VISION QUEST: Cornell talks Young Avengers Presents

The most exciting and fulfilling aspect of youth is the process of discovering who you are and your place in the world. This can also be more than a little frightening and frustrating, especially when you’re trying to figure out your role in a chaotic place like the Marvel Universe. The Vision will experience this and more in “Young Avengers Presents” #4 by Paul Cornell and Mark Brooks on sale this week. CBR News spoke with writer Cornell about the issue.

Having been acquainted with original “Young Avengers” writer Allan Heinberg and a fan of the series, Cornell jumped at the chance to tell a story with one of those characters. The Vision made the assignment even more intriguing. “The attraction for me was that these days the Vision is largely a blank sheet of paper, someone new to define and shape in ways which, having consulted with Allan, move his, erm, vision, for the comic onwards,” Cornell told CBR News. “As he says, he's a movie based on Iron Lad's short story. I've given him a gentle sense of humor, similar to that which the original Vision occasionally displayed, based on the idea that he gets off on other people thinking he doesn't do jokes. But this is a younger guy, so he's also got some of the kid arrogance that's one of the YA characters' most charming qualities.

“He's finding out who and what he is, but he's pretty sure he's good,” Cornell continued. “And he's getting comfortable with what he is very quickly. I also decided that since the Vision now can do disguise, changing his shape into other people, it's pretty obvious he's not using contractions in his speech, when in Vision form, deliberately, otherwise when he's pretending to be someone else, it'd be kind of obvious that he's talking differently than the real guy.”

“Young Avengers Presents” #4 finds the Vision on a mission. The target of that mission is his former teammate Cassie Lang AKA Stature, who left the Young Avengers during “Civil War.” “He's worked out who he is and what he's about and he's back to apply that to how he feels about Cassie,” Paul Cornell told CBR News. “And to hear her side of the Registration row. The Vision has been round the world, and this is about him deciding to face up to how he feels and walk right across the lines of conflict to do so. He's a passionate man.”

The Vision’s mission takes him to the heart of the victorious Pro-Registration movement, Camp Hammond, where Stature is training to become part of the Initiative program. “Cassie’s annoyed that her friends haven't joined her,” Cornell said. “She doesn't give the Vision away when he comes to visit her, despite the fact that, as the guy who zapped Tony Stark's armor, he's pretty huge in the anti-Reg movement. She thinks of the Vision as a passive victim of the other side's propaganda, and he's here to show her the other side are people too. I wanted to show how hurt the pro-Reg heroes have been by the anti-Reg side getting on their high horses and assuming they've got the moral ground, when actually all they have is the charismatic ground. If ground can be charismatic. Hey, it's early here.”

In the story, Cassie’s given the chance to defend her reasons for taking the Pro-Registration side and leaving the Young Avengers. “I wanted to give Cassie a convincing speech about why she's in the Initiative, because I've thought of several good reasons why a cool character would be, and you don't hear the case passionately made very much,” Cornell remarked.

“Young Avengers” #4 won’t be entirely about The Vision and Cassie’s heart-to-heart talk. Thematically appropriate adversaries appear to give the issue a healthy does of action as well. “A.I.M. show up, and that's always good. They're in the middle of their own civil war, declaring themselves to be the one true A.I.M.,” Cornell remarked. “I love doing that: adding an iota of momentum to a story that's seen in tiny sidelong glances over dozens of books.”

The story may involve a slugfest with the forces of A.I.M. but the tone of “Young Avengers Presents” #4 is very personal and intimate. “It's hard-won romance amongst conflict,” Cornell stated. “Though nothing's settled here, something real and huge is started. It's good that, even in a one-off, we're making solid plot for the future of the series, as Allan [Heinberg] wanted it to go.”

Cornell is very excited at the way artist Mark Brooks has brought his script to life. “He's great! He's got that classic superhero art going, so the action really flies, but the human drama does too,” Cornell said. “And he makes young heroes look young, and intense and full of emotion. You can't ask for more than that. And he's great at snogging. Drawing snogging I mean. We've got a full on Crimson and Clover repressed passion boiling over scene, and he just nails it.”

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