Fear Itself in Review

Marvel Fear Itself

Image by jbj via Flickr

So the reviews for Fear Itself #7 are in.

(Warning: Spoilers)

It’s been a long while since Fear Itself #1 hit stands. The first two issues were criticised for the slow build up, and the remaining chapters were lacking in emotion and substance. For the series to be redeemed, Fear Itself #7 would need to go out with a huge bang. The reviews are now in, and does the final chapter to Matt Fraction‘s mega event deliver a truly spectacular conclusion?

Not really. The feedback to Fear Itself #7 is that it while it is an action packed finale, full of breathtaking moments, it’s also an example of everything that’s gone wrong with the series so far. Major moments such as the creation of the ‘Mighty’ (The Avengers wielding both Asgardian and Stark technology) and Captain America lifting Thor’s hammer Mjolnir are underplayed as the issue tries to do too much with the time that has. I never felt like the stakes were really high, as the Marvel Universe has become a safer place to be now death has relatively no meaning.

Fraction said that he didn’t have Steve dwelling on Bucky‘s death from Fear Itself #4 onwards, because it would have distracted from the chaos the characters were in. That just doesn’t make any sense. Surely Steve mourning over Bucky would have added the drama and substance that the event was lacking. I for one would have believed the team were under a serious threat more so if the characters were deeply affected. Steve more or less admitted defeat at one point. Fraction just needed to go further with that and this series would have been much better. I wanted to see more of what was going on in Steve’s mind, especially since his former partner had been killed, and his shield broken.

I am also disappointed at how characters like The Thing and Thor were handled. Bucky wasn’t the only character victim to poor writing. Ben Grimm never got a chance to truly reflect on his time as one of the ‘Worthy’ instead he was forgiven almost instantly as if nothing had happened, whereas Thor was victim to some poor dialogue and another typical comic book death. Marvel are really shooting themselves in the foot recently with their over-usage of character deaths and resurrections. We know Thor will back next year, so his death lacks any real meaning.

I know it seems like I am being overly critical towards Fear Itself. To its credit, it was nice to have an event that wasn’t written by Brian Bendis. That’s as much praise as I can give it. How can I get invested into a series when Marvel have already released teasers for what’s to come next?  I feel like the upcoming Ultron War has received more build up already than what Fear Itself ever got.

I’m beginning to turn over to the Ultimate Universe. There, death is real and has real consequences. Take for instance the death of Ultimate Spider-Man. It was brilliant storytelling as it wraps Peter Parker‘s arc brilliantly. Miles Morales is already winning fans over which suggests Peter’s death will last a long while. Which is more than I can say for any character in the 616 Universe. The Ultimate Universe is a place where anything can happen, and it’s what I’ll be reading from now on.

    • Charles Francis
    • October 27th, 2011

    Excellent review Simon!
    I agree with alot of what you said. In fact, I think you may have been a little easy on Marvel.
    What made me the most angry about the finale, was the fact that Marvel sells the double sized finale, but only 60% or so was comic. The rest was advertisement for “All the super cool stuff that comes after Fear Itself!” I felt SUPER robbed.
    After Civil War, I put down comics for a while, cause I thought that was crap (well an ok idea executed crapily) I almost put down comics again after reading the Fear Itself finale. If it wasn’t for Schism, and the good direction the X-books seem to be going, I probably would have.

    • Thanks for your comment, I agree with you about the X-books carrying Marvel in terms of quality recently. Fear Itself was a big opportunity for Matt Fraction and he blew it. How does he expect anyone to be excited for the post Fear Itself stuff like Battle Scars and The Fearless when the event was so poor? I’m personally going to avoid any Marvel events for a while. Only one I enjoyed was Civil War (which was ruined by editorial decisions. Why couldn’t Thor and Hawkeye be in it?) I feel bad Matt Fraction because now we’re likely to be stuck with Bendis for all Marvel events in the future.

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