Monstrosity, Uncanny Replication, and Family Values in Tom King’s and Gabriel Hernandez Walta’s The Vision

    • Lucca November 2017
    • Presentation speakers
      • Tiffany Hong, Department of Languages, Linguistics, & Literatures, Nazarbayev University, Astana, Kazakhstan


    Tom King and Gabriel Hernandez Walta’s 2016 twelve-issue limited series The Vision situates the Avenger’s legendary synthezoid and his family in the suburbs of Arlington, Virginia. The dissonance between this sinisterly mundane setting and the increasing fragmentation of his synthezoid children and wife – who instinctively and defensively murders a human attacker in the first issue – serves as the unsettling tempo of a graphic narrative that interrogates the representation of humanity as only sequential art can. The Vision’s patriarch and Frankenstein figure – simultaneously doctor and creature – attempts to replicate his failed family with the Scarlet Witch, fashioning a wife and children who are nascent beings, reliant on him and their suburban environment for signals as to how to properly perform humanity. The comic – with its ordered rectangular frames (a variation on King’s signature nine-panel grid) corresponding to the Visions’ robotic, unnatural(ly) perfect diction and cadences – confronts the reader with humanity as affect, as imitation and manifestation. The Visions – particularly the geographically constrained (and named) housewife Virginia – struggle to assert their ontological imperative, their right to exist and in turn engender existence, in a community where unfamiliarity rapidly escalates to fear and hatred. The comic postulates a number of pairings in which the ‘copy’ must wrestle with the spectre of inferiority, and the fate of merely tracing out an impoverished trajectory of the predecessor’s life, in Vision/Ultron, Ultron/Victor Mancha (Ultron’s other, humanoid son), and Virginia/Scarlet Witch. The comic makes manifest the literary convention of foils through this literalized mirroring in a study of predestination, free will, and the cost of breaking from our creators. Their son Viv even identifies himself with Shylock in The Merchant of Venice, the writer and penciller establishing parallels between this robotic other and similarly marginalized (and visually distinct) ethnicities.