Wednesday, August 31, 2011
4-sided cosmic romance, Act V: Origins and Avengers
ACT FIVE: Origins and journeys outside time! Original Vision
The Swordsman is dead...soon to be buried. The woman he loved, martial arts mistress Mantis, questions her decisions, regretfully, and asks to take his body to Viet Nam for burial. The Avengers, Earth’s Mightiest Heroes, kindly, supportively join her. While the Scarlet Witch needs to stay and study with her mentor, Thor asks her love, the synthezoid known as the Vision---to her dismay; “no, Vision, please don’t go with that man-trap---no matter HOW sorry she seems!” she thinks. He declines; three times now, including their recent battle with Kang the Conqueror, he has frozen in battle and is “no longer a credit to the Avengers.” On this account, however, Iron Man and the rest insist he is wrong. Thor points out Wanda will be sequestered; he will be alone. In solidarity with his team mates, he reluctantly agrees, without realizing his love Wanda’s fears.
The Swordsman’s funeral is held in the gardens of the Priests of Pama, whose story still mysteriously ties to that of Mantis. In fact, Vision alludes to this, asking if she has any returning memories that compel her there---a sensitive subject, as she suspects her memories as an urchin in Viet Nam---her life---may be a shadow planted by an outside force...that her knowledge of things in the temple and more suggests she is someone entirely else.
On this peaceful occasion, unspoken are the thoughts of Hawkeye, who first became an archer with the Swordsman’s training. “We were two of a kind...but somehow, I got the breaks, and you didn’t...I gave you grief, and now I hope you know I'm sorry.” Mantis laments, chanting, infused with memories of both good times and bad. Then she asks Thor, as a god, to say a few reverential words, for the man “they will miss more than they knew.” Writer Englehart says it simply, and well: “(h)e was a born loser from start to finish, but he did his best...in the end, what more can be asked?”
The adventure that continues here begins a new phase, as told across AVENGERS #131-135 and the next Giant Sized edition, which will reveal the secret history of the Kree and Skrull empires---how the Skrulls first came to offer technology to a primitive people with an intriguing contest---and the true nature of Mantis, who is indeed central to the plans of the peaceful Priests. Her friendship with the Vision also plays a further act.
The Vision’s story will follow a parallel path, through the secrets of his own construction---and the reason behind his mysterious freeze-ups will tell him how he came to be, in a depth unexplored before, threading back to the first Marvel Comics superhero, the original Human Torch. He will see how exactly he was created by the nihilistic robot Ultron-5...and the story of the four-way romance will resolve with a most human decision.
(The study of that story will help me and my friend Ed Pettis put together a nice pitch at next summer's Comic Con---and maybe we'll share that, someday!)
More later, okay?
The Vision discovers the true nature of his identity, in AVENGERS #58. But it didn't end there!