Friday, May 13, 2011

Graphic Novel Review: Avengers Prime

I mentioned last week that I continued to seek out Thor stories in anticipation of the release of the movie, and one of the best that I’ve read wound up being in an innocuous place – Avengers Prime. Oh sure, Thor is one of the main Avengers, and half the point of these Marvel movies is to prepare for the Avengers movie next summer – but at the same time, I had no idea how focused this story would be on the Asgardian god.

The Siege of Asgard has ended, and though the Avengers won the battle, the city that is the realm of the Norse gods has fallen to ruin. The bridge that connects the 9 realms (including Midgard or Earth) is damaged, and there’s no telling what sorts of havoc might be occurring. Thor has an immense amount of pressure piled upon him in the wake of this disaster, and only adding to his troubles is the fact that his two best friends, Tony Stark (or Iron Man) and Steve Rodgers (the former Captain America), have not yet buried the hatchet from the superhero Civil War they fought on opposite sides of just a short time ago.

But when they go to investigate the collapsed bridge for themselves, all three are transported away to another unknown realm – a kind of blending or merging of what had once been separate distinct realms. It is here that Hela, the goddess of death, is plotting the final demise of Thor – and her own rise in his wake as ruler of a new realm of her own creation. Thor, Iron Man, and Captain America have been separated across this strange landscape where the dead rise up to fight and nothing may be as it seems. They’ll each have to forge alliances with unknown potential allies, hoping to find each other again in time to destroy this new world before it takes over the one they left behind. But there are some allies who might not want to see this new world destroyed…

There are lots of things to like about this story, and very little of detriment. On the negative side, this is a story that’s been building for quite some time, between the references to Marvel’s Civil War and Siege events, it is helpful if you’re familiar with those stories. At the same time, the story does its best to get the reader up to speed quickly, and at its heart this is really a story about reconciliation between friends – and a fantasy-style beat-down. As I said at the beginning, this is really a Thor story, with the trappings of his corner of the Marvel Universe; gods and goddesses, mythical creatures and spells, armor and bladed weapons. I loved seeing how Captain America and Iron Man wound up reflecting both their well-known costumes as well as injecting them with a medieval flavor through the course of the story.

And part of the reason it all works so well is because of the art of Alan Davis. I make no apologies for being a big fan of his work, despite the fact that some of his women wind up appearing much alike (I’m looking at you Megan and Enchantress). He is at least half the reason I sought out this book, and perhaps judging from what you see here you’ll agree. But the story is also one that I’ve been looking forward to for some time, as the epilogue of sorts to these other big Marvel events. What I didn’t expect however was such a good Thor story out of Avengers Prime – this is the kind of thing people looking for something to read after the Thor movie should seek out. I’m glad I did.

No comments: