With the end of “Dark Reign” and the beginning of “The Heroic Age,” Marvel is placing an emphasis on a ‘back to basics’ approach, which, for the Avengers, means the trio of Captain America, Iron Man, and Thor. The only problem is that, for the past five years, those three guys haven’t exactly been on the same page, Iron Man in particular has been in conflict with both Cap and Thor, so, while the regular “Heroic Age” books are pressing forward with all parties at peace and friendly, “Avengers Prime” -- a five-issue bi-monthly series -- will show how that friendship is renewed.
Without much warning, Bendis jumps right into the conflict fans have been waiting for with Steve Rogers and Tony Stark arguing over things past amongst the rubble of Asgard. There’s no prelude, no dancing around the problems these two men have; The story just jumps into them arguing. With Norman Osborn no longer a shared threat, it makes sense that not-so-old wounds would be reopened at the first chance. After all, the events of “Civil War” weren’t so long ago to Steve, who missed out on much of what has happened since then.
Giving the argument an interesting spin is Tony’s lack of memory but determination to stand up for himself nonetheless. It’s a smart choice by Bendis to have Tony react as he does, since a feeble apology and a few mumblings about not remembering what happened would be boring and, more importantly, not really matter.
The x-factor here is Thor and, in the wreckage of Asgard, he has little patience for this bickering. He has his own issues with Tony, but when they’re put next to the destruction of his city and the deaths of so many of his people, it doesn’t matter. He keeps things moving and allows for an event that takes the three characters out of their current situation, placing them in a new context, one that should allow them to work out their problems by remembering what brought them together in the first place. Giving us a taste of the arguing we want before shifting things is a good idea since the goal of this series is to repair the friendship of all three men and wallowing in the past would never accomplish that.
Joining Bendis is Alan Davis; If there’s a better artist suited for this book, I can’t think of one. Davis is fantastic at drawing just about anything and that’s what he’s asked to do here. He captures the heated emotions of Steve and Tony (even with the Iron Man armor on), the sadness and disappointment in Thor’s face at seeing his friends bicker atop the ruins of his home, the frenzy of combat, and gives Bendis’s writing some much needed visual flair in places where it’s absolutely essential. He nails the iconic elements of the trio’s looks and makes sure to emphasize them at the exact right moments.
Also included in the issue the seven-page retelling of the Avengers’ origin from “Avengers” #300 by Ralph Macchio and Walt Simonson. Yes, a comic with Alan Davis and Walt Simonson art... can you ask for much more?
“Avengers Prime” #1 begins the work of repairing the damage done to the relationship of the three heroes most consider the core of the Avengers: Steve Rogers, Tony Stark, and Thor. Bendis and Davis get things off to a great start by addressing their problems and moving on to the big action stuff and a classic Avengers villain.