The Vision #12
Written by Tom King
Art by Gabriel Hernandez Walta and Jordie Bellaire
Lettering by Clayton Cowles
Published by Marvel Comics
‘Rama Rating: 10 out of 10
In the past month, Tom King has stated that the unofficial trilogy of Sheriff of Babylon, Omega Men and The Vision is titled the 'Trilogy of Best Intentions.' With the release of The Vision #12, it’s now clear as to why Vision is the third act. While the issue continues with the existential dread that’s been so important to the series (in addition to being another perfect issue to boot), it ends on a note which is the closest anything in the trilogy has come to optimism.
Originally billed as a book dealing with the Vision and his recently constructed synthezoid family in a suburban, Mulholland Drive-esque spin on the The Vision & Scarlet Witch miniseries from the 1980’s, the book has had a growing cast over the previous 11 issues, with the penultimate issue encompassing many heroes which can now be found within the pages of Civil War II. The Vision #12 scales it back, focusing primarily on the family, specifically the Vision and Virgina as they cope with their actions which have defined the standout moments of the series.
Because that’s what this book is about. Moments. The ones that we can’t control, when situations get of hand and we act before we think. At first glance, the Vision family are synthezoids, but they’re confused and make mistakes. That makes them just as human as us. In Virginia’s case, she kept the deaths of the Grim Reaper and C.J.’s father from her family, and that deception has been the most engrossing thread to follow as she falls further into the abyss. As the Vision bears witness to a heart-breaking moment he has no control over, King’s finale will prove that not only can an android cry, but it may elicit such a response from the reader, too.
But that said, King’s narrative twists to absolve the Vision of his homicidal acts - perhaps a necessary evil, given that Marvel wants to maintain the Vision as a viable hero moving forward - may ring hollow for some, as it’s revealed that the Vision’s wife Virginia has tampered with his programming just enough to account for his divergent behavior. All of the pieces that lead to the emotional beat have been introduced before, but a case could be made that King’s escape hatch retroactively diminishes the impact of some of the previous issues. However personally, I found it poignant and relevant to the idea of control (or lack of) that has been persistent throughout the series.
Of course, Tom King isn’t the only member of the creative team. Clayton Cowles’ lettering has had to be clear considering the numerous omniscient narrators over the course of the series, but also deal with the repetition of dialogue. Clayton was able to take this and make sure it avoids feeling monotonous. At no point, do the amount of words on the page feel overwhelming or unnecessarily dense. Instead, the words said linger in the air and become etched into the moment.
This book wouldn’t have had half the emotional impact as it’s delivered if Gabriel Hernandez Walta hadn’t been bringing his finest linework each and every issue he was involved with. The art captures moments in the lives of these characters. Capturing a tear rolling down a cheek or a tender embrace. As readers, it’s impossible to control these moments, we bear witness instead of being active players in the narrative. The situations get out of hand and we react accordingly as a family is pushed beyond the breaking point.
Jordie Bellaire is a superstar with an indefatigable work ethic - seriously, she’s non-stop - but it’s incredible what she does in this issue. She drenches the flashbacks in these sun-kissed reds, yellows and oranges which encapsulate how these moments blinded the characters. When they couldn’t see clearly and just acted based on their emotions - mainly rage - running high. But the rest of the book is more muted - while Bellaire’s subdued palette in The Vision #1 fit the pedestrian setting of a surbuban family looking for a fresh start, now the colors seem to be saying something else entirely. Rather than submerging the characters into a heavy shadow, it allows for a shimmer of light to crest the characters.
And the book capitalizes on this glimmer of optimism. It needs to deal with tragedy first, but it’s this unique aspect that separates it from the other parts of the trilogy. Sometimes, in spite of our best intentions, things spiral out of control, but with luck and hope we can come out on the other side. Not necessarily unscathed, but feeling alive.
A moment isn’t beautiful because it lasts and we treasure the good ones because of what they make us feel. This series has now come to a close and is the end of King’s time with Marvel for the foreseeable future (he’s DC exclusive), but it made us run the full gambit of emotions. Horror, sadness, dread, joy. And is there anything more human than feeling something?