A Scarlet Witch #2 Micro-Review – Equally Enthralled

**This is where we keep it nice and simple. Comic book reviews in 100 words or less. Straight, concise, and to the point.***

TITLE: Scarlet Witch #2
AUTHORS: Steve Orlando, Stephanie Williams
Sara Pichelli, Chris Allen, Elisabetta D’Amico (Inking Assistant), Matthew Wilson (Colorist), Dee Cunniffe (Colorist), Cory Petit (Letterer). Cover by Russell Dauterman.
February 1, 2023

By Rob Siebert
Fanboy Wonder

Last month I was enthralled by how Sara Pichelli rendered Wanda. This month I’m equally enthralled with her take on Viv Vision. She leans into the character’s machine side, making her look more mechanical than many other artists do.

Storm appears alongside Wanda in a back-up tale this month. Has she ever, historically, been portrayed as a character with magic abilities in addition to mutant ones? That’s what this issue states. But I’ve never heard of that. Fittingly Storm is also rendered beautifully by Chris Allen.

Email Rob at primaryignition@yahoo.com, or check us out on Twitter.

A Scarlet Witch #1 Micro-Review – A Hollow Cliffhanger?

***This is where we keep it nice and simple. Comic book reviews in 100 words or less. Straight, concise, and to the point.***

TITLE: Scarlet Witch #1
AUTHOR: Steve Orlando
Sara Pichelli, Elisa D’Amico (Inking Assitant), Matthew Wilson (Colorist), Cory Petit (Letterer). Cover by Russell Dauterman.
January 4, 2023

By Rob Siebert
Fanboy Wonder

What jumped out at me about this issue immediately was that Wanda, Darcy Lewis (based partially off the Kat Dennings character from the MCU), and the other main characters look like they were drawn from life. Whether Sara Pichelli is doing that or not (I’m assuming not), they all look like they exist in the real world, as opposed to being drawings. It’s a pleasure to see.

This issue’s cliffhanger might be hollow for those who haven’t read books like Tom King’s The Vision, or perhaps Mark Waid’s run on Champions. But if you have, it’s a damn good one.

Email Rob at primaryignition@yahoo.com, or check us out on Twitter.

WandaVision Episode 8: A Few Thoughts on Cars

By Rob Siebert
Fanboy Wonder

You know what I came away from the latest WandaVision episode thinking about? It wasn’t about Agatha Harkness, Wanda’s past, or the mysterious white Vision…

It was Wanda’s car.

If I were a superhero whose parents, brother, and robot boyfriend had all been murdered over the course of my life, you know what I’d have invested in? A really nice car. The one she was driving in this episode looked so pedestrian.

I’m not even a car guy. But maybe get her something sleek. Like a sports car. Something in the Corvette family. And of course, make sure it’s red. Not just because of the whole red thing Wanda has going on. But I mean, who can be sad when they’re in a red Corvette?

Maybe if she’d splurged a little after Avengers: Endgame, maybe she wouldn’t have…y’know…abducted a bunch of people and created a big fantasy land with her dead robot boyfriend.

Just a thought.

Email Rob at primaryignition@yahoo.com, or check us out on Twitter.

Alex Ross Spotlight: Marvels and History

By Rob Siebert
The 5th Turtle

It’s easy to compare Marvels to another seminal Alex Ross work at DC years later, Kingdom Come. The stories themselves aren’t that similar. But the main character in both is essentially an average Joe seeing all this colorful superhero stuff from the ground level.

The Norman McCay we meet in Kingdom Come is an old man. But in Marvels, we follow Phil Sheldon the late ’30s into the mid-’70s. So we see the majority of his life play out alongside the evolution of the world of Marvels.

Ross elabrorates…

Email Rob at primaryignition@yahoo.com, or check us out on Twitter.

A Review of The Vision #12 – Having Your Cake and Eating it Too

Vision #12 cover, 2016, Mike Del MundoTITLE: The Vision #12
AUTHOR: Tom King
PENCILLER: Gabriel Hernandez Walta. Cover by Mike Del Mundo.
PRICE: $3.99
RELEASED: October 26, 2016

***WARNING: Spoilers lay ahead.***

By Rob Siebert
Editor, Fanboy Wonder

Hey, Tom King? Gabriel Hernandez Walta? Jordie Bellaire? Everybody involved with The Vision? Meet me in the second ‘graph, please…

Well done. Seriously. This series is a masterpiece. A perfect masterpiece? Maybe. That depends on a lot of things, not the least of which is the reader’s personal taste. But you’d have to do a lot to convince me this isn’t a master class in comic book storytelling, and a high point in the Vision’s near 50 year history.

(And yes, I stole a Jon Stewart bit. He’s not on TV right now. I miss him. Sue me.)

This final issue of The Vision sees our titular character finally face the reality of what his wife Virginia has done, and what his dream of having a family has become. We also get a look at how these events shape Vision, and what remains of that family, going forward.

vision-12-silentWhat has fueled this whole story has been Vision’s motivation to be human. As he flat out said to Scarlet Witch last issue, “I want to be like everyone else.” Therein is the underlying tragedy of this whole thing. He wants it so badly, but he can never truly have it.

That’s why there’s such a a morbid irony what Vision does when he finds out his wife has, for all intents and purposes, poisoned herself. He tells Virginia to use her powers to phase the substance out of her, and that he’ll use his status as an Avenger to correct the murder confession she gave to the authorities. He wants to reap the benefits of his family’s super powers, and his status as an Avenger to save this illusion of normalcy he’s created for himself.

He’s trying to have his cake and eat it too. That’s what he’s been trying to do this whole time. And of course, life doesn’t allow for that. But Virginia sacrifices herself to save Vision out of love for their family. And as we see in the flashbacks, she modified his memories to protect him. As tragic as it all is, it illustrates that Vision was able to create a loving family for himself, only to have it taken away from him.

I imagine this is part of the reason why this series has resonated so well with readers. These characters aren’t looking for something so firmly planted in the realm of fantasy, or even overtly selfish. They’re looking for love and acceptance, as well all are.

We see/hear Virginia’s confession to the police over the course of three pages, which Jordie Bellaire colors in a blaze of yellows, oranges, and reds (shown below). It’s a cool effect, though I’m happy we only see it for a limited time. It’s tough on the eyes after awhile. Bellaire may be the unsung hero of this book. The muted palette she’s used for this series has worked wonders.

vision-12-neon-gabriel-hernandez-waltaI had seen Gabriel Hernandez Walta’s work prior to The Vision. He did some fine work on Magneto, and I have a miniseries he did for IDW called The Suicide Forest. But The Vision made him a star. At least in my book. His rendering of the family is very human and familiar, but at the same time distinctly and hauntingly different. In this final issue, he’s at his strongest during Vision and Virginia’s final scene together. Some of it’s in the very subtle nuances of a facial expression. At other points its more blatant, i.e. the panel where we see tears on Vision’s face. It’s a scene that grabs you and doesn’t let go, even after you’ve closed the issue.

The lone element in this series that left me unsatisfied was the role Scarlet Witch played. In issue #7, we see that she incited all of this. Not just by giving Vision her brainwave patterns, but her relationship to Vision as a whole. I had hoped to see a bigger emotional pay off between Wanda and Vision. She has a scene with Viv in this issue, where we see there’s something of a motherly bond between the two. That’s another ball of wax entirely.

I have mixed feelings about Viv’s survival, and her continued appearances in books like Champions. Especially with Tom King not at Marvel anymore. What he, Walta, and this team created is so unique, with a vibe and tone unlike anything else at Marvel right now. I almost wish we could let this remain a crystalized masterpiece for awhile before thrusting Viv into the Marvel Universe at large.

But of course, that’s not how mainstream superhero comics work.  In the end, everyone at The Vision has done something few creators at DC and Marvel get to do. They opened a new door for storytelling that other creators can now walk through and explore. In the process, they added a new dimension to a long-standing, yet often under appreciated piece of the Marvel lore.

So I’ll say it again: Well done, folks. You made great comics.

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A Review of The Vision #11 – The Burden of Being Different

vision #11, 2016TITLE: The Vision #11
AUTHOR: Tom King
PENCILLER: Gabriel Hernandez Walta. Cover by Mike del Mundo.
PRICE: $3.99
RELEASED: September 21, 2016

By Rob Siebert
Editor, Fanboy Wonder

As amazing as this series has been, and as much of a landmark as its been for the Vision, ending it next month is the right move. This story feels like it has a distinct beginning, middle, and end. Better they not try to forcibly extend it, especially now that Tom King is exclusive to DC.

With his son dead, Vision is over the edge. He’s set to kill his son’s murderer, and his own
“brother,” Victor Mancha. But Iron Man, Thor, Spider-Man, and a litany of other Marvel heroes are standing in his way. Now it’s one against many, as Vision fights for revenge. But he’s not the only one in the family out for blood…

The Vision has an appreciation for the character’s history that does tremendous things for this story’s depth. Case in point, the caption boxes in this issue take us back to Vision’s origin, plucking actual dialogue written by Roy Thomas in 1968. We’re reminded of how he came to be, and that ironically his original purpose was to kill the Avengers. We read Utrom’s first words to him, and later his first words to his wife Viv, reminding us he’s come full circle. King is working with Vision’s history, and using it to support his story. Writers don’t always take that route, and I credit King for doing his homework.

The Vision #11, Gabriel Hernandez Walta, cooperation

The series has been building to this fight with the heroes since issue #1, and it doesn’t disappoint. It gives our heroes a painful reminder: If the Vision goes bad, they’re in big trouble. He disposes of some of Marvel’s big guns with unsettling ease. It’s not epic or event-comic worthy, but Walta and colorist Jordie Bellaire give us something satisfying that still fits with the tone they’ve set. Also, seeing Bellaire color all these flamboyantly dressed heroes is a thrill, considering we’re used to seeing a more subdued  palette from this book.

There’s also a certain gritty texture to Walta’s art that accentuates the grim undercurrent in this series. It’s especially powerful in quiet scenes, like the one we see here with Virginia and Viv. There’s a heart-wrenching scene where the Vision family dog exits the series that’s almost too good. Human-on-animal violence is risky territory, even if the subjects in question are robots.

Another moment the series has built to is Vision’s reunion with Scarlet Witch. This felt like it should have been a fight. Vision tries to burn the world to the ground, and the only one standing in his way is the woman that inspired him to create a family in the first place. Instead, Wanda just says some stuff about understanding him, and how he won’t be able to come back from this. That’s all well and good. But that’s it? I’m hopeful this was just an appetizer, and a more physical confrontation will come next issue.

Though to his credit, Vision’s last words to Wanda in this scene are poignant, and even insightful: “I’m so sorry, Wanda. I do not think that you understand That you ever understood. I want to be like everyone else.”

Vision #11, 2016, Scarlet WitchOf all things, this reminds me of the talk show scene in Edward Scissorhands. Edward makes a comment about wanting to meet a corrective surgeon, and a pair of ladies in the audience can’t understand why he wouldn’t want to be “special” anymore. The whole “burden of being different” thing obviously works for this book.

King, Walta, and everyone on The Vision have done something great with this book. They’ve brought out the best in a B-list character, elevating him in the process. Just because it’s right to end it next month, doesn’t mean I”m glad to see it go…

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A Review of The Vision #6 – The Jig is Up!

The Vision #6, 2016TITLE: The Vision #6
AUTHOR: Tom King
PENCILLER: Gabriel Hernandez Walta. Cover by Marco D’Alfonso.
PRICE: $3.99
RELEASED: April 6, 2016

***Miss last issue? Boom. Or head back to the beginning with issue #1.***

***WARNING: Minor spoilers ahead.***

By Rob Siebert
Editor, Fanboy Wonder

This series needs to get cancelled…in seven months.

Tom King has signed an exclusive deal with DC, and will succeed Scott Snyder as the writer on Batman. But we’ll be seeing his handprints on The Vision through issue #12. That should really be the end of this series, as you’re not going to find anyone who’s going to top this, or even maintain the current quality. Plus, let’s be honest. This is Marvel. If there’s enough demand, another Vision series will be part of their next big relaunch.

The jig is up for The Vision’s wife, Viv. Her husband has learned her secrets. Vision literally discovers Grim Reaper’s body buried in the back yard. The question now is, what happens going forward? Does The Vision maintain this classic American facade he’s created? Or is it all for naught now that the bodies are piling up?

The Vision #6, Gabriel Hernandez Walta, headshotKing and Gabriel Hernandez Walta aren’t going to earn any points with the PETA crowd on this issue, as Grim Reaper’s body is discovered by a small dog, which is subsequently killed. It’s a jarring image, but that’s part of this book’s M.O. isn’t it?

Speaking of which, how about this headshot? It’s not even the blood. That’s just the garnish on the dish. It’s the eyes, the color of the “skin,” and the way the shadow frames his face. This page puts you inside the issue, and face to face with The Vision. As such, it puts you in the shoes of all the citizens who interact with he and his family.

And yet, it’s not as though Vision is cast as this awful horror comic villain. In some ways, he’s very sympathetic here. He wants to be normal. He wants a family, and he’s willing to go to drastic measures to make that a reality. But of course, he was doomed to fail from the start. And if anyone finds out about those drastic measures, his entire existence is ruined.

It looks like next issue we’re officially acknowledging the elephant that’s been in the room this whole time: Wanda Maximoff, a.k.a. Scarlet Witch. We’ve had a good six issues to dive into Vision’s new status quo, and now is a good time to peek behind the curtain and see just how we got here. Wanda had some sort of role, most likely unknowing, in the creation of this family. I’m curious to see if that role is as unsettling, or perhaps as horrific, as what has subsequently unfolded.

Image from author’s collection.

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A Review of The Vision #5 – A Fall From Grace?

The Vision #5, 2016TITLE: The Vision #5
AUTHOR: Tom King
PENCILLER: Gabriel Hernandez Walta. Cover by Marco D’Alfonso.
PRICE: $3.99
RELEASED: March 9, 2016

***Need to catch up? Head back to the beginning with The Vision #1

By Rob Siebert
Editor, Fanboy Wonder

I was bummed to hear Tom King signed an exclusive deal with DC. Yes, he’ll be staying on through issue #12, and allegedly finishing the story he began. And I suppose there’s something to be said for not overstaying your welcome. But The Vision is arguably the best book being put out between Marvel and DC right now.

The Vision’s “normal” status quo with his robotic wife Virginia, and robotic children Vin and Viv, is on the verge of coming apart. Chris Kinzky, a classmate of Vin and Viv, is dead, accidentally shot during a confrontation between his father and Virginia.  Now Vision has is being questioned as part of the investigation. The children are also starting to ask questions, and Virginia may be unraveling…

The Vision #5, Vision questioning, Gabriel Hernandez WaltaThere’s an interesting parallel in this issue between the Vision and politicians/celebrities who’ve had a public fall from grace. Earlier in the series, Vision had a line about saving the world 37 times. There’s a great sequence in this issue where he recounts each one of them, knowing that no matter how many times he’s saved the Earth, being associated with this murder would still leave him irredeemable. I read that, and I immediately thought of people like Richard Nixon, John Edwards, Elliot Spitzer, etc. Granted none of them saved the world, but they were all public servants who fell from grace. So in that sense, King provides us with a bit of insight into modern society.

Not many superhero comics start off quoting Shakespeare. But King does it here with a passage from The Merchant of Venice. It’s Shylock’s famous “If you prick us, do we not bleed?” speech about Jewish people. It’s…a choice. It’s a bit of an uncomfortable one at first, but I suppose that’s part of what he’s going for. And it works, so it’s fair enough.

King and Walta up the creep factor in the scene where the police detective approaches the house (below). Vision, in a suit no less, simply phases through the door, having seen his visitor approaching. Moments later, Virginia pokes her upper body through the door to check on them. It’s something so simple, but it’s a striking reminder that this family is so very different from the humans they interact with.

The Vision #5, Gabriel Hernandez Walta, cop entrance

Also, the way Vision simply refers to Virginia as “wife” is unsettling. Gents, don’t try that at home.

On that subject, one question remains unanswered in all of this. Early in the series it was established that Vision used someone’s brainwaves to create Virginia. Whose brainwaves did he use? Interestingly enough, King addresses this in this issue’s letters column, responding into someone hoping it would be Vision’s former love interest Wanda Maximoff, a.k.a the Scarlet Witch. In King’s own words: “…Wanda’s relationship with Vision has haunted this whole series so far. To me, she’s as big a character in this as anyone in the family…” Very interesting…

The wheels continue gradually come off Vision’s attempt at a normal family life. Guilt continues to peck away at Virginia’s cybernetic psyche, and the teens are being hit with a variety of emotions. And as the cover for next issue has their house ablaze, I’d say things are going to get worse before they get better.

Images from author’s collection.

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