Fear Itself: The Fearless #3

As Valkyrie and Sin continue their search for the discarded weapons of The Worthy, the Secret Avengers come up against some foes who might not be so accommodating of their intentions.

While "The Fearless" initially looked to be a relatively interesting continuation of "Fear Itself" following the logical ramifications of so many Asgardian weapons being up for grabs, the truth isn't so clean cut. For the most part, this series is being dragged down by the inclusion of Marvel's strange pantheon of Vampires, who have appeared sporadically for the last two years and always felt like the result of some executive's idea that "Vampires are cool, why aren't we doing more vampire stories?"

At last, after two issues of characters going to where they want to go, people have actually started arriving and the plot appears to have started for real. Sin and Crossbones have a plan for the hammers, while Valkyrie's attempts to collect them are in trouble already. It's a shame that as the heroic lead of this series, Valkyrie's role isn't very sympathetic, as she ends up looking like the bad guy in front of her teammates and friends.

If the story isn't working especially well, at least the artwork is good from page to page. The flashback sequences would feel like unwelcome interruptions without Pelletier's artwork, and Bagley's presence is always enjoyable, regardless of what he's drawing. The nazi rituals and Norse/Germanic period pieces give it a unique flavor, which is a definite plus point in selling the series as something that occupies its own space in the Marvel Universe, rather than being a story that could be told in another title.

It's to the writing team's credit that they don't spin out the threat of Carter's demise too long, instead using it as a springboard to bigger events. After all, if Carter were going to die, we'd have known about it long before hand, so why pretend it's going to happen? It's nice to see a writer build tension without the crutch of a death, and properly manage cliffhangers so they aren't anti-climatic.

Although the plot is still nascent and the lead characters largely hard to get excited about (except Crossbones, who radiates malice with every word) "The Fearless" is losing its initial momentum and right now appears to be running on the energy supplied by its artists. It's tough to say whether there were simply too many contributors or whether the idea was perhaps mis-sold, but while this isn't a bad series, it's certainly not the series I was hoping for.

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