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Fear Itself #4: Review

Jul 2011
Matt Fraction, Stuart Immonen

Story Name:

Fear Itself 4: Worlds on Fire

Review & Comments

4 stars

Fear Itself #4 Review by (July 11, 2011)
Review: As predicted in my review of issue #2, FEAR ITSELF is following the pattern of SIEGE, rather than CIVIL WAR: the latter as I mentioned was a complete story—all the myriad tie-in issues added some depth and complexity but it didn’t matter whether you picked any of them up, you had the central story. FEAR, like SIEGE, is more and more looking like part of a story. It wasn’t until this issue that I fully caught on that the Serpent needs fear to grow in power; I thought he was just destabilizing the Earth for conquest. For a world spanning horrific event, we are getting very little feel for what is happening to the average person, other than their running screaming from giant monsters. For that, I guess we’d need to pick up HOME FRONT. What becomes of Tony’s Stark’s shocking bargain with Odin? Not gonna tell you here; go look in Iron Man’s title. Ye cats, corpses are rising from the ocean!?! Hope you’ve been reading THE DEEP because you need issue #2 to find out. This makes much of the current issue seem like a string of plugs for other comics; at least they are kind enough to tell us on the last page what we’ll have to search the back issue rack for (or borrow from a friend) so that we can understand what we’re reading. The writing by Millar is great—or would be if we got enough of a story, and Immonen is at his best, and, oh yeah, Steve Rogers is Cap again but the epic is getting frustrating. Read this for the general idea and wait for the dozen or so trades next year to find out what is really going on.

Comments: Cameos by Magneto, Iceman, Grey Gargoyle, Iron Fist, Luke Cage, Ms Marvel, Spider-Man, Spider-Woman, Hawkeye, Mockingbird.

Fear Itself #4 Review by (January 30, 2013)
The following comic actually happens after the next FI issue #5:- In Invincible Iron Man #506, Odin takes Iron Man to the Dwarves for weapons. Rescue and the Detroit Steel Corps both go to Paris.

These stories may happen after FI#4:- In FI: Uncanny X-Force #1, Wolverine leads the team against the Purifiers, with the Worthy rampaging in the background. They fail to prevent an unnamed young superbeing from being executed (not a mutant - these extremist Purifiers are against all super characters). Alpha Flight #2 follows Attuma's attack on Canada. Alpha Flight tangle with a Canadian dictatorship rising on the effects of fear. In Journey Into Mystery #625, Loki continues to scheme against the Serpent, and finds out more of his history. He recruits Leah and Tyr to his aid. In Secret Avengers #15, Black Widow is angry at a tabloid claiming Bucky didn't die in FI#3. They argue that heroes are always coming back from being 'dead'. (Her anger will be undercut when Bucky turns out to *really* be alive in FI: Captain America #7.1.)

These issues occur during (extending to after) FI#4:- In Uncanny X-Men #540 Juggernaut/Kuurth's rampage has reached San Francisco. And in #541 the X-Men fight him. Even getting his helmet off doesn't stop this version. FI: The Deep #2 has the 'Defenders' in New Atlantis vs Attuma's henchmen, who've gotten extra power from old Defenders foes the Nameless One and the Undying Ones. In FI: The Home Front #4 Speedball faces Attuma/Nerkodd in Newfoundland and defeats him, but he comes back with a tidal wave. Meanwhile the Agents of Atlas escape the self-destructing Thule castle, ending their strip. Hulk #37 expands the Red Hulk vs Thing/Angrir battle from Avengers #14, but involves Rulk's enemies behind the scenes. In New Avengers #14 the team, especially the newly-empowered Mockingbird, battle Sin/Skadi's army in New York. We also see Avengers Tower fall in Av#14/H#37.

In FI#4, as well as what Peter describes, we see Juggernaut/Kuurth fighting X-Men in San Francisco, Grey Gargoyle/Mokk still in Paris, and Iron Fist peaceful in China. This last doesn't mean much to this issue, but it indicates that the story in Iron Man 2.0 #5-7 is over, which had Iron Fist possessed by Agamotto. Hulk/Nul is in Central America, heading for the US, which shows that it is after Avengers #15. There are no issues of Captain America dedicated to Fear Itself, but the fact that Bucky 'died' in FI#3 and here Steve Rogers has taken the CA role back positions Fear Itself within CA's series. Bucky escapes from the gulag in his story in CA#619, before FI. In Steve Rogers' story in #619, Steve is asked to take back the CA uniform. Presumably FI happens before he does, Bucky 'dies', and now Steve is CA again. The new CA series starting from #1 is obviously post-FI.

The following issues happen between FI#3 and #4:- Avengers Academy #16 features Absorbing Man/Greithoth vs Giant-Man and Titania/Skirn vs Justice in Dubai, and AM gets some control over Greithoth. Also the Academy kids help out after Sin/Skadi leaves Washington. In FI: Spider-Man #3 we see Spidey vs Thing/Angrir soon after his transformation. Thunderbolts #160 see the team get inside Juggernaut/Kuurth's head in Chicago to try to save their comrade. I think Man-Thing's stint with Fearsome Four happens between #158 and this. Ghost Rider #1 introduces a new female Ghost Rider who tackles Sin/Skadi in Ohio (a strange route from Washington DC to New York!). Meanwhile in FI: Youth In Revolt #3 Juggernaut/Kuurth has reached Las Vegas and fights the Initiative team Heavy Hitters. In FI: Wolverine #1 Wolvy fights Scarecrow, feeding on the general fear. Then Steve Rogers sends him to investigate Norman Osborn's leftover nuclear helicarrier USS Prometheus, hijacked by STRIKE. Logan sends reporter girlfriend Melita Garner to Avengers Tower for info. Prometheus turns up over New York.

Some of this month's issues fit back with FI#3:- Avengers #15 has some Avengers (especially Spider-Woman) vs Hulk/Nul in Brazil. In Black Panther: The Man Without Fear #521 the spirit of Hate-Monger hitches a ride on the hammer that transforms Thing in FI#3, and takes someone over in NY. He has a henchman American Panther. Then in FI: FF 1-shot Thing becomes Angrir, and Invisible Woman & Mr Fantastic can't stop him. His 'leeches' may be connected to Hate-Monger from BPMWF#521. In Heroes For Hire #9 the team deal with Raft escapees, and Thing/Angrir in Yancy Street. And a fear-based monster gets created. Herc #5 is a continuation that still has little connection to FI.

Continuing my attempt to sort the Fear Itself tie-ins into order. This month there is another bumper crop of issues, which are beginning to spread themselves over the whole event. The following issue belongs at the beginning of the event:- FI: The Worthy which is a reprint of online introductions to Sin and the individual Worthy, which therefore is outside the chronology itself. Some things are continuations of mini-series set earlier:- The 1st 2 I have within FI#2. FI: Deadpool #2 sees DP's scam with Walrus and a hammer complicated by the fact that the hammer really *is* magic. And werewolves are about to get involved. In FI: Fearsome Four #2 Man-Thing defeats the foursome. Psycho-Man is after him. Then the old replacement FF (Ghost Rider, grey Hulk, Spider-Man and Wolverine) pop up from the past. Iron Man 2.0 #7 is after FI#2. In Beijing, Iron Man 2.0 has to defeat Iron Fist, temporarily taken over by Agamotto, before the Immortal Weapons can close the gateway to the 8th City. This ends the 3-issue Fear Itself part of IM 2.0.


Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Fear Itself #4 Synopsis by Peter Silvestro

Having been ejected from Asgard, Thor falls to Earth, ready to aid his friends against the threat of the Serpent. He flies to Broxton, the site of the destroyed Asgard (see SIEGE) and finds a militia refusing him entrance; the people don’t like how their homes were destroyed by the squabble of the high and mighty heroes and want to take care of their own problems. Thor bids them farewell….

All over the world, the chaos wrought by the depredations of the Worthy and the panic of ordinary people caught up in events far beyond they control or even comprehension, is feeding the Serpent, increasing his power until he will be strong enough to challenge Odin. The All-Father, meanwhile, is exhorting the Aesir to increase their efforts to build a force strong enough to destroy the Serpent and his avatars, along with the world they have made sick with their terrors and destruction—a war of mercy….

Aboard the SHIELD Helicarrier, Iron Man, Black Widow, and Nick Fury stand over the fallen form of Captain America James "Bucky" Barnes. Black Widow relates his last words about the Serpent, which none of them understand. Thor arrives and explains what is behind the worldwide terror: the Serpent, enemy of Odin, striking at him through man’s fear…and Odin plans to destroy the Earth to stop this threat. The Avengers are needed—and suited up and ready to lead: Steve Rogers, back in costume as Captain America. Steve assigns Iron Man to gather appropriate weapons to fight the possessed superbeings. Thor is assigned to contact the Serpent and talk to him on his own level. Thor informs Cap of a prophecy: Thor will destroy a serpent, at the cost of his own life. He volunteers to fight the enemy alone, so that no more lives are lost. Cap declines his offer. At this point Maria Hill interrupts with a news flash….

…in British Columbia, the dead of Atlantis are rising from the sea, the offering of Nerkkod, Breaker of Oceans (formerly Attuma). The terror caused in the fishing village empowers the Serpent that he is able to raise his palace from the Earth, growing younger in the process….

In Manhattan, Cap leads the Avengers on the ground against Skadi/Sin and her Nazi battle machines. She relishes the coming battle for the opportunity to kill Captain America a second time….

Iron Man arrives at the ruins of Asgard near Broxton and demands an audience with Odin; his sacrifice? He downs a bottle of liquor, offering up his long-kept sobriety to the All-Father. Odin appears, "I’m listening…."

Thor comes to Antarctica where he battles his way past the Serpent’s guards and into the presence of the villain. Thor cites the prophecy; the Serpent appeals to Thor to join him against the true usurper, Odin. Thor refuses and the enemy sends him whirling though the air to crash down in New York; there, the God of Thunder comes face to face with his two foes Angrir, Breaker of Souls, and Nul, Breaker of Worlds, formerly the Thing and the Hulk….

Stuart Immonen
Wade Von Grawbadger
Chris Eliopoulos
Stuart Immonen (Cover Penciler)
Wade Von Grawbadger (Cover Inker)
Laura Martin (Cover Colorist)


Listed in Alphabetical Order.

Black Widow
Black Widow

(Natasha Romanoff)
Captain America
Captain America

(Steve Rogers)

(Sam Wilson)

(Bruce Banner)
Iron Man
Iron Man

(Tony Stark)

(Ben Grimm)


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

> Fear Itself: Book info and issue index

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