Casual Comics Primer – Who is the Vision?

For those casual comic fans out there, I thought I’d start a series of posts with the basics on some characters that are about to get a lot more exposure.

With the explosion of Marvel in the media, there have got to be a few people wondering, “who the heck is Iron Fist and why is he getting a Netflix series?” If that’s you… sorry, you’ll have to wait for a future post. Because I’m starting with one half of my favorite comics couple in history. The Vision.

Ever since they announced that The Vision will be in Avengers 2: Age of Ultron, I’ve been super-pumped. And, I’ve been planning to explain why for a while now.

I’ve been awaiting my muse on this post for months. Now, thanks to Capital Comics in Reynoldsburg, Ohio, inspiration has struck.

Over the holidays, I bought the definitive tome on all these characters. I’m speaking, of course, of The Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe. At half price, the 12-issue series only cost me $10.

Marvel U 1

And, as you can see, my favorite synthozoid is even on the cover of issue #12.

Marvel U 2

So, let’s start there. I’m about to crack the seal on this set and we’ll take a trip down memory lane, rediscovering these characters again through the lens of the official Marvel canon, as published in 1983 by the mighty House of Ideas.

Since he appears on the cover of #12, let’s go ahead and start with The Vision.

Here’s his mug shot from the issue:


Well – first off, let me apologize to my main man. According to the title of his section, he’s not “The Vision”, he’s simply “Vision”. Perhaps Mister Vision, if you’re nasty.

Let’s get the hardcore details out of the way first. According to the book, here are his relevant details of his biography:

Real Name: Vision

So, not “The Vision”. Sorry again, pal.

Occupation: Adventurer

I wasn’t aware that was an option when I picked a major, but I wish I had known.

Identity: Publicly known

Legal Status: Unknown

Apparently synthozoid rights hadn’t been hammered out in 1983. If I recall it correctly, the government deactivated Vision and/or held him prisoner at some point. I hope they decided on his civil rights at that time.

Former Aliases: Human Torch, Jim Hammond

Human Torch, yes. Jim Hammond? No idea…

Place of Creation: Brooklyn, NY

Marital Status: Married

Base of Operations: Leonia, NJ

First Appearance: (as Human Torch I) Fantastic Four Annual #4, (as Vision) Avengers #57

But when was the first appearance of Jim Hammond. Dang you, Marvel. I know I can probably look it up on the internet, but what were readers in 1983 supposed to do?

OK – I just looked it up. Apparently, Jim Hammond was the original Human Torch’s secret identity. But, I think he was a robot, too. I don’t know what’s going on here. All casual fans can feel free to disregard Jim Hammond – it’s only going to make your head hurt.

This is how the Jim Hammond investigation made me feel.

How to Identify Vision – a Spotter’s Guide

With that out of the way, let me fill you in on Vision. He’s easily identifiable because of these unique characteristics.

If you’re looking at a guy with a red face, a green head, and a yellow corset, chances are you’ve found Vision.

The-Vision (1)
Also, he cries a lot more than a robot should. He’s got a fully synthetic body. What’s leaking from his eyes?

He also has a diamond on his head that we’ll discuss in a second when we talk about his powers.

And, don’t forget the black and soulless eyes that some artists put sparklies in.

Is Vision a robot or a human?

Well, he’s a synthozoid. In one of the Vision and Scarlet Witch mini-series, he is described as having a human mind in a fully synthetic body – including the brain. But he’s gone back and forth between being more robotic vs. fully human.

It’s important to know where he’s at on the human/robot spectrum. Mainly because the robot Vision is way more likely to go on a rampage, get taken over by other evil A.I.s, or become a massive destructive jerk for a wide variety of reasons.

There’s one key to knowing whether he’s more human or robot at any given time. Look at the speech bubbles. They are drawn blockier when he’s more of a robot.

Robot Vision

They’re drawn normally when he’s more of a human.

vsw human
Human Vision… driving a station wagon for some reason.

Just remember the saying (that I just made up)…Round and white, he’s alright. Square and yellow means a robot fellow.

What are Vision’s powers?

The main one is that he can alter his body’s density. When he’s less dense, he can fly and walk through walls.

When he’s more dense, he can absorb huge blows and deal massive damage. The one unique thing you’ll see from Vision is that he can make his limbs less dense, phase them into another being, and become slightly more dense, causing massive amount of pain.

Vision Phase
Sure looks like it hurts.

Through his head diamond, he can also shoot solar beams at his enemies.

Solar Beam

He also has eye lasers, but that seems pretty repetitive with the solar head beam.

Lastly, he’s married to the Scarlet Witch. That may not be a “super power”, but if a synthozoid can convince Wanda to marry him, it’s still notable.

The rest of the team seems pretty impressed with this power.

So, in a nutshell, that’s Vision. If you want to know more about him, you should check out the Vision and Scarlet Witch mini-series.

I’ll be back soon with another primer – this time for The Scarlet Witch. (I sure hope it’s “The Scarlet Witch” and not just “Scarlet Witch”).

Until then, here’s wishing you peace, love, and great comics.


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