I have to admit…the cover to this trade, a reproduction of the first issue, looked about as unappealing to me as it could get. The Vision, the longtime artificial Avenger, had his own series where he moved to the suburbs with a family, consisting of himself, a wife, and two teenage kids, all built the same as the family patriarch. Did I want to see some sort of android version of Leave it to Beaver?
Then I read this trade of the first six issues and completely changed my mind.
What would look at first glance like a goofy comedy was, in fact, a very effective horror story for lack of a better word. The Vision, as a character, wished to be “ordinary”. As such, he decided to make himself a family. His wife, Virginia, came first. Just as the Vision had his mind based off the brainwaves of the Avenger Wonder Man, so too did his wife have hers based off…someone. The volume doesn’t reveal yet who that someone is. The two children, “twins” named Vin and Viv, had their own minds modeled after a combination of both their parents. Since the children’s minds are developing, they attend the local high school for the suburb the family moved to.
Yes, the Vision is now commuting to work with the Avengers and acting as the team advisor to the White House, so he moved to an upscale suburb in Virginia. The four are struggling to become more ordinary and human. As the narrative boxes explain, the problem is for a computer, certain problems can’t be solved, so programers can attempt to do with an algorithm of some sort, and the Vision attempted that when he made his family, but some problems just can’t be solved that way, and the Vision may or may not know that but he forged ahead anyway. Bits like how people truly feel, how to make smalltalk, and so forth, don’t really work with the Vision or especially his new family.
That’s where the problem comes in. Minor SPOILERS to follow.
At the end of the first chapter, while the Vision is away, the Grim Reaper, Wonder Man’s brother, attacks the house, nearly kills daughter Viv, leaves son Vin in a rebooting stage, and then is about to do the same to Vin when Virginia kills him. And then, as the only witness, she lies about what happened and tells her husband the Reaper fled.
The first chapter also deals with an older neighbor couple. Narration boxes also tell us these two will be killed in the future by one (unnamed) member of the family. The Vision ultimately decides the happiness of his new family matters more to him than anything else, and that will have dire repercussions for the world as a result. Again and again, the narration boxes indicate there’s a tragedy coming, and given Virginia is not above using too much force to begin with, it can be easy to see why. Deaths and disappearances are starting to happen around the neighborhood, and the Vision, feeling he’s owed something after saving the world by his own estimate 37 times, feels he deserves his own family and the happiness that comes with it.
Up and coming writer Tom King and artist Gabriel Hernandez Walta have a hell of a good start here. The comedic look of the thing at first glance is deceptive and leads to a good, mature look at what it means to be human when you aren’t and can’t quite make it that far. Nine out of ten accidents involving small dogs.
Yeah, the dog thing is a bit disturbing.