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Welcome back, superhero enthusiasts, comic book collectors and fans of the Ultraverse! By now, many of you should be familiar with Prime who was one of the main heroes of the Ultraverse as published in the 1990s by Malibu Comics. Many times in comics, Prime fought with lots of thugs, some very notable enemies (check out Prime #5), got involved with other notable ultras as part of a team (check out UltraForce #0 and #1), got involved awkwardly with ladies like Mantra and the mother of Kelly, and more.
Surely, Prime (who is a teenage boy named Kevin under all the muscle) went through a lot. Now how about seeing the overly muscular ultra hero take on a monster about as large as Godzilla? We can all find out in this look back at Prime #17, published by Malibu Comics in 1994 with a story written by Len Strazewski and Gerard Jones, and drawn by John Statema.
The story begins somewhere on the bottom of the ocean. King Atalon raises an entire island to the surface of the sea claiming it will be new court of his and his people. Doing so, he releases a gigantic monster to the surface and immediately it encounters a ship. The monster grabs two men from the ship and eats them.
In the city of New York, Kevin Green and his mother have a meal together in a first-rate deli. His mother expresses her thoughts about how hard it was for him to move away from California at a short notice, leaving behind his school and his friends. She stressed that something had to be done in response to what happened to their family.
She recalled that Kevin’s father acted so strangely and left them. That being said, she did not want to make the situation worse by smothering him. Kevin thought to himself how could he tell her mother the truth that he and Prime are one and the same, and he went through different versions of his alter-ego each with a different attitude.
As Kevin and his mother traveled via the subway of the city, the giant monster in the Atlantic Ocean continues to create havoc moving towards New York…
From a storytelling point of view, this comic book felt like the start of a new chapter in the life of Kevin/Prime. The sudden relocation to New York sparked Kevin to look back at the events he went through in the past year which, in my opinion, helped serve as an exposition dump to help readers – especially new ones – catch up with all the details on Prime. It was also interested to learn that Kevin’s mother is from New York and her action on having themselves relocate all the way from the West Coast was convincingly done. I also like the drama that unfolded when the mother brought Kevin to a spot to view the Statue of Liberty from a distance only to be shocked and hurt over the fact that the statue’s head is missing. Through really nice dialogue, you can feel the mother’s pain.
The highlight of this comic book is the uncanny match-up between Prime and the Godzilla-sized monster. While the battle between them was not too long, showing Prime struggle with fighting the monster while thinking a lot about strategizing, searching for weaknesses and even expressing concern for his mother all added a good layer of depth to bother the hero and the encounter.
Visually, I like the work done here by John Statema. His art on the monster was clearly Godzilla-inspired but he gave it a unique look of its own, especially with the way he drew its scaled which Prime found to be very tough. I also enjoyed Statema’s take on the events that happened in Prime’s life as seen in the exposition dump early in the comic book.
Prime #17 (1994) is a fun read and definitely has the look and feel of a new turning point in the life of a superhero. It has excellent dialogue, a pretty nice build-up leading to the big battle between Prime and the monster, and most notably there is a good amount of dramatizing through Kevin’s mother.
If you are seriously planning to buy an existing hard copy of Prime #17 (1994), be aware that as of this writing, MileHighComics.com shows that the near-mint copy of the comic book costs $8.
Overall, Prime #17 (1994) is recommended.
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