Marvel Graphic Novel Review: The Vision Volume 1: Little Worse Than a Man (2016)

Michelle knocks out a review of The Vision Volume 1. Read it and share. 

I will say this right now: The Vision is one of the best and most daring series that Marvel has out at this moment. Writer Tom King has taken an already interesting character, a pink-skinned android (or "synthezoid" as he is referred to in the comics) created by Ultron to destroy the Avengers, and remixed his character to make him tragic and ultimately engaging. This is a dark tale, full of subversive horror and tragedy--much of this would be at home in a David Lynch film. The narrative presented here is as far away as you can get from standard superhero fare.

Put your head on my shoulder.........

The Vision has seen fit to create for himself a family in his own image: a wife named Virgina, a daughter named Viv, and a son called Vin. They all live together in a cute little suburban house in a small town known as Cherrydale. It seems that Vision wants to experience the "normal" home life in his quest to understand humans. Unfortunately, his family with their pink skin, green hair and otherworldly powers just don't quite fit into the neighborhood. Like most humans, the town is both scared and intrigued by something new and different and that is where the problems begin for Vision's little nuclear family.

King's writing serves as both a cautionary tale about prejudice, and as a satire on the "American Dream" that we all strive for. Vision's children try to fit in at their school and Virginia tries to be the dutiful housewife, but when your husband is a member of the Avengers and your entire family has the ability to fly, it's a hard charade to keep up. The writing itself is absolutely outstanding and often wry and humorous--King has the super-intelligent robot jargon down pat. It is rather amusing to see Vision and his family have problems just like regular people, even if they they have internal circuitry and the ability to phase through solid matter. This volume covers deep themes like racism, bullying, death, what it means to love someone more than yourself, deceit, blackmail and it never pulls any punches at showing the brutal side of life. It's handled masterfully though, and never at any time feels heavy-handed.


Gabriel Hernandez Walta's art is incredible and it makes the story seem more believable. It's reminiscent of Frank Quietly's style, but with bolder line work and a more realistic rendering of both action and body movement. He is especially good at showing subtle emotions and facial expressions which is important in a story about robots trying to emulate humans. You really get a feel for what the family is going through and more than once I got a little misty-eyed at the events that unfolded. Jordie Bellaire is the colorist for this volume and her desaturated pastel color scheme brings a realism to everything that is crucial for making it relatable and most importantly, plausible.

These are the kinds of stories that are truly for "adults". Not because it's full of violence and gore, but because it tackles real life problems but as seen through the lens of superheroes. It's topical as well, because we are currently living in a country (though it's a worldwide phenomenon) that is operating out of fear for the "other" even if the other just wants to carve out a life for themselves as well. Sometimes the truth is too harsh and you have to use fictional pink androids to get your point across. Though this idea of using surrogates isn't new, especially for science fiction, it hasn't been prevalent in comic books as much lately.  I'm glad King was given the freedom to do what he wanted with this comic and tell the tale that needed to be told.

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-Michelle Kisner