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 by 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 Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
Inbound References (19): show
Bob Hall's first Marvel art was in FOOM#13(along with Larry Mahlstedt and Bob Downs).
Posted by: Mark Drummond | March 4, 2013 6:37 PM
In those Army duds, Hercules looks a bit like Shatterfist
Posted by: Erik Robbins | October 9, 2013 12:10 PM
Thanos had 2 ships, right? Sanctuary 1 and 2? It seems like after the original Thanos saga 2 gets all the stories - was Sanctuary 1 ever referenced again?
Posted by: S | April 20, 2014 11:29 PM
I really liked these issues. They were my first introduction to Dane, who would be one of my favorite characters. Also, the use of Wonder Man seemed to be exactly what Stern had envisioned in setting up WCA in the first place. I also love Cap's reaction to the state of Hercules' costume.
Posted by: Erik Beck | May 24, 2015 9:14 AM
I know in posts on Byrne's issues of Avengers West Coast that there's debate about whether the Vision's personality was stored/backed-up within ISAAC. In Avengers #254, the Vision comments that the link with ISAAC somehow expanded his memory capacity. Given that the new memory capacity apparently wasn't physically installed into his synthetic body, it suggests that the Vision's increased memory capacity is a remote one. in modern terms, I guess we could say the Vision's personality was essentially wirelessly uploaded to ISAAC's Cloud.
Posted by: Aaron Malchow | August 23, 2015 2:25 AM
@Aaron- but that's not how the comic treats it. The climax of Avengers 254 involves returning the Vision's personality from Earth's computer to his body.
Posted by: Michael | August 23, 2015 8:58 AM
Michael, I agree that the story shows his personality being retrieved from the Earth computer systems, but after his personality is restored to his body, his link with ISAAC is apparently terminated. The implication of the link being terminated is that he no longer has the knowledge on how to access Earth's computer systems nor duplicate Starfox's pleasure power (The Vision could only build the devices that helped him do those things through his link to ISAAC).
As noted previously, in Avengers #254, the Vision notes the benefit of his link with ISAAC in expanding his memory capacity. Specifically, the Vision says "My link with ISAAC not only helped my body find the way to repair itself -- -- it lent me a greatly expanded memory capacity." In Avengers #238, while we see ISAAC construct a machine for analysis of the Vision, we do not see any hardware upgrade to the Vision when the link is established, so the implication is the increased memory capacity is a remote link to ISAAC, which suggests that some aspect of the Vision's intelligence is stored withinthe increased memory storage inside ISAAC itself. And note that the Vision says he has been lent this memory capacity, strongly suggesting that it does not reside within his body.
The link with ISAAC seems to be different than the effort to place the Vision's personality in control of Earth's computer systems. In these issues, the link with ISAAC is depicted more like telepathy, while the effort to control the Earth's computer systems is portrayed more like astral projection.
The only question is how much of the Vision's personality is stored within ISAAC's increased memory capacity and what version of the Vision's personality is saved there. Your answer might be that none of his personality is there. Mine might be that some or a copy of it is, much like a copy of a program can reside on several computers at once. Without more details from the story, reasonable people can disagree on that outcome. But the implication of the Vision's explanation is that the increased memory capacity is not inside his body, which allows for an interpretation that his personality could also be stored elsewhere.
I'm not sure I like that interpretation myself, as it makes the Vision somewhat more mechanical than I viewed him before he was disassembled in Avengers West Coast by Byrne. But I can see why Byrne thought it was logical.
Posted by: Aaron Malchow | August 23, 2015 10:17 AM
I don't think it's a REASONABLE interpretation. Starfox- who should know how ISAAC works- says that if they remove the Vision from the gizmo, he'll be lost to us forever. That doesn't make sense if they can just download another copy of his personality from ISAAC.
Posted by: Michael | August 23, 2015 11:53 AM
Michael, in Avengers #254, Starfox says that the Vision may be lost, which suggests Starfox is uncertain. And Starfox has been completely unaware of any link between the Vision and ISAAC until this issue, implying that Starfox does not know everything about ISAAC's capabilities.
In Avengers #238, the Vision claims that the link between ISAAC and him had overloaded his brain, causing him to become one with ISAAC (as well as the Avengers's computer systems), which sounds like more than just a telepathic/communication link. It sounds like an issue of sharing computer data storage.
And in Avengers #243, we get an explanation of the connection between the Vision and ISAAC, from ISAAC itself, who claims the there is a "hyperspatial tap" between it and the Vision through ISAAC's transmission systems -- which the Vision was initially unaware of -- that allows the Vision to access ISAAC's data. And more importantly, this tap allows ISAAC to access the Vision's data, as ISAAC notes! The Vision says that this explains his increased memory capacity. At that point in time, ISAAC potentially has a copy of the Vision's personality stored in its memory.
And since the Vision claims Avengers #238 that his brain could not handle that memory capacity, that implies that specific memory capacity is elsewhere, outside of the Vision. And when the Vision learns that he is still linked with ISAAC, in Avengers #243, that fact helps the Vision understand where the increased memory capacity came from. Those points can't be in dispute, which opens up the possibility that a copy the Vision's persona (data?) resides in a ISAAC's memory capacity.
Posted by: Aaron Malchow | August 23, 2015 6:59 PM
For the record, I looked it up because nerd: It would take Captain Marvel about 4 hours traveling at the speed of light to get to Pluto, if I read it correctly. You're welcome?
Posted by: Jeff | March 11, 2016 12:15 AM
@Jeff - Thank goodness I'm not the only one!
Posted by: Benway | March 12, 2016 8:27 PM
My guess is that what's left of Thanos' boobytrap from within ISAAC merged with the then-damaged Control Crystal within Vision and that's what caused the world-domination scheme (ISAAC's normal duties/programming on Titan being changed/warped into a standard "take over the world" plan based on elements from both Thanos and Ultron).
Posted by: D09 | May 2, 2016 10:36 PM
Stern's run on Avengers is what really got me into the shared aspect of the MU. Within a year of buying my first Avengers issue, 252, I had acquired all of Stern's run. The funny thing is, I didn't have a clue, as to who was creating the comics.
Posted by: Yogi deadhead | June 14, 2016 5:16 PM
That is Jupiter actually, a miscolored Jupiter but Jupiter, all the same.
You could say its Neptune which also has a massive cyclone, and is blue, but it doesnt have any of the distinctive banding.
So it's either a miscolored Jupiter or Neptune.
Posted by: Snowkatt | August 28, 2016 3:07 AM
It is a miscolored Jupiter as the box text states its Jupiter.
Posted by: Chris | August 28, 2016 4:53 PM
Outside of Vision, these issues are significant in that it leads to the Black Knight becoming a significant member of the Avengers for the first time. Prior to this run, the Black Knight would show up unannounced and help the Avengers from time to time, and when he became an official member was never on the team's roster. Now he would be on the team for the next three years under Stern and others, and then return under Bob Harras.
Posted by: Chris | January 28, 2017 12:54 PM
Given the fact that both are good friends, I wonder what Stern thought of what Byrne did with The Vision in WCA, as this story led to Byrne's
Posted by: Jay Gallardo | May 16, 2018 5:04 AM
To nerd out a bit more regarding Captain Marvel, it'd take her four hours from our perspective as stationary observers here on Earth. But since she's traveling at light speed, she's experiencing 100% time dilation. So from her perspective, the trip to Pluto is instantaneous.
Posted by: Haywerth | July 6, 2018 6:26 PM
Comments are now closed.
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