Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Crabs, Assemble! Flash-Forward: The Vision, Vol. 1: Little Worse Than A Man

 In which we leave the comforting, nostalgic comics of yesteryear and venture into the realm of critically-acclaimed modern graphic novels.....

 I try to ignore hype, because when I do get roped into spending money on "the greatest new thing", it generally turns out to be a poor retread of something that I read/watched/listened to years ago. My new-comic-buying these days is pretty much limited to creators that I'm already familiar with. I rarely take chances with critical darlings, unless the critical praise has been massive and widespread. Such is the case with Tom King's new Marvel offering, THE VISION, VOL. 1: LITTLE WORSE THAN A MAN.

 I was familiar with Tom King via the first collection of his Vertigo book, THE SHERIFF OF BABYLON, which I thought was OK, but not OK enough for me to actually spend money to read. (DC/Vertigo sent me a review copy.) I already caved in to the hype and bought his other DC collection, THE OMEGA MEN, which I still haven't read, and I had mentally made peace with the notion of skipping THE VISION for now, and waiting until Marvel released a complete collection of the 12-issue series. Enter Amazon/Comixology, a $4.99 sale on the first volume, and a $2.00 credit. It was a perfect storm.....

 Having been living in the world of the 1980's AVENGERS, this book was a bit of a culture-shock. The Vision's new costume is hideous. He is no longer married to The Scarlet Witch. The Avengers are mainly comprised of "fakes"- Sam Wilson Captain America, Jane Foster Thor, stretchy-kid Ms. Marvel, Miles Morales Spider-Man...no offense to any of these characters, but why Marvel is so in love with the concept of replacement heroes, especially ALL AT ONCE, is beyond me. But I digress....

 The gist of this series is simple, yet ingenious. The Vision builds himself a family- A wife and twin children- and attempts to live out the American dream in the suburbs. As always, where artificial lifeforms are concerned, things go wrong. Often horribly wrong. The best of intentions lead to minor breakdowns, which lead to major disasters.

 Tom King does a wonderful job of conveying both the mundane (The Vision's wife, Virginia, attempting to fill her empty days while her husband is at "work") and the extraordinary (The Vision's "work"- fighting giant monsters with The Avengers), bringing remarkable depth to The Vision and his synthezoid family. I'll avoid any spoilers, but I will say that the second volume was released today, and I already placed my order. this was an amazing, touching, frightening book, and I cannot wait to see how things turn out for this most unusual family. Highly recommended- Nine out of ten Devil Heads.

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