This post originally appeared on Panels, which is now Book Riot Comics
This piece contains minor spoilers for Captain America: Civil War.
I want to watch a Carol Danvers—or Kamala Khan or Patsy Walker or Doreen Green—standalone film before I watch another cisgendered white male perform super heroics in a 1.85:1 aspect ratio (yeah, Doctor Strange is a swell dude, but the casting of the Ancient One totally harshed my mellow). Yet…Captain America: Civil War’s Vision is a character who could carry a whole film, especially if that film were a faithful adaptation of the arc in #1-6 of the Tom King/Gabriel Hernandez Walta/Jordie Bellaire The Vision. I know this in my soul as certainly as I know I had four cinnamon rolls for breakfast and a sugar crash for lunch.
When I first saw Mike Del Mundo’s cover for #1, I expected a Father Knows Best or Leave It to Beaver pastiche. Small Wonder but with a whole family of
androids instead of just a robot in a pinafore. Maybe something like The Munsters?
It just looks like it could work as the final shot in the title sequence of a suburban sitcom. And his cover for #2 could work as the opening shot, subtly establishing the dissonance created when the Vision’s rendering of suburban normalcy is dropped smack dab in the middle of the real McCoy. I fully anticipated this dissonance to be played for laughs, as in the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode wherein Data takes tap dancing lessons because he heard there was going to be dancing at a wedding. I thought every other page would have a misunderstanding with which even Amelia Bedelia couldn’t sympathize…and then hilarity would ensue. Total sitcom.
However, after I opened #1, it didn’t take long to realize that what I was reading was horror.
Sure, there were funny moments. But I got chills from the nonchalant delivery of some seriously disturbing foreshadowing. And the simultaneously muted and garish color palette? It definitely set the mood—and that mood was hella uneasy. Any lingering misconceptions were obliterated as I gasped at the violent ending.
By the third cover, Del Mundo is laying it all out. The domesticity embodied in the Vision’s wife Virginia tidying up the house is subverted by the fact that she is literally sweeping a bloody corpse under a rug. This is the harrowing series in a nutshell (Tippy Toe ate the nut, obvs).
There’s a panel in #1 wherein the President remarks to the Vision, “Y’know, it’s funny. Meeting you, I’ve never felt so safe yet so scared. Isn’t that funny?” Funny is one word for it. And “it” was definitely the sensation Paul Bettany’s Vision in a v-neck sweater gave me. It was more unnerving than any display of Vision’s powers while suited up. The comedic potential in the Vision’s attempts at domesticity is not wasted either, but the funny-haha moments exist in the movie in about the same ratio to creepy moments as in the King/Walta/Bellaire series. And at a certain point in the film,
Vision is unsettled—unsettled!—by his unexpected distractibility
That is the Vision I’ve been reading.
Marvel is (unwittingly?) laying some great groundwork for the King/Walta/Bellaire Vision to appear on the big screen (especially if we’re playing up Wanda’s youth now; let’s sidestep the awkwardness of a romance with an adolescent by directing Vision’s latent longing for human emotional intimacy towards a family of his own making). Bettany is a fan, so maybe his opinion will count for something when it comes time to draft a standalone. And this story done right? I’m willing to wait for it.
— Paul Bettany (@Paul_Bettany) May 4, 2016