Friday, 30 March 2012

Avengers #24.1 review

Longstanding Avengers powerhouse the Vision was ripped in two by teammate She-Hulk, while she was under the influence of his mad missus, the Scarlet Witch. Now he's back, repaired by Iron Man, and understandably confused. Why would Wanda, his beloved wife, do this? Iron Man has no answers.

He seeks out She-Hulk and she's thrilled to see he's back, ready to accept any beating he cares to give her. But that's not why he's there, and the pair, each haunted by the horror of that day years ago, make their peace.

Vision travels to the X-Men's isle of Utopia, thinking he might find Wanda there, with her father, Magneto, and get some answers from her. But she's not there. There follows a tense confrontation with the Master of Magnetism, with the Vison and Magneto nearly killing one another. The Vision returns to Avengers Mansion, where Captain America advises him to look to the future, because trying to understand the past won't give him peace.

And there you have it, a pretty decent focus on the Vision. The best scene is his meeting with She-Hulk, in which the emotions - guilt, shame, joy, confusion - are palpable. Mind, the Vision does have a great moment with Magneto (click on image to enlarge).
I really could have lived without Spider-Woman and Hawkeye slobbering over one another like randy teens in Avengers Mansion garden, though. Especially as it sets up the stupidest moment of the issue, as Spider-Woman asks Hawkeye who 'Wanda' is - the heroines knew each other for years! And seeing the notoriously formal Vision remark: 'I have a ways to go' made me cringe. Was Iron Man rat-arsed when he put Vision's brainwaves back together? Yeah, that has to be it, give me a No-Prize, Marvel. But seriously, associate editor Lauren Sankovitch and editor Tom Brevoort should not let this kind of thing through, it makes writer Brian Michael Bendis look sloppy, and them appear to be asleep at the wheel.

As I say, though, this isn't a bad issue. Bendis's story makes some kind of sense, while artist Brandon Peterson translates his narrative onto the page with precision. The Vision looks as imposing as a ghostly 'synthezoid' should, and the other characters are nicely on model. Sadly, the issue's money shot splash - Vision phasing into Magneto to grab his black heart - is wrecked, as random special effects obscure our view of the event. You don't have to use all the crayons in the packet, chaps.

And speaking of colouring, there seems to be a production problem; all the White characters are a sickly, sunburnt pink. Otherwise, Sonia Oback's tones work well in print.

Overall, this comic functions as a character piece, showing us how thoroughly confusing coming back from the dead must be. It's the sort of story we should have seen a lot more of down the years, and Bendis sells it. As a .1 issue, though, it's a bit dubious. The .1's are meant to serve as an introduction to a series and gently lead new or returning readers into the next big storyline. Well, this does set things up for Avengers vs X-Men, with Vision a proper cat among the pigeons on Utopia, and rounds out his reaction to Wanda in this week's Avengers vs X-Men #0. But as a nice clean entry point to the world of the Avengers, it's ropey to say the least, mired in a decade's worth of continuity.

Then again, how many of the '1s actually have served the advertised purpose? Maybe I should just be glad of a more than half-decent Vision story?

6 comments:

  1. Bendis also has Vision saying "okay," so he still has his problem writibg characters in different voices. Which is too bad, as it distracted from an otherwise good story...

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  2. Ha, I nearly mentioned that too. It reminded me of that time Wanda decided to talk like a hip American, but at least that was deliberate.

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  3. Im pleased to finally see the Vision back ;eight years of that Young Avengers robot that fancied Cassie was too much for me, so its refreshing to see the original classic synthezoid back. His dialogue on the other hand confuses and annoys in equal measure; I prefer my Vision to be more cold and Spock-like robotic with the odd flash of human anger, here Bendis's words resonate tired old 80's sitcom flavour-flavs and take all the threat out of the action. His showdown-not-a throwdown with Magneto for me served no purpose except maybe to prepare us for the AvX mini-series; I understand Mags' protective veneer over his daughter but Vision's reason for wanting to see her - to forgive her for what she did or to tell her he wanted nothing more ot do with her, it was unclear, very contrived and clunky. Less said and sooner mentioned about the 'fight sequence' the better. I do wish he would actually try to take care of what characters say in relation to their characteristics. And speaking of, lets have a go on the Scarlet Bitch, er Witch, who despite looking completely wrong [she has ringlets, not straight hair, and she must be around thirty, not a teenager, and her costume is too bikini-fitting] gives a fairly decent account of herself here, a good application of her powers and sustained action skills remind us of the serious young woman who made the first 250 or so issues of the Avengers such fun to read. But Bendis missteps [again!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!] by this new rewrite that excuses her mental breakdown on Doctor Doom during Dissasembled. I thought Wanda was well-written in the last issues of Childrens Crusade but I still feel she shouldnt escape justice by this turgid rewrite. And how odd were Spider-woman and Carol written, but then this is Bendis hes writing a superhero sitcom.
    'Powers' has a lot to answer for.

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    1. I'm with you on how the Vision should speak Karl. As for Wanda getting excuses for her breakdown, I'm all for it - the explanation in Disassembled never sat well with me. Wanda had been mad for years? Really? Nah, if Hal Jordoan's mass murders can be explained away, toss Wanda's actions to one side too. She deserved better than what Bendis did to her in Disassembled. I'll give him some credit for putting some great toys back in the box now he's ending his run.

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  4. I agree with the wretched way Wanda's breakdown/madness was handled in Dissasembled...badly, very badly. I mean, one throwaway comment from Jan about children that could easily have been dismissed and suddenly Wanda is killing Miss Harkness and conjuring attack fleets and Ultrons out of nowhere. It just seemed like such an absurd way to turn a character we'd grown up with crazy, all for the sake of a storyline, and it didnt ring true for me.
    But then, I dont agree with blaming Doom for it, either; iirc he was in Hell during the FF's 'Authoritative Action' tale. Anyhoo its a lame excuse for a plot reboot, even if the original premise was poorly executed in the first place. On a side note, Marvel does like to turn its female heroes insane on occasion, maybe cause on some level they prefer to write for male characters.

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    1. You're right about Marvel making its characters bad girls, Karl. The success of Dark Phoenix begat Dark Rogue, Malice and more. And if it wasn't good girls turning bad, it was all-out bad girls such as Elektra.

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