Avengers 1,000,000 BC #1 Mostly SPOILER-FREE Review
It’s hard to keep up with comics. The main characters are so popular that new titles are constantly beginning with new writers. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it makes following along and knowing where to start harder than it should be.
The Avengers have had many teams and currently have multiple teams and titles being released simultaneously. Which one do you follow? It’s almost always a safe bet to start with a “#1” issue as it should be the starting place of something. Still, even that can leave you looking for past issues from the previous series to try and understand how the characters got where they are now. Fortunately, Avengers 1,000,000 BC #1 is an opening story for the earliest Avengers. The question is: Why should we care about what happened to the Avengers so long ago?
The “Prehistoric Avengers” first debuted in Marvel Legacy #1 (2017) and have since appeared in 15 various other comics. While they are a welcome new set of characters with an intriguing and mysterious backstory, we’ve craved more details since their inception. Avengers 1,000,000 BC looks like it will be presenting juicy background information through in-depth stories at landmark moments in the team’s history. The first story certainly presents an insightful and revealing series of events that help define characters, explain relationships, and unveil one hero’s shocking birth.
Who Are The Prehistoric Avengers?
Odin is a god, the All-father, the ruler of Asgard, and the current wielder of the mighty hammer Mjolnir. This is the same Odin that appears as Thor’s father, though seemingly much less wise than in the future.
Lady Phoenix is the first incarnation of the powerful being that still plays a significant role in the Marvel Universe. The force initially landed on Earth in the Stone Age and selected this red-haired cave woman to serve as the first human host.
Agamotto is the wizard referenced far down the line by Doctor Strange as a source of one of his talismans, The Eye of Agamotto. He is a powerful magic wielder and the first Sorcerer Supreme.
The Black Panther is a human among gods and a leader of the hidden people of Wakanda. He is a great warrior with a level head and wields the powerful metal Vibranium.
The Ghost Rider is the early incarnation of the Spirit of Vengeance given power as part of a deal with Mephisto. This version was once a clever caveman but now rides a flaming wooly mammoth and punishes sinners.
Starbrand is a combination of a Hulk and a cosmic-powered entity. The hulking creature only grunts and seems to have once been a human but is now the first wielder of the Starbrand.
The Iron Fist is Fan Fei, a martial artist with fists empowered by the blood of a dragon she slew defending her home. She was raised in the mystical city of K’un-Lun and served as its protector before expanding her watch over the whole planet.
An Uncomfortable First Story
The story in issue #1 picks up after the Prehistoric Avengers have gathered and defeated the Mad Celestial. We quickly learn why Laufey, King of the Frost Giants, hates Odin. We also see the Avengers put down an early version of the hordes that come to conquer from The Negative Zone. Then things get awkward. Odin deeply desires a partner in Lady Phoenix, but she isn’t interested. Odin repeatedly pushes despite her rebukes to devastating consequences. This causes a rift between not only these two ultra-powerful beings but also breaks up the Avengers.
The story continues after a passage of time, and Odin and his lover Gaea, an Elder god, are expecting a child. The Avengers assemble there to witness and protect the birth. We soon learn that Phoenix reached out to Gaea regarding Odin before this. It seems that although they are not meant to be, Phoenix realizes the power that comes with bearing a child of Odin. She encourages Gaea to give Odin a chance and help guide his inevitable offspring by being its good mother. Phoenix explains that while the role is unsuitable for her if it is taken by Gaea, it may provide great benefit and protection to the lesser living beings of the world.
At the time of the child’s birth, Laufey strikes in an attempt to serve his revenge on Odin. The result changes the child’s fate by forcing the Phoenix to become involved in the birth. The revelation of who the child is and who the parents are is a shock. It has implications that affect much of the future of the Marvel Universe. While it doesn’t change history, it explains some of it.
I always enjoy seeing this early version of the Avengers. There’s something freeing about being the first and not having a lot of backstory or concurrent stories to contend with. Although I don’t know the characters well, I know the roles they inhabit, so they feel familiar enough. It’s nice to watch their personalities shine through and separate them from future iterations of their heroes. There is more at stake here, as we don’t know what will happen to these characters next.
I enjoyed seeing this mythology-like tale of the early Avengers. It’s a new perspective to see the actions of this team of Earth protectors have monumental consequences for the future. Seeing the early horde wave from The Negative Zone, witnessing Odin cross Laufey, and watching the birth of a landmark Marvel character weren’t things I knew I wanted to see. These moments are presented well in this historical issue that helps clarify modern Marvel storylines and characters.
The art is perfect for this tale. It is a mixture of familiar, gritty, and traditional. While it accurately depicts jumping around in time, it never feels too modern. The Prehistoric Avengers exist in an early time in the universe, and the art portrays this by blending dark and folky.
There is a major character death in this issue, but something about it doesn’t feel right. The implications may be subconscious, but this death should be a noteworthy loss. At the same time, though, as previously mentioned, I feel I didn’t know these characters well enough for one to already be gone. The story acknowledges this fact as the death scene is relatively quick, and you can miss it if you blink. There also isn’t a replacement that steps in like a Green Lantern ring leaving a dead Lantern to find a new host, so it’s simply a loss for now.
While Odin is a controversial character in mythology, it is somewhat off-putting to see him embrace that character in a Marvel comic book. Odin is not very likable, but he is a tentpole of this early Avengers team. Watching how he treats his teammate, Phoenix, and women, in general, is uncomfortable. It seems as though it will be hard to root for this Avenger in the future. Consequently, it should be somewhat tricky for these Avengers to all coexist going forward. The writing is somewhat on the wall for Odin to become a villain or at least at odds with the team of heroes trying to do good.
This issue is a decent start to hopefully a more consistent Prehistoric Avengers story. It tells a secret origin and shows growth and change among the characters. Indeed there could have been more action, but the other appearances of these Avengers have been mostly that. While the ending is slightly ambiguous, I believe it got the message across. Legendary extraordinary beings come together, and a child is born; things will go really well, or new evil and enemies will be made. I give Avengers 1,000,000 BC 3 out of 5 Starbrands and recommend it for fans of mythology, Thor, and those looking to jump into a story with little background reading required.