This week, Vision awakes after a reboot to find that Tony Stark may or may not rule the whole world.
After Vision proved himself an ally in the fight against Ultron, Tony has taken it upon himself to repair him, since he seems to be pro-Avengers and pro-humanity. Vision’s reconstruction puts him in a state of statis (“sleep mode”) for exactly 30 days. When he wakes up, he finds the lab all but abandoned, and not even JARVIS will answer him. He vocally reboots JARVIS, asking him what happened. JARVIS gives a detailed rundown of the last 30 days: Tony built a satellite that ran most of the world on a kind of clean energy, and then used the Avengers, along with a line of drone-powered Iron Men to take out conflict all over the world. The UN turned complete power over to him, as both a diplomatic and peace-keeping ruler. The entire world is basically run from Stark Tower, which is encased in a kind of purple energy. Each of the Avengers is an ambassador on Tony’s behalf in another country: Jan is in Asia, T’Challa in Africa, Hank in South America, Carol in Europe, and so on. While trying to uncover what’s happening, Vision is attacked by Captain America.
Vision knows that something must be amiss, for this all to have happened in 30 days without resistance, and asks Cap what’s changed while he’s been gone. He forces Cap to remember the things he said back during their own battles- that Cap would never live in a world controlled by machines, like the one he lives in now. (It’s nice to see one of Cap’s inspirational speeches put to expositional use.) Suddenly, something seems to change in Cap’s attitude and he snaps out of his aggression against Vision. (I didn’t notice Cap’s eyes change color upon first viewing.) He, too, realizes that something is terribly wrong with the seemingly perfect world they live in. On a security monitor, Tony watches them, wondering why Cap doesn’t finish Vision off. In the corner of the room, there is an unfamilair, sinister voice. He commands Tony to send Ms. Marvel and Hawkeye after them, as well as some of the Iron Men drones. Out of the shadows steps Zebidiah Killgrave, otherwise known to Marvel fans as Purple Man.
If you don’t know Purple Man’s MO, he basically has the power of extreme mind control, and he’s also an excellent manipulator. He’s using Tony as a puppet for world domination. So it’s up to Vision and Cap to snap the rest of the Avengers out of his control. They have to do this while fighting off a brainwashed Hawkeye and Ms. Marvel, as well as Thor, who has become Tony’s personal bodyguard. Cap breaks Hawkeye free my reminding him that Clint Barton would never blindly take orders from anyone, and never has. Vision subdues Carol using that neat little laser on his head. Vision is tasked with distracting Thor while Cap and the rest go to rescue Tony. Tony and Cap showdown, and Cap tries to remind Tony of who he is and what he wanted to accomplish, revealing that the Purple Man has been controlling him the whole time. Tony phases in and out of Purple Man’s control. Finally, the rest of the team arrives and takes Purple Man out and order (?) is restored to the universe.
Tony, naturally, feels a little down about not being about to be broken from mind control as easily as the others. “Everything Purple Man needed to control me was already inside me.” he tells Cap. Tony reiterates what he’s been saying from day one: he wants to use his technology to help people, not dominate and destroy. Just another pile of baggage for the Futurist, unfortunately.
some stray thoughts:
- A pretty, if not ridiculously, straightforward episode. Using Purple Man, despite his silly uncool name, was a neat idea, but this story almost could have been better served by a multiple episode arc, to see how this affected the heroes that aren’t in the Avengers, as well as the rest of the world.
- Maybe I missed a villain speech, but I wasn’t quite sure what Purple Man was… actually getting at. Did he turn Tony into a controlling despot? Because at the outset, it kinda seemed like he used Tony to solve world peace. Of course, as episodes of “The Twilight Zone” and “Star Trek” have taught us is that underneath every utopia is a creepy byproduct. We just never got that far.
- Man, Thor reduced to Tony’s bodyguard. There’s something about that that’s distinctly humiliating.
- Vision is a cool member of the team, I’m finding. It’s a shame they introduced him so late in the game.
- The smallest Avenger is controlling the largest plot of land. Did Jan rule Asia with a tiny iron fist?
Did you miss an episode? Check out our recap of last week’s ‘Yellowjacket‘.