Fear Itself #4


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Fear Itself #4


  • Words: Matt Fraction
  • Art: Stuart Immonen
  • Inks: Wade Von Grawbadger
  • Colors: Laura Martin
  • Story Title: Worlds on Fire
  • Publisher: Marvel Comics
  • Price: $3.99
  • Release Date: Jul 6, 2011

My worst fears about Matt Fraction’s Fear Itself have come true.  A bold and legitimate claim, to be sure.  With Marvel’s summer blockbuster officially half over, Matt Fraction needs to jam-pack the next three issues with more content, excitement, and exposition to salvage this snail-paced event.

Fear Itself #4 accomplishes little worth noting over its thirty or more pages, and even worse leaves personal favorite, Bucky Barnes, with no dignified resolution or sendoff.  The former Captain America is only shown in one half-page frame, and even then his death is quickly brushed aside by the Marvel Universe’s heavy hitters.  The forgetfulness of every character, including Steve Rogers, sends out signals that Bucky’s death was nothing more than a shock-ploy to sell copies of issue #3.  One hopes, however, that Fraction can give Bucky a meaningful resolution somewhere in the upcoming issues.

Bucky’s death, moreover, is far from the only problem with issue #4.  Like the preceding three issues, this issue is for all intents and purposes, pointless.  Fraction has revealed little history regarding Skadi or The Serpent, and “The Worthy” are nothing more than mindless, warmongering drones.  The opening pages of the issue, for example, feature The Serpent dictating lofty and vague ideas about fear and man’s imminent disintegration into chaos.  On the one hand, these ideas are fine and a decent setting for the story, but to be truly honest, this is issue #4 of 7 and Fraction should be long past the building stages and well into the second act, leading into the climax.  

Stuart Immonen’s art fares well enough to tell Matt Fraction’s story, but his great pencils alone cannot salvage the issue.  Frankly, it’s a typical superhero book with generous amounts of splash pages, battle scenes, and destruction.  While not being bad in any way, it is not truly all that great either.  

Comic book fans have seen events come and go.  They have seen great threats arise and plans to destroy the Earth foiled.  The Avengers have assembled in countless possible combinations under countless leaders.  And most importantly, shock deaths have almost become requisite each summer.  So what is the point of Fear Itself?  What makes this crossover unique and worthwhile?  Twenty years down the line, will anyone speak of Fear Itself?  Will anyone point to it and say “Wow, that was a great story!”?  Sadly, halfway through, the answer is no.

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