I’ll be honest and admit up-front that Alan Davis and Mark Farmer drawing a comic already means I’m going to be slightly predisposed towards liking it. Davis is a fantastic artist who infuses energy and beauty into every page he pencils, and Farmer has proven for almost twenty years now that he’s one of the best people to ink Davis’s art.
So when Davis and Farmer draw Fafnir having monsters crawl up the ridge of his back, and the next panel moves in the same diagonal motion as that initial trek to show Fafnir breathing fire, well, it’s magic. Davis nails so much in this comic it’s astounding, from the sheepish and worried expression on Fafnir’s face once he realizes that Tony Stark has escaped (who knew a dragon could look sheepish?), to Steve Rogers looking just as dashing and heroic in a suit of medieval armor and a sword as he did in his old Captain America outfit, they hit the spot.
Even something as simple as Steve’s, “Hold on a second,” as he looks over his shoulder and prepares to dispatch another troupe of bad guys looks great, here. Watching his face, he goes from chatty to slightly annoyed to ready for battle, and it looks fantastic. He’s got a strong sense of body language as well as how to tell a story, and each page is just packed with a level of excitement.
As for the story itself? It’s nice, if feeling slightly out of place. I like the idea of the three “core” Avengers members on an adventure together, and being plunged into a different part of the Nine World is a good spot to stick them after the events of “Siege.” But I feel a tiny bit bad for Brian Michael Bendis, because this story seems to echo parts of Matt Fraction and Pasqual Ferry’s run on “Thor” that began this month (“What happens when you put one of the Nine Worlds inside a second World?”), except of course “Avengers Prime” is in the “past” while “Thor” is considered the “present.” Through no fault of Bendis or Fraction, “Avengers Prime” feels slightly undercut.
Even the slightly-too-chatty nature of the characters in “Avengers Prime” (there are several moments where you might want to strangle Tony Stark just to shut him up) can’t detract much from the overall fun and joy that goes through “Avengers Prime.” There’s a twist or two revealed at the end of this issue, and I suspect before it’s all over those twists might get another layer pulled off to show that we still didn’t know what’s really going on. I’m more than happy to settle in for the ride. This is a big heap of fun.