The Vision 1

vision 1Today, Spencer and Patrick are discussing The Vision 1, originally released November 4th, 2015.

Spencer: Secret Wars is dead — long live “All New, All Different Marvel”. We’re a few weeks into Marvel’s newest initiative, and so far each book is handling the “All New” mandate in a different way. Some books aren’t really changing at all (Spider-Gwen), some are throwing a few new quirks or cast members into familiar concepts (Guardians of the Galaxy, Invincible Iron Man), and some are taking their stars into completely uncharted territory (Amazing Spider-Man). For my money, though, there’s no book as drastically new and different as Tom King and Gabriel Hernandez Walta’s The Vision. Part fairy-tale, part family drama, part inevitable tragedy, The Vision 1 is a comic unlike anything I’ve read in quite a while. If I’m being honest, I still haven’t fully wrapped my head around it, but I know one thing: I like it.

After clearing much of his memory, the Vision — The Avengers’ steadfast resident synthezoid — has created for himself a family. The Visions — including wife Virginia and twins Viv and Vin — have relocated to Arlington, Virginia, to start a life together, and despite their robotic nature, in many ways they’re the ideal family. Indeed, what seems most significant to me about this issue is the air of normalcy that surrounds the Visions’ life. For example, George and Nora’s visit — and the Visions’ subsequent showing off of their home — could be almost any typical suburban visit to a strange new neighbor. Likewise, Viv and Vin showing off their abilities to impress the neighborhood children isn’t much different from, say, a rich child trying to win over their new neighbors with money or cool toys.

This is purposeful, of course, because the Vision and his family are trying to be the ideal American family. Yet, no matter how hard they try, there’s always something just slightly off about their attempts. There’s just no hiding the fact that the Visions aren’t humans, and aren’t typical. George isn’t upset about meeting his new neighbors because they’re weird or eccentric, it’s because they’re not human. Vision and Virginia bicker like any married couple, but instead of clashing over bills or family, they argue about the tone behind their specific word choices or why their super-intelligent children have to attend school. Even when engaging in the most mundane activities possible, King never lets the readers forget that these characters are robots.

Walta does something similar with his art — despite humanoid designs and realistic clothes, it’s obvious from just a glance that the Visions aren’t human. Walta even knows how to play up their human features vs. their robotic features depending on the needs of the scene.

R U Normal?

For example, in the top row Vin looks much more human; we can see his hair, we can see his layered clothes, we can see his mannerisms. Once his normality is called into question, though, suddenly he looks much more robotic; the top of his hair is cut off, making its sides look more like pieces of machinery than hair, his body and clothes are mostly obscured, his expression is much more blank, and the panel closes in on the seams on his face. Walta is fantastic at emphasizing just the right aspects of his characters in each scene.

Robots or not, though, in any other version of this title I’d be rooting for the Visions to succeed at building their ideal family, but there’s something about Vision that makes the family’s quest feel ominous and ill-fated.

unobtainable

Again, in any other book this would be inspirational, but in The Vision it just comes across as ominous. There’s something about that word “unobtainable” that casts a dark shadow over the whole conversation — it’s the Vision, and therefore King as well, admitting that the Vision’s dream can never really come true.

Of course, we needn’t look at such tiny examples to realize that this book is a tragedy in the making. Perhaps the most unique convention at play in Vision is King’s use of narration to describe much of the story — even using narration in place of dialogue at times. The narration, and especially the use of past tense in it, frames this book as a story that’s already reached its ending and is simply being relayed to us after the fact, lending the entire tale an air of fatalism. Moreover, King lets us know from the get-go that things are going to get dark, and that the Visions aren’t going to have a happy ending.

they will die in flames

With the tragedy of the Visions established so early, readers don’t have to worry about whether the Visions will work out as a family or not; they just have to figure out why they won’t. I’d could make an argument that The Vision has a rather cynical view of family in general, but there’s a few moments that make me think otherwise, such as George’s final thoughts being of how much he loves Nora, no matter how much they fight throughout the issue.

Instead, I think the problem here is that the Vision is trying to force his family to be something that they’re not. They aren’t normal, they aren’t human, but instead of embracing that, he tries to turn them into the quintessential American family; heck, it’s implied that Vision might even be forcing himself to love his wife because that’s what he’s supposed to do. That’s a recipe for dysfunction if I’ve ever seen one.

Or I could be way off base with that theory, but no matter what point King is trying to make via this uncanny family and their failings, The Vision is unique and different enough to capture my attention and get me eagerly awaiting more insight. Patrick, do you have any theories on what exactly’s going on with the Visions? Any thoughts on the villain who attacks Viv at the issue’s end? I assume he’s the brother of Wonder Man — whose consciousness was used as the original template for the Vision — and if nothing else, that raises some questions for me about what, if any, consent the Visions and their donors had in putting this family together.

Patrick: That question of consent is an interesting one Spencer, and I think it’s one that King wants us to apply to families in general. I’ll agree that the particulars of the Vision’s family are unique and weird, but the overwhelming feeling of being a fraud is one of the more universal themes expressed in the issue. I had a good chuckle at Vision and Virginia’s conversation about whether to use the word “friendly” or “nice” to describe George and Nora, but I realized how many times I’ve had similar conversations (with my girlfriend, with my friends, with my sisters) about proper use of slang terms and phrases. Hell, I still don’t know how to use “on fleek.” Society is a hard superstructure to fit into, and it’s even weirder when you’re three or four or five people trying to convince the world that you’re one solid unit, just like everyone else.

Actually, King seems to be explicitly tapping in to the first generation immigrant’s experience here. Vision has the stated goal of fitting in and does so through sheer force of will. He also hangs on tightly to his old customs — which in this case are donning his crime fighting gear and checking in with the Avengers and the White House — and worries about providing for his family. The kids on the other hand, watch a lot of movies and TV.

the vision kids explore culture

We never get to see the kids’ perspective on why they delve so deeply into “outside sources” – and we also don’t get to know what media the kids are really taking in. Their father remembers them fighting about Merchant of Venice, but maybe that’s just because he wouldn’t understand their arguments about Breaking Bad or Adventure Time or whatever. The point is, that no matter how alien King and Walta try to make their behavior look, there’s something immediately identifiable about their struggle to fit in.

Which might be part of the reason I was sorta bored during this issue. Spencer praised the use of a first-person narration that appears to be speaking to us from the future, but I found it to be extremely cold and clinical. I know we could argue that that is the point of the narration, but I’m not sure that the series gains as much from it as it loses in pacing. King has Walta — one of the great visual storytellers working in the medium today — and clutters every single one of his panels with copy. Flip back through the issue: there are no examples where the pictures get a chance to tell a story independent of King’s words. In fact, here’s one curious example of essentially the same sentence being used in two consecutive panels.

Many took pictures

Of course, this is an example of King playing the same language game that Vision and Virginia were playing in the previous scene. He’s juxtaposing the use of words or phrases that denote virtually the same thing, but which connote very different things. But you have to wonder what the effect would be to just use the copy “Many of them took pictures to post on their various pages” and placed that between these two panels. That allows the reader to observe the difference in the images Walta presents us with, and form our own emotional reaction to it. Vision’s voiceover eliminates that emotional interactivity, and I think that’s what frustrated me the most reading this issue – it doesn’t want me to play along.

We’ll be posting a piece about Midnighter 6 for tomorrow, which presents a similar theme of a superhero creating his own perfect family life. I discuss it at length, but one of the reasons Midnighter feels like a more successful exploration of that concept is because it embraces what family and domesticity and responsibility and love and acceptance mean in 2015. The Vision might be part of an All-New, All-Different initiative, but the ideal life its characters are chasing is a relic of a different era. That makes the Vision’s world seem more artificial, which I suppose is appropriate, I’m just not sure how engaging I find that.

For a complete list of what we’re reading, head on over to our Pull List page. Whenever possible, buy your comics from your local mom and pop comic bookstore. If you want to rock digital copies, head on over to Comixology and download issues there. There’s no need to pirate, right?

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18 comments on “The Vision 1

  1. I’ll post another, longer comment later really breaking this down, but want to say three things. King is an amazing find, and it says something that, of what I’ve read, Grayson is his worst comic.

    Secondly, I love how narration is being used as a device. The simple truth is that the comic is not about embracing domesticity. It is about observing it. The viewpoint character isn’t any particular character, but the omniscient narrator. Turns the comic into an anthropological experiment. We are outsiders observing, and from how position, can see the beauty, the ugliness and the hypocrisies of the domestic life. And I think what a key part of this comic is going to be is deconstructing suburban bliss.

    Thirdly, I’m pretty sure the point is that the Vision does love his wife. I think, after the atrociously done Vision section of Avengers 0, the Vision has forgotten what love feels like. What he was dreaming about was his wife opening her eyes for the first time, again and again. I think that sense of dread actually is love. He just doesn’t know how to interpret that sense of fear over what could happen to his wife. The key thing to remember about the Visions is is the question ‘Why would anyone make a vase that cannot hold flowers?’

    Later, I’ll do a proper reply, examining things like the importance of the moments where the narration stops and leaves us with the characters, the symbols and 1960s sitcom tropes

    • I totally agree with everything you’re saying here, and I think it can peacefully coexist with my criticisms of the same. One thing that we certainly can’t fault the issue for is being ineffective. It does a very nice job of taking a cold, clinical look at something very mundane and subtly expressing what’s fucked up about it. Part of the reason I have a hard time really enjoying that exploration is that the conclusions — that suburban American family ideals are based on a false set of goals — seems trite. I mention this in the write-up, but we’re talking about Midnighter tomorrow, which I think goes a long way toward expressing a more modern idea of the American dream which will actually resonate in a way that doesn’t force the reader to filter their own experience through the lens of 60s sitcoms. (And let’s go on the 60s sitcoms – loves me some televisions deconstruction, particularly has to how it relates to themes of family, identity and money in America from the 60s to now.)

      • Bigger post coming, but need some time in front of the comic, and have a question for you. Does Midnighter express a more modern idea of domesticity, or a future one? I would argue the latter. Though I teased a mention of 60s sitcoms, that is more because I’m going to bring up one small image that subtlely references. To me, the Vision is entirely modern with the vision of domesticity it is targeting.

        When approaching a topic like this, there are two ways you can do it. Utopian and Revolutionary. For example, let’s talk about gay characters. A Utopian story wouldn’t treat gay characters differently to anyone else. A Utopian story is tolerant, and the characters live a life where gay characters get to have the exact sort of stories as straight characters (Utopian stories and power fantasies go really well together in this regard). Revolutionary stories take into account the problems of reality. Gay characters will have to deal with issues like homophobia, because a Revolutionary story wants to critique how homophobic today is.
        This isn’t a hard and fast line, and a story can be Utopian in some aspects and revolutionary in others. But I think it defines the difference between Midnighter and the Vision. Midnighter wants to promote a Utopian vision of what tomorrow’s domesticity could be. Vision wants to look at today and reveal its flaws. And we need both. We need the vision of hope and the reminder that we don’t live in it today.
        And Vision is certainly about today. Those exact communities exist, and still need to be criticised. The first issue does the basics, but that is the point of a first issue. Next issue, it will get deeper, and deeper again in issue 3. The important thing here is the set up, and Vision 1 proves that it is doing that amazingly.

        So let Midnighter design the future of domesticity. The Vision is making sure we understand what about today needs to be fixed

      • If Vonnegut wrote a modern horror super-hero comic, it might look something like this.

        I can’t compete with y’all trying to come up with metaphors and what the author meant. I don’t really pay for meaning. I paid for the creepiest marvel title this year. I think it was made more effective in that I had no idea this was coming.

        So it goes.

        • Yeah, honestly that’s the most important thing. There are all sorts of mechanical things in the background. But the important thing is just how engrossing the story is. I had high hopes because of Tom King, but this still blew me away.

        • And I appreciate the mechanical things:

          The narration: I found it effective. I’m not sure I agree with anyone’s analysis of it. I think it IS a character involved, quite possibly a later updated version of Vision. I think it’s needed to add the level of creep to the proceedings. I think it needs to be in almost every panel. I almost feel like the breaks in narration are while the narrator turns away.

          The art. I liked Walta in Magneto. His style is simple with an artificial edge, which helps here and actually enhances the story. The Visions are simple with a huge artificial edge. I appreciated the use of shadow, especially at the start of the story.

          The symbolism: I don’t understand most symbolism and consider analyzing fiction looking for it to be akin to finding patterns after 50 spins of a roulette wheel. That said, the use of the vase was even able to be appreciated by me. Why would you make something that looks like a vase/person that is not compatible with flowers/society?

          Which leads to my question: WHAT THE FUCK HAPPENED TO VISION? Wasn’t he super cool super dad for the Young Avengers and now…. this? It only appears that I read every Marvel Comic. WHERE DID THIS COME FROM?

          Quite possibly the best story Marvel has put out in their new non-ReBoot

        • Pretty sure the Vision in the Young Avengers was the original body, but a new, young mind. And that version basically died when the old one returned. Can’t remember exactly how it happened. I think Tony just got around to repairing the Vision.

          Then the old one wiped his mind of all his emotional memories in Avengers 0, which, according to the recap page at the start of the issue, is apparently influencing this story. I hope it isn’t too much of a big part, as I really didn’t like that part of Avengers 0, and am not looking forward to Waid following up on that

          With symbolism, I think your way of describing it is unfair, but what happens when schools do a really bad job at teaching literature analysis, especially symbolism. Basically, it is about the author choosing a specific object because of how that particular object parallels the greater story. The most obvious examples are what I like to call Scott Snyder Symbols (because Snyder loves to find something long and complicated to write a speech about, solely because the topic parallels the story), are things like the vase. But subtler choices, while being harder to find, bring up interesting insights. It isn’t about working out which thing in the comic is actually a symbol. It is about noticing why Virginia kills the Reaper with the same tray that George and Nora brought cookies on, and asking why this choice was made. Still, it is the sort of thing I love to do when reading something like this, and feel free to discuss the comic as you wish. You manage to provide good insights without breaking down the symbols.

          On the art, Walta’s art is great. Artificial edge, but also highly expressive. Really helps get that unnatural feeling this comic has. And the future of the narration is going to be really interesting. Going to love to see how that develops. Though I don’t think I agree with it, I love your idea of the narration stopping because the narrator is turning away. I really want this comic to be a success so that Marvel continues to make comics like this

        • This is my fault, but I have to lay my cards on the table:

          I lied.

          I understand symbolism. I’ve studied literature in multiple classes at multiple universities in multiple countries (well, two countries. That’s multiple). I appreciate those who like to analyze literature that way. I think it’s a fascinating way to see the world and to see art.

          The fact that there are so many people here who have such great insight is one of the two reasons I come to this blog (the other is Drew’s beard).

          I understand it, I just don’t believe most of it for the same reason I don’t believe a LOT of things about art. I don’t see it. For the most part, I can’t. I’m extremely color insensitive and extraordinarily literal when it comes to words and images. A cloud is just a cloud, and most of the time, unless the writer is hitting me in the face with the Vision shaped vase, a story is just a story.

          I enjoy comics because of the stories they tell. I like well constructed stories that amaze and surprise. This comic is an example of that. Analysis of WHY something works is important to me. I recognize even that is very personal, and people who have similar tastes can find huge differences (see: Where Monsters Dwell). But I get very, very leery once we get into artists intent, as that is a grey fuzzy area where a lot of effort can be exerted on ghosts and smoke.

          I’ll never denigrate those that see deeper meaning in stories than I do. Well, other than calling it mumbo-jumbo or hoodoo voodoo or something even sillier. But I do it tongue in cheek, as I think think that if I turn the page diagonal and squint at it just right, maybe, just maybe I might see something there, too. Or maybe the comic just got creased while sitting in my backpack overnight.

          (I promise I’m literate – Really. I just hide it well.)

        • Honestly, I’m of the belief a lot of symbolism works subconsciously. Most of the time, I don’t see symbols as some reward for deeper thinkers but of something that acts subtly that is much harder to find. Scott Snyder giving a speech about how a collider works and the isle of stability in the latest Batman is a symbol, but what makes the symbol useful is how it subconsciously gets us thinking of a certain process, and therefore apply it to the comic. Same with the vase in the Vision, that signposts the important idea. But the other symbols I mention, that aren’t as obvious, still effect us. Seeing the Vision and Virginia sleeping in different beds is symbolic of the clinical approach that the Vision is taking to his goal, and the very act of seeing them in different beds is subconsciously telling us ‘not very intimate’. We recognize that that Virginia kills the Reaper with a cookie tray, and we subconsciously notice what has happened, even as we don’t notice it consciously.

          Of course, many people don’t know how to use symbolism like that, but the best use of symbolism works subconsciously like that, as we subconsciously understand what something means, even if we don’t notice. Though this is just my theory, and may be stupid

        • I’m embarrassed that it took a shout-out to my beard to pull me into this conversation, but here we are. Kaif, I’m 100% with you on being wary of authorial intent to the point that I straight-up don’t care about intent. Analyses is about how a comic worked for me, not about uncovering what the artists meant.

          That said, I’m not sure discussion of symbols necessarily require an interest in intent — if a symbol is effective, my interest is in why and how, not who put it there. In that way, I think we can talk about symbols in comics the same way we do dialogue and facial expressions — they certainly reflect choices made by the creators, but our interest doesn’t have to be in why they made those choices.

          As Matt suggests, symbolism doesn’t always have to knock you over the head. In that case, it seems quite similar to a good piece of body language or pacing; you might not notice it consciously, but it colors the experience of the story. I like to use our discussions to go back and dig into those kinds of details (maybe at the expense of talking about the bigger, more obvious things that have a bigger, more obvious influence on my experience), but always with the focus on how it influenced my experience of the issue.

        • First, Drew, you have nothing to be ashamed of. nothing is more important than the awesomeness of your beard.

          Secondly, yeah, authorial intent is ultimately unimportant. What is important is what is actually there, and what that means. Regardless of what Tom King was intending when he decided to have the Vision and Virginia sleeping in different beds, there is meaning being created by the simple fact. And looking at intent is generally not very useful, because at the end of the day, a piece of art that requires a statement of the artist’s intent alongside it isn’t worth much. Critique should be on how the art works for the viewer, not what the art is intended to do, as Drew wonderfully said. Good old Death of the Author

  2. I’ve got to agree with Patrick’s comment about the narration choice–it almost feels as if King wants to write a novel or prose story, and instead found himself writing copy for a comic book. And don’t get me wrong, his style is very clear and well-written, but I don’t think it lends itself that well to a more visual medium.

    As that oft-cited maxim goes: “Show; don’t tell.” And while Walta’s storytelling is sublime, I don’t think it gets much of a chance to show off when, as Patrick said, his panels are cluttered with narration boxes.

    Which also brings up another good point–why the past tense? It removes me from the immediacy of the narrative and makes me feel less connected to the events taking place. Also, I want to like the Vision family more than I do. Perhaps later issues will do that for me.

    • Present tense narration is weird though. If I have an objection to the past-tense VO here, it’s because it seems to be speaking from a specific, if unspecified, point in the future. Like, it has knowledge of what happens to George and Nora in the future, so it makes it strange that the voice wouldn’t warn us about Virginia getting impaled toward the end.

      ALSO: I once read a Gore Vidal book that was told all in first person present tense called “Duluth.” It was about a post apocalyptic city, called Duluth, and the most popular soap opera in that city (also named Duluth). When characters died in the real world, they sometimes became characters in the show. Also, there were giant centipede aliens that figured into this somehow. IT WAS FUCKED UP BUT I LOVED IT.

      • Haha. Speaking of post-apocalyptic stories with a stylistic quirk, I once read Cormac McCarthy’s The Road, which was infamous for its complete lack of quotation marks for its character’s dialogue. While a little jarring at first, I was surprised to learn how unaffected I was by it after a few dozen pages. Also, good story but sad as heck : (

        Present tense IS a weird beast. And the fact that no warning was given us about Virginia? Doubly weird. Maybe robot lives don’t matter as much to the narrator–which would be Vision!(?) *Cue dramatic music*

      • As much as I’d love to say the tense choice is part of the intentional distancing effect of the narration, I honestly think it is just because present tense is weird.

        And I honestly think treating the narration as if it is part of the diegetic world of the comic is wrong. It isn’t from an unspecified person from the future. If the narrator has an identity, it is Tom King himself. The reason he doesn’t warn us about Viv getting impaled is that he doesn’t want to. Sometimes, King wants to set up a Hitchcock style ticking bomb and set something up to build tension (which is also the reason he doesn’t tell us which Vision burns down George and Nora’s house). Sometimes, he wants to surprise us, so he doesn’t warn us until Viv is impaled. But in the world of the comic, the narrator doesn’t exist.

        And just in case this comment is read but my massive essay isn’t (aka, you have sense), I disagree with the idea that the narration hurts Walta’s visual storytelling. I believe that the narration is telling a differnet story to the art (and dialogue) and both stories are improved by how the stories parallel and contrast with each other (the best example is Nora and George looking back at the Vision’s house nervously afraid that they are being listened to while the narrator foretells their death. Two stories at the same time, working in parallel)

  3. As I threatened, here is my longer comment.

    The most important thing about the Vision is, of course, the use of narration. Seeing a comic with this sort of narration does lead to an easy attack of ‘why not write a novel’, especially considering how many comics have used narration where the art should work. But it is important to see that the narration is often being used to very different purposes to the text. Look at the scene with Vin above. The narration discusses the Vision’s philosophy on why his children must go to school while the art, with minimal dialogue, tells a separate story of Vin feeling alienated. Two separate stories told by the narration and the art, even as they are linked by the concept of the need to find one’s place. This is used throughout. George and Nora (wonderfully left without a surname, because they represent the entire community, not just one family) look back nervously at the Vision’s house after talking about their fear that the Vision can always here them, while the narration foretells their demise. Two separate stories, thematically linked.

    However, that is not the real purpose of the narration. The real purpose is to be our viewpoint character. Which creates this situation where our viewpoint in the story is as an omniscient outsider who doesn’t influence the narrative. We do not connect with them, we observe and study them. We are clinically studying this anthropological experiment in human nature. This is also part of the reason we are told that one of the Visions will set George and Nora’s house on fire. It help distance out perspective from the characters even more, forcing us not to connect to them (it is also a fantastic example of Hitchcock’s ticking time bomb). So, the narration positions the reader as an observer, and treating suburban Virginia as an anthropological experiment.

    Except, this isn’t the true genius of the narration. Because the best parts of the narration are actually the scenes without any narration. There are three scenes of this. The first is the discussion after George and Nora leave. The second is the discussion when Vin and Viv leave for school. And the last is when the Reaper strikes. The commonality of these scenes is that they are all focused on Virginia (love how that makes her Virginia, from Virginia). Which isn’t surprising, as of all the characters, it is clear she is different. Vision is, of course, very robotic. Despite the beauty of his mission, he approaches it with clinical distance, breaking down the perfect word choice in desperate search for what makes people human, unaware that what makes humanity human isn’t how they say ‘They seem nice’ instead of ‘they seem kind’. And Vin and Viv, while showing that they can play etc, do approach many other situations with their father’s detached nature (Viv’s line ‘But father, what else would we be?’ shows the exact sort of lack of understanding of metaphor that the characterizes the Vision’s detachment). Even George and Nora, despite being human, are robotic. THey arrive at the Vision’s house for no reason other than obligation. Because that’s what you do in suburbia. That’s their programming. Virginia doesn’t do that. She questions this programming, and in these rare moments, the narration stops, the comic stops being a clinical observation and instead makes Virginia the viewpoint.

    Although, in truth, the narration doesn’t stop in third time because of Virginia. Because, while the scene ends on her, it doesn’t start on her. It starts with the Grim Reaper. THe Reaper, who bursts in the scene, dressed not in the way that suburban programming dictates but in full supervillain regalia, caring not about how one speaks in suburbia but instead yelling and screaming how the Visions aren’t human, but a bastardization of humanity. So, whenever a character acts against their programming, whether mechanical or social, the narration stops and the comic stops being a clinical outside look. It wants us to deconstruct the artifice of suburbia, but when something genuine happens, it wants us to connect to it. And the Reaper is genuine, just as Virginia is genuine when she kills the Reaper by smashing his head with the tray that George and Nora’s cookies were on, and in doing so, converting what was a symbol of suburban programming (you give the new family cookies because that’s what you do, even if they don’t actually eat) into an expression of actual, genuine humanity.

    The use of symbols like the the cookie tray are another part of what makes the Vision so good, granting so much character with just the right image. Famously, the Addams Family were called the first family on TV you could imagine actually having children, due in part to the fact that they actually had sexuality, while other sitcoms had husband and wife sleeping in different beds. Which is why I love how Vision and Virginia sleep in different beds. Again, their quest is to be human, but sexuality and intimacy is an important part of being human (even asexuals have sexuality as a key element of their lives by virtue of interacting with others, and intimacy is just as important to them as everyone else). The Vision is trying to replicate humanity in the most clinical way, with no intimacy. Is it a wonder that he cannot realize that feeling of dread he feels in the night is because he loves Virginia, and that is why he keeps dreaming of her first waking?

    Of course not, and the rest of the house proves it. Part of what makes the Reaper so human is he embraces the things that the programming of suburbia forbid. The Vision tries to take those things and force them to fit, ending with him taking the gifts of superhero friends, mechanical marvels, historical artifacts and weird curiosities, and treating them like a piano or a potted plant. They do not fit. They are meant to. Not in the strict confines of suburbia. And they will never fit unless he leaves suburbia and rejects the programming of suburbia for true humanity, which, unlike suburbia, is not about constraining social norms about it is about being yourself.

    Because suburbia, like the Vision’s plans for a human life, are like the flying water vases of Zenn-La. Life, humanity can exist in any of those three things. All three will always be empty. And that is Tom King’s question about suburbia. Why would anyone ever make such a vase?

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