Four Letter Nerd

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4LN Unboxes the April 1 Up “Action” Box!

Hey! What’s up nerd friends! We’re back with another unboxing! This time we’re cracking open the newest 1Up box and checking out awesome stuff from Guardians of the Galaxy, Pirates of the Caribbean, Avengers, and Avatar the Last Airbender!

As usual, our kids join us and it gets chaotic. But that’s what we do best!

Make sure to head over to our YouTube Channel and watch some other videos too!

4LN Comic Review: Hawkeye #22

Series: Hawkeye
Writer: Matt Fraction
Art: David Aja
Inks: Matt Hollingsworth

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Summary from Comixology: “Hawkeyes vs. Tracksuits. Final Round!”

Overview:
If you ever read my reviews, you will surly know how much I love Matt Fraction, and how special this comic was to me. I never read a Marvel book before the Marvel Now “relaunch,” well never religiously. For the longest time, I was a DC only comic book reader. This was the first Marvel book I ever fell in love with, so I hold it close to my comic book heart. Cameron and Stephen both swear the greatest Marvel title of all time is Thor: God of Thunder by Jason Aaron and Esad Ribic, but I have to politely disagree with them. I think Fraction’s Hawkeye is the greatest Marvel book, at least within the last 5 years. The only downside to this title was the TERRIBLE release schedule/constant delays. Hawkeye #21 came out in February, so #22 is only five months behind schedule. But the series is over now, and it had one of the greatest endings I could ask for.

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This is NOT a starting place for fans of Hawkeye. If you haven’t read any previous issues, then skip this book, or wait for the trade, or even the omnibus (I’m getting the omnibus, no one tell my girlfriend how much it costs). Everything that has been building up in the last 21 issues finally comes to a head in issue 22. Hawkeye (Clint) fights those damn Russian tracksuit vampires, and Hawkeye (Kate) makes her triumphant return from the west coast. This issue seriously has everything you could possible want: action, heartbreak, twists, turns, and shocking outcomes. This has always been a comic about what Hawkeye does with his time off, what he’s doing when he’s not saving the wold with The Avengers. And, when he’s not saving the world, he’s trying to save an apartment building. Clint’s not a good guy, but he does his damnedest to be a good guy. This series was about being down on your luck, getting back up after being knocked down, and fighting for what you believe, “Don’t stop fighting, boy.”

This is the end of Fraction’s Hawkeye. And if you haven’t read it, please do yourself a favor and try to collect all the issues, or trades, and experience one of the best comics in recent years. Matt Fraction and David Aja were a great team. David Aja’s minimalist art style really brought so much detail to the story, in a truly unique way. Fraction’s ability of being able to focus on Clint’s lack of hearing made the read feel very cinematic, this didn’t feel like reading a comic, but rather like watching an epic film ending. Matt Hollingsworth is truly one of my favorite inkers in the business (Wytches, The Wake, We Stand United), everything he does colors for pops off the page, and you can truly tell it’s his work upon first look. Its not often that my heart can skip beats while reading a comic, but this happened multiple times while reading Haweye #22.

With all this being said, I want to say a “thank you,” to Matt Fraction, David Aja, and Stephen Andrew. First, thanks for giving me the first 6 issues of Hawkeye, Stephen. I mentioned wanting to read it and he gave me the issues, and this was before we were close friends and before the blog. (Editor’s Note: Aww shucks… you’re welcome pal. – SA)

Next I want to thank Fraction and Aja for writing one of my all time favorite comics. I bitched endlessly about the release dates always changing, but in the end, you guys delivered on an amazing issue, and an epic conclusion to Hawkeye. Bro, this series will always be a very special thing for me, so thank you for making a comic that connected so strongly with me, thanks bros. “Perfection” and “masterpiece” are the only words I think will accurately describe this issue, along with this series.

Music Pairing:
For this issue, I can’t recommend Ryan Adams enough. Specifically the song My Wrecking Ball off his self titled album that came out last year. Hawkeye seems to be a wrecking ball that causes destruction to everything around him, and this issue is no exception to that.

Marvel Collector Corps: Is It Worth It?

Every time I turn on the computer lately I see another advertisement for the latest and greatest subscription box.  Over the last few weeks I have seen everything from gourmet chocolate boxes to tactical/survival gear, but no box has intrigued me more than the recently announced Marvel Collector Corps.  When I first heard about it back in February, I decided to check out the first box to see if it was worth the price of admission, which is roughly $32 after shipping and handling.  Lo and behold, on April 25 I was graced with this beautiful package sitting on my front porch:

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Before we get into the exclusive items contained in the box, let’s see what Marvel Collector Corps has to say about who they are:

Marvel Collector Corps is a subscription box service designed by Marvel and Funko.  Created for the Marvel Collector, each box delivers 100% exclusive premium collectibles, apparel, and accessories direct from the Marvel Universe to your doorstep.  Each box is built around a major Marvel event.  Marvel Collector Corps celebrates the dedicated Marvel fan and intends to create a new Marvel Collector elite!

Unlike LootCrate (which we previously reviewed), this box comes once every other month, which makes it a little easier to stomach the $32 coming out of my bank account. As you can see in the photo above, this particular box focuses on the release of Avengers: Age of Ultron, while the next one will center on the release of Ant-Man.

Below you will find a picture of each item exactly how they arrived, along with estimated pricing for each piece.  Please note: all of these items are exclusives so exact pricing is tough to come by.

Collector Corps Pin

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When you first crack open the box you are greeted by Steve Rogers, aka Captain America, in this nifty little collector pin and the villainous patch below.  The only place you can find this particular pin is either in Collector Corps box OR by searching Ebay by the people who immediately sell the innards of subscription boxes.

Similar pins range anywhere between $1.75 and $5.97, so I will split the difference and say this is probably worth around $3.25.

Collector Corps Patch

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The other item sitting on the top of everything else was this nifty Collector Corps embroidered patch.  Like everything else in this box it was a little difficult to find an exact price on this guy.  According to Amazon a majority of these patches range anywhere from $4.50 to $7.99.  Since this patch is on the nicer side I would guess its worth at around $6.99.

Funko Pop! Hulkbuster

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This. Thing. Is. Huge.  The kid in me wants to rip open the box and play with it while the Lord Business side of me wants to cherish it, but keep it sealed so it retains it’s value… not sure which side I will end up on as of this writing.

Most Funkos are around 3 3/4 inches tall, but not the Hulkbuster.  This thing is 6 inches tall, and it’s a real 6 inches, not whatever Subway is pushing these days (they could very well be 6″ please don’t sue, Subway).

Price wise, these are currently going for over $40 on ebay right now, so there’s that.

Funko Dorbz

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This little Ultron is pretty neat and will eventually make its way to my nerd-shrine at work.  I am not sure if everyone gets Ultron or if it’s a random figure in each box, but I saw them at Target yesterday for $5.99.

Guardians Team-Up Avengers Variant

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Like the Guardians and want to see them team up with the Avengers? Well good news, this is your chance (sort of).  If you have been following the Marvel Comic Universe you know that the guy we know as Thor no longer wields Mjolnir, and a lady who has yet to be named at the time of this writing is the new Thor.  Also Falcon is Captain America, and Iron Man is a jerk, which I know is par for the course… MORE of a jerk.  That being said here is a variant cover for the Guardians/Avengers Team Up comic.

The pricing of this variant issue seems to be hovering right around cover price at this time so $3.99.

Avengers T-Shirt (1 of 4)

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This is by far my favorite item included in the box.  It has a great design and feels tremendous.  I made sure to wear it when I went to see Avengers: Age of Ultron. Overall there are four separate styles for this shirt.  Personally, I was pretty excited that I got Cap on mine. Other shirt styles have Iron Man, Hulk, or Thor on them.

Conservatively, these seem to be going for about $15.99 on ebay right now, which is about what you’d pay for a shirt like this in most stores.

 

So is being a member of the Collector Corps worth it?  If you total up everything this box came with using pricing from comparable items OR by seeing what these items are currently going for on the market you end up right over $70.  If you remember I paid just over $30 after tax, so it is definitely worth it financially speaking. Outside of that the items are all pretty neat.  The Hulkbuster and t-shirt alone are worth the price of the box.  That being said, they did kind of tip their hand too early.  Next time it would be nice to have them not show a majority of the merch that you’re paying for before you buy.  That works at Wal-Mart, but that’s not why most people buy subscription boxes.  Not knowing is a most of the fun.

Final thought: if you are a big Marvel fan and like the whole subscription box concept then this is the box for you.

 

4LN Comic Review: Hawkeye #21

Series: Hawkeye
Writer: Matt Fraction
Artist: David Aja
Colors: Matt Hollingsworth

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Summary from Comixology: “THE FINALE PART 1 David. Clint. Barney. The Building. The Tracksuit Draculas. The Clown. Ever seen “Rio Bravo?” Check it out, it’s pretty good.”

Overview:
This used to be my absolute favorite Marvel book. From issue #1, I was completely hooked. I couldn’t wait for the next issues in the series. Waiting a month for this issue felt like forever. Oh, how wrong I was to think a month felt like a long time for a single issue. This book has suffered so many delays, month after month the book was pushed back for the next release. Issues were released out of chronological order, issues that should have come out in October were not released until February. For a monthly comic, Hawkeye came out yearly. (That’s a joke because issue #20 came out in September of 2014, and issue #21 came out in February of 2015. That’s just fucking ridiculous.)

The Highs:
Matt Fraction is a damn good writer, and Hawkeye shows just how great of a writer he is. One of best things about this series is how it shows a “superhero” character dealing with real life problems. Hawkeye is deaf and this issue does a good job portraying this as Clint struggles to read lips. David Aja’s art truly is on point in this issue. It’s beautiful, easy to follow, and for a minimalist style, there is great detail in every page. The layouts towards the end of the book were absolutely amazing. Switching between blackout panels and then seeing whats going on, and switching back to blacking out. It really made you feel and emphasize with what Clint was struggling with. I also loved seeing the apartment community coming together to fight the Dracula tracksuit bros.

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The Lows:
The constant delays in this book crushed ALL momentum for this series. It went from the greatest Marvel book, to one I just no longer care about. Matt Fraction wrote a great version of Hawkeye, but after constant delays the character just didn’t remain on my radar. Since the last issue came out in September, I have completely forgotten what has happened in the previous issues. Not even the recap page could refresh my mind. Fraction has released several new books since September of 2014 such as Ody-C and Casanova Acedia along with the regularly released Sex Criminals. But for some reason Hawkeye suffered crippling delays. (I’m looking at you David Aja.)

The Final Say:
This series is no longer worth the $3.99 that I am paying. Not only has it been delayed but it used to only be $2.99. The price went up a couple issues ago and the quality is not worth $3.99. I will continue reading this book because I am so invested in it, but I would not recommend jumping into this book. Wait until trades are available for the entire series, OR jump on Jeff Lemire’s Hawkeye which starts next month (which is before Fraction’s run even ends). This issue was a great read, but because the book has consistently been killed by the countless delays, and for that reason alone, this issue gets a 3 out of 5. I honestly wanted to give this a 1, but that would only have been to make a point and this specific issue doesn’t deserve that. I sincerely believe that the creative team and Marvel owe the readers an apology for one of our favorite series suffering so much, and it truly bums me out that a book I once held in such high regard has now fallen to the very bottom of my reading list.

Disney Inifinity: Is It Worth It?

Disney excels at making money, and Disney Infinity proves it.  If you are unfamiliar with the toy your kid is probably begging you for, let me get you two acquainted.  Disney Infinity is a 2-player, multi-platform videogame that involves the purchase of multiple peripherals to get more characters, levels, bonuses etc.  The game is centered around the portal, which is used to place both the game world and the playable characters (in the form of figurines).  This means that in order to play as more characters you need to shell out more cash to purchase more figurines, and to play more game worlds you have to purchase those too.

That’s a lot of stuff to buy… is it worth it?

First off, my kids are too young to play it, and lack the vocal faculty to beg for it.  My wife, on the other hand, wanted it for her birthday, and who am I to argue with a wife who wants videogames for her birthday?

No one, that’s who.

So on her birthday we went to Sam’s Club and purchased the Disney Infinity 2.0 Starter Pack.  The starter pack includes a copy of the game (make sure to get the one that corresponds with your particular system), the Avengers world, and three figurines – Thor, Iron Man, and Black Widow.  We got our for around $55, which really isn’t that bad for what you get.

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Where you start to find an enormous leak in your bank account is the inevitable desire for more and more characters and worlds.  We got lucky with the starter pack because my favorite Marvel character is Thor and Paige’s (at least in the LEGO games) is Iron Man, so we started with the characters we already wanted.  That being said, the next day we bought the Guardians of the Galaxy combo pack that comes with Star-Lord, Gamorra and the GotG world, and was another $35.  Then a couple of days later we bought Hulk because Charlie, our 2 year old LOVES Hulk (and to smash things).  Each of these characters run between $10-14 and are pretty hard to find used.  We were fortunate enough to have a friend give us Captain America, but we still bought Rocket Raccoon.  There is also a Spider-Man world and set of characters, but neither of us really care for Spider-Man or the characters playable in that world so there’s some saved cash there… Being the completionists that we are, we still have to get Hawkeye, Groot and Drax so that’s another $30-45 right there.

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Yes, let the money flow through you.

What I’m trying to say is that our sons are going to have a whole lot of Disney Infinity to play with because their parents got a little carried away and had a little disposable income at the time.

So yes, it definitely costs more than the average videogame when you factor in all of the peripherals that aren’t necessarily required, but will be bought anyway.  The upside is, the game is a lot of fun and the figurines make a perfect addition to a nerd-shelf, which is something I recommend all homes have.  The game itself is basically an open world “sandbox” style game that has a simple RPG style system used to level up your characters.  The more you play as a particular character, the more powers they can unlock.  We have had a lot of fun flying around New York, trying to put an end to Loki’s nefarious schemes and keeping Ronan the Accuser away from Knowhere, and the replay value is off the charts.  The Avengers storyline is relatively short, but the missions are entertaining (who doesn’t love smiting Frost Giants with Mjolnir, am I right?), and the characters maintain their level when you start a new game, so you can continue playing through the story to level up the characters completely.

Final Say

If you and your kids love the Marvel universe, this is definitely one of the best games available.  The missions are engaging, but short enough that they don’t start feeling like a chore (a common problem with the LEGO games), the gameplay is relatively straightforward, and the storyline is fun.  Ultimately, I think this game is worth it, but I would definitely pick and choose which properties you think you and yours would like the most, at least at first.  For us it was the Avengers and Guardians of the Galaxy, for you it might be Spider-Man.  Either way the game is entertaining for both kids and adults, and is definitely one of the best games out there as far as Marvel is concerned.  It’s worth it.

Saturday Morning Review: New Avengers #23

Book: New Avengers #23
Writer: Jonathan Hickman
Artist: Kev Walker
Colorist: Frank Martin
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Summary from Comixology: “We follow the members of the now-broken Illuminati through their last day on Earth.”

The Overview:
This book absolutely blew my mind. In all honestly, the minute I finished this issue I texted Stephen at 11 at night just geeking out with everything that is going on. This is also one hell of a complex book. Now, when I say that it’s complex, I mean to fully get the entire scope of the book you really need to read New Avengers AND Avengers, both written by Hickman. He has been building such an enormous story that things that happened in issue #2 of New Avengers is finally coming back around 21 issues later. And things happening in Avengers 32 were built on decisions created in the first couple issues of New Avengers.

The Good:
This book was a beautifully haunting story about the Illuminati (Hulk, Beast, Iron Man, Dr. Strange, Black Bolt, Reed Richards, Black Panther, and Namor) while they live their final day on Earth before the next Incursion(destruction of a world). In this issue there are a few absolutely beautiful moments when we see our heroes at their absolute worse. Dr. Strange asks Mr. Wrong a serious question, and does not get the answer that he most desired. One character is seen spending his last moments with his oldest demons, and another is betraying the ones he calls friends. Hickman writers a beautiful story that captures these moments in a very delicate light. Kev Walker is a perfect artist to capture what’s going on in a way that isn’t over the top or isn’t seen as an underachiever , I personally believe that Hickman and Walker is the perfect team for a book like this. And my friends… the ending will blow your mind. I guarantee that.

The Bad:
I’m not going to lie, there was nothing wrong with this book. If someone tells you they don’t like something in this book, they are nitpicking and looking for a reason to complain. I found nothing wrong with this book.

The Final Say:
This is not the best jumping on point, but you will want to read this book to see what Hickman has planned for next month. Some serious things are about to happen and you are not going to want to miss out on the events that are in the distant future. This book has the wonderful score of 4 out of 4. Head on out to your LCS, or go see our friends at Comic Collector Live and get this book in your hands. If you read this book, leave some feedback on your thoughts!

Captain America: The Winter Soldier Spoilers

So if you saw Captain America: The Winter Soldier this weekend, you probably noticed a couple of references that maybe made you curious. And if you stayed through the very end of the credits, then you saw 2 extra scenes that were cool, but maybe you didn’t completely understand…

Well, I’m here to help with that! I’m not gonna overload you with a ton of “Easter eggs”, but there are few things worth looking at a little closer.

 

The first credits-scene was our introduction to Baron von Strucker, played by Thomas Kretschmann, who you may recognize from Wanted, Valkyrie, or most recently the NBC show Dracula, where he plays (played? god I hope that show comes back) Abraham Van Helsing.

 

Baron von Strucker is a HYDRA leader who, in the comics, worked directly with The Red Skull. The version of the character in the films may be different, since in the books he was killed and then brought back as a Life Model Decoy, and then later officially revived (The only people that actually stay dead in comics anymore are Batman’s parents).

You also would have noticed in that scene that he has acquired Loki’s scepter form The Avengers, which was given to him by Thanos. This does not bode well for Earth, Humanity, or the Avengers.

Now, how about those “volunteers” that were mentioned or, more importantly, the “survivors”… The manic, blur of a man, and the serene-but-almost-sinister girl. That was Pietro and Wanda Maximoff. Otherwise known as Quicksilver (Aaron Taylor-Johnson) and Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen).

 

In the comics, these characters are mutant twins, and they are the children of Magneto. But, since FOX owns the film rights to everything Marvel “mutant”, they cannot be referred to as such in any Marvel/Disney films, and Magneto cannot be referenced either.

Based on the “volunteers” and “survivors” talk, my assumption is that here in the films their powers will be manufactured rather than some from-birth genetic. If you remember in Captain America: The First Avenger, Cap saved Bucky from being experimented on by Arnim Zola, but in this film he says that whatever Zola did to Buck must have been, at least partially, responsible for him surviving the fall from the train. I’m guessing that HYDRA has continued Zola’s experimentation and that’s probably where Quicksilver’s and Scarlet Witch’s powers come from. We’ll see more of these characters, though, in Avengers: Age of Ultron.

Speaking of Arnim Zola, how about that return? To many of you that may not have made much sense but for us comic book nerds it was pretty epic. See, in the comics, Arnim Zola was able to transfer his consciousness into these robot/android things that he created. They all had a screen in the abdomen that displayed his face. Seeing him come back on those computer screens was just so awesome.

 

Another really cool reference was when Agent Sitwell (RIP) was telling Cap and Widow about the algorithm, that would allow HYDRA to target any threats to their plans, and he specifically name-dropped Stephen Strange, aka Doctor Strange.

Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige has been very open and honest about their intent to bring the Sorcerer Supreme to the big screen, and this little reference in Cap 2 seems like the evidence that they really mean it.

 

As far as the last scene of the film goes… that post-credits shot of Bucky (Winter Soldier) in the Captain America museum looking at his own history. That feels very much like the set up for future installments of the Winter Soldier/Bucky saga. In the comics, he goes on a journey to discover his past and what he finds very much rocks the core of who he is.

If you have a chance, I highly recommend reading as much as you can of Ed Brubaker’s run on Captain America, as well as his Winter Soldier series. Both will give you much more insight into the nature of the character.

 

Additionally, everything that happened in Cap 2 will directly connect to Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and will significantly impact Coulson and his team. I know a lot of people are disappointed in the show, but I never have been and I’m excited to see how it’s all connected.

 

For more on where Marvel is taking their characters, check out this great interview with Kevin Feige:

Kevin Feige Interview: Captain America, The Avengers 2 and Doctor Strange (source – Crave Online)

Evan’s to Leave Acting After Hanging Up His Shield

After his current stint as Captain America is up, Chris Evans plans to move on from acting.  Evans is currently under contract to suit up as Captain America for three more films (Captain America 3 as well as the Avengers sequels).

In an interview with Variety, Evans said that he would like to focus almost entirely on directing.  “I’ve known for a while I wanted to direct,” Evans says. “But (time) never really opens up. There’s another movie to do, there’s another acting job. It just got to a point where I was like, you know what — I have to do this.”

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During his winter unassembled from the Avengers, Evans made his directorial with a love story titled “1:30 Train,” which follows a young woman (played by Alice Eve) who missed her train home and spends the night talking with a street musician (Evans).  He is currently editing the rough cut.

As far as other films go, Evans told Variety, “If I’m acting at all, it’s going to be under Marvel contract, or I’m going to be directing,” he says. “I can’t see myself pursuing acting strictly outside of what I’m contractually obligated to do.”

Evans does say that nothing is set in stone.  “For all I know, in five years, I might say, ‘Shit, I miss acting.’ Right now, I just want to get behind the camera and make movies.”

Captain America 2: the Winter Soldier hits theater’s on April 3 and if you live near Hendersonville TN, come join us at Brixx: Wood Fired Pizza for an Avengers Trivia Night hosted by Four Letter Nerd and our friends at ComicCollectorLive.com!

Is Another Classic Avenger Joining The Team For “Avengers: Age of Ultron”?

—————UPDATE—————

Well, It looks like it’s OFFICIAL! Paul Bettany has been cast as Vision in “Avengers: Age of Ultron”! Not to toot my own horn or anything but… toot toot!

Source: ‘Avengers: Age Of Ultron’ Casts Paul Bettany As The Vision

—————UPDATE—————

Rumors of Vision showing up in the Marvel Cinematic Universe date back a few years, but the latest resurgence of the rumor carries a little more weight.

Below is a Tweet from ElMayimbe, from Latino Review. The dudes over there are notorious for getting good scoops, and they seem to think that Vision is definitely in the Avengers sequel…

For those of you who are not familiar, Vision is an android who was actually created by Ultron to be a foe for the Avengers but he eventually is convinced that Ultron does not have good intentions and so he joins the Avengers and turns against Ultron.

Originally, in the comics, Ultron was created by Hank Pym/Ant-man, but speculation is that for AoU he’ll have been created by Tony Stark. So this begs the question: Will Vision be created by Tony or Ultron?

Maybe Vision already exists in the MCU and we have in fact already seen him… or, HEARD him, rather…

I theorize that Tony’s A.I. Jarvis is Vision. I think that it would make perfect sense for Tony to, in a moment of clarity, to have a “vision” and create Jarvis his own body to go with his already evolved consciousness.

As you know, there’s been a lot of casting news on this flick already. In addition to the original team coming back, we’re gonna see Scarlet Witch, Quicksilver, Baron von Strucker, and the previously mentioned titular villain Ultron. But we haven’t heard anything about casting for Vision. If my theory is correct, that would be because he’s already cast.

Paul Bettany is the voice of Jarvis, and frankly would be the perfect form for Vision. We already know that he can do action (Legion, Priest) but he’s also got a sophisticated charm that is very much an attribute of Vision.

We shall see in time, but this just seems to make so much sense. Then again, Marvel doesn’t always do what makes the most sense with their casting…