The Vision comic has come to the point of no return for its synthezoid hero — a true turning point, in what has been an incredibly haunting and fascinating journey so far. But Marvel’s best current comic isn’t going to get any less bleak. In fact? It’s only going to get darker from here.
As usual, there are major spoilers ahead for The Vision #6, by Tom King, Gabriel Hernandez Walta, Jordie Bellaire and Clayton Cowles — but also an additional warning: This post contains images in relation to animal-based violence that some readers may find uncomfortable. Discretion is advised!
Part of what has made The Vision Marvel’s must-read comic at the moment is the tragic sense of inevitability that it has trafficked in from its very first moments. This is a comic where terrible, gutwrenching things happen, only for us to be told it’s going to somehow get much worse in the chapters ahead… and it does. The story of Vision’s attempt to create a family, only for said family to almost instantly break down and head on a self-destructive, horrifying path, has been made all the sadder by the fact that The Vision himself has not been party to that destruction.
The Vision at work, from Vision #4. Art by Gabriel Hernandez Walta. Colours by Jordie Bellaire.
He’s had no idea what’s been going on with Virginia, Viv and Vin while he was off adventuring with the Avengers, or how the black spectre of Virginia’s murder of the Grim Reaper hung over his family. He went off on his merry way, believing he had defied the odds and created the perfect android family.
Now he knows that he failed.
In true Tom King style, the Vision doesn’t discover this on his own, but through a tragedy of random chance. Zeke, the dog of the next door neighbours, gets into the Visions’ back yard and uncovers the Grim Reaper’s decaying corpse — violently electrocuting himself when he bites the Reaper’s scythe-hand in the process. The Vision hears this sound, and it leads to his whole world crashing down.
Or, it should, but doesn’t. Vision is clearly angry about what happened behind his back at first. We see the aftermath of it, the destroyed interior of the Visions’ house as Virginia escorts George (“of George and Martha,” she eerily recalls when she answers the door) through the wreckage, passing it off in a sterile manner as undergoing renovation — a lie made all the scarier by the fact that it’s very clear that George doesn’t believe her, and yet she carries on lying anyway.
But while this is happening, the audience gets to see that The Vision has accepted what’s happened to his familial experiment — and simply chooses to cover it up, an almost human desire to hide his mess. He justifies this choice on the grounds that he cannot lose the trust of his Avengers allies, or give evidence that could see his family destroyed altogether.
We even get to see him rationalise that cover up, pretty much while he literally repeats his mistake: the Vision extracts Zeke’s brain from its body, and uses to as the base pattern to create a new synthezoid pet for his family.
It’d be almost cute, if it wasn’t completely horrifying. Kind of like The Vision in general, that.
As much as Vision would like to think he’s got it all covered, though, in the issue’s final moments, we discover that’s not the case. The narrator — the chilling, ever-present voice throughout The Vision that has foretold every dark moment of the series so far — spent most of this issue arguing the theoretical debate of P vs NP, a computer science question that ponders if every problem that has a solution that can be quickly verified by a computer, can also be quickly solved by the computer.
The narrator concludes that in choosing to cover up his familial horror, Vision has chosen to discard the notion of P (a problem that can be solved in a reasonable amount of time by a computer) in favour of NP (a problem that may be solvable, but an answer needs to be searched for and verified as the right answer across millions of possibilities, so it would take centuries the computer to find it).
And in the process, the narrator reveals her identity to the audience for the first time: the ghost of Agatha Harkness, Scarlet Witch’s former tutor in the arcane arts and, apparently, dab hand at petrifying precognitive visions. It’s who Agatha is retelling the tragic tale of the Visions to however, that provides the issue with its most gutwrenching twist:
The Vision’s secret is out. And somehow, as always with this incredible series, things are about to get even worse.
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