In the first issue of Tom King’s The Vision, the story keeps circling back to a levitating water vase in Vision’s living room. A gift from the Silver Surfer, the vase of Zenn-La is forever empty. And poisonous. Super fucking poisonous. It’s curious, King’s fixation on this vase. Why does it matter that it is always empty? Why does it matter that it’s poisonous? And, more perplexingly, why does it matter that the Visions’ neighbor Nora dies with its emptiness on her mind?
For some, the symbolism present in the vase’s inclusion in the story may point to King’s pessimism. Glass half-empty, if you will. However, it’s more likely that, through the vase, King is communicating Vision’s belief that neither he nor his family will ever be fully human. This belief is challenged in the final pages of the 12-issue run when Vision’s wife, Virginia, drinks the poisonous water and collapses in Vision’s arms. This suggests that through their experiences and their struggles, the Visions become more human as the story progresses, making the danger of that damn vase too close, too real.
King creates a conversation within the story, a dialogue between happiness and heartache that’s as human as it is harrowing. King argues that our humanity is both tragic and triumphant, and his story reflects that argument.
It’s these musings on life and on Vision’s connection to life that make King’s run a masterwork of unbelievable depth and wisdom. Many of Marvel’s most inspired efforts don’t even approach The Vision in quality or impact; King’s dramatic, traumatic series makes good on its promises and leaves readers with an ache that will outlast their memories of the exact reasons they’re hurting at all.
The Vision is life encapsulated, pain through the eyes of beings who believe fitting in is the answer to their heartache. Watching the Visions navigate the messiness of life and emotion isn’t gratifying. It’s painful. Incredibly so. However, that’s why it leaves such an impression.
It’s incredibly refreshing to experience the work of a comic writer who confronts human hardship and says, unafraid, “I get you.” He validates the human condition by portraying it in a way that’s unflinching in its honesty and unabashed in its delivery. In a way, King allows us to accept our humanity and feel at peace with it, which isn’t something many writers can do.
Then you have Gabriel Walta, an absurdly skilled artist who effortlessly captures the full range of emotion these characters experience. He’s got that shit on lock, and it shows. Words can’t do his work justice, so that’s the last you’ll hear of that. Don’t want to look like idiots who don’t know what they’re talking about……
Oops. Too late.