First off I want to say that Fraction’s script was solid and Immonen’s pencils where stellar as usual. That being said, this issue didn’t thrill me.
This is the beginning of a Marvel event that’s marketed as being on the level of Civil War. My problem, besides the pacing, is that there’s no big bang, no “Shit Just Got Real” moment. Look at this issue and compare it to Avengers #500 (the start of Disassembled), Civil War #1, Secret Invasion #1 and Siege #1.
One could argue that the Norse gods running away from earth like a bunch of pussy’s is indicative of the gravity of the situation, but none of the other heroes present know why the gods are leaving – the Avengers don’t know the gods are running from something. For all the Avengers know, it’s just time to re-establish Asgard somewhere else.
Furthermore, this issue held very few surprises. With all the publicity and marketing behind this book, 90% of this issue was already known to me. I’m expecting that percentage to drop to 60 for issue 2.
Overall I’m not particularly happy with Fraction’s Thor run thus far. It’s been critically acclaimed, sure, but I’m not loving it. I did love his Ages of Thunder one-shots. Those where a special kind of brilliance but the run thus far has lacked that. I’m not Ferry’s (artist on Thor) biggest fan either so there’s that but the decision to bring back Odin and Loki (so soon after his death) also grated me a little. Those decisions could have been editorial but given the players involved in Fear Itself, I doubt that.
Now I’d like to turn my disappointment ray gun on Fear Itself: The Home Front #1. Firstly let me state that I’m only talking about the Speedball story, and the Atlas story. The Speedball story reeked of bs. Gage had already tackled Stamford reacting to Speedball in Avengers Academy and these two story’s seem to contradict each other. Furthermore Miriam Sharpe came across as an extremely one dimensional character, one that did not conform to her journey through Civil War. This may all be due to the effects of the god of fear returning, but he has not yet explicitly done anything other than summon hammers to call the worthy.
I just fond the motivations to be lacking in the Atlas story. A Neo-Nazi group has fire-bombed a black church, so they focus all their resources on finding that particular cell, torture/interrogate the cell’s leader then travel halfway across the world on a story. What’s your motivation here besides he was racist in your general direction? Also, I haven’t followed Atlas since Assault on New Olympus so I was surprised to see Bob now has Alien Face.
One last disappointment, although this one is not Fear Itself related. This has to do with Captain America #615.1. Since there is a movie coming out, Steve Rogers now has to be the one that wields the shield. Never mind that he is regressing from a really cool progression for his character whereby he got to be “Top Cop of the World”, but also there goes the legacy “squeee!” I’ve been having. I was really enjoying the whole Captain America (II) vs. Red Skull (II) vs. Baron Zemo (II) dynamic on so very many levels [yes I know technically Bucky was not the 2nd Captain America].
On the bright side, Uncanny X-Men 534.1 was really really fucking good. Kieron Gillen did a phenomenal job with the script and it gives me great Hope for Uncanny’s future. Gillen has just been doing really great work at Marvel overall: Generation Hope is picking up steam and his run on Thor matched if not exceeded J. Michael Straczynski’s work.