The Avengers of 1,000,000 B.C. have been a critical element of Jason Aaron's Avengers run, but even that didn't prepare fans for the shocking revelation that Phoenix was somehow Thor's mother. Since that reveal the question of how that came to be has gone unanswered, until this week's The Avengers: 1,000,000 B.C. one-shot, and it's truly nothing like you might be expecting. Sure the answer of Thor's origin is revealed, but the journey there is as important if not more than the destination, and it turns out this story was one worth waiting for.
Aaron's Avengers has taken several trips back into the history of the Avengers the heroes that defended this Earth long before Iron Man, Black Widow, and Captain America, and it does help to have that context leading into this one-shot. That said, looking back on this particular issue I wouldn't say those previous issues are mandatory reading, which was rather surprising and also quite an impressive feat.
The issue starts off with a macro-scale introduction that sets the table of what's to come, all with the beautiful stylings of artist Kev Walker and colorist Dean White. The artwork conveys the grandness and fantastical nature of these Gods and human powerhouses at the center of this story, and yet the core aspects of this frayed love story between Odin and Phoenix is never lost in the scale of it all. At its core, this is about love in all its forms, whether that be of the unrequited or selfless varieties, and by issue's end it would be difficult not to appreciate the Phoenix in a whole new way.
Aaron plays with assumptions and preconceived notions regarding the comic's two leads, reinforcing some while in other cases bringing new layers to the surface. This is especially true of Phoenix, and after a crucial turning point involving Gaea becoming the hero you will absolutely root for the most, despite the gravity of what she asks Gaea to do.
This sets up a climactic final battle that had me on the edge of my seat, and Walker and White's pitch-perfect art raises the tension and sense of stakes with every turn of the page. That final sequence is outstanding from a visual perspective, but it's the story of a selfless mother who only had the chance to hold her child ever so briefly as she attempted to save their life. That can't help but come through in every panel, and one in particular only needed three words to convey its sense of loss and grief.
At one point in time, this reveal felt like shock for shock's sake, and some will still say that's the case. Avengers recontextualizes that however, successfully framing a heartfelt love story through the prism of an epic superhero tale, and I couldn't have been more pleased and pleasantly surprised. It's a love story that frankly I didn't realize I wanted or needed, and regardless of how much effect this story ends up having on the present, this moment in time will still have been more than worth the journey and the wait.
Published by Marvel Comics
On August 17, 2022
Written by Jason Aaron
Art by Kev Walker
Colors by Dean White0comments
Letters by Cory Petit
Cover by Ed McGuinness and Matthew Wilson