Issue(s): Avengers #252, Avengers #253, Avengers #254
This is a story that has been building since the Vision's body was disabled and his mind was put in contact with ISAAC, the artificial intelligence that runs the moon of Titan that Starfox and Thanos come from. The Vision has been trying to take over things less direct means, by establishing a West Coast division of the Avengers and, here, trying to set up a midwestern branch run by Doc Samson (Samson declines the offer)...
...as well as lobbying for a cabinet level position, but he's also been developing the means to take over the Earth's computer systems the way ISAAC controls Titan. When his and the Scarlet Witch's suburban home is burned by anti-mutant bigots..
...the Vision decides to go with the more direct method. In order to do so, he needs to send the other Avengers away, so he invents semi-fake missions for his teammates. For most of the Avengers, sending them as far away as Arizona, where the US Army is uncovering the remains of an old Thanos base, is far enough, but for Captain Marvel, who can travel at the speed of light, the Vision picks Thanos' old spaceship, Sanctuary II, which is "parked" beyond Pluto (4.9 billion miles away!).
Neither mission is a complete fake, and it turns out they are related (it's also interesting that both missions are Thanos related, which might be related to working with ISAAC or might just be due to Roger Stern's Jim Starlin influence). The Avengers don't really want the US Army getting their hands on Thanos' technology, and the signal emanating from Sanctuary II is actually a teleportation beacon triggered by Army scientists that bring the Blood Brothers back to Earth.
Hercules' costume is damaged in the fight with the Blood Brothers.
The army fashions him a temporary outfit.
Vision even gives Jarvis the day off, but the one thing he doesn't count on is the return of the Black Knight, so poor Dane is captured upon his arrival at the mansion.
While taking over the world's computer networks, the Vision encounters Quasimodo, who's been stuck in the Soviet Union's computer systems since he was expelled from ROM's body (ROM is never mentioned in this story even though Quasimodo references the circumstances).
As the Vision fights Quasimodo, his powers increase and he's soon able to expel Quasimodo into space.
Meanwhile, the Avengers pick up a signal from Hawkeye, who was actually trying to contact Iron Man for a regular meeting. But the Vision had told the Avengers that he had to send them to Arizona because the West Coast team was off on another mission, which wasn't true, so now the teams realize something is up.
Wonder Man has a new costume. It's a much more traditional super-hero outfit than his red safari outfit, and it's one that will have a lot of staying power.
When the Avengers arrive home, they're confronted by holograms of other Avengers professing support for the Vision's world take-over and, when that doesn't work, they're each confronted with a hologram of the Vision tailored to best influence the person he's talking to.
From the Vision's point of view, he's heroically giving up his body in order to grant world peace to humanity. Of course, no one else sees it that way, including the Avengers. There's a number of flaws in his plan, many of which are pointed out to the Vision by Captain America. Unlike on Titan, there was no world computer network in 1985 - the internet was in a fledgling state, and its predecessors like ARPANET were mainly focused on military applications. So the Vision could prevent nuclear missiles from launching, but he couldn't control the flow of basic information, people's bank accounts, traffic lights, etc. If the Vision had attempted his world take-over today, he'd find a lot more to work with. Additionally, there are bomber planes and nuclear submarines capable of launching nuclear attacks independent of any computer networks, and the Vision's takeover might have exacerbated tensions and actually triggered an attack. Honestly, when you really think about it, you have to wonder what it was, exactly, that the Vision hoped to accomplish. Luckily, the Avengers are able to talk him down.
In order to make up for the fact that there really isn't a big end battle, it requires pretty much all the Avengers' powers to reverse the transfer of the Vision's consciousness from his body to the computer networks.
With that finished, the Vision then reaches into his own head and pulls out the Control Crystal, put there by Ultron, that he now claims was damaged and forcing him to act this way. Note the change in the Vision's dialogue bubbles once the crystal is removed.
It's a little bit of a cop-out to say it was all due to the damaged crystal but while the Vision's motivations were good, his reasoning was clearly flawed so i guess it makes sense. I also feel like ISAAC, who was the Vision's accomplice in all of these, gets away without so much as a scolding from Starfox. There will be more than a scolding for the Vision and the Avengers soon, however, since the Pentagon was able to trace the source of their computer problems back to the Avengers Mansion.
Editor Mark Gruenwald will explore the "super-hero tries to take over the world in order to make it safer" theme more thoroughly in the Squadron Supreme mini-series.
Meanwhile, 4.9 billion miles is a long journey even at lightspeed, so Captain Marvel never makes it to Sanctuary II during this arc. I'm actually not sure how she, or any super-hero with space flight capability but a regular human brain is able to navigate space without the aid of a computer. I mean, i guess you can see which direction our sun is, but how do you know which way to fly in order to reach Pluto or beyond. Look up in the sky at night. Which way to Pluto? Judging by the art, Captain Marvel seems to have gotten lost, because i don't know of any part of our solar system that looks like this.
Interesting stuff for the Vision that really plays up the artificial intelligence angle in a way that past stories have deliberately sought to downplay. I do feel like it wraps up a little too neatly, but it's a minor complaint. In general, as it has been throughout Stern's run, the characterization is great and while the plots and villains are interesting and well chosen (it's cool that Stern even thought to use Quasimodo while the Vision was invading the Soviet network), it's really the character interactions that elevate the series.
Bob Hall's art is decent but not awesome. Good clear storytelling, good designs for Wonder Man's costume and the Vision alternates, and a nice House style.
The MCP gives Immortus a "behind-the-scenes" appearance for these issues due to retcons in later stories.
Quality Rating: B+
Chronological Placement Considerations: N/A
Continuity Implant? N
Reprinted In: N/A
Inbound References (11): show
Bob Hall's first Marvel art was in FOOM#13(along with Larry Mahlstedt and Bob Downs).
In those Army duds, Hercules looks a bit like Shatterfist
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