Tag Archives: Gabriel Hernandez Walta

Today’s Super Comic — The Vision #12 (2016)

vision-12Among what I’ve read, The Vision is the best comic book series of 2016, and it absolutely sticks the landing in its final issue, #12.

Similar to what he did with Omega Men, writer Tom King creates a complete story over the course of 12 issues. You can read from #1 through #12 and feel totally satisfied (though he does leave room for sequels). Then you can reread and admire the details and careful thought that went into the plotting and characters, who all come alive with greater depth than the typical comic affords. The main difference between the two series, however, is that Vision makes ample use of previous continuity to enrich the story…and it manages to do so without ever becoming inaccessible.

The series marks a true evolution for its protagonist, both in terms of the character himself (itself?) and the dramatic possibilities of his artificial existence.

At its core, it’s a series about the Vision wanting more in life. While things certainly don’t go as planned, the Avengers’ artificial member has never looked more like a three-dimensional human being…albeit an incredibly odd one.

Read it all from #1.

Writer: Tom King

Artist: Gabriel Hernandez Walta

Cover: Michael Del Mundo

Publisher: Marvel Comics

How to Read It: recent back issues; Comixology; included in The Vision vol. 2: Little Better Than a Beast (TPB)

Appropriate For: ages 14 and up

Today’s Super Comic — The Vision #6 (2016)

vision-6Lots of good books added to Marvel Unlimited this week, and here’s another.

The Vision keeps getting creepier and more compelling with each issue. In your standard superhero book, you know the good guys will ultimately prevail—it’s just a question of how and after what sequence of setbacks. But there’s no good vs. evil here, and the series can go in any number of directions.

Artist Gabriel Hernandez Walta nails the two-page splash panel in #6, and it’s a perfect moment to go big. Not because of quantity of content—it consists of just a few key components—but because of the importance of the moment. And writer Tom King makes a dramatically satisfying move by fast-forwarding a bit immediately after that panel, leaving the reader with various puzzle pieces to assemble as we try to figure out what happened. Ambiguity serves the book well.

How far will an artificial man go to preserve his artificial family? The answer’s not clear, and the uncertainty is a treat.

Writer: Tom King

Artist: Gabriel Hernandez Walta

Publisher: Marvel Comics

How to Read It: recent back issues; Marvel Unlimited; Comixology; included in The Vision vol. 1: Little Worse Than a Man (TPB)

Appropriate For: ages 14 and up

Today’s Super Comic — Magneto #1 (2014)

magneto-1If there’s ever been a comic book villain who could carry his own series, it’s Magneto—and he recently did, for 21 issues. I’ve only read the first 12, but after re-reading #1, I realize I need to rectify that.

Magneto works as a character because he believes he’s in the right, and due to his tragic backstory, you can understand where he’s coming from even while disagreeing with his actions and rooting for the X-Men to stop him.

No X-Men appear in this issue (although technically Magneto is an X-Man these days). Writer Cullen Bunn and artist Gabriel Hernandez Walta reintroduce us to a stripped-down version of Magneto, a man who knows what it’s like to possess tremendous power and resources but currently has little of either. Here, he seeks to avenge the murder of innocent mutants in his typically unheroic way, but he learns there’s more going on than he initially suspected. And the stage is set for the first storyline, and I want to keep reading.

A truly distinct X-Men spinoff.

Writer: Cullen Bunn

Penciler: Gabriel Hernandez Walta

Publisher: Marvel Comics

How to Read It: back issues; Marvel Unlimited; Comixology; included in Magneto vol. 1: Infamous (TPB)

Appropriate For: ages 15 and up

Today’s Super Comic — The Vision #5 (2016)

vision-5Never underestimate the importance of a story being told in exactly the correct medium. And The Vision, a series that takes the Avengers’ longtime android member and turns him into the patriarch of his own android family, can only be properly told as a comic book.

Sequential comic book art can most effectively convey how eerie and alien this family is, and the excellent artwork of Gabriel Hernandez Walta does just that. The Visions appear cold and stiff, almost wooden, but still very much alive. In a live-action movie, the characters might look silly or cartoonish, whereas in comic book art they exist on the same plane as the rest their environment. No need to add or polish them during post-production.

Animation? Maybe, but animation wouldn’t be able to match writer Tom King’s effective use of caption narration. Issue #5 juxtaposes an officer interrogating Vision and a list of the 37 times the Vision has saved the world—something that would be extraordinarily difficult to pull off on the screen or in a novel.

This comic is something different and special, and I’m looking forward to seeing where it goes.

Writer: Tom King

Artist: Gabriel Hernandez Walta

Publisher: Marvel Comics

How to Read It: recent back issues; Marvel Unlimited; Comixology; included in The Vision vol. 1: Little Worse Than a Man (TPB)

Appropriate For: ages 14 and up

Today’s Super Comic — The Vision #4 (2016)

The-Vision-4-coverMany Avengers are capable of carrying their own series, but Vision never struck me as a strong candidate for a solo outing. A cold, emotionally detached android works much better in supporting roles.

An entire family of androids, however…

It feels obvious once you see it, but the Vision has always been a family man. Naturally, a Vision comic should focus on family…and a highly unsettling family at that.

Vision is just trying to live a normal life in an Arlington suburb, with his wife Virginia and teenage kids Vin and Viv. He created all three himself, of course, which is already far from normal. An old enemy’s visit in #1 causes Virginia to go all Walter White, and the consequences continue to compound in #4. (I’m half-expecting her to proclaim, “Everything I did, I did for this family!”)

Writer Tom King has achieved an impressive feat with this series so far (based on what’s available on Marvel Unlimited). This is hardly even a superhero book. It’s almost a horror book with androids, but it also features heart and humor. The kids perform a fun twist on Charlie Brown’s football woes at the beginning of The Vision #4, and Viv’s interaction with a classmate shows the humanity beneath the artificial exterior. But then that ending…will not be spoiled here.

Okay, I’m sold on a Vision series. Not a solo superhero book, but Vision as the head of an unusual household? Yes, that apparently works.

Writer: Tom King

Artist: Gabriel Hernandez Walta

Publisher: Marvel Comics

How to Read It: recent back issues; Marvel Unlimited; Comixology; included in Vision vol. 1: Little Worse Than a Man (TPB)

Appropriate For: ages 14 and up