Saturday, March 3, 2012

We Have Nothing To Fear...

Wait, it's another event with
a stylised cover system!
Have you ever considered how Odin got to be the All-Father? Has that little concept been bothering you through the decades of internecine Asgardian political squabbles that happen in Thor? If it has... you need to go and get the Journey Into Mystery Fear Itself tie in. And maybe the Thor one as well. This 248 page volume (from Matt Fraction and Stuart Immonen - available from Amazon for about $19 USD) only gives you a very brief description of that. It also deals very little with people being scared of things. Mainly it's another excuse to interrupt all the ongoing Marvel plot lines, mess things up, kill a couple characters (or maybe not), and make inordinate sums off of fans.

The story (such as it is) is that Sin (Red Skull's daughter) raises Odin's older brother to use as a weapon for world domination. That quickly goes by the wayside as The Serpent wants it all, raises his own army (including converting some heroes and some villains to fighting on his side). Odin wants to execute a scorched earth policy on Earth, but Thor wants to fight to save Earth. In the end Bucky dies (somehow he's back already as the Winter Soldier) and Thor dies (and is replaced with a new thunder god).
The art is fine, nothing wrong with it. The problem is entirely with the story, and it's not something I expected from Matt Fraction who, frankly, is a better writer than this. So here's just a few of things wrong with this:

  • The Watcher seems to show up at most cross overs these days, this being one of them. Only this time he's really only there to cop an earful from Odin. Could have been most anyone that copped that earful.
  • The Asgardians defeated Galactus just before Fear Itself. Surely one other Asgardian is not harder than that.
  • Thor vs Odin has been done to death. In earlier incarnations it's been a useful way to discuss the relationship between parent and near-adult child. Here it's just about a difference of opinion for leadership of a people. It's possibly a comment on the ills of deciding a people's fate in an undemocratic fashion, but I think that's drawing a very long bow. More likely it's just there because you have two guys that used to rule Asgard in the same room, and they disagree, and they've never really gotten along.
  • When the hammers get dished out you clearly need to have some knowledge of the Marvel Universe (for example older readers that are a bit out of date wonder why Betty Ross is a hulk, newer readers don't even know who Attuma is so the panel with Nerkkod is a waste of quarter of a page). It certainly makes sense that you should for a line wide cross-over, but look at it this way, every facet of the Marvel Universe will be impacted by this thing, though in some cases it's a one-shot or similar, and to understand what happens in a cross-over title, I have to understand what's happening in the main title. Because we don't like paying twice for the same content. That means that if I wanted to try reading some current Marvel issues, I've picked exactly the wrong time to get on board. As an experienced reader I know that. As a new reader, I have no chance whatsoever.
  • Cap's shield is broken, and not restored perfectly. And Cap wants it to stay that way. Despite having it fixed to an immaculate state every other time it's been destroyed.
  • Bucky (not really) being killed.
  • Heroes being driven bad by nasty hammers from space.
  • Tony Stark boozing to get Odin to help him. I mean, can he even get drunk post Extremis? And should he be designing weapons if he is drunk?
  • Ben Grim gets killed. And Franklin Richards brings him back. Couldn't he have done the same from Thor?
  • The Avengers all get weird Asgardian weapons, except Cap, because Tony doesn't know the shield's been broken. Guess Heimdall din't pass that one along.
  • It's not clear what kills Thor, but we are once again without Thor for a while. And isn't the prophecy meant to be about Jormungandr (the World Serpent), not The Serpent? I mean, we've had the Midgard Serpent in Marvel titles before, and he's shown up at Ragnaroks past. Unless it's something that's to be explained away by the Ragnarok from Thor Disassembled not going as per normal.
So yeah, just a couple of problems with that story. At least we didn't get a whole issue of fighting free wrap up like most Bendis events, but this didn't do much to make me think it'll be worth reading in 5 years time. All that really happened is some minor changes to status quo that will render this cross-over  irrelevant as soon as they are undone.

Recommendation: read this if you want to follow Marvel for the next six to twelve months. Don't read it if you want to retain a high opinion of Matt Fraction.

Next review: something from the good old days.
90's comics didn't suck entirely!

1 comment:

  1. I've been considering giving this a go as a stand alone story. I probably still will, just to say I've read it, but this doesn't inspire hope.

    Good write up as always mate!