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Is Prime your favorite caped hero among the many heroes of the Ultraverse? For the newcomers reading this, Prime is an overly muscular hero of the Ultraverse who is actually a kid deep inside his fake flesh. Prime was one of the major heroes of the Ultraverse and was part of UltraForce alongside Hardcase and Prototype (two other major heroes).
In late 1993, a 2-part Ultraverse crossover was published titled Break-Thru and, with the art of the legendary George Perez, it was a big mix of characters from the UV. Prime had a role in Break-Thru and we can see what happened to him after the end of the said crossover in this look back at Prime #8 published in 1994 by Malibu Comics and written by Len Strazewski and Gerard Jones with art done by the late Norm Breyfogle.
The story begins in outer space with Prime and Prototype re-entering planet Earth. With the heat intensifying, Prime is worried that he won’t be able to make it safely on earth. Prototype, who is flying behind him, wonders if Prime knows what he is doing by leading the way. Prototype’s life is at stake as he relies on Prime to be his flying front shield (note: for the way the flight turned out in Prototype’s perspective, read Prototype #6).
Due to the instability and intense heat, the two ultras got separated flying down. Remembering the strip of Mantra’s cape, Prime uses it and manages to receive faint communication with Mantra. Prime eventually crashes into a swimming pool. With Prime’s flesh quickly dissolving, teenage Kevin Green is exposed naked underwater and struggles. Suddenly, water pushes him up several feet and finds himself being assisted by Mantra.
The naked Kevin is carried by Mantra who transform herself into Eden Blake…
Storywise, this one is a solid follow-up to the Break-Thru crossover and it succeeds in developing Prime further thanks to the combined efforts of Len Strazewski and Gerard Jones. With the narrative shifted away from Break-Thru, the story emphasizes the actions of the covert operations led by Colonel Samuels who simply won’t let Prime go free given the US government’s interests. What Samuels does not know is that someone sinister and hidden is spying on their operations. That someone is also interested in Prime and this alone added a lot of intrigue into the story.
As usual, the character development is very solid. I love the way Strazewski and Jones raise the stakes on the parents of Kevin and made them more troubled knowing their son’s involvement with the military. Kevin’s father, meanwhile, is living with the guilt of keeping the big secrets of the past.
When it comes to crossovers and interactions, the exchange between Kevin/Prime and Eden/Mantra is very compelling to read. Mantra, who knows Prime’s secret, tries to keep her identity secret. Already working for Aladdin under her Eden Blake identity, she sees an opportunity to learn more about Colonel Samuels through Kevin. For his part, Kevin wants to go home instead of getting involved again with the colonel. As their dialogue goes on, the tension really strengthened and added to the plot.
Without revealing too much, I should state that the introduction of a new character really shook the story and the big fight that followed was a great payoff to all the build-up.
Prime #8 is an excellent superhero comic book! The creative team of Strazewski-Jones-Breyfogle really crafted a post-Break-Thru story that did not slowed down and kept raising the stakes and the intrigue. Suspense, excitement, drama and intrigue made a great mix here.
If you are seriously planning to buy an existing hard copy of Prime #8 (1994), be aware that as of this writing, MileHighComics.com shows that the near-mint copy of the regular edition costs $8 while the near-mint copy of the newsstand edition costs $26.
Overall, Prime #8 (1994) is highly recommended!
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