Fans who closely watched every frame of the third Avengers: Age of Ultron trailer (and honestly, who out there didn’t watch that thing intently?) likely noticed a fun little surprise in the very final seconds: an almost humanoid face with a pair of wide eyes, staring blankly back at the viewer before the trailer cuts.
Long-time fans of the Avengers instantly recognized those eyes as the ones belonging to the Vision, the heroic android who was created by Roy Thomas and John Buscema in the late 1960s. Vision would go on to become one of the more popular members of the Avengers, with readers connecting to his unique powers of intangibility, his mercurial nature, and his forbidden romance with teammate Scarlet Witch.
Just that one little glimpse of the Vision already has us excited to see how he’s going to be used on the big screen. But to tide everyone over until Avengers: Age of Ultron is released May 1, here are five of the most iconic Vision moments in comic book history.
Honorable Mention: Proxy to Ultron
From: Age of Ultron #3
Brian Michael Bendis and Bryan Hitch’s alternative reality story (but not actually an alternative reality story) Age of Ultron remains a mixed bag for some readers and critics, but one thing that most folks do agree on was how effectively Vision was introduced on the final page of the mini’s third issue. In it, She-Hulk and Luke Cage are attempting to cut a deal with Ultron, who has taken over the world. When they finally reach what they assume is Ultron’s fortress, Vision, his body half torn apart, suddenly appears as a proxy for Ultron. The moment marks a legitimately unexpected shock reveal in this story and created a level of intrigue around Vision that frankly had not been associated with the character for years.
5. The New Vision
From: West Coast Avengers #45
The long-standing union of Vision and Scarlet Witch — one of weirdest but most endearing couples in all of comics — came to an abrupt end in this late 1980s arc from writer/artist John Byrne during his run on West Coast Avengers. The arc actually pays off an earlier story from the Roger Stern-era on Avengers (“Absolute Vision” as featured in Avengers #251-254) in which Vision cracks from the pressure of leading “Earth’s Mightiest Heroes” and in attempt to save the Earth, ends up hacking into a number of important computer systems and nearly destroys the planet. A consortium of governments who feel Vision has not adequately paid for his crimes, abduct the android and disassemble him, effectively killing him. Hank Pym manages to rebuild Vision but warns the other Avengers that any of the emotional connections he forged with them would likely be lost.
Wanda, aka, Scarlet Witch, who is still Vision’s wife at this point (and the mother of their children together), obviously takes this news especially hard. And the scene where a new Vision (all in white, without the green and red color scheme) re-introdues himself to his now ex-wife, is absolutely heartbreaking. The issue also hints that the Vision’s rewiring has someone impacted the existence of his and Wanda’s children, which would set off Scarlet Witch’s very protracted downward spiral
4. Vision Betrays his “Father”
From: Avengers #57
There has always been something just a little bit different and special about the Vision dating back to his very first appearance. The character was introduced to the world by Roy Thomas and John Buscema as the creation of the sociopathic robot Ultron (who was only introduced himself a few issues earlier). However, Vision proves to be more than just your average mindless android when he turns on his “father” and refuses to attack the Avengers, instead using his powers of intangibility to defeat Ultron (and setting off a long chain of Oedipal analogies in Ultron storylines for years to come).
Thomas and Buscema would deliver an even better surprise regarding Vision’s inherent loyalty for the Avengers (more on that in a second), but in terms of first appearances go, betraying the lead villain who invented you and then defeating him utilizing your own unique powerset is pretty darn cool.
3. Journey to the Center of the Android
From: Avengers #93
In the midst of Roy Thomas’s cosmic masterpiece, the “Kree/Skrull War,” we get an incredibly fun and memorable issue that starts with Vision busting into Avengers Mansion and collapsing, prompting Captain America, Iron Man and Thor to solicit the services of Henry Pym to repair the android. Pym shrinks down as Ant-Man and proceeds to repair Vision from inside the synthezoid’s body, fighting his “immune system” like some kind of pulp scifi movie (hence, the very appropriate title, “Journey to the Center of the Android”).
The great Neal Adams provides the stunning artwork on this wild adventure, which ends with Vision regaining his composure and explaining how the Skrulls had kidnapped Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver. It’s also notable as one of the all-time great Hank Pym as Ant-Man stories before he fully gave way to being Yellowjacket.
2. Forbidden Kiss
From: Avengers #91
Marvel had been teasing the idea that Vision and Scarlet Witch had developed romantic feelings for each other for a number of issues leading up to this moment in Avengers #91, which is wrought with sexual tension and gut-wrenchingly rendered by Sal Buscema. The duo are being held hostage by Ronan the Accuser and the Sentry, who plan on “de-evolving” the human race in a bid for the Kree race to take over Earth. With the fate of the planet hanging in the balance, Vision and Scarlet Witch realize that all they truly care about is the other’s safety. They lean in for an impassioned kiss only for Vision to recoil in terror at the last second, screaming that it would be wrong of them to engage in any kind of romantic relationship.
Vision and Scarlet Witch would inevitably succumb to their desires, but their romance didn’t come without resistance. In addition to some of their teammates thinking that the pairing was odd, Scarlet Witch’s brother Quicksilver was especially horrified by the prospects of their love. But the way Roy Thomas/Buscema go about plotting and pacing this scene, from the lean-in, to Vision’s reaction, it’s hard not to root for these two crazy kids/androids to overcome the odds.
1. Even an Android Can Cry
From: Avengers #580comments
One issue after they officially introduced the Vision, Roy Thomas and John Buscema crafted one of the greatest twist endings in Avengers history, demonstrating the full complexities and uniqueness of their brand new character. Leading up to this iconic moment, Vision had just endured a series of tests from the Avengers in order to earn a spot on the time. Vision passes all the trials, performing with unemotional precision. It’s not until after he learns that he’s a part of the team that he asks his new mates if he could be excused. The reader sees Vision (in a beautifully rendered full-page spread from Buscema) wiping a single tear from his face — a tear of joy.
To have a character that was introduced as a cold, detached android demonstrate such sincere, human emotion set the stage for what turned out ot be a wild and crazy comic book career for Vision. It’s no wonder the character has become such a cult favorite and that the mere image of his eyes opening in the final second of a movie trailer could generate so much buzz from his fanbase.