Friday, 9 June 2017

The Vision Volume 1: Little Worse Than A Man by Tom King and Gabriel Hernandez Walta

The Vision Volume 1: Little Worse Than A Man written by Tom King, illustrated by Gabriel Hernandez Walta is the the first collected trade of an ongoing comic book series about Vision, one of the Avengers who is sort of an AI/synthetic being (it's complicated). I wasn't especially interested in reading this comic when I heard about it (although the premise and cover art were tempting) and I only read it now because it was shortlisted for a Hugo Award.

The Vision wants to be human, and what's more human than family? So he heads back to the beginning, to the laboratory where Ultron created him and molded him into a weapon. The place where he first rebelled against his given destiny and imagined that he could be more -that he could be a man. There, he builds them. A wife, Virginia. Two teenage twins, Viv and Vin. They look like him. They have his powers. They share his grandest ambition (or is that obsession?) the unrelenting need to be ordinary.

Behold the Visions! They’re the family next door, and they have the power to kill us all. What could possibly go wrong? Artificial hearts will be broken, bodies will not stay buried, the truth will not remain hidden, and the Vision will never be the same.

Overall, my reaction to this comic is "meh". It wasn't terrible, but I didn't love it either. It was fine. It was a bit wanky and probably should have been more gothic, if that's the direction it's going, as it seemed to be from the first volume. It also inevitably suffers from being the opening volume in an ongoing series. Very little is resolved and a lot of hints are dropped for things to come — this, in fact, seems to be the adopted story-telling style — which do not yet come. The foreboding air it builds up is certainly interesting, and we do get a sense of how things are going pear-shaped, but I've been burned too many times by ominous and intriguing pronouncements overhyping themselves. So meh. I will admit the tone of the comic wasn't quite what I expected and I suspect that's what got it the Hugo nomination, but to me that wasn't enough to place it above any of the other Hugo-shortlisted graphic novels I've read.

The story basically follows Vision's family members as they attempt to be a suburban US family. Quite why is unclear and we do not learn many details as to why Vision created such a family for himself. The story is as much about things going wrong as it is about the family trying to fit in. That said, as far as twists on "pretending to be a normal suburban family" go, it was a welcome one. Also, I liked the art and the choice of colour for the background scenery, which gave it an American gothic kind of vibe, or something along those lines.

I'd recommend The Vision to fans of Marvel Comics, I guess? I don't think I will go and bother buying the sequel, but I wouldn't throw it away if someone handed it to me. Overall, I'll still with my female-led books, thanks. Although, actually, this was more about Vision's family than the titular character himself, but he was still a looming presence.

3.5 / 5 stars

First published: 2016, Marvel
Series: Yes. Ongoing, this first trade collects comic issues #1–6
Format read: watermarked PDF
Source: Hugo voter packet

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