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Building Bridges

June 24, 2010

Siege is over, but the big three of the Marvel Universe, Steve Rogers (the former Captain America), Iron Man, and Thor aren’t exactly in accord like they used to be.  Avengers Prime #1 is the first part of the story telling how these former teammates, whose friendship has been tested by the Reigning, Civil War, and Siege, come back together.  Steve and Tony are visiting Siege, and Tony offers to help rebuild.  However, Steve doesn’t know if it’s in the United States’ best interests to let him keep the armor.  They get into a debate about civil liberties and responsibilities, and Thor ends it by saying that they may leave if they are only there on his behalf.  Steve apologizes, and Thor shows them Heimdall’s devastated observatory.  He is concerned about the destruction of the Rainbow Bridge and what that means for the Nine Realms.  As Tony tries to examine it, the three of them are sucked into a massive spiral of energy that splits them up and tosses them to different parts of the Nine Realms.  While trying to fix his old, clunky armor, Tony is approached by a mysterious person.  Steve reaches a tavern full of dark elves, indicating that he is in Svartalheim.  When he says that he is Thor’s friend, the whole tavern attacks him.  Of course, Steve wins and takes some of their armor, which is suspiciously blue-colored, a sword, a bow and arrows, and a shield.  Thor lands in Vanaheimr, which is oddly absent of the Vanir, the sister gods of the Asgardians, or the Aesir.  He is suddenly assailed by none other than the Enchantress, who is ready to have her day of vengeance.

Brian Michael Bendis is responsible for writing Civil War: The Confession, a superb one-shot that dealt with Steve and Tony’s philosophical differences relating to the issues of Civil War.  So it feels really natural for him to pick right back up with these differences, now flipped to a certain degree, with the beginning of this story.  Again, this story is all about them becoming friends again, and about the Avengers being able to reform around them because of it.  I can’t say I would have chosen another Asgardian story as the backdrop for them getting back together.  I expected this to be more of a character piece, and I think that some connected vignettes or a story similar to New Avengers: The Reunion might have been more effective.  Additionally, there’s a couple of continuity issues.  First, weren’t all of the Nine Realms destroyed by Ragnarok?  It’s been established that Hel isn’t still around, since Hela doesn’t have a realm to lord over (hence the deal with Mephisto and Loki).  So that’s confusing.  Plus, there’s the appearance of the Enchantress, which brings up that Matt Fraction one-shot and even more continuity issues with the Nine Realms, especially considering that Hel was in existence then.  Those issues aside, this is still a fun issue.  Bendis is adept at writing Steve Rogers and Tony Stark, and I think that, with this and the Avengers proper, he’s catching up with Thor.  The plot is still good, despite those issues, and Alan Davis is a great choice for the artist.  Alan Davis was one of the first artists I really got to know through his work on the Avengers, and I’m glad to see him back on these characters.  He’s Marvel’s version of Ivan Reis, and he draws this whole issue so spectacularly well.  So I’m interested to see the Enchantress’ triumphant return to Marvel, and I’m interested to see how much of a character piece this will actually turn out to be.  I just hope that my questions with Asgardian continuity get answered as well.

Plot: 8.4      Art: 9.3      Dialogue: 9.0      Overall: 8.5

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