Fear Itself: The Fearless #1


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Fear Itself: The Fearless #1


  • Words: Cullen Bunn, Matt Fraction, Chris Yost
  • Art: Paul Pelletier, Mark Bagley
  • Inks: Danny Miki, Andy Lanning
  • Colors: Matthew Wilson
  • Publisher: Marvel Comics
  • Price: $2.99
  • Release Date: Oct 19, 2011

After the fallout of Fear Itself, two women hold the fate of the world in their hands, but readers lose out either way.

When it comes to event books, there's always a little bit of fallout. Flashpoint begat the mysterious woman in the New 52, Secret Invasion led to the Dark Reign overarching storyline, and Final Crisis had the Final Crisis: Aftermath followup miniseries. For Fear Itself, Marvel's decided to spread things out. Beyond three Point One-esque books in the main Fear Itself series, there is both a Battle Scars miniseries and a The Fearless miniseries. Both are slated to run for six months, with Battle Scars being a monthly and The Fearless being a biweekly. Valkyrie and Sin are at odds in this miniseries, in a race for the weapons forged by the Gods to either save the world or destroy it. Given that these are two characters that have featured heavily in other books (Secret Avengers and Captain America), the choice was to either play their stories out in those books, or let them share a common mission in their own miniseries. The decision was clear; spin them off into their own story, and let those who don't care about these dangling plot lines avoid having them played out for an additional half-year.

Given the mixed reactions to Fear Itself, it's good to see that Marvel's taken this route. After reading the first issue of The Fearless, there's no real desire to keep up with this storyline for another half of a year.

Plot-wise, the issue hinges on a few oddities. Captain America seems largely distrustful of someone he's fought valiantly alongside for years. The scene with Crossbones seems rather disconnected, until Sin's singular panel appearance in the book relates it back to the hammers and the costars. It's a setup issue for sure, it just doesn't paint out an adventure we really want to see. This whole miniseries could have been cleared up if Fear Itself ended with the hammers returned to Asgard or otherwise incapacitated, but a series focusing on two characters that honestly didn't even net much screen time in the series? Sin was possessed, and Valkyrie's strongest issue was in a tie-in. While they're both female relations to the stars of Fear Itself (Sin to Captain America as Valkyrie is to Thor), we're given a television miniseries that couldn't get the stars of the big blockbuster movie. Arguably, greater problems come from Fraction only having a hand in the story process, and Stuart Immonen's wonderful pencils removed in place of a pair of artists trying to keep a consistent look together on a tight deadline.

With the art side of things, it seems rushed. Partially because any book on a tight schedule such as this (twelve issues in six months) will suffer in some form with the art, Pelletier and Bagley turn in good enough art for publication, but nowhere near as great as they could do without a time or page restriction. Give either one of them a full book on a monthly schedule, and you'd get a focus, drive, and visual continuity that half a book in half the time doesn't allow. Pelletier's not the clearest of artists; look at the last page featuring Crossbones and Sin and tell me who's tossing whom what; both characters have a line regarding the other one taking something from them, and the visual could either (likely) be Crossbones dropping a USB drive into Sin's hand, or Sin tossing upward a drive (or device, or pack of chewing gum) to Crossbones. Bagley, on the other hand, clearly works best when it comes to working off the dialogue-laden scripts of Brian Michael Bendis; when given intimate dialogue set in large swaths of destruction, the aftermath of battle is completely abandoned at times for clouds of dust in the background.

Fear Itself: The Fearless is not a story that needs to be told. The battle scars have been set, and Sin and Valkyrie will invariably carry them in their own personal adventures in later stories. Invariably, this is another example of a comic book company not knowing when to let sleeping dogs lie. The event is over, folks; nothing to see here.

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