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By Thomas Wheeler

The Vision is a character in the Marvel Universe with a long and storied history, one not easily explained in the few sentences on the character's package card. So I'm going to largely ignore that and work from what I know of the character's history.

The Vision was first introduced fairly early in the Avengers history, as the android construct of an evil robot named Ultron, who himself was the unfortunate creation of the Avenger known as Dr. Hank Pym. Ultron planned to use the powerful android to destroy the Avengers. The Vision had the ability to alter his own molecular density, to become anything from almost totally immaterial and ghostlike, to so molecularly dense that anything this side of Thor's hammer would've had trouble putting a dent in him. He could also fire a beam of intense solar energy from the jewel on his forehead.

Ultimately, the Vision rebelled against his master, Ultron, and joined the Avengers. And eventually, the Vision's origin would come out -- or so it was thought.

It was originally believed that the Vision was the android formerly known as the original Human Torch. No relation to the member of the Fantastic Four, this Torch fought alongside Captain America and Namor the Sub- Mariner during World War II, as part of a team called the Invaders. Apparently rendered inoperative after the war, it was thought that Ultron recovered the android, reprogrammed him with new powers, and to give him the semblance of a personal identity, programmed him with the human engrams and memories of a deceased hero named Wonder Man, who had also been turned against the Avengers some time earlier.

Years later, however, the original Human Torch returned, briefly joining the Avengers before taking on the human identity of Jim Hammond and basically going into semi-retirement, although he has helped out a few super-teams since. So where did The Vision come from? It turned out that the Vision, better defined as a "synthezoid" than an android, was built by Ultron out of spare parts, originally designed during the construction of the original Human Torch.

To complicate matters along the way, Wonder Man had also returned. So the Vision found himself in the position of having another man's memories in a body that was built from spare parts. Self-esteem problems, anyone?

The Vision was not devoid of emotion, even though it was said that he spoke with an eerie and hollow voice. He married fellow Avenger Scarlet Witch, and the two seemed happy for many years, until a top secret project actually disassembled the Vision. He was reconstructed, but he seemed devoid of his former emotion.

I'll be honest here and comment that I don't really know much of what happened after that. The Avengers' titles and stories got increasingly convoluted, and frankly, I lost interest. But I decided to resume reading in the aftermath of the ridiculous "Heroes Reborn" storyline, and it seemed that by then, The Vision was back to his normal self -- or whatever passed for it.

Recently, the Vision was apparently destroyed during the "Avengers Disassembled" storyline, although there have been whispers around the Marvel Universe of something called "The Vision Project". And the Vision has always been hard to keep down for long.

I've always liked the Vision. A misfit even among a team of very diverse heroes, he had a good look to him -- an eerie red face in a yellow and green costume, itself an unusual color scheme for a hero in the Marvel Universe, and was always just one of those mysterious characters that you couldn't help but like.

Figures of The Vision have been few and far between. One of my favorite Famous Covers figures is of The Vision. When it was announced that The Vision would be part of Marvel Legends Series VII, I rejoiced.

Until it turned out that this particular series of Marvel Legends would turn out to be almost as scarce as unbiased reporting in the network news media.

Fortunately, Wal-Mart arranged for a re-release of certain select, hard- to-find Marvel Legends characters, and that included most of Series VII
-- including The Vision. And I was fortunate enough to find him one early morning while doing some grocery shopping.

The figure is truly excellent. 36 points of articulation, a nice cape, good paintwork to the uniform, just really overall an excellent entry in the Marvel Legends line, and long overdue. He doesn't come with a lot of accessories, but then he doesn't really need them. He has that articulated transparent base-and-pole that they include with certain flying heroes (Angel came with one of these, too), so he can be displayed as if he is flying. The Vision comes complete with a reprint of AVENGERS #135, which if the cover is any indication has an unpleasant encounter between the Vision and Ultron.

I should mention that there was a "chase" version of the Vision out there. I don't know if it's among the re-releases. It's a colored- transparent version, meant to represent the character in his immaterial form. I saw it once in a collectors' shop, and it's very cool, but I wasn't prepared to pay the price for it. However, if it's out there, and you find it at a standard retail price, I would certainly recommend it!

And I recommend the "standard" Vision, too! It's a very cool figure, and certainly a notable character within the Marvel Universe. The MARVEL LEGENDS VISION is a superb addition to the collection, and an excellent action figure in its own right. If you're lucky enough to find one, grab him!