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Lost in the Nine Realms

August 23, 2010

Avengers Prime #2 continues the tale of the three biggest Avengers, Steve Rogers (the original Captain America), Iron Man, and Thor, traveling to the rest of the Nine Realms.  Thor is faced with the Enchantress, who claims that everyone being stuck there is his fault.  They fight, and she continues to blame him and his house.  Iron Man is confronted by some trolls, who aren’t in the least bit afraid when he produces fire.  When he mentions Thor, they knock him out.  Steve fights some more dark elves in Svartalheim and ends up meeting a beautiful female elf who is less violent than her brethren.  The trolls take Tony to their master, Fafnir, who was revived somehow as a part of the mass resurrection after Ragnarok.  The elf woman treats Steve’s small injury, and Steve pours himself out to her about his conflict with Thor and Tony.  Seems she’s empathic, so he can’t help it.  Then, in a mildly confusing combination of conversations, the Enchantress, the woman, and Fafnir explain to Steve, Tony, and Thor about how the realms’ balance has been damaged by Asgard being on Midgard and how everything is wrong as a result of it.  Steve starts kissing the woman while Fafnir tortures Tony to get at Thor.  Then, we find out who has taken control of the rest of the Nine Realms: Hela.  Thor attacks her, and Steve and Tony see the lightning he calls down in the fray.

You know, I really don’t understand why Brian Michael Bendis couldn’t have picked a more quintessential Avengers villain, like Count Nefaria, Ultron, Kang the Conqueror (yes, I know he’s busy in the main Avengers series), or the Super-Adaptoid, for this story.  Either that, or he should have picked something that has absolutely nothing to do with the Avengers.  All his choice is doing is seriously screwing up what we already know about Thor, Hela, Enchantress, and everything from the Thor comics.  Since Hel is gone (hence Hela’s deal with Mephisto) and Asgard is on Earth, it seemed like the rest of the worlds might be gone.  Yes, we saw Svartalheim in Incredible Hercules.  But it wasn’t ruled by Hela, and everything seemed pretty normal there.  And in the current Thor story, which features Hela rather prominently, Thor isn’t complaining about this whole little deal.  It’s very sloppy coordination on the part of the editors.  The result is that it isn’t clear what is canon, since things so don’t gel.  Oh yes, and the attempts to use these circumstances to deal with the underlying problems between these three heroes just come off as awkward.  Like the empath thing.  Plus, Bendis still doesn’t quite get Thor.  He combines more classical words like harlot with contractions all the time, and it’s just so… blech.  That whole split scene thing with the dialogue was confusing too.  Alan Davis’ work is, of course, gorgeous.  Davis has always been a personal favorite of mine, and it’s great to see him working on the Avengers again after all this time.  But I really feel like this was just a very poor choice for how to deal with what could and should have been a moving character piece.  Not that Bendis has proven himself to be a fan of character pieces when working with the Avengers, but I’m just saying.

Plot: 6.2      Art: 9.3      Dialogue: 7.8      Overall: 6.4

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