Imagine having the planet’s most notorious mutant terrorist as your father-in-law. In the final issue of Bill Mantlo and Rick Leonardi’s epic four-part Vision & Scarlet Witch (Vol 1), Magneto, Wanda and Pietro (Quicksilver) learned that they were actually related (though Marvel severed that parental link in the recent AXIS crossover event).
While the Vision’s role here was confined to that of a protective husband, the event added new emotions into his brain patterns, which also helped with his marriage to Wanda.
Later, Steve Englehart, Richard Howell and Jim Mooney’s Vision & Scarlet Witch (Vol 2) 12-parter explored the possibility of the couple having a baby.
With the aid of Wanda’s hex magic, they were gifted with twin sons, William and Thomas Maximoff.
Dr Strange helped with the delivery, while Magneto and Wonder Man were the security detail, warding off supervillain gatecrashers!
Ignoring the campiness of this plot, what’s noteworthy is that “newborns” were a rarity in the Marvel Universe then and the twins’ presence teased a next generation of heroes.
Unfortunately, the couple’s joy as parents was short-lived no thanks to John Byrne, who pulled off a dramatic swerve in West Coast Avengers #51 and #52 by revealing that the Maximoff twins were actually formed from missing shards of Mephisto’s soul (a plot thread from Byrne’s Fantastic Four stint). The startling revelation permanently scarred Wanda’s psyche, accelerated the couple’s separation, and robbed the Avengers mythos of one of its happiest moments.
Avengers #254 (writer: Roger Stern; artist: Bob Hall) set off the boldest move the Vision has ever made, as he attempted to dominate the world through electronic means. In an almost Ultron-esque move, the Vision addressed the theme of saving the world from itself by taking over every nation’s computers, and his teammates had to convince him that his actions were wrong. The damage was quickly nullified, but it came at the expense of the team’s relationship with the world’s powers-that-be and a lot of bruised political egos.
Later, in John Byrne’s Vision Quest story in the pages of West Coast Avengers #42-#45, rogue government agents (under Immortus’ influence) captured and dismantled the android. Although the Avengers eventually recovered the Vision’s parts, the reconstruction process left him a pale shadow of his former self – literally, in terms of the new chalk-white complexion, and also with significant loss off his distinctive brain patterns!
Compounding matters further, Wonder Man was reluctant to share his brain patterns again, which irked Wanda so much that she dropped tons of boulders on him.
The highlight of Vision Quest was a two-page spread by Byrne that practically dissected the synthezoid in great detail. Hopefully the upcoming movie will pay tribute to this milestone moment.
Post-Vision Quest, the Vision’s career was in limbo and the person to revive his fortunes was none other than that master of character building, Geoff Johns, who wrote Vision #1-#4 with artist Ivan Reis in 2004.
A semi-amnesiac Vision seeks help from the granddaughter of his (indirect) creator, Professor Phineas T. Horton (who created the Human Torch), to repair him as well as stop a mysterious foe.
Despite Johns’ mastery of characterisation, he (surprisingly) avoided tinkering with the android’s past, but rather started afresh, making this standalone tale a very good jumping-on point for new readers. The crowd-puller here has to be Brian Haberlin’s computer-generated covers, which certainly set the mood for the tale.
After decades of getting over Wanda and recovering from near-fatal injuries, the Vision became a member of Hank Pym’s Avengers A.I. (in the 2013 title of the same name).
Though hopes of him reuniting with Wanda look slim, especially after their confrontation in Avengers Vs X-Men #0, the legacy of their tragic relationship lives on in Wiccan and Speed, super-powered teenagers reincarnated from the Maximoff twins!
In the recently-relaunched Uncanny Avengers, having found out that Wanda and Pietro are not related to Magneto after all, the twins head to Counter-Earth to learn the truth. A new Unity Squad is assembled, with Vision as a member, which should make for some interesting and potential fiery squad dynamics when Scarlet Witch rejoins too!
With the Age Of Ultron movie set to shine the spotlight on the Vision, and the upcoming Secret Wars comic event certain to shake things up in the Marvel Universe, it doesn’t take a psychic vision for us to guess that we’ll definitely be seeing a lot more of the synthezoid in the future.