Fear Itself #6

For yet another issue, nothing of substantial consequence happens. This series began with such great promise, but has fizzled over the past two (or more) issues.

Matt Fraction steps into the abyss of inaction and tries to supply some character moments. Most of those moments are further out of character than they were in the previous issue, and the ones that are more on target with the character are shoehorned into this book where more action or battle would have better served.

After Odin has been brashly challenged by Tony Stark, Fraction displays Odin as being surprised by what Steve Rogers has to say to him. Hardly the Allfather in action there if one of the most prolific legends of Midgard can catch the old man by surprise. I'll spare you the analysis of Spider-Man's plight in this issue as it is just so ripe with potential to ruin things Marvel has struggled to "set right" with that character, and I won't even get started on inventory of the Asgardian army that might not ever be deployed.

Like the previous six issues, however, this book is not completely without merit. Stuart Immonen brings some great art to this issue, but he's limited by the story. This should be a big, Earth-shattering, mind-blowing story with characters flying all over the place, with appearances by characters we haven't seen in months or years, but instead Immonen has an assortment of maybe a dozen heroes to draw in one dramatic talking pose after another. Want to see Immonen draw Captain America bawling out Odin? Right here. Want to see Cap kicking butt, hurling his shield, and using seven decades of fighting experience and ability? Sorry. Try somewhere else, although if it were here, there is no doubt that Immonen and colorist Laura Martin would certainly make it look awesome. The two stars on this review are all yours, Stuart Immonen. You've earned them.

On the final page, Captain America hurls some epithets that are rather uncommon for the star-spangled Avenger, but the most shocking "surprise" of that last panel is two of the Chosen is missing. Marvel claims that you will receive a complete story in their event books, but when that "complete" story is missing not only two critical elements of the story but two of the most beloved characters of the entire Marvel Universe - characters recognizable to even the most casual non-readers, no less! - then something just isn't right.

Unfortunately, that something just so happens to be this series. I liked the promise that was offered in these pages back in issue #1, but that promise has been broken, discarded into the mud, and fossilized. The final issue has a pretty deep hole to try and climb out of.

This book devolved from a great story with dazzling art to a sampler of Marvel's higher-priced monthly books. Want to finish a story thread that started in "Fear Itself?" Try reading "Avengers," "Iron Man 2.0," (Has Rhodey even appeared in this main series?!) or "New Avengers." Or make it up yourself, draw it out on some copy paper, and pretend your version happened. You might be happier that way.

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