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Fear Itself #6 – Review

By: Matt Fraction (writer), Stuart Immonen (pencils), Wade von Grawbadger (inks), Laura Martin (colors), Chris Eliopoulos (letters), Lauren Sankovitch (assistant editor) & Tom Brevoort (editor)

The Story: The finish line is in sight as the Avengers rally to take on the Serpent and his minions.

What’s good: Well, at this point, we have to look for silver linings because this “event” hasn’t been very good.  Not atrocious, mind you….but not worthy of having 80+ associated titles and disrupting all the other Marvel ongoings.

But….there is one good thing about this issue and that is the anticipation of what’s next!  Something is going to happen here at the end.  It may not be something you like and it may not be an event where you’ve enjoyed the path to get there, but it will be a happening that impacts the Marvel Universe.  And, isn’t that the whole purpose of the line-wide event?  With mainstream superhero comics, the anticipation is usually better than the actual product anyway.

Thus ends the “search for the silver lining” part of the review.

The art is also pretty good.  It isn’t the best Immonen that we’ve ever seen, but even if he is a little rushed (or bored by the story, perhaps?), this is a very attractive comic book.  And you cannot beat Laura Martin colors.

What’s not so hot: The first panel of this issue is all kinds of a mess that just set the issue down the wrong path.  It features the Avengers carrying Thor (no Spoiler here since they’ve been teasing the hell out of this scene).  It has all the look of a medical evacuation because Steve Rogers is bellowing, “Man Down!  Man Down!!”  What the hell is that all about?  Is a medic going to pop out to administer CPR to the fallen God of Thunder?  It’s a nonsensical bit of dialog.  Why would Cap say that?  And, the panel features the entire team carrying Thor.  I could see Cap and Hawkeye having to work together to pick Thor up, but they also have Ms. Marvel and Luke Cage helping out.  Luke could just pick up Thor by himself and Carol could fly away with him.   Wouldn’t they just get annoyed with Hawkeye “helping” the way we kinda get annoyed when a child “helps” us move the couch and you have to carry it from a weird angle just to let the kid help?  Dumb scene…

Loads of other annoyances in this issue: This fixation on what the common man will think when they see the Avengers retreating, Cap acting all kinds of pissy with Odin, the Worthy being summoned back to the Serpent’s side without a single transitional panel showing them making the trip (they just appear in a line up) and the tease of Iron Man’s weapons being finally revealed next issue…..ugh.

The biggest problem is that this “event” was a very thin idea.  Odin’s long lost brother (who we’ve never heard of before) shows up, gives a bunch of dudes hammers who will be defeated by Avengers with super Asgard weapons.  Fraction may surprise us, but I’m expecting something cliche like Cap getting an Asgardian shield (with Hawkeye getting a bow and Luke Cage getting a super chain).  This isn’t a “bad” story, but it just isn’t complex enough to be merit a 7-issue miniseries, much less all the related miniseries and hijacking all the ongoings.  This should have been a 2-month crossover amongst the Avengers/Iron Man/Thor titles.

Conclusion: The art is still pretty good, but it can’t make up for a story that is too lightweight to be called an “event” and some cringe-worthy dialog (“Man Down!”).  On the positive side, it is almost over and you can be pretty sure that something will happen that is important to the Marvel Universe.

Grade: C-

- Dean Stell

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18 Responses

  1. Want to see Newsarama kiss Marvel’s ass shamelessly?

    “Newsarama: Matt, Tom, we’re officially in the home stretch of Fear Itself, and based on the online reactions I’ve seen for issue #6, it seems that there was a noticeable amount of people who had been a little bit on the fence about the series and were won over by this issue.”

    Who? Really….who?

  2. I almost wonder, since this is the last event spearheaded by Joe Q, if Alonso just doesn’t care. I mean, I can’t blame him if that’s the case. They took a weak shell of an idea to simply cross-promote Cap/Thor with the movies coming out and tried to turn that into a major crossover event. Alonso seems to have bigger ideas up his sleeve and this is just cleaning up after the last boss.

  3. God, what a wretched and boring series this has been. No wonder comic sales continue to die a slow death. The $3.99 price point is only part of the reason why – the main reason is decompression and lousy writing and plotting. If story lines were more compressed and the writing was crisp and interesting (and I don’t mean inane banter while sitting around the dinner table) then the pain of a $3.99 price point would be lessened. This kind of crap is not worth $2.99, much less $3.99. Nuff said!!!

    • I swear….this is pretty amazing. No one seems to like this series at all. Usually there will still be 20-30% of folks who like it, but it really doesn’t seem to be the case here.

  4. I loved the take on Captain America in this issue. This is what Captain America having a nervous breakdown looks like!

  5. havent read it, never will now, but i did see and read the man down thing and cap with a shotgun i think? isnt he never supposed to use guns? and excuse me but what will a shotgun do to these ultra super powered bad guys, i dont know.

    • Oh, don’t even get me started on the gun at the end. Character issues aside, it hit one of my pet peeves about comic art and that’s how most artists can’t draw a proper gun. That gun is so screwed up it is like drawing a car with square wheels because there is no way it could function. That’s kinda a shared flaw by Fraction and Immonen….Some writers copy/paste images into the script to show the artist what they have in mind instead of it being a vague “gun” and Immonen clearly doesn’t know anything about guns, but he’s a professional artist and he should ask.

      • Also, Cap has other shields. What happened to that hard light shield we saw him use while Bucky was Cap? And really, he has no other shields? How come Taskmasker, US Agent, and a dozen others have Cap-like shields but he only has the one. Sure, they might not all be made of Vibranium and I don’t know what else to make him so shocked a god could break it. But he had to have something.

        And….why didn’t Tony make Cap an enchanted shield? He made boots for Wolverine, couldn’t make Cap a shield powered by the gods to fight a god? Yep…we’re totally thinking things through, aren’t we?

        • It’s really bad isn’t it We could probably all team up and write a 3000 word piece on problems with Fear Itself.

          The thing that pisses me off is that I did the “all in” on this thing. I bought all the miniseries. I already get most of the ongoings, but picked up a few issues that I don’t normally get. And now I feel kinda shit upon. It just wasn’t a good thing.

          Hopefully they’ll pull something interesting out at the end that will at least serve to make for some stories in the future.

  6. The blurb on issue 6 said that Spider-Man would make the biggest decision in his life…where was that? They surely weren’t talking about his talk with Aunt May, right?

  7. What I found in this issue is that nothing tremendous happens. I mean, for a six-issue build-up, we get weapons. Okay.

    The “man-down” thing bothered me because after Cap shouts it out, he then goes into “we can scare the civilians by running.” Certainly yelling, “man down” involving Thor wouldn’t have rattled any spirits. Yes, it was for emotion, but it could’ve been done another way.

    Spider-Man’s scenes were sort of useless too. I mean, unless he comes back in the final issue and saves the day, the whole Aunt May bit could’ve been cut.

    For a mini-series, I’m looking at is as a whole. Paris is depopulated, Nova Scotia is destroyed. Thousands of people are dead – maybe even millions. I don’t think this really is going to change the heroes as much as it is going to change the status quo of the world they’re in. It’ll be interesting to say the least.

    At least out of this, Alpha Flight was confirmed as an on-going series. . .

  8. This has been such a stinker. The other thing is that I’m trying to emotionally distance myself from some of these comments that Fraction has been giving in interviews about how his takes on these classic characters should be different than other takes. I’ve just read all of that to say, “I really don’t care about what happened in the past…I’m going to do it my way.” And, that works fine when you’re writing Iron Fist, but when you handle an event with all these characters in a shared universe, you have to do better.

    Also, just so you know….I do have a system for grading these things. I start with a C and I’ll give or subtract up to an entire letter grade for both the art and the scripting. I gave this 1/3 of a letter grade for art and then subtracted 2/3 of a letter grade for the scripting. Basically, my system means that if you have a good artist, it’s hard to REALLY suck.

  9. Not a bad issue. Definitely loved the scene when Steve was holding a gun Lets hope for a strong finish but please lets finish this event.

  10. Dead on, Dean. Though even a C- is generous. I really hope this is the last time Fraction is given the reigns to an event. This issue felt like a tie-in issue. Like there was some main event happening somewhere else and we just got back story for it. Actually, it was more like a Frontline vignette showing what all the heroes did between two real issues. At this point, even if the final issue is phenomenal, the event was a failure. One good issue can’t save six crappy ones.

    • Fear Itself had such promise but has ended up being utterly forgettable and mediocre.

      They should give the reigns to Hickman, next time around. There’s a dude that can handle massive storylines.

      • Exactly. The thing is I don’t want Hickman to crash and burn with a major event like Matt Fraction. He just has too many projects on his plate.

        Another forgettable event

      • I really want to see Brubaker write an event. Sadly, I think Fraction has proved that he’s not so much an architect as he is a bricklayer.

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