Don’t Look Down

Behold, A Vision – Part 2

Originally posted at http://unlifecomic.com/2017/05/09/05092017-naaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaiiiil/

This is a blog post about Virginia. I think.

Last time, we talked about my general opinions about The Vision. I went easy on spoilers. But on reviewing the blog, I realized it was so spoiler-averse that it left out what I took from it. WHY I enjoyed it so much. So, this week, we’ll be taking a closer look at Tom King and Gabriel Hernandez Walta’s The Vision. The TL;DR spoiler free version is “Please read this book. In an attempt to not destroy a mainstay Marvel hero, they may have accidentally made him a weird sexist crazy person”. You’ve been warned.

Though the book is called The Vision, the defining character for me was Virginia. Virginia refers to both the location where the story takes place – the Vision’s home, far from the perils of superheroics – and and his wife, a synthezoid he built based on the brainwaves of his ex-wife, Wanda Maximoff (aka: The Scarlet Witch). Both represent a sense of safety and comfort for Vision. They allow him to be like everyone else. Not just a machine Ultron built, but a real living person.

You may have noticed that I started that paragraph saying we’d be talking about Virginia, and ended up talking about The Vision. See, I’d really like to talk about this person who tried to live. She seemed to desire a normal life even more than Vision; though she was even further removed from humanity than her husband and creator, she tried to keep her family and life intact, even as it turned to dust in her hands, with unmatched tenacity. And she does so out of love, whatever her definition of it is. But my point is, it’s not really “her” definition of love. It’s Vision’s.

Think about that for a second. Virginia loves the Vision, the being who created her. She was made from someone else’s brainwaves, someone else who was the Vision’s lover, but who had her own separate existence as well. Virginia, on the other hand, exists only to be the Vision’s replacement companion. She was never a partner in a relationship. She’s merely a prop in Vision’s drama. She is at the eye of Hurricane Vision, and for a fleeting moment, the winds bring together the facade of a normal life, before dashing it all away again. Forced into the darkness by her husband, both in terms of plot and story structure, the story even implies domestic violence, though it’s never explicit. The one thing that remains clear is that Vision is the creator, the man of the house, and these are his lives to control. His wife and children exist to soothe his own obsessions, his perverted image of what a family is, their own unique experiences diminished and dismissed even as they discover facets of life that he, under his Marvel contract, cannot.

What drives me crazy, above all else, is that I feel Vision is constantly given “permission” to create these masturbatory fantasies for himself. He is GIVEN the brainwaves of the Scarlet Witch to use. He abuses his powers and his influence over his family to keep them with him, all under the guise of “right”. And he is still, somehow, the victim of these insane shenanigans. I know, because the plot told me. But there’s something there, something beneath the surface that feels all too real and harrowing. If Vision has found a semblance of humanity, it is definitely not in the positive sense.

Notable aside: Vision had twin boys with Scarlet Witch (who weren’t real, but creations of the witch’s magic). With Virginia, he has twins, a boy and a girl (who weren’t real, but creations of the Vision’s science). Do with this info as you will.

In the end, all I see is the Vision, unable to deal with the loss of how he defined humanity and emotion, spurning every opportunity to save himself. And the most masturbatory part of all of this is this is just ONE MORE ADVENTURE FOR THE VISION. Next time, he gets to fight a squid from outer space or something. A blip in the grand scheme of the character’s history, while Virginia had but a few fleeting issues to live. Her experiences are, ultimately, defined by this self-aggrandizing world the Vision built, a world that was always destined to fail as these comic adventures always do. And it doesn’t feel fair that that’s all Virginia had. It was disturbing, and upsetting, and mesmerising. It’s the way I felt during Ex Machina, ruminating over whether I witnessed a true reflection of humanity or a darker expression of it (also, if you haven’t seen that, please do because it’s incredible).

I wanted to talk about Virginia. But I can’t, because she’s a fantasy, never truly there.

Merely a vision.

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