A Review of The Vision #4 – From Bad to Worse

The Vision #4 (2016)TITLE: The Vision #4
AUTHOR: Tom King
PENCILLER: Gabriel Hernandez Walta
PUBLISHER: 
Marvel
PRICE: $3.99
RELEASED: February 3, 2016

By Rob Siebert
Editor, Fanboy Wonder

When I looked at the first issue of The Vision a few months back, I talked about an ominous, unsettling vibe that something very bad was going to happen. And make no mistake about it, bad things have happened, and it only seems to be getting worse.

The Vision’s children are sent back to school following Vin’s violent incident with another student. Thus, it’s all the more unlikely when Viv shares a sweet moment with that same student. But what isn’t so sweet is what’s happening with Virginia, and the mysterious voyeur who captured her burying Grim Reaper’s corpse mere minutes after she killed him. Before this issue ends, blood is shed once again.

The Vision #4, football sceneAs usual, King and Walta give us the Vision family’s warped version of suburban life. That creepy, bizarre, Twilight Zone-ish spin on things is a huge part of what’s made this series such a creative success. We open the issue with Vin and Viv playing with a football, and Vision joins them moments later. It’s a nice Rockwellian scenario that’s perfect for what King and Walta have created for us. We even get a Peanuts homage with a bait-and-switch about kicking the ball. But what makes it a great Vision scene is the way the characters talk to each other. They’re trying to be a family, but they talk like the machines they are.

Let’s look at some dialogue from Vin and Viv…

– “That was entirely unfair! The ball was thrown by father for me!”

– “Now brother, fairness is a simple mathematically determined balance, the lowest form of justice. Preeminence, however, is the assertion of complex covenants over instinctual norms. The highest form of justice.” 

Who talks like this? No one human, that’s for sure. This scene is also a great illustration of the inherent element of tragedy in this book. We know no matter how hard this family tries, they’ll never truly achieve the normalcy they’re striving for. But they keep trying…

The Vision #4, Viv and Chris, Gabriel Hernandez WaltzKing seems to tease a romance between Viv and Chris, the boy Vin had a conflict with. Yet again, it’s painfully obvious just how robotic Viv is. Chris is obviously trying to connect with her, and the narration indicates she’s receptive to it. But it’s a delightfully awkward exchange, which leads me to hope Vin and Viv are around long enough to take a crack at high school romance. It’ll be doomed to fail, of course. But I’d still love to see it.

The drama in this issue comes from Virgina’s plot thread. For the sake of staying spoiler-free, I can’t say much about it. But to say the least, it succeeds in upping the tension. Virginia won’t be able to keep her secrets much longer…

On the lighter side of things, toward the middle of the issue husband and wife have a marriage-by-the-books conversation about scheduling as Vision and The Avengers are facing Giganto. And it’s done with the same robotic dialogue we saw from Vision and his kids. What’s more, we briefly get to see Walta draw Iron Man and Captain America. It’s a nice little interlude, as we haven’t seen any Avengers-scale stuff in this book yet.

The Vision continues to be one of the most compelling books Marvel has on the stands right now. Things are going from bad to worse. I suspect those of us who love great comic books will want to be here when it all falls apart for the Vision family.

Images from author’s collection.

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An All-New, All-Different Avengers #4 Review – Avengers on a Budget

All New, All Different Avengers #4 (2016)TITLE: All-New, All-Different Avengers #4
AUTHOR: Mark Waid
PENCILLER: Mahmud Asrar. Cover by Alex Ross.
PUBLISHER: Marvel
PRICE: $3.99
RELEASED: January 27, 2016

***Need to jog your memory? Go back to the beginning with our review of All-New, All-Different Avengers #1.***

By Rob Siebert
Editor, Fanboy Wonder

The last two issues of All-New, All-Different Avengers didn’t do much for me. Much of it had to do with the involvement of Warbringer, whom I’m unfamiliar with. But now that we’re getting into the team dynamic and the nitty gritty of how they work together, things are picking up.

Our ol’ pal Jarvis joins the team at their new headquarters at a condemned airfield formerly owned by Tony Stark. As Tony brings Jarvis up to speed, our younger heroes wonder why The Vision has been acting even more robotic than expected. But a sudden attack from Cyclone in Atlantic City brings the Avengers into battle. And the thrill of the action causes Thor to do something unexpected. Here’s a hint…it’s on the damn cover.

All New, All Different Avengers #4, QuintetWhile I haven’t been thrilled by All-New, All-Different Avengers thus far, I continue to love this team line-up. It’s a great mix of classic Avengers (Iron Man, Vision), legacy heroes (Captain America, Thor), and next-gen heroes (Spider-Man, Ms. Marvel, Nova). Waid gives them a fun chemistry, which is added to by this low-budget story he’s going with. It almost has a Justice League International vibe.

There’s not much point to skating around the kiss between Cap and Thor, as they’re advertising it up front. While I won’t go into the specifics of how it happens, it’s not nearly as epic as the cover leads you to believe. Unless this is just the start of some grand romance between the two, which definitely has some intrigue to it. It would certainly be new and different, which seems to be Marvel’s M.O. these days.

It’s interesting to see how The Vision is portrayed in this book, as it matches up with what’s happening in his title. He seems to be raising red flags with the younger characters, which could create some interesting conflict between the new and established heroes down the road.

Ms. Marvel, All-New, All-Different Avengers #4, Mahmud AsrarMs. Marvel gets put over really nicely in this issue. Being so young, her perspective may be a bit more simplistic than the others. So during the attack, she cries to Cyclone: “You’re killing people! Why? They didn’t do anything to you!” To which Cyclone simply replies: “I’m a hired gun…Body count isn’t my problem.” Then at her request, Spider-Man flings her right at him, allowing her to hit several big blows. It’s a great moment for her, and a sign that she won’t be overshadowed.

Is Mahmud Asrar as step down from Adam Kubert? I don’t think so. Obviously he’s done ancillary work on this series with the recap pages and back-up stories, so he’s a natural plug-in without Kubert there. They’re fairly evenly matched as far as I’m concerned. Though Asrar has a cleaner, less sketchy touch to his work.

As much as most of us love Mark Waid’s work, I’m inclined to say All-New, All-Different Avengers has underperformed thus far. I don’t have a story that I can really sink my teeth into yet. But the upside is it’s laid some nice groundwork in terms of the relationships between the characters. And that’s undoubtedly one of the most important ingredients in any team book. If you’re an optimist, this is a series that can easily get better very quickly.

Images from author’s collection.

Follow Primary Ignition on Twitter @PrimaryIgnition, or at Facebook.com/PrimaryIgnition/

An All-New, All-Different Avengers #1 Review – The World’s Mightiest Teen Angst

Avengers #1, 2015TITLE: All-New, All-Different Avengers #1
AUTHOR: Mark Waid
PENCILLERS: Adam Kubert, Mahmud Asrar. Cover by Alex Ross.
PUBLISHER: Marvel
PRICE: $4.99
RELEASED: November 11, 2015

By Rob Siebert
Editor, Fanboy Wonder

Mark Waid and Adam Kubert on an Avengers book, with Alex Ross doing the covers. That’s not exactly a hard sell, is it?

All-New, All-Different Avengers begins at street level, as Captain America (Sam Wilson) and Tony Stark have an impromptu reunion in front of numerous civilians. Sam continues to struggle with his every move being analyzed by the news media (as we’ve see in Captain America: Sam Wilson), and as he’s been offworld for some time, Stark Industries has been crumbling without him. But our heroes snap back into action mode quickly, when they come across Spider-Man (Miles Morales) taking on Warbringer.

We then jump six weeks backward, to see a charmingly awkward meeting between Ms. Marvel and Nova. Ah, the trials and tribulations of a budding teenage romance. At least, I think that’s what this is. Who knows? Teenagers are weird…

Avengers #1, Adam KubertSo our new and different line-up of Avengers consists of: Iron Man, Captain America, Thor (Jane Foster), The Vision, Ms. Marvel (Kamala Khan), Nova (Sam Alexander), and Spider-Man. What makes this group interesting is not only the diversity we see on the team, but how they’ve mixed the newer, younger heroes in with the veterans. Kamala, Sam, and Miles are all teenage heroes, so they’re bound to have a different worldview than their teammates. Plus, as editor Tom Brevoort said in a recent Newsarama interview, half the team goes to school, which means different hours of operation.

This issue does something many team books don’t take time to do initially: Establish a solid rapport between the characters. Not just the ones who haven’t met before, but the ones who have. Stark and Wilson obviously know each other. But this book gives us a nice look at the sort of friendly antagonistic relationship they’ve developed over the years. That sort of familiarity is a good way to kick off a legacy team book like this, especially given the exposition they have to get out on the table.

Adam Kubert is in his usual form here. Which is to say, good. His attention to detail is excellent, and while we only get a moderate amount of action from his half of things, he brings a nice sense of gravity that you’d associate with a more traditional Avengers book.

Avengers #0, Nova, Ms Marvel, Mahmud AsrarMidway through, we switch our focus to Kamala and her friends in Jersey City, as Nova chases a monster from the Microverse through the city. Waid does an amazing job writing not just awkward teenage dialogue, but freaked out teenage inner monologue. It’s immensely endearing, as most of us have been in front of a crush and not had a clue what to say. Asrar’s animated pencils match Waid’s tone perfectly, particularly when it comes to our characters’ nervous, apprehensive, or outraged faces. I’m very interested to see how this book blends the world-shaking crises with the more personal ones. Our opening page seems to indicate we’ve got both on the horizon.

Also worth nothing here is that Tony Stark has a hovercar that can transform into Iron Man armor. Why? Because he’s Tony Stark.

All-New, All-Different Avengers #1 definitely leaves you wanting more. There are plenty of questions left to be answered, including how Thor and Vision fit into all this, and how Miles may effect the dynamic between Sam and Kamala. As the months go on, hopefully this will indeed prove to be a new and different kind of Avengers team.

Images from author’s collection.

Follow Primary Ignition on Twitter @PrimaryIgnition, or at Facebook.com/PrimaryIgniton.

A Review of The Vision #1 – Family Matters

The Vision #1, 2015TITLE: The Vision #1
AUTHOR: Tom King
PENCILLER: Gabriel Hernandez Walta. Cover by Mike Del Mundo.
PUBLISHER: Marvel
PRICE: $3.99
RELEASED: November 4, 2015

By Rob Siebert
Editor, Fanboy Wonder

Well this isn’t creepy at all…

Marvel’s “All New, All Different” take on The Vision sees our human-ish robot hero living an entirely different life than he’s ever known. Having recently erased his “emotional memories,” Vision is now working as a liason between The Avengers and the United States Government. What’s more, he’s created a family for himself. He now has a wife named Virgina, and two teenaged children named Vin and Viv. But what Vision has done, both to himself and with the creation of his bizarre family, will come with repercussions. And he will face them much sooner than he thinks.

There’s a very ominous, unsettling vibe about this issue. As the pages go by, you feel something very bad lingering under the surface. Granted, our narrator (whose identity is unknown) flat out tells you something bad happens later. But it goes beyond that. The issue has that same tension that comes with a lot of scary suburbia stories where the house, the family, and the kids are an illusion for something dark and mysterious. We know Vision isn’t evil, but bad things happen when you play God. And to an extent, that’s what he’s done with his family.

The Vision #1, title pageVirginia, Vin, and Viv are starting to get existential. Bad things tend to happen when robots do that. We get some really nice visuals during Vin and Viv’s first day at high school. One of which has the students looking up and see these two mysterious pink and green teenagers hovering in the sky. But it’s topped on the next page, as a girl asks Vin via her lap top screen: “R U NORMAL?” There’s a great irony there, as she’s asking him via a computer (shown below).

Much of the creepy, Twilight Zone-ish sci-fi vibe that comes with this book can be attributed to how Gabriel Hernandez Walta draws the Visions. You wouldn’t necessarily expect his more scratchy style to fit with a story like this. But what he puts on the page very much delivers on the sort of twisted Leave it to Beaver concept that makes this book intriguing. The simple white circles for the eyeballs go a long way in that respect. Jordie Bellaire’s colors compliment Walta’s figures very well, as the bright pink skin and green hair are very eerie. It’s almost as if someone took one of the supporting characters from Nickelodeon’s Doug and transplanted them into the real world. They look great in the flamboyant and colorful world they come from. But in the real world it’s a different story.

I won’t spoil the how or why of it, but Grim Reaper shows up in this issue. I was sadly ignorant of Grim Reaper’s history before I picked up this issue. So what happens with him doesn’t make much sense until you type his name into Google. It makes a lot of sense, then. But my only major critique with this issue is that we don’t get any kind of context with him. With it, the end would have been much more meaningful.

The Vision #1, R U Normal?Supposedly, Vision’s new family will have a big impact on the Marvel Universe in the near future. If this issue is any indication, that’s a good thing. There’s a good amount of meat to this concept. And in a way it makes sense. Ultron created Vision. Now Vision is creating “life” in the same way he was created.

Either way, I recommend a visit with the Visions.

Images courtesy of newsarama.com.

Follow Primary Ignition on Twitter @PrimaryIgnition, or at Facebook.com/PrimaryIgnition.