In the midst of the serpent’s global attack, a terrorist group from Britain named S.T.R.I.K.E steals Norman Osborn’s prototype Helicarrier. With the Avengers in disarray, only Wolverine is around to stop them, aided by his current beau (and freelance reporter) Melita Garner.
We first meet Wolverine as he takes down token villain, the Scarecrow, before receiving a call from Captain America that puts him on his latest assignment. New to Marvel, Seth Peck is nonetheless quite confident with Wolverine’s current status quo, depicting his relationship with Melita as spiky and adversarial, but healthy at the same time. It’s clear why Wolverine might be attracted to her, and she to him.
In particular, there’s some nice material about their opposing positions on information freedom – Wolverine’s is a more pragmatic, practical one, while Melita’s is a more idealistic take – but we never get the sense that Peck is rooting for one over the other, letting the characters speak for themselves. They eventually reach an agreement which moves the plot forward (although one wonders whether Tony Stark would be very pleased to know Wolverine is letting a freelance reporter into the Avengers files.)
Although the S.T.R.I.K.E. mercenaries are, at this point, fairly generic villains, there’s potential in their characters. Experience suggests we won’t see them developed far enough over the course of a three-issue mini to offer any particular connection, but then the ending to this issue suggests that they’re not really the threat here, so maybe it’s not going to be a problem.
Artistically, there’s little to write home about. Boschi does well to make Peck’s heavy exposition work visually, while Brown’s colors are serviceable if uninspiring.
The one big problem with “Fear Itself: Wolverine,” however, is exactly the same one which has afflicted so many of Marvel’s crossover tie-in minis over the last few years: it’s simply got nothing to do with “Fear Itself”.
Once again, the event itself is being used as a backdrop for an entirely unrelated story. There’s arguably a thematic link, in that the lead characters are terrorists (who operate by inspiring fear) but that’s a tenuous link to the most tenuous element of “Fear Itself.” This might well turn out to be a perfectly serviceable Wolverine story – and certainly, it’ll sell better off the back of the crossover – but all things considered, it’s probably not going to be the story that readers are expecting.