[Warning: Contains MAJOR SPOILERS for The Vision #12.]
One of the real shockers from Tom King’s 12-issue story arc on Marvel's biomechanical Avenger The Vision is how little it focused on actual super-heroics. Rather than a Leave It to Beaver for the android set, King (now showcasing his astute storytelling on DC’s Batman “Rebirth” line) actually developed a taut serial thriller which established Vision’s likeable and all-too-human family. In building his super-powerful suburban clan, Vision used the brainwaves of his ex-wife Scarlet Witch (with her blessing, of course) to create a synthezoid wife, Virginia, and two children Viv and Vin. What could possibly go wrong, right?
Unfortunately, Vision's American Dream of white picket fences and coming home to his family from a hard day of monster smashing rapidly turned into a nightmare.
For those not following along, Vision #12 put an ugly little bow on Tom King’s deeply affirming and troubling series (with stunning art from Gabriel Hernandez Walta and colorist Jordie Bellaire). Throughout the book, readers watched as Virginia’s developing concept of protecting her family spun into a web of lies that cocooned her. After killing and disposing of Eric “Grim Reaper” Williams, she found herself being blackmailed, and her actions to prevent the truth from slipping out led to another death and a comatose extortionist.
Although she told her husband what really happened eventually (who kept her secret under wraps), things went from bad to worse when Vision’s ‘brother’ Victor Mancha came to live with them. His ulterior motive was to spy on them, as per the Avengers, who were concerned over Agatha Harkness’ premonition of the extremely powerful hero “razing the world” to save his family. After Mancha accidentally kills his nephew for discovering his secret, Virginia later takes her revenge upon her 'brother-in-law.' The tragic nature of this tale winds down in The Vision #12 — which recounts her confession to police and her husband, including rewiring Vision to take on the Avengers — as she reveals that she “drank from the flying water vase of Zenn-La,” effectively committing suicide.
King’s story unfolds with such tension and skill that even Virginia's rationale to her husband has a twist of flawed common sense to it. As Vision holds her dying body, she explains her own look into a future world engulfed in flames, one caused by an enraged family man with superhuman abilities. Her choice to end her own life comes from her desire to keep the planet safe almost as much as her wishes to preserve her daughter and husband's safety. In the long run, Virginia made the ultimate sacrifice for her family, something any loving parent would consider themselves.
Despite its downward turn, one of the most depressing aspects of King’s tale is leaving it behind. His vision of Vision cut through the circuity and diodes revealing the soft, fleshy underbelly of Marvel’s most popular synthetic hero. With Viv Vision joining up with the Champions and Vision returning to life as an Avenger, this exploration of the mundane through the extraordinary ties up most of the loose ends. However, the final moments of the book reveal The Vision rebuilding his wife, operating on the most human of logical loops: love and hope.
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The Vision #12 is currently available in print and online.