It’s been a while since the last installment of SCARED S#!@LESS: THE FEAR ITSELF EDITION, and we apologize for the lapse. My partner is a little busy for now, and it’s pretty impossible for me to cover the event on my own, so from now on the only title that will be covered will be Fear Itself. Let’s be honest with ourselves here, the only tie-ins worth spending your hard earned money on are Journey Into Mystery, Fear Itself: Home Front, and Invincible Iron Man. If you want to check out some of the other Fear Itself tie-ins you should look at The Uncanny X-Piles, plus it’s just a cool place to hang out sometimes!
Now with that out of the way, let’s get to the good stuff!
With the overflowing amount of crossover events from various comic companies flooding the shelves, the people have cried out for help in keeping up with the many-issued madness! Well, that call has been answered by two guys who have answered a call or two in their lives! Infinite Man and Aron Fist are here to save your sanity, and hopefully save you from picking up that really crappy tie-in book that has absolutely NO REASON to exist! So sit back and check us out as we give you SCARED S#!@LESS: THE FEAR ITSELF EDITION, on just about everything pertaining to this event, while we also try to figure out what the hell everyone is so afraid of!
This is the heroes’ Empire Strikes Back moment as Fraction continues to push the good guys farther and farther away from achieving any type of victory. Thor is facing two of the most powerful opponents in The Serpent’s ranks, as Nul (Hulk) and Angrir (The Thing) prepare to destroy him once and for all. Cap and the Avengers are fighting an uphill battle against Sin when the The Serpent shows up and practically decimates the team. There’s no silver lining in this issue, and I couldn’t be happier.
It’s obvious the slow build in this series is over and done with, and now that the story is firing on all cylinders it’s become something else entirely. The core story seems a lot more focused, and things have been defined so everyone knows where they stand. Fraction is also conveying what is a very emotional issue at its center, as well. Here he’s got Thor literally fighting for his life, Tony Stark reduced to an angry (though determined) drunk, and Spider-Man’s concern has shifted from the fight to his family. It’s a “do or die” attitude on the battlefield, and Fraction has much of the dialog reflect that for several of the characters. To my surprise, the smack talk from Thor was quite enjoyable when he was up against the Hulk. It seems like he’s been holding all of that in for years and was glad to get some things off of his chest.
Just know that all of the big moments and even the more painfully somber ones are perfectly executed by Immonen’s spectacular artwork and Von Grawbadger’s colors. There were too many stand out scenes, but the one that takes the cake was seeing Mjolnir rip through The Thing’s gut then come to rest in Thor’s hand, dripping blood. That was just a phenomenal page that kept pulling me back after I read the issue. What was also great was that the dialog didn’t get in the way, and the art moved the story just as much as Fraction’s script. There’s nothing better than a panel without caption balloons with the artist left to do his/her thing. This is one fast moving issue that gives you a lot to digest all at once, but you’ll be pleased with the end result as you wait to see what happens next. 4/5 – IS
Last issue we saw that Tony and Thor are pretty much fed up and aren’t taking any crap from anyone. Shortly after seeing his friend fall, Cap is pushed to his limit, as well. The various Avengers members carry Thor to Heimdall’s observatory to reach Asgard. Cap gets in Odin’s face and demands that he heal Thor so the final stand can be made against The Serpent. Tony’s weapons are also completed save for one, which may very well cost him his life for it to be made.
This is the best issue the series has had to offer us so far, and there’s so many reasons why. Too many times we forget that Cap is a seasoned military man who fought countless battles during WWII. Here Fraction gives you a look at a man who has been to hell and back and will be on the front lines when the battle starts. Cap’s attitude is a very grim one, and Fraction has his language reflect that as well, since this is the most I’ve seen Cap curse in one issue. Fraction wrote a great ending to this issue, when we see Cap give the pep talk to the militia that’s standing ready when The Serpent and The Worthy arrive. Peter finding Aunt May and getting the reassurance he needed to get back in the fight was just a nicely written sequence, as well. But the most jaw dropping parts are Fraction’s scenes between Odin and Thor, and what is said from a man who for years has come off as an uncaring jackass who is too enamored with his own godhood.
Need I repeatedly praise the art team on this title? They have consistently given us great looking issues, and this one is no different. The opening scene hits you and is a great set up as the Avengers carry Thor’s body through a destroyed New York City. It’s when we get to Asgard that things get even better looking, and the panels where we see Odin’s face as Steve is yelling at him are just perfect. Whatever you think you may lose in the background is definitely made up for with the amount of detail in the Asgardian wardrobe, and just the character detail overall. This being one of the slower moving issues, you have time to go over each page at a decent pace, and why would you not want to? Regardless of what you think about the story, you couldn’t have asked for a better looking event.
These guys are in the eye of the storm, and it looks as if the best the good guys can hope for is a Pyrrhic victory here. Fraction has stepped things up in the last few issues, and I wish the plethora of tie-ins could reflect the same mood that the core title is giving off. So with one more issue left, let’s hope that the creative team closes it out with one strong issue. 4/5 – IS