AVENGERS ICONS: THE VISION #1-4
by Matt C
Although he was far from being the first superhero I came across during my comics-reading youth, once I did discover the Vision I was immediately taken with him. A lot of that was down to his striking appearance: the bold colour scheme of his suit along with his pupilless eyes gave him a powerful, commanding presence. In all honesty I barely recall any solo adventures of his I might have read (along with the minis beside his then wife, Scarlett Witch) but it was quite apparent that he worked best as a team player, and it made him an essential member of the Avengers. In a way he kind of reminds me of an Avengers’ version of the JLA’s Martian Manhunter: a strong, steady and wise presence that gives the team its backbone.
So, partly my affection for the character promoted me to pick up this miniseries at the tail end of 2002, but mostly it was down to the writer, Geoff Johns. He was relatively new to comics at that time and had been making waves over at DC with his work on Flash and JSA, but as those weren’t books I was picking up it was only really his work on Avengers (following on from Kurt Busiek’s acclaimed run) that made me sit up and take notice. The debut issue of The Vision arrived slightly before John’s first issue of Avengers, but high hopes for his take on Earth’s Mightiest Heroes along with favourable reviews prompted me to pick it up. I’m pretty sure that it marked the first collaboration between Johns and artist Ivan Reis, the beginning of a partnership that would go onto bigger and better things, the most high profile of these so far being this summer’s Blackest Night event for DC. Obviously something clicked between them back then.
I have fond memories of reading it at the time but looking at it again recently it doesn’t quite hold up as well from a story perspective. It has an amnesiac Vision trying to put a stop to the villainous Gremlin, another synthezoid created by his ‘father’, Professor Phineas T. Horton, and while it has impressive flourishes throughout, overall it is a little too clichéd and marred by an overly sentimental ending to really stand out from the pack.
What does make it worth a second look is the artwork from Reis. His clean linework and exciting panel composition immediately put him on my radar and the 1939 World’s Fair sequence in particular stuck with me thanks to its brilliant evocation of the period (helped by Chris Sototmayor’s muted colour work). His style has developed since then, with his illustrations becoming far more detailed and imposing, but even then it was obvious the guy was destined for great things.
A pleasant read with a constantly intriguing character (just before Bendis started screwing with the Avengers and killed this incarnation off), but most notable for being an early glimpse of a hugely successful creative partnership.