Fear Itself

Fear Itself #7.1

by Alan Rapp on November 9, 2011

in Comics

fear-itself-7-1-coverIt’s no big secret that I wasn’t a big fan of Fear Itself (or as I like to call it Marvel Comics Hammertime). Nor do I usually give even a first glance to Marvel’s slate of .1 issues which seems like a really odd attempt to explain storylines that writers aren’t doing well in the monthly titles. So the fact that I even glanced at this issue, let alone bought it, might at first appear odd.

The issue (finally!) wraps up with the death of Bucky Barnes from Fear Itself #3 with Steve Rogers preparing the eulogy for Bucky-Cap’s funeral. It also includes a scene where Rogers beats the ever-living-crap out of Nick Fury. And a second where he threatens to give the spy a second beatdown. Why you ask? Spoilers follow!

Bucky isn’t dead. Yeah, you read that right. Fury used the last of the Infinity Formula to save his life (making him yet another Super Soldier… how many does Marvel Comics have now?) and covered up the incident to make it appear the wanted fugitive had died fighting Sin and her magic hammer. Needless to say Cap ain’t too happy about being lied to.

[click to continue…]

New Avengers #14

by Alan Rapp on July 20, 2011

in Comics

New Avengers 14I’ve been lukewarm to the entire Fear Itself storyline, but this is the first tie-in that I’ve really liked. And it’s not only because it manages to summarize the entire summer event in a single panel (though it does, marvelously). It’s because this is simply a darn good story, even if it is tied to an event I care little or nothing about. And even more unlikely, it’s centered around a character I’ve never given two shits about.

The entire issue is centered around Mockingbird coming to grips with being alive, reuniting with her New Avenger teammates, and trying her new found abilities out on Nazi robots. Yeah, that’s right, Nazi robots!

It seems Mockingbird was saved from certain death by a combination of some leftover version of Super Soldier Serum (which made Steve Rogers into Captain America) mixed with the Infinity Formula (which made Nick Fury effectively immortal) transforming a throwaway character into a possible major player in the Marvel Universe. I can’t believe I’m saying this, but I’m intrigued to see what will happen to the character next.

[click to continue…]

Fear Itself #4 (of 7)

by Alan Rapp on July 13, 2011

in Comics

Fear Itself #4One month later here’s what we know: Bucky Barnes is still dead, the world is still going to Hell, Thor is back, and so far no one actually has a plan on how to stop an evil God of Fear from playing Hammertime all over the Marvel Universe. Oh yeah, and Steve Rogers is Captain America, again.

I’ve felt indifferent to most of Fear Itself, and although I certanly didn’t love this issue it has a couple of points of interest besides Steve Rogers becoming Captain America and the reuniting of the Avengers big three.

Bucky’s death scene, though short (and nowhere near as lovingly told as the Red Hulk’s) works quite well. It’s also telling that Steve Rogers can’t be in the same room with Bucky’s body or, even though he manages to don the costume, still can’t bring himself to put on Captain America’s mask.

We also learn that Thor is destined to die (or, die as much as a God actually can in the Marvel Universe), and are witness to Tony Stark debasing himself in front of Odin by draining a bottle of booze (as plans go, not the brightest he’s ever had). Worth a look.

[Marvel, $3.99]

Avengers #14

by Alan Rapp on June 21, 2011

in Comics

avengers-14-coverThis Fear Itself tie-in has quite a bit going for it, but in the end doesn’t quite work when it asks the reader to care about a character that’s only slightly less ridiculous than Rocket Racer. The entire issues centers around the retelling of the Red Hulk‘s battle with Hammertime Ben Grimm outside of Avengers Tower.

The fight itself works well, as does the opening capturing the uncertainty of the other members of the team at Steve Rogers‘ choice to make Red Hulk an Avenger. What doesn’t quite work is the apparent (i.e. not really) end of the Red Hulk at the hands of the possessed Thing.

I don’t mind the elevated nature as the heroes say kind words about the Red Hulk for apparently (but not really) giving his life in a futile cause, but given the level of reference displayed here you’d think they were talking about someone on the level of Captain America (all the more empty given the absence of any body foreshadowing that this isn’t the end of the character). Good idea. Bad execution. Hit-and-Miss.

[Marvel, $3.99]

Fear Itself #3 (of 7)

by Alan Rapp on June 6, 2011

in Comics

fear-itself-3-coverEarth is going to Hell. The Gods of Asgard have abandoned the realm to return to Asgard and begin readying for a war whose first casualty will be the planet Earth. All across the world heroes and villains are picking up magic hammers and becomes mindless slaves (or sometimes not, a little consistency please) to the All-Father of Fear.

However, none of that is what this issue, and it appears ultimately this entire mini-series, will be remembered for. We knew Marvel was going to find a way to get Steve Rogers back into the role of Captain America before Marvel’s big budget summer flick hit screens this summer. What we didn’t know was what would happen to Bucky Barnes. Now we do. And it’s not pretty.

After returning the character to the comics for the first time in decades and actually finding a way to make me care about Captain America’s former sidekick, Ed Brubaker isn’t even on hand when Marvel Comics and writer Matt Fraction decide to kill him at the hands of the Red Skull’s daughter. Sigh. It may be worth a look, but don’t expect it to be a pleasant one.

[Marvel, $3.99]