers take down the troll but once again, the Vision lingers near the Destroyer armor. It triggers something in him, and then his voice changes. We now know why Loki called the Vision a friend, his body is possessed by Ultron. That explains the signal Iron Man was getting during the battle with Cobalt Man.
By getting through to the Vision under Ultron’s control, Thor is able to free his friend, and stop him from trying kill him. Unfortunately all the stuff in the trophy room is technological at its core, and Ultron jumps from weapon to weapon like a game of musical chairs.
There’s no guessing game here though as to Ultron’s endgame, he wants the Destroyer armor. With it he trashes Thor and Vision and returns to Earth to face the rest of the Avengers. It’s almost a win for the Vision against Ultron, but as we watch, the villain escapes. I’m not sure what’s worse, Ultron free or the Destroyer at the bottom of the ocean.
I loved Valkyrie’s Dragonfang being namedropped – writer Mark Banker gets serious props for not only his mad knowledge of the Marvel Comics, but also the Marvel Animated and Cinematic Universes. Lots of great Easter eggs, lots of good characterization, but it wasn’t perfect.
I disliked the dumbing down of the Hulk in this episode, and Captain America’s almost bratty dismissal of the Vision. Those two quibbles out of the way, I really dug this episode, one of the best in recent memory. I look forward to the Vision as an Avenger and hope it comes to that in this series.