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Appearing in "...And Much to Ponder Before the Dawn..."

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Synopsis for "...And Much to Ponder Before the Dawn..."

It's 2 AM in Leonia, New Jersey, and the Vision is gazing out the window of the bedroom he shares with his wife, the Scarlet Witch. He feels something calling out to him and for a moment he thinks about rousing his wife from her sleep but decides against it and ventures off alone. He is drawn to an abandoned town of Ponder, New Hampshire, he enters a building and finds it stacked with bookshelves from wall-to-wall. Using his phasing powers, the Vision sinks into the floor and discovers a high tech laboratory below. No sooner has he arrived when a massive android creature comes smashing through the wall. It attacks the Vision, who tries his best to defend it. However, no sooner has the battle started does someone else enter the room and orders the android, Alpha, to stand down. When the Vision gets a good look at who this man is, he cannot believe it.

Eight miles away, just outside of the town of Rain, New Hampshire, Daily Bugle reporter Andrew Paucholito and photographer Peter Parker are heading into town. Tired, Peter asks what is so important that it couldn't wait until morning. Andrew explains that the town of Rain has been terrorized by a knife-wielding serial killer, and since he is close to retirement he wants to get one last scoop before the end of his career. Andrew takes Peter into the local sheriff's office where they meet his old friend, Officer Bob Rubens. Bob shows them the man they have arrested, whom they believe is responsible for the killings. Bob explains that this man is a drifter who wandered into town. When they picked him up, he was carrying a bloody knife in his hand. Paucholito finds this story suspicious and finds the man in the cell familiar. While nobody is looking, Peter manages to snap a photo of the alleged killer with a hidden camera. That's when Sheriff Frame comes in and demands to know why Bob is showing their prisoner to civilians. Frame recognizes the pair as reporters and kicks them out of his office. As they leave, Andrew tells Peter that he has been covering murder stories for so long that he has a hunch that the man in the cell is innocent of any crimes.

Back in Ponder, the Vision finds it hard to believe that he is standing before the legendary writer Mark Twain. "Twain" sets the Vision's confusion aside by explaining that he is not the famous writer, but an android. Twain is then joined by his android brothers based off great thinkers of the world: William Shakespear, Confucious, Abraham Lincoln, and Socrates. Mark Twain explains that these androids put their great minds together in order to summon the Vision to them. He explains that they were all created by the Mad Thinker. However, when their creator began to grow bored with the geniuses of the past, he became determined to capture modern thinkers and transfer their minds into android bodies. This plan ran afoul of Captain America and the motorcycle stuntmen known as Team America. Many of the androids were seriously damaged during the ensuing battle, and ultimately the Man Thinker was defeated. When a SHIELD clean-up squad came to the Mad Thinker's hideout, a number of the androids hid. After making rudimentary repairs, they then began to decide if they should live apart from mankind, or try and forge a life with humanity. However, despite all their intellect, they have no practical experience with humans, hence why they have asked the Vision to come and impart his experiences. After some thought, the Vision accepts their request for help.

Back in town, the man in the cell suddenly gets up and breaks out of and easily knocks the guard aside. While at the local hotel, Peter suggests that they get the photos back to the Daily Bugle so they can make the morning edition. However, Andrew isn't ready to leave just yet because there is more to this story. Suddenly, Pauncholito realizes why the man in the cell looks familiar: He strongly resembles the Russian author Fyodor Dostoyevsky. Peter finds this hard to believe, but Andrew has a copy of "The Idiot", and shows him a picture of the author, who bears a striking resemblance to the alleged killer. Suddenly, they hear a commotion outside and see that Sheriff Frame has organized a mob to hunt down capture the escaped prisoner. When Andrew and Peter ask if they can accompany the hunting party, Frame tells them they can but isn't happy about it. Bob Rubens tells Andrew not to worry about Front. As they head into the woods, Bob tells of a nearby town that was abandoned and is reported to be haunted.

While the hunt continues, Peter manages to slip away and changes into Spider-Man to see what he can do to capture the alleged killer. He manages to track down Dostoyevsky just as he enters the town of Ponder. He is shocked to see the Vision there with the other androids. Spider-Man decides to wait back to see what is going on. Mark Twain explains to the Vision at Fyodor fled during the SHIELD sweep and sees that there is something wrong with his memory. Twain opens Dostoyevsky's chest plate to see what's wrong. Before he can make repairs, the androids are found by the angry mob. When the Vision is recognized by Andrew, the angry mob opens fire on the collection of androids. Spider-Man hesitates to leap in, worried that Andrew might make the connection between himself and his alter-ego. Down below, Mark Twain's weapon is shot out of his hand. He worries for the safety of his people and is about to activate Alpha when the Vision tells him that they will handle the situation.

Increasing his density, the Vision deflects the bullets from the mob and tells them to stand down. However, things take a turn when one of the officers picks up Mark Twain's weapon and uses it to stun the former Avenger. Seeing this, Spider-Man is still conflicted with getting involved or not. That's when the androids summon Alpha, who rips out of the ground. This android begins attacking the mob. No longer able to stand aside, Spider-Man swings in to save their lives. While the wall-crawler battles Alpha, the other androids check on Vision. Unable to reactivate him, they wonder what they can do. Hearing this, Bob Rubens snaps and orders the androids to kill them all, revealing that he was the serial killer all along. He then takes Pauncholito hostage and demands to be let free. Seeing this, Spider-Man tries to convince Rubens to stand down. Rubens refuses to do so, telling the wall-crawler that he needs to kill everyone to protect them from monsters -- like the android Alpha. Spider-Man offers to teach him that humanity can defeat the monsters if they believe in themselves. While Spider-Man's battle with Alpha rages on, the other androids decide to watch and see how this battle turns out.

Spider-Man begins to lose his advantage and eventually, Alpha manages to grab hold of the wall-crawler and begins rushing him. However, the wall-crawler refuses to give up and continues to struggle. This leads to naught as Alpha tosses Spider-Man into a tree, knocking the wall-crawler out. Seeing Spider-Man's defeat, Rueben is about ready to kill Andrew when suddenly the Vision comes out of the ground behind him and sticks his intangible hand through Bob's chest, incapacitating him and saving Andrew's life. With the battle over, Spider-Man recovers from his blow. As the police take Bob away, the Mad Thinker's androids are confused and tell the Vision that they are confused by what happened and that they will be returning to their sanctuary to ponder all they have seen.


Continuity Notes

  • The androids recount their clash with Captain America and Team America. That occurred in Captain America #269.
  • Sheriff Frame states that the Vision was "kicked out other Avengers". He is mistaken, the Vision and his wife -- the Scarlet Witch -- took a leave of absence from the group in Avengers #211 in order to try and live a normal life.

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