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Fear Itself #1: Review

Apr 2011
Matt Fraction, Stuart Immonen

Story Name:

Fear Itself 1: the Serpent

Review & Comments

4 stars

Fear Itself #1 Review by (April 13, 2011)
Review: Nice start to this year’s epic crossover, introducing the first villains and setting up a major conflict between Thor and Odin. The emphasis is on Asgard in this issue, and will likely shift to Cap/Iron Mann/ Spidey/etc. in the coming months. Immonen’s art is the real star especially in the scenes at the World Tree and Fraction’s writing is up there with it. So far, so good.

Comments: The title comes from a famous quote by Franklin D. Roosevelt, “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” Skadi is a real character from Norse mythology, the giant Goddess of Winter (more or less). The Avengers seen in the story include Spider-Man, Spider-Woman (J. Drew), Wolverine, Red Hulk, Hawkeye, Mockingbird, Ms. Marvel, plus appearances by Thing, Luke Cage, Jessica Jones (with the baby), Iron Fist. Asgardeans include Volstagg, Heimdall, Sif, Hogun, Fandral. Issue includes a five-page preview of HULK #34.

Fear Itself #1 Review by (December 19, 2012)
There are only 4 tie-in issues this month. FI: Sin's Past does what it says on the tin, and reviews her origins, but otherwise has nothing to do with Fear Itself. FI: The Home Front #1 contains several stories showing the rising fear affecting people. There are 2 major entries. Speedball is hiding as a charity worker in Stamford where the New Warriors' destructive mistake triggered Civil War. He is outed and attacked. The Agents of Atlas investigate the Hammer of Thule hate group, descended from the Thule Society seen in the prologue and this issue. Journey Into Mystery #622 starts a run starring Loki, who will play a big role in FI. Most of this issue is spent on non-FI stuff, but he witnesses the disagreement between Thor and Odin in FI#1. IIM#503 too is mainly concerned with its own plot, but segues into FI at the end. Stark Resilient staff discuss Tony Stark's announcement about rebuilding Asgard, and see the 'meteors' strike in FI#1.

I'm adding comments on how the tie-ins fit into Fear Itself, as I did when I synopsised the later Avengers vs X-Men. Along the way I'll be writing up the relevant issues of the series I'm handling for the Iron Man Library:- Invincible Iron Man, Iron Man 2.0 and Avengers. In the previous month we saw the prologue FI: Book Of The Skull, which Peter has also written up. Red Skull's daughter Sin found the location of this issue's hammer, which RS found in WWII but couldn't use.


Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Fear Itself #1 Synopsis by Peter Silvestro

Steve Rogers and Sharon Carter are overseeing security at a protest over the so-called "Ground Zero Mosque" in Manhattan. As the vitriol escalates into violence, spawning a full-blown riot, Steve and Sharon stand in the middle of the chaos, unable to do anything to stop it.

In Antarctica, Sin, the Red Skull’s daughter, and her men arrive at the fortress built by the Thule Society to guard the mysterious war hammer that fell to Earth decades earlier (as related in FEAR ITSELF : BOOK OF THE SKULL). Sin leads her men on an assault of the castle, slaughtering the defenders, and blowing open the vault. Looking on the hammer, Sin repeats a dream that she had that she would wield the hammer, kill Captain America and conquer the world. When she touches the hammer she is possessed by the spirit of Skadi, Norse Goddess of Winter and transformed into a giant armor-clad woman, whose next step is to find her father….

The Avengers meet and are alarmed at the climate of fear that has taken over the nation lately; Tony Stark outlines a proposal to rebuild Asgard for the Aesir, putting people to work and serving as a symbol of hope and recovery. Meanwhile, Broxton, Oklahoma has fallen on rough times; some citizens are taking advantage of the Asgardean connection to give tours, while others are moving away as a result of the loss of jobs. It is in this atmosphere that Iron Man, supported by the Avengers and other heroes, announces the project to rebuild Asgard. Thor, though, wonders why his father Odin is not there….

Odin watches from above, dismissive of the humans’ plans as he knows from prophecy that the end of the world is near, supported by the appearance of the Watcher, who stands silently while Odin rages against him. Thor, hearing his father’s shouts, arrives and asks why Odin does not stand with the humans. Odin sees no reason to have anything to do with these absurd apes and tells Thor so. When Thor demurs, Odin throws him to the ground and demands that he choose between the gods and his disappointing human friends. Thor chooses man and Odin stalks off bitterly….

Sin, now the avatar of Skadi, dives to the deepest part of the Pacific Ocean, fighting the monsters that inhabit the depths and undersea sanctuary where she meets the All-Father, her sire and Odin’s chief rival who has just escaped from the influence of Odin’s binding spell. Meanwhile in the ruins of Asgard, Odin is aware that the Serpent has returned; he interrupts the grand banquet the Aesir are hosting for the Earth heroes to announce that the Norse gods are leaving for home. When Thor refuses, his father backhands him across the face, sending him flying across the room. Thor attacks him with Mjolnir but Odin orders the mighy hammer to drop and the God of Thunder can no longer wield it. Thor attacks his father bare-handed and is beaten into submission. Odin then orders his people to the World Tree where he reassembles the Rainbow Bridge and the Aesir march off to a reconstituted Asgard.

On the ocean, the Serpent is aware that Odin knows of his return and tells Skadi of an ancient prophecy…. He intends to confront Odin but first he intends to make the whole world fear them. To that end he summons the Worthy….

NORAD detects seven objects flying in from deep space and they land in various parts of the world. Meanwhile, the stunned heroes realize that the gods have left them on their own….

Preview Pages
Click sample interior pages to enlarge them:

Stuart Immonen
Wade Von Grawbadger
Laura Martin
Steve McNiven (Cover Penciler)
Mark Morales (Cover Inker)
Justin Ponsor (Cover Colorist)


Listed in Alphabetical Order.

Captain America
Captain America

(Steve Rogers)
Iron Man
Iron Man

(Tony Stark)



Plus: Serpent (Cul Borson), Sin (Synthia Schmidt), Worthy.

> Fear Itself: Book info and issue index

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