In “The Vision” #7, Tom King and Michael Walsh retell the history of the Vision’s romance with the Scarlet Witch by revisiting events from older “Avengers” storylines. It’s a masterful piece of work, enlarging the stakes and adding tension to a rapidly accelerating tragedy.
King cleverly titles the issue “I Too Shall Be Saved By Love,” a line from “Avengers” #147 in the early, happier days of the Vision’s relationship with the Scarlet Witch, which provides a thumbnail of both character and plot. The phrasing captures the Vision’s formal speech patterns and expresses his hope and belief in romantic love, a sentiment rich in dramatic irony from the vantage point of the present day. Love did not save the Scarlet Witch and the Vision’s relationship, nor will it save the Vision’s current family from distress and moral error. If anything, love has done the opposite, and the Vision is considered lost, judging from the forces arrayed against him at the end of last issue.
King weaves together and recasts key moments of their relationship history, and the events gather more and more emotional force, until the story loops back in the final scene. King and Walsh gather together all the bizarre psychological dysfunction and trauma of the Vision and Wanda’s history in one place. The full horror of it all — which culminates in the erasure of Wanda’s memories (originally in “Avengers West Coast” #52) — is a carefully calibrated emotional shock. The Vision’s words “you too shall be new” is, like the title, rich in terrible irony.
Walsh’s art is very different but no less strong than regular artist Gabriel Hernandez Walta’s. His linework is controlled in the day-lit public scenes, accompanied by Bellaire’s warm colors. The scenes between only the Vision and Wanda are brushier and looser, and Bellaire uses darker and gradually colder colors. Her warm reds for the opening scene and chalky whites and blue-grays for the all-white Vision scene are beautiful, and they set much of the tone and mood. The contrast between day and night, public and private, highlights the couple’s intimacy. It sets their private world apart. At first, it’s a romantic oasis, but — as the story progresses — it allows their problems and wounds to lie buried and festering in a separate space.
Walsh’s superb composition, facial expressions and body language combine for a crescendo of emotional force in a goodbye scene. The dark inks, off-kilter panels and Wanda’s wide, staring eyes are poignant as their relationship ends a second time. The Vision’s face and posture as he says “the future is here” is an echo and a sad answer to Wanda’s earlier happy assurance that “tomorrow always comes.”
There are few dreams more bland or relatable than the Vision’s desire to have a quiet, “normal” suburban family, which seemed at first to be an experiment or the next chapter in his desire to be more fully human. In “The Vision” #7, another layer of deeper, more disturbing motivations are revealed. Underneath this seemingly harmless desire to have a family, the Vision is trying to recreate the past, and the reader now knows why this new family matters so much. King and Walsh give the reader more reasons than ever before to sympathize with the synthezoid, but — paradoxically — they also make him easier to condemn. The question of fate’s inexorability is a major theme, but King is careful to show that at every step on the road to doom, questionable or bad decisions were made, starting with the Vision taking the Scarlet Witch up on her well-meant offer. From Orpheus’ journey to “The Monkey’s Paw,” trying to resurrect a loved one never bodes well, and the punishment is typically severe.
This all came to a head last issue, when the Vision learned of all that Virginia had been hiding. At that critical point, he did not admit failure or seek help; he was not willing to consider subjecting his family to higher authorities, perhaps because he cannot bear to have love taken away from him again or because he is afraid he can never have it again. The tragic irony is that the strength of the Vision’s hunger for normality is what will probably prevent him from achieving it.
On the last page, the Vision trots out the same joke to Virginia that he presented to Wanda so many years ago, and the effect is both creepy and wrenchingly sad. The final irony is in the last caption that proclaims, “And everything is new and different.” “The Vision” #7 is brilliant in its use of irony and how it depicts human affection, longing, pain and the complexity of moral error.