Friday, December 20, 2019

What Immortus Has Joined Together...

In 1989, the once-thriving marriage of the Scarlet Witch and the Vision began to fall apart, starting with a shocking sight which no wife in the real world has likely had to witness involving their husband:

In the Vision's case, what Wanda has discovered is his disassembly, part of an operation undertaken and accomplished by a worldwide coalition of nations which took steps to deal with the Vision as a security risk following his infiltration and control of every computing system on Earth as part of a misguided attempt to save humanity from itself.

Given that Brock's team also released a computer tapeworm that expunged all programs dealing with the Vision from the Avengers' computers as well as any computer system they interfaced with, Brock had no objection to releasing the Vision to the Avengers' custody, since his team had effectively nullified the Vision's threat even if he were rebuilt.

Naturally, it was Henry Pym's priority to do just that, which leads to shocking sight #2:

To provide the Vision with a familiarity with his past, his memory banks were reprogrammed with all pertinent data concerning the Avengers, and with Wanda in particular. Yet while the Vision knows the Avengers are his friends--and Wanda, his wife--his perceptions are altered, in that he has all the information that can be supplied on these people but no emotional connection to that information. Full restoration would depend on the addition of Wonder Man's brain patterns, something Wonder Man takes a great deal of time to agree to; but when he finally gives his consent to the Vision, the Vision declines to accept the procedure, contending that it would only create a copy of the former version of himself.* In the same breath, the Vision makes another startling announcement: his wish to relocate to the east coast Avengers branch, in order to better balance the two teams.

*Well, yes, that's the idea, isn't it? What sort of an objection is that? (But more on that thought in a moment.)

At that point, for all intents and purposes, the marriage is left in shambles. And with the separation, Wanda gradually comes to accept that what she and the Vision once had is gone forever, and consequently resolves to build a new life for herself.

Cut to 1998 (our time, shortly after Vol. 3 of The Avengers has been launched), where the Vision is recovering from injuries sustained in the Avengers' battle with sorceress Morgan le Fay and is limited to communication and movement by holographic projection while his body undergoes repair. As Wanda pays a courtesy call to him, it seems the air hasn't quite been cleared on the dissolution of their marriage.

As we've more recently seen, however, Wanda has noticed curious signs of the Vision interacting with her on a more personal level. And now, when she and Simon Williams have declared their love for each other, the Vision's body--whether coincidentally or not--revives at long last and is discharged from Dr. Pym's care.

Obviously Wonder Man isn't feeling the awkwardness of the situation, perhaps convinced that the status of Wanda's relationship with the Vision has long since been settled. And hasn't it? Wanda isn't so sure, as she tries to make sure the Vision harbors no ill feelings here--only to suspect that one who should have no emotional concerns to speak of may instead be hiding them.

Saved by the alarm klaxon, as a mission to investigate the Thunderbolts pushes this conversation to the back burner for the time being.

Later, when the two teams settle their differences and are in transit to meet the common foe, Wanda finally confronts her former husband and learns that his cold behavior since being reassembled, including his emotional detachment, has all been a lie--a deception on his part to spare her further pain and give her a chance at a more fulfilling life for herself. (Which helps to explain why he turned down Simon's offer--but completely sidesteps the fact that Brock and his team eradicated all traces of the Vision's personality, including his emotions. But who am I to throw a damper on this tragic scene.)

Which is followed up by a later scene which appears to put the issue to rest and has Wanda coming to terms with all that's happened.

I know I breathed a sigh of relief at seeing the door closed on this nearly eleven-year plot, and perhaps you can say the same--though Roy Thomas is probably pleased at all the mileage his original idea from 1971 received. How curious it was to see the films kick-start it again; I haven't yet seen "Endgame" to find out how it ties things up between the Vision and Wanda (assuming it covers them to any extent). Where the comics are concerned, however, do chime in on whether there was any further development on this subject--I dare say the Vision might perk up at the possibility, in spite of his apparent wishes on the matter.


Big Murr said...

I always thought, and still think, the disassembly and rebuilding of the Vision was the writing of mouth-breathing buffoons (mostly named "Byrne"). I can only borrow the phrase "Just because you can do something, doesn't mean you should" In this case, just because the Vision is artificial doesn't mean he should be spread across a table like a jigsaw puzzle for cheap pulp writing thrills.

I especially didn't like that one of the most powerful Avengers was abducted off-panel without any more fuss than thugs might have kidnapping a puppy. If I recall correctly, when the Avengers went looking, there wasn't even evidence of a massive struggle to start the investigation.

I guess I've enjoyed very few of these character reboots when a personal favourite is swapped for a stranger. (for example, I had zero interest in reading the "Adventures of Eric Masterson" when I wanted to read about Thor.)

So, fume and fury aside, any soap opera aftershocks resulting from the disassembly of the Vision only irritate or bore me.

Comicsfan said...

The Vision looking like he's little more than pieces/parts certainly comes into conflict with Henry Pym's original exam of him when the Avengers first encountered him, Murray: "According to my examination, he's every inch a human being--except that all his bodily organs are constructed of synthetic materials!" Since we don't see any bodily organs lying around, our lab boys here either put them in storage (now there's a gruesome thought), disposed of them, or never discovered them in the disassembly. As you note, Byrne may have just been going for shock value in reducing the Vision to his bare components (along with his *gulp* skin); the one who might *really* be shocked, though, is Pym, when he realizes he might have to reassemble the Vision without a synthetic heart, liver, spleen, lungs, or, for that matter, a brain.