Brian Michael Bendis is taking an interesting approach to “Avengers Prime,” the series meant to bridge the gap between “Siege” and “The Heroic Age,” at least when it comes to the relationships of Steve Rogers, Tony Stark, and Thor. After the trio was transported to one of the Nine Realms last issue, they’ve stayed separated to face their own different problems, presumably so that when they reunite, they’ll learn the value of sticking together and not bickering all of the time. It’s an effective way to settle the differences the characters have, while also providing a broad view of the problems facing the Nine Realms as Bendis picks up on an untouched consequence of Asgard being on Earth.
Last issue’s revelation of Amora, the Enchantress, as the seeming villain of the series was a nice touch by Bendis that’s followed up well here with she and Thor sparring in a fight of strength and magic. Her absence in “Thor” makes her a logical choice, albeit one that’s undone by the end of the issue when the true villain is revealed in a move that’s the comic’s only serious misstep. Maybe the rest of the series will explain how the true villain and new master of the Nine Realms can function as such while also appearing in other stories in a much different role, but, in this issue, it’s the opposite of the Amora reveal: surprise coupled with angry confusion.
But, that reveal is a minor part of this issue that does a great job of juggling the three leads in their respective locations, all of which allow Alan Davis to draw different and varying types of creatures from the Nine Realms. The positioning of the characters allows the reveal of the consequence of Asgard being on Earth to play out in an interesting manner as the Nine Realms have been thrown off-balance and begun to merge in a strange manner. Each of the characters gets a different perspective on what’s happening, giving a reader a rich, detailed explanation.
While dialogue driven in many ways, Bendis’s writing is spare here compared to his usual work. Like his writing on “Avengers” and “New Avengers,” the emphasis seems to be on pushing the plot forward and delivering some great action and adventure. Partnered with Davis, his shift in focus works quite well. Davis packs the pages with detail and nuance, giving discussions between characters a level of visual interest and making the action scenes pop with drama and energy. Davis’s pages have such a relaxed flow to them that moving through them is easy. He knows how to direct the eye and keep it heading in the right direction, while maintaining the chaos of certain scenes. He often sticks to basic grids, but shifts to diagonal panels and more hectic layouts when appropriate. Even when he does this, the flow of the page is obvious and simple.
Javier Rodriguez’s colors help a great deal in giving each location its own look and feel. While it wouldn’t be confusing as to what character is being given the focus, the colors add that extra cue to make everything as clear as possible.
Despite the odd and problematic reveal at the end of the issue, “Avengers Prime” #2 is a fun, entertaining issue with a fantastic creative team all working in harmony. This is how superhero comics are done and it’s a shame that issues only come out every two months.