Thursday, June 2, 2011

Comic Reviews: Fear Itself #2 and 3

Time for another comic review run. It's been a while, but what I'm about to review isn't exactly a shocker to me despite the "big scene" involved. I'm not going to lie to you. Since the past few issues of Marvel Solicitations have been teasing what's to come in the months ahead, I was expecting the inevitable to happen to a certain hero in the pages of Fear Itself. I just picked up the latest issue a night ago, and reading through it, I felt the ending was sort of anti-climactic. It could have been handled differently, but given the need to bring up the pace in this story, I suppose it couldn't have gone down any other way. Consider this a SPOILER review (especially for issue #3), and anyone who's seen the covers has an idea who the person in question is.

Fear Itself #2

It's been a month since I've gotten my hands on this issue, but I felt obligated to review it nevertheless. Compared to the first book, this one lacked the pace and presented itself more as exposition material. We see Odin and Thor arguing some more, until the All-Father decides his son should be imprisoned for his treason, then afterwards setting into motion plans to confront the Serpent by leading Asgard and purge Earth in the process. Meanwhile, many of Earth's heroes and villains are stunned by the strange hammers that have landed in different parts of the world. Several of them respond with curiosity by touching it, and those worthy are turned into avatars of the Serpent's army. The Hulk, Titania, and Juggernaut are just a few of those superpowered individuals turned, and more are teased to come in succeeding panels. Meanwhile, Sin/ Skadi leads her army into the heart of America's capital: Washington DC. With the mist of chaos engulfing the Earth, even Steve Rogers and his team of Avengers are in the dark on what comes next.

Honestly, I found this chapter a tad disappointing. Again, it was all about exposition, and the obvious facts of who's going to be "worthy" to lift one of the Serpent's hammers was spoiled by the covers solicited. This may be my least favorite issue early on, but that's not to say it's entirely bad either. Matt Fraction certainly paces things slowly given the seven-issue arc he has to spread out, and he delivers the tension well for a Thor themed story. I would've wanted to see more of Iron Man given his impressive run on it a few years ago, but I think he's saving that up for the next few issues. Stuart Immonen handles the art duties nicely, and while it may not look as epic at first glance, it will suffice. Overall, decent issue, but not an eye catcher.

Rating - 2/5

Fear Itself #3

Now THIS is where things heat up, and again, a MAJOR SPOILER to anyone who wants to read the issue for themselves. Something big happens here to one of Marvel's heroes, and while his own comic has yet to explain how he got out of his current predicament, we see the inevitable take place.


James "Bucky" Barnes, aka the new Captain America, is dealt a mortal blow by Skadi after clashing with her and the Serpent's forces while defending Washington. He fights valiantly and leads the charge alongside Black Widow and The Falcon, but he is soon overwhelmed by the power of a God, and soon the former Cap's partner is dismantled and summarily struck down by his opponent. In the midst of the chaos around the world, more superhumans become avatars of the Serpent. Chief among these are the Absorbing Man and FF's Thing, who now have no will of their own but their new master's to follow. With the enemy's forces growing and humanity in peril, Thor's allies manage to spring him from captivity and help him plan a return to Earth. Unfortunately, Odin enters the scene, and after a final talk with his son, banishes him back to Midgard to suffer the same fate as the humans once Asgard attacks... with Mjolnir in tow.

All I can say is I already knew it would happen. With all of the teases pointed out in Marvel's solicitations, something big would have to happen to Bucky to get Steve Rogers back in his role as Captain America next month (and just in time for the new movie I might add). Again, it seems so anti-climactic, and after enjoying a handful of years seeing the new Cap kick ass, I wouldn't have wanted to see him go down like this. Captain America scribe Ed Brubaker should've been given the reigns to do that, but since Fear Itself is Matt Fraction's vehicle, I'm glad he was the one behind the wheel at least. Stuart Immonen does great again with all the visuals despite my reservations, and he did draw for the New Avengers before, so it's all good with the "Death of Cap II" department. I doubt it's going to send headlines around like what happened to Steve Rogers in the aftermath of Civil War, but it will surely make fans sad that he has passed... or has he? Let's just wait and see for the next issue to come.

Rating - 3/5

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