As the action increases, so too do continuity issues. Plus, of the many hammers wielded in Fear Itself # 3, the most impressive is that which Stuart Immonen commands.
Credits & Solicit Info:
Fear Itself #3 - "The Hammer That Fell on Yancy Street"
Writer: Matt Fraction
Penciler: Stuart Immonen
Covers: Steve McNiven, Stuart Immonen & Guiseppe Camuncoli
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Release Date: 6/1/2011
$3.99 for 22 pages
The only way I can get into Fear Itself #3 is to tell what actually happens in the issue (except the end), thus...spoiler alert!
1. Fear Itself #3 is titled "The Hammer That Fell on Yancy Street," which implies that the issue may lean towards dealing with Ben Grimm (the Thing). Yet from the very beginning of the book to the very end, we are hammered with a Cap-centric issue. The issue does jump around hammer situations taking place in other areas of the world, but there are more pages dealing with Captain America (the Bucky version and Steve Rogers) than any other character in the issue. What I think happened was that the issue did not have an individual title until the art was completed. At that point, Fraction saw Immonen's 2-page spread of a hammer-wielding Thing and dedicated the book to that one moment (we'll get back to the art in a bit).
2. Sticking with the Cap-centric theme of Fear Itself #3...what is with the Bucky-Cap, or B-Cap (if you will...and you will because I'm writing this, not you) continuity dilemma that is occurring in Marvel right now? In the Captain America title, Bucky is in a Russian prison; yet here in Fear Itself #3 B-Cap is all the rage. I think the Cap series is an issue or two behind at the moment, and it is killing me. In terms of scale, the situation B-Cap gets into in Fear Itself #3 is so beyond anything that is happening in the Captain America title that this issue is making me feel that the latter are inconsequential...and I don't like that. The Cap title has a nice arc going, but it may all be for naught.
#3. I love typing about issue #3's. On the keyboard, the number symbol and the 3 digit is on the same key. (Pause for moment where the reader briefly takes a reassuring glance at their keyboard.) All I have to do is hold down the shift and then release. Small thrills like that add up in a life where you are writing a post at 2:15am on Wednesday night (Thursday morning). Also, why did I just waste time on this point if it is now 2:16am? I'm an idiot.
4. The promo for Fear Itself got me. Remember the McNiven promo where he had cap on his knees, in tattered clothing, holding his broken shield? Well, there is a beautiful panel in Fear Itself #3 (shift-release) where Sin (Red Skull's evil-hammer-possessed daughter) smashes down on B-Cap's shield; and to find out what happened after that mighty blow, the reader has to flip the page. After a couple of ads, and snippets of other characters fighting, the story with Sin and B-Cap picks up again and reveals...that the shield is fine. I thought the "Aw, shit" moment of this issue was going to be the breaking of the unbreakable shield, but apparently the broken shield symbolized what happened to B-Cap next.
Side note: Isn't it funny how comics can kill off characters left and right, yet publishers have a tough time destroying a sacred comic artifact? Why hasn't the shield been destroyed or shattered yet? Marvel had Wolverine's claws snapped and his adamantium ripped out. It seems like it may be time for a shield-shattering.
5. Odin really got over himself pretty quick in Fear Itself #3. In the previous issues Odin was pissed at his son, Thor, and had him dragged away from Earth and put in a cell. In the latest installment, when Thor escapes his cell and Odin finds out, Odin simply says Thor is a fool, throws him through a portal (with his hammer) and is done with it. What the hey, Odin? You're confusing this mortal with your flip-flopping.
6. The last point (5) sort of leads into this one...Fear Itself #3 is so-so. The issue is fast-paced and filled with action, yet there doesn't seem to be any depth to the story at this point. The issue is trying to set up the idea that chaos is breaking out and that this threat may be insurmountable, but of course it will be...surmountable. They can't kill off every hero in this series. That isn't the proper way of killing heroes. You must kill one major hero at a time.
The tying of society's (mortals) fears to Odin's (gods) fears, or tying the unrest of society to the evil chaos, currently, eludes me. Fraction has four issues left to work with, so the book still has time to come together nicely, but at the moment the best thing it has going for it is the amazing art of Stuart Immonen.
7. Immonen created some of the best visuals of his career in Fear Itself #3. It shows his incredible range when it comes to size the size of the panel. As mentioned before, his two-page Thing spread is absolutely devastating. The pages scream power. Yet, as crazy as the two-page spread is, the page before has a few stellar small, subtle panels of the FF and the Thing standing around a fallen hammer. His Thor and Odin stand-off is also handled masterfully; along with the top spread on the second and third page, which I think includes an image of Matt Fraction freaking out on the left side.
Fear Itself #3 gives you an energetic quick read, which will seem a little flat story-wise. The visuals will help you through this issue's character continuity problem, and leave you hoping for a bit more balance between story and art in Fear Itself #4. Because let's face it, you're going to get the next issue.
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Review by: Dom G