Have you been scared by a superhero comic lately? Well, Tom King, Gabriel Hernandez Walta and Jordie Bellaire do just that with “The Vision.” While they may sound simple enough at first, the events of “The Vision” #3 have such an aura of doom around them that there’s no question we’re on the path towards something truly horrific.
On the surface, it’s a quiet issue. We learn about an incredibly rare plant from Wundagore Mountain, the Vision attempts to bring Viv back to life and Virginia further tries to make their household normal even as the “mysterious disappearance” of the Grim Reaper looms larger. What King delivers here is not heavy on plot, but atmosphere.
There’s something very disturbing about the resurrection of Viv. The agony the Vision goes through, Viv’s continued repetition of “mother” and even Tony Stark’s visible discomfort bring that scene to life in a way that needs to be witnessed to understand. Resurrection in “The Vision” #3 isn’t simple or done lightly; there’s enough difficulty here that it’s hard to imagine the characters being able to go through it a second time.
At the same time, there’s a larger portent of destruction on the horizon, and I’m not talking about the way Virginia managed to successfully hide the Grim Reaper’s body from detection or how she seduces her husband when he tries to talk about their foe’s disappearance. Rather, I’m referring to Agatha Harkness and her attempt to see the future. That entire sequence is chilling, in part because of how well it sneaks up on you. King and Walta start it innocently enough, discussing the rarity of the plant and how many tourists are tricked into buying dyed rose petals. The more you read, the more visuals deviate further and further from the gentle tone of the narration, and the more uncomfortable it becomes. Part of that is thanks to the way Walta and Bellaire use only a deep, bloody red for the petals on the Wundagore Everbloom in this scene. The beautiful petals contrast with the horror of the blood, both continuing to pop off the page as we see the struggle Agatha goes through.
King’s story (and “The Vision” series in general) forever reminds us there is a price for everything we do. It might be not arguing for expulsion instead of suspension, or it might be the more drastic decision of having to kill a beloved companion, but there’s always a consequence. Here, we are reminded yet again that all of this is going to end very badly, and not just for the Vision’s family or Arlington County but the entire world. Because Agatha has gone to such lengths to get even a glimpse of how that destruction will occur, it brings home the idea that the stakes are incredibly high, and King’s script ultimately chills.
Walta even makes quiet moments in suburbia creepy, from the graffiti scrawled on the garage doors to the ever-present Everbloom sitting in the background of the home. Even the scene where the vandalism takes place is unnerving, with hands coming through walls and the faint glow of Virginia’s head as she advances on the second of the two boys. This is a horror book through and through, and Walta rises to the occasion.
“The Vision” #3 is about as different from the rest of Marvel’s comics as one can find, but it’s brilliant in how well it still fits in with their overall universe. This is a book that inches its way into the darkest corners of the Marvel Universe, all under the guise of four bright, shiny androids. I have no idea what will happen next in this wonderfully twisted book (aside from inevitable doom), but I can’t wait to see.