Disclaimer: This post has spoilers for the recent Vision solo series, won’t make much sense if you haven’t read said series, and gives away the ending. If you haven’t read it, you should get on that. Now onto the 2 A.M. meta…
Tom King and Gabriel Hernandez Walta’s Vision series is about a lot of things. It’s about the constraints of Suburbia, the pain of being Other in that environment, and the sacrifices of parents to make that life for their children. But it’s also about repeating the past, and by extension, it’s a metacommentary on being stuck in the superhero loop. There are plenty of stories about what it means to be a superhero in the archetypal sense, what it means to be a superhero in the broader culture, but Vision stays closer to home, to what it means to be a superhero in cyclical Big Two comic books.
There is a saying about superheroes, that they always return to the status quo. This means Steve Rogers can be a werewolf one month and then go back to being just Captain America the next, his fundamental nature unchanged. It also means characters tend to repeat the same kind of stories. No matter how far they go, they can’t escape their origin stories. King shines a different light on this truism of superhero comics by framing it as a form of repetition compulsion. He turns it into a coping mechanism for Vision’s unprocessed trauma. Vision returns to an old story, but something feels sinister about it this time.
Vision starts with its title character having recreated a very specific scenario: that of Vision & the Scarlet Witch volume 2. That of a wife and two kids in East Coast Suburbia. This is the site of Vision’s trauma, both as a person and a character. The story goes like this: Vision and Wanda had two kids. They lived in Suburban New Jersey. Everyone was very happy. Except for Marvel writer John Byrne who hated Vision, so he deconstructed Vision, literally and figuratively, and got rid of the kids. Then Vision’s original creator Roy Thomas showed up to do damage control, but it was Too Little Too Late. Then Vision got stuck in a loop of “idk, maybe this?” where writers weren’t sure what to do with him so they made him a detective or killed him off or had him be weirdly self-confident for no reason. He was still technically the same character – even Byrne’s all-encompassing deconstruction couldn’t fight the power of the status quo – but he was never really the same.
So why go back to the situation that created all that trauma and inadvertently caused Times He Was a Detective? Well, because people are weird, and no matter what Quicksilver thinks, Vision is a person.
It would be easy to say Vision just wants to go back to the point where he was happiest, but there is something darker underlying the decision to create a new family with a new Wanda and new twins: Vision wants to reshape the origin of his trauma into something he can control, and by controlling it, prove his power over said trauma. This is repetition compulsion. It’s an attempt to find safety and power in the very place that made him feel unsafe and powerless, but like I said the last time I talked in depth about this book, “healing doesn’t come from returning to a poisoned well and repeating the past will only hurt you more.”
And all of this does hurt Vision more. It goes horribly wrong. His old life comes barging in in the form of Simon Williams’ brother Eric and the end result is disaster. The attempts to cover up that disaster by Vision’s wife Virginia only make things worse and worse. She and Vision are both invested in maintaining a facade of normality and happiness, and the decisions they make in order to do that cause their problems to metastasize. There are a lot of messages and lessons you can take from Vision, but I think this is the best one: Trying to cover up or deny your problems only makes them grow. They become more and more unruly, requiring more and more effort to keep them hidden, until they finally explode.
Deal with your shit or it will deal with you. Mafia style.
Throughout the history of the Mets, the team has had many players with unforgettable nicknames. Here are some of the best ones in team history:
Tom Seaver - “Tom Terrific”
The perfect nickname for the best pitcher in the history of the franchise.
Rusty Staub - “Le Grande Orange”
Rusty got this nickname when he began his career with the Montreal Expos, hence the French. It refers to his orange hair and it stuck when he got traded to the Mets.
Lee Mazzilli - “The Italian Stallion”
The Brooklyn-born Mazzilli was a fan favorite and shared the nickname with fictional boxer Rocky Balboa.
Darryl Strawberry - “Straw”
Simple but unforgettable. Darryl even wrote a memoir in 2009 titled, Straw: Finding My Way.
William Hayward Wilson - “Mookie”
You know it’s a good nickname when nobody knows you by your real first name.
Keith Hernandez - ”Mex”
Keith’s teammates gave him this nickname thinking the California-born Hernandez was of Mexican decent. In reality his father’s ancestry is actually Spanish but the name stuck anyway.
Dwight Gooden - “Dr. K”
Gooden led MLB in strikeouts his first two seasons, which led to the nickname Dr. K (a play off of Julius Erving’s Dr. J) which was eventually shortened to Doc.
Gary Carter - “Kid”
Nicknamed Kid for his youthful exuberance. He always played hard and had fun, like a kid. Carter was one of only four captains in the history of the Mets.
Edgardo Alfonzo - “Fonzie”
Ayyy! Like the TV character Arthur Fonzarelli, Edgardo got his nickname as a shortened version of his last name.
David Wright - “Captain America”
2013 was in impressive year for David Wright. Not only was he named captain of the Mets, he earned the Captain America nickname after his impressive 10 RBI performance for Team USA in the World Baseball Classic.
Matt Harvey - “The Dark Knight”
During his stellar 2013 season Sports Illustrated dubbed Harvey The Dark Knight of Gotham. The rest is history.
Noah Syndergaaard - “Thor”
Syndergaard looks a lot like the comicbook character, Thor. On Halloween 2013, Syndergaard posted a picture of himself working out in a full Thor costume and thus the legend was born.