Fear Itself #3


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Fear Itself #3


  • Words: Matt Fraction
  • Art: Stuart Immonen
  • Inks: Wade Von Grawbadger
  • Colors: Laura Martin w/ Larry Molinar
  • Story Title: Fear Itself 3: The Hammer That Fell On Yancy Street
  • Publisher: Marvel Comics
  • Price: $3.99
  • Release Date: Jun 1, 2011

With each yearly event supposedly raising the stakes of the universe, it’s understandable for comic book readers to experience “event fatigue,” which is essentially the desire for comics to just be comics, without always having to have a huge world-threatening crossover. While Marvel’s Fear Itself is in fact one of these annual events, that doesn’t mean that it suffers for quality. Quite the contrary, really. This month’s Fear Itself #3 by Matt Fraction and Stuart Immonen raises the stakes in just about every way possible, but it never feels tired or contrived. In fact, Fear Itself feels like the most natural event to come out of comics in a while, with the event’s threads coming directly from the current plots of Iron Man, Captain America, and Thor. It doesn’t feel like the universe hit its brakes to tell this story, but rather shifted gears.

This issue of Fear Itself shows the effects the event is having all over the world, with various superheroes and teams fighting off "The Worthy," who are the hammer-wielding big bads of the series (though some of them are in fact heroes). Fraction does a good job of showing the heroes do their thing in a time of immense crisis. From Bucky-Cap taking on Sin/Skadi, to Red She-Hulk battling another of The Worthy in Brazil, collateral damage may be at an all-time high here. Immonen’s pencils are the best they’ve ever been in this series, showing personal struggles between Thor and Odin and gigantic battles in New York with the same amount of gravitas and care, but his inker (Grawbadger) and colorist (Martin) are what really make his work shine.

It is in this issue that things really begin moving forward, with the last of The Worthy being chosen and with major players entering the struggle. It’s clear that this is the big jump-off point for things to happen. Previous issues showed the world starting to fall into chaos, with Sin’s attack on America and the riots all over. They felt as if they were merely setting to stage for what happens here. Something to appreciate about Fear Itself is Marvel’s stance on the tie-ins, which is to say, that you don’t have to read them. From the beginning, Matt Fraction made it clear that this seven-issue miniseries is where all of the plot happens, and if you want to see more of the world crumbling, then it’s absolutely your choice to pick up the tie-ins.

This kind of stance on an event book is a refreshing one, though it’s not without faults. At the end of the issue, it still advertises that many of the fights with The Worthy are going to happen in various tie-in books, but what’s important to remember is, although those fights may enhance the story, you aren’t going to be missing the main plot if you were to just pick up Fear Itself. In the age of trade paperbacks, this is a welcome approach for readers looking to jump in, not fearing having to purchase multiple hardcovers just to get the story straight.

With Fear Itself #3, Matt Fraction and Stuart Immonen thrust the Marvel Universe into chaos, in a big budget, high-octane explosion-fest that still contains plenty of strong character moments. A major character is affected by this issue, one that you’ll have to pick up the issue to find out about. If you’re reading Iron Man, Captain America, or Thor, Fear Itself should be a natural purchase for you, as it comes very organically from those stores. If you’re simply looking for a big Marvel Universe crossover, this is an excellent example, and may be the best one in years.

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