Every Sunday morning we showcase a classic comic cover, complete with compelling pop culture commentary, for your cordial contemplation. It’s the Classic Comic Cover Corner!
Avengers #135 – May, 1975
Cover art by Jim Starlin and John Romita
Have you seen the Avengers: Age of Ultron movie yet? If not, what are you waiting for? There is some vague spoilery discussion herein, so you might want to head to the theater before continuing this week’s CCCC. I don’t think I’m going to ruin anything for you, but nevertheless, consider yourself warned.
One of the coolest characters in the new film is the Vision, and director Joss Whedon has done a marvelous job of mashing up decades worth of Utron and Vision storylines to deliver an origin that is fresh, timely and respectful to old school sensibilities.
In a world of twisted comic book tales, the Vision’s background is about as convoluted as they come and difficult for even the geekiest among us to keep straight. (Even as I write this I’m sure that I’ll be corrected in my forthcoming summarization of the hero’s birth.)
Try to follow along: There was actually a Vision character created by Joe Simon and Jack Kirby way back in Marvel Mystery Comics #13 (November, 1940), but even though some may recognize that book as the first appearance of the character, it’s in name only and has nothing to do with the iconic character we know from the comics of the sixties and seventies.
As for the Avengers’ Vision, Hank Pym, of Ant-Man/Giant-Man/Goliath/Yellowjacket fame, originally created Ultron (not Tony Stark as seen in the movie), but was then hypnotized to forgot that he had done so. Ultron forces Professor Phineas T. Horton, the creator of the original (WWII era) Human Torch android (Jim Hammond) to convert the Torch’s dead body into the Vision, so that he can use it to attack Pym and the Avengers.
But the newly created Vision has the leftover heroic memories of Hammond, so his brain is re-booted and then uploaded with the brain patterns (or operating system) of a former Avenger, Simon Williams (Wonder Man). Somewhere in the mix of all this is a second duplicate Human Torch android body (a brother, as it were, of the Vision) that was created by a character called Immortus. But that is a story for another day.
Without going into the minutia of the Whedon’s Vision vision, let’s just say that he’s scrubbed a lot of the confusing parts and ran with an updated and much more satisfying origin, creating one of the most incredible characters in the Marvel cinematic universe.
A lot of what I’ve explained above is told in flashbacks in the pages of Avengers #135, in a Steve Englehart story titled, “The Torch is Passed.” But legend has it that Marvel editor/writer, Roy Thomas (the creator of the Vision), actually had the impetus of the idea to use the Human Torch angle long before Englehart delivered on the premise.
So in effect, Hank Pym indirectly fathered the Vision; or he could be considered the Vision’s grandfather, or co-grandfather, along with Human Torch creator, Professor Horton. The question I have is this: Why is Hank Pym still not a part of the Avengers in the MCU?
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