Saturday, September 24, 2016

Reader's Diary #1387- Tom King (writer), Gabriel Hernandez Walta (artist): The Vision Volume One / Little Worse Than a Man

There are a a lot of references to Shakespeare, specifically The Merchant of Venice, sprinkled throughout Tom King's first volume of The Vision comics. While the story has little in common with the plot of the play, there are definitely thematic similarities. In particular, the modern struggle we have with Shylock's character (is he a villain or misunderstood and much maligned figure?).

The Vision, whom Marvel fans know as the synthezoid (think an artificially intelligent robot with largely organic or organic-mimicking parts) superhero played by Paul Bettany in the Avengers movies, just wants an ordinary life. Ordinary, in his mind, equates to fitting in with the everyday humans. He creates a wife and twin children to complete the ideal. Granted, he's not trying to fool anyone into thinking he's human. It's complicated as he doesn't seem to try to be something he isn't, yet what he is he isn't sure.

As you might predict while dancing around the "just wants to be real boy" trope, things do not go smoothly. It starts when the super-villain Grim Reaper shows up and attacks Vision's family when he is not at home. Defending her children, Virginia (his wife) winds up killing the Reaper. Instead of coming clean about it, however, she buries the body in the backyard.

The compelling thing about the whole story is whether or not these actions (and the devastation that follow) are human-like. It would seem to me that plenty of humans would have made similar calls in the situation described above and the issue isn't so much that they're synthezoids, it's that they're living in a superhero world with super villains. Perhaps the more compelling proof that they can never be human is the Vision's naivete that they would ever be accepted. We have issues accepting other races, sexual orientations and identities, religions; what chance would a superhero synthezoid have? Then, I'm a pessimistic human, perhaps The Vision's optimism doesn't set him apart from other optimistic humans.

If you are assuming then that this is a tragic tale, yes, it is. And it's thought-provoking. One of the most intelligent and emotional superhero comics I've read in some time.

1 comment:

Buried In Print said...

That sounds pretty interesting: I'm adding it to my TBR, thanks!