This is it. The penultimate chapter in Marvel’s biggest Summer event series. ‘Fear Itself’ #6 ended with the heroes of Earth preparing to make a stand against “The Serpent”, the Asgardian brother of Odin who was planning to destroy Earth on his way to conquer Asgard. Meanwhile Odin was planning to destroy Earth himself to bar his brother from ever reaching Asgard. The meat of this extra-sized issue is that final epic battle. The heroes are given weapons forged by Iron Man in the pits of Asgard to match the mystic hammers of the Serpent’s forces. While Earth’s heroes do battle with the Serpent’s minions led by Sin, Thor takes on the lead villain himself. As is to be expected in any epic event done in that true Marvel style, heroes fall protecting the earth (I won’t spoil it for you by telling you who so don’t worry.) and the status quo of the Marvel Universe is altered as other heroes, mainly the Hulk, get some major changes.
I wanted to like ‘Fear Itself’. I really did. Other than Spider-Man, I have been away from Marvel for so long until this past year. I thought that an epic crossover would be just what I needed to play catch-up with the rest of the heroes that I don’t read on a regular basis. I’d read ‘Civil War’ in trades and was very impressed with the way that one was handled. The same, sadly, can’t be said of ‘Fear Itself’.
The series started off with a decent intro but progressively got worse each issue. There were some issues where the tension and action looked like they might salvage something from this series before it lost its touch. But alas… it didn’t. In a book featuring Marvel’s mightiest heroes doing battle with Gods, I was shocked that I read the final issue not really caring about what was going to happen. Something about the way it was handled never really got me invested in these characters. Maybe, as is the downfall of too many “event” books, the heart of ‘Fear Itself’ was spread too thin over the many tie-in books. I don’t know. But when a two page spreads of battle, heroes crying over the fallen, and slaying epic dragons can’t move me… something is wrong. If there’s anything to be salvaged from the story of ‘Fear Itself’, it is in one of the multiple epilogues featuring the Hulk that makes me interested in the character again. But even that twist seems derivative after what Scott Snyder did with the ‘Swamp Thing’ over in DC’s New 52.
While all my criticism is aimed at the writing in ‘Fear Itself’, I can’t hate the book totally. The art from Stuart Immonen is beautiful to behold. He does give us some great images despite the fact that I don’t really care about what’s happening in them. I would like to see more of Immonen in the future. I just hope that he gets a better story to back up his art.
With ‘Fear Itself’ over, Marvel is already beginning to ramp up for 2012’s event books with ‘Avengers: X-Sanction’ and their ‘Point One’ title that is supposed to be a jumping on point for both new readers as well as a set-up for what is coming. I just hope that 2012’s events are better than ‘Fear Itself’.
Fear Itself #7
Written by MATT FRACTION
Art by STUART IMMONEN
Cover by STEVE MCNIVEN, STUART IMMONEN, and BILLY TAN