Three Cows, Androids, and Autotune.
The Kree-Skrull War was a milestone in comics storytelling, and the foundation of many of the things that Marvel is currently doing in Film and Television. Fact.
Neal Adams originally wanted the story to be titled “Three Cows Shot Me Down!” The story opens with the Vision, a super powered android, stumbling into Avengers Mansion. He’s severely damaged after a skirmish with three cows…who happen to be Skrulls in disguise. When the Kree-Skrull saga was collected in trade paperback, Adams was able to use his original title on the new cover. The “Kree-Skrull War” is notable for its cosmic scope of interstellar warfare, enormous cast of characters, use of metaphor and allegory (for instance, to Joseph McCarthy and HUAC), and the introduction of the Vision-Scarlet Witch romance, which became an ongoing theme for the characters (and by default the Avengers) for years to come.
Pretty big deal, that.
The robot Ultron is the creator of the Vision, a type of android he calls a “synthezoid”, for use against Ultron’s own creator, Dr. Hank Pym and Pym’s wife, Janet van Dyne (the Wasp) of the superhero team the Avengers. Ultron sends his new servant to lead the Avengers into a trap. The Wasp is the first to encounter the synthezoid, and describes it as a “vision” while trying to escape. Adopting the name, the Vision is convinced by the Avengers to turn against Ultron. After learning how Ultron created him, using the brain patterns of then-deceased Simon Williams (Wonder Man), the Vision becomes a member of the team.
And, after becoming a member of the team, is later defeated by three cows. No joke…lets look:
See? The story is generally regarded as a huge milestone in comics. Writer Thomas admits he had no “master plan” in writing the “Kree-Skrull War,” other than that the two “rapacious, galaxy-spanning races … would be at war in the far reaches of space, and that their conflict would be threatening to spill over onto the Earth, turning our planet into the cosmic equivalent of some Pacific island during World War II.” In 2000, almost thirty years after the “Kree-Skrull War”‘s original publication, Marvel produced a trade paperback collection of the entire story arc.
The relationship between the Vision and the Scarlet Witch also has its roots here in Kree Skrull War. Scarlet Witch eventually becomes an epic level crazy lady who commits genocide with her insane power levels…but is ultimately forgiven because she’s an Avenger. Seriously, there is not hyperbole there, it’s just straight up fact, which is one of the less great narrative points of the last, say…decade of Marvel books. It’s also why in panel two of today’s art, our hero wants her nowhere near the Fortress of Togetherness.
I had a lot of choices to illustrate her huge craziness, but went with this art, below. Partially because Jack Kirby drew it, and partially because i know there will be more in depth discussion of her crazy-town ways in a later post. She is, after all, going to be in the second Avengers film.
This post was, however, prompted by the Vision’s conspicuous absence from the trailer for Avengers: Age of Ultron. According to the internet, “The character will be portrayed by Paul Bettany in the 2015 film Avengers: Age of Ultron.” That Bettany guy is the voice of Jarvis, Tony Stark’s computer system. Granted, the Vision isn’t exactly A-list, and is defeated by cows…but you think he would have made the cut.
Incidentally, today’s art was done solely in pencils, and digitized…hence the sketchier quality. I wanted the cows to look comical, cartoony, and like how that came out, but feel that the musical notes on the Vision’s autotune speech balloons get a bit lost. It wasn’t terrible, but I felt like I wanted clearer notes.
Incidentally, the Vision would have to be set to autotune. It would make him awesome. Check out Presdient Obama autotuned here.
Next Issue: Starfire!