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Check Out: "The Vision" - a brilliant story of family, belonging and being the other.

Philip K. Dick famously asked "do robots dream of electric sheep?", and Tom King asks, do robots have a vision of family? Although it is a comic book story with comic book characters that include the Avengers, this story doesn't slot into a genre, and yet easily sits alongside other sci-fi stories that investigate our humanity through the lens of our mechanical brethren (Asimov's Bicentennial Man comes to mind).

No previous comic book knowledge is needed (though it does help you manage when some of the crazier history comes up - A robot and a witch were married and had twins?!). Also, other than Vision, the other family members are new characters for this story, and the author provides enough exposition to clarify the other characters when needed. The tale of Vision, Virginia, Viv and Vin is one that will live in your thoughts long after finishing it. The Avenger who, by his own account, has saved the world thirty-seven times struggles with his work life balance, understanding his kids and being a good husband. The art is as thought provoking as much as the words - Vin asking Viv, "Am I normal" as they both lift off the ground to fly home. And the little touches - the levitating mailbox, Viv's intangible foot in the vandal's head. The collection won the Eisner award (comic book version of the Hugo or the Oscar) in 2017 and deservedly so. This excerpt from the foreword does an excellent job of how I felt after reading the book:

"At first, The Vision seems like a story about how impossible it is for a machine to be human. Only pain can come of it - pain and bloodshed. But at some point, it becomes a story of how impossible it is for any of us to be human. What is life? Pain and bloodshed and going through the motions. Hoping for connection, wanting to fit in. Protecting the people who are ours. Praying for them, even if we're not sure there's anyone listening. Not sure if we have a soul to save."


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