Fear Itself has got its work cut out for it.
Marvel's latest event is coming off of years of underwhelming events like Secret Invasion and Siege. Together with the all-too real concern of "event fatigue", I'm coming into this book with understandable trepidation. I'm tired of hoping I'll get better, and tired of events filling me with promise only to be found wanting.
But Fear Itself has got one thing going for it: it's not written by Brian Bendis.
This time, the event is handled by writer Matt Fraction, which already makes this book refreshing. It's his time to shine with a story of fear, unrest and Odin's dark secret. The Red Skull's daughter Sin has awakened the god of fear, and the world waits with bated breath the answer to the question: who are "The Worthy"?
Fear Itself #1 lays out the foundations of the story well enough. There's fear everywhere, Odin's batshit insane now, and the god of fear has been awakened, and is calling down enchanted hammers from the heavens to serve as weapons for "The Worthy". High concept stuff, really. At this point I don't know why people are going crazy, or why Odin is acting like a big douchebag, but I AM asking 'why', and it's that curiosity that makes or breaks this book. Fraction makes us care, and it helps that the future solicits promises of people hitting each other with giant hammers. And for a comic fan, that's awesome.
If there's one thing I can credit Marvel, its that they know which artists to put in their event books. Fear Itself is drawn by Stuart Immonen, and it's quite possibly his best work to date. His art is crisp and clean, his storytelling solid, and his action is fun to look at. Thor's throwdown with his pappy Odin in particular is brimming with power. Gorgeous stuff, and I can't wait for Immonen to flex his artistic muscles some more when the Worthy start wrecking stuff in the next few issues.
Fear Itself promises to be epic. Already the first book told more story than the first three issues of Secret Invasion put together! Will this be the change that fans are looking for? It's too early to say. All in all, it's interesting, and that's more than I can say for a Marvel event book. I give this a 3.5 out of 5.