Fear Itself

fear itself cover trade paperback tpb
6.0 Overall Score
Story: 5/10
Art: 8/10

Good Stuart Immonen art, better than some of the big Marvel crossover titles of recent years

Still breaks down into a big fight that seems unsatisfying

Comic Info

Comic Name:  Fear Itself/Fear Itself Prologue:  Book of the Skull

Publisher:  Marvel Comics

Writer:  Matt Fraction/Ed Brubaker

Artist:  Stuard Immonen/Scot Eaton

# of Issues:  8

Release Date:   2012


Fear Itself Prologue: Book of the Skull #1

Reprints Fear Itself Prologue:  Book of the Red Skull #1 and Fear Itself #1-7 (May 2011-December 2011).  The Red Skull’s daughter Sin has uncovered one of her father’s World War II research projects that could change the world.  Asgard is trying to rebuild, and Odin realizes a prophesy appears to be coming true that could cost Thor his life.  As the Serpent rises, the Avengers find themselves at odds with a group called the Worthy who all possess hammers with the might of Thor’s Mjolnir.  Will Odin and Asgard help save the Earth or could they mean its destruction?

Written by Matt Fraction and Ed Brubaker, Fear Itself is a Marvel Comics event series collection.  The volume collects Fear Itself Prologue:  Book of the Red Skull #1 (written by Ed Brubaker with art by Scot Eaton) and the Fear Itself limited series (written by Matt Fraction with art by Stuart Immonen).  The collection does not include Fear Itself #7.1-7.3 or the tie-in books.

Fear Itself was a bit better than I expected it to be.  I’ve grown pretty tired of these big crossover events and Fear Itself seemed like another one that just ruined the momentum of the comics I like such as Avengers Academy.  The set-up for Fear Itself is kind of interesting with the different hammers and some heroes becoming villains for “the Serpent”.  It also holds the dramatic death of Captain America aka Bucky…who promptly was resurrected taking away any real meaning from the death.  Fear Itself does degrade into uneven fighting that is supposed to be expanded upon in the spin-off series and tie-ins.  The final battle seems like a mess but with high and low moments.


Fear Itself #2

I do like Fear Itself better than many of the recent events like Civil War, Secret Invasion, The Heroic Age, or Siege, but all these series have the same problem.  They have to break down to a giant fight (or two) that rages for a whole issue and lack any real story.  They also rely on you understanding all the comics tying into the core limited series for the core limited series to make sense.  If you are reading the lead in books and not the main series, they stop making sense and become virtually unreadable (like the Fear Itself issues of The Avengers).  This is no way to build readers or keep readers.  It just sours everyone to both books.

Fortunately, the core story of Fear Itself makes more sense than Secret Invasion or Civil War, and it is backed up by fantastic art Stuart Immonen.  Immonen’s art is really strong and smartly conveys the action going on in the story.  If nothing else, the comic is worth reading for the nice art.  I’m happy that they went with him for the series instead of tapping into the more common mainstays at Marvel.

I’m not saying Fear Itself was great, but it is readable.  I am actually curious about some of the spin-offs having read this, but the series wasn’t compelling enough for me to really seek them out.  I do wish that the comics would give us a break in the action to let series develops.  DC’s New 52 initiative probably is going to change things for Marvel due to its success.  If Marvel wants these big series to work, they have to find a way to make them either more accessible to mass readers or find a way not to tick off the core readers in other books.  I still argue that Marvel’s space series did it the best with the Annihilation series which kept a good core story and kept the series that tied into it making some sense.  Check out Fear Itself for its art, but don’t expect a ton from the story.

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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