This week the RG takes on an event tie-in, uh oh.
The Review Group is a collection of posters who get together and review a new comic each week. Our threads can be found in The Outhouse's News Stand forum and is open for anyone and everyone to participate.
This week we've got Fear Itself: Youth In Revolt, which is about Fear and stuff, I guess.
I like Sean McKeever, I think he has put out some quality stuff in the past. Sadly this is not an example of that.
The book suffers from a few different problems, one of which is that it is not very accessible to new readers, which is terrible for a mini. They reference stuff that happened in young allies, they reference stuff from the initiative, they reference stuff from the new warriors from long ago, heck they even reference last weeks review group pick. All in all it makes you feel like you missed out on some important aspects of the story. Another issue is that I have no clue who this prodigy person is, and since his costume is ridiculous I hope he dies in the course of this book.
Aside from that the hook just isn't interesting, I see no villains in this and cliffhanger is yawn inducing. I really don't care if Thor girl goes to jail over some silly misunderstanding, but I feel like this plot should be in a sitcom rather than a comic book.
The art serviced the story okay, but the cover is hideous. I looked everywhere to see the Liefeld signature but I couldn't find it.
I will not finish this series
I never read the Initiative so I was a little lost at times regarding who everybody was. Having said that, I still had at least a passing familiarity with most of the cast, so I wasn't completely up the creek without a paddle, so to speak, when it came to knowing who was who. Even so, it's a problem because McKeever really doesn't do a very good job of establishing everybody.
As for the story, well, not much actually happened. Sure its written well for what it is, but at the end we have Thor Girl in trouble and that's really about it. If this was a Thor Girl limited series, I'd be fine with that, but it's not. How is this going to involve the rest of the cast in any way that is going to be interesting? I have to say that if you're going to use such a big cast, put them in a story in which you can really use that cast. So far I'm not seeing a story that is coming even close to accomplishing that.
I didn't hate it, but I didn't love it either. In the end it's a middle of the road issue that gets a middle of the road rating of 5 out of 10.
Well so far I'm not groovin' on any of this Fear Itself stuff. I think I've got event burn out, though perhaps there is no such thing as Events anymore. (gives me an idea for an article actually). Either way there are two problems that I had with this story.
1. I've found the start of Fear Itself rather boring on a whole so I had no vested interest in this particular mini.
2. I've tried before to get into these characters before but none of them have grabbed my interest.
Like the art, the writer is one of my favorites in the industry today and he's just as solid here as he was with his previous work. So it pains me to say that I just didn't care for this at all.
My Score: 5
I liked this book, it brought back some of my favourite Initiative characters from purgatory in a decent way. Though I confess to not understanding why Steve Rogers would pick Prodigy of the Slingers to run the thing
Most of the book seemed more like character moments tacked together to explain where all these characters have ended up on the backdrop of the Fear Itself story. Not much happened till the conclusion of the issue where we got an interesting cliffhanger. Overall, I'll stick around with the book...it could be lots of fun since its obviously not trying to be the next big epic like most event books do. There's definitely potential in this with all the setups and huge list of B-listers like The order who I thought ended up forgotten.
Art was ok but nothing special...more like what you'd get from in-house DC art.
Story - Marvel really missed a trick with the title of this mini-series, yes, Youth In Revolt is a cool title, and a catchy phrase, but this book is more than anything, more than even Avengers Academy a sequel to the recent Avengers: The Initiative title, and considering that book's small but committed fanbase, you'd think Marvel would have used their initiative (I am so funny) and made the links between the two books more explicit, as until I actually read it I had no idea they would be so closely linked.
This book is basically the return of the Initiative, in a radically altered format, no more registration, just Prodigy leading a bunch of guys to fight the rise of Fear across the USA.
And yes, you did hear me right when I said Prodigy. That's Prodigy from the Slingers. Those guys. Perhaps the biggest surface appeal of this book is that it's using so many interesting minor characters. Prodigy, all the guys from the Initiative, the Young Allies... it's good to see so many D-List (are they even D-List? E-List maybe? Is that a thing, or does it go straight to Z-List?) characters get the spotlight. The Initiative introduced so many cool new characters that have seemed to be forgotten, which was a shame, so I'm pleased that Marvel hasn't given up on characters who haven't been around since the 60s. When the oldest character in your book is Firestar, you know you've got something fresh.
And it's clear that Sean McKeever has a lot of affection for these characters (not least because he created some of them, like Gravity) and knows how to write younger superheroes. McKeever has often been typecast as a teen superhero guy, what with Gravity and Teen Titans and Sentinel, but the characters here are a bit older and edgier than that, but they still make mistakes.
Another thing I liked about this book is how it expanded upon one of the elements of the main Fear Itself mini that I felt had been lacking. Matt Fraction's aims with the main book (which I am enjoying a lot) seem to be to marry a traditional comic book threat like big ass dudes with big ass hammers with real world threats like the economy or the rise in violence. I don't feel that Fraction has been as successful as he could be with that real world element, so it was good to see McKeever pick up on that and show how it's actually working. The people of the Marvel Universe think the end times have come and are rioting. It's that fear which the Initiative have to fight, not Nazis and Hammers. It's done what all tie-ins to event books should do, add to the main story and make it feel bigger.
But the book is not without it's flaws, the characterisation of Hardball is a bit off from how he was in Avengers: The Initiative, portraying him as a massive jerk and a perv, whereas Dan Slott and Christos Gage made him more complex than that. Of course there could be more development coming in #2-6 which will make me look like a conclusion-jumping idiot. I also felt the final scene with Thor Girl was a little similar to a lot of scenes we've seen where heroes inadvertently hurt innocent people, particularly some scenes with Speedball from Civil War: Front Line. I certainly don't want to see Thor Girl donning a spiky self-harm suit. It was a good idea though to use Thor Girl in a story like this, which pretty much revolves around Hammers. I'm surprised Fraction didn't use her in the main book.
Fear Itself: Youth In Revolt is a solid book, a tie-in that does what a tie-in should do, and highlights characters in need of some focus. It's not perfect, but I enjoyed it, both for selfish nostalgic reasons (Can one be nostalgic for a series that's only been gone a year?) but also because it was a well-told story. If you've been enjoying Fear Itself, this looks like one tie-in that's worth your money, and if you're a fan of the Initiative or the Order or the Slingers or the Young Allies or Gravity or any small-fry hero, this is where all your favourites have gone.
Art - Mike Norton is a solid superhero artist who always gets the job done. While of course he's not as good as Immonen's work on the main FI book, he's does great work here and it was really cool to see him work with McKeever and to draw Gravity again, that character should have been the new Spider-Man.
Best Line - Any use of the word "Knucklehead"
The problem with a book like Fear Itself: Youth in Revolt is that there doesn't appear to be a whole lot of reason for it. Here is a book continuing a series that ended a while back. The series featured new characters and at the end of the day, there aren't threads and threads of devoted fans demanding its return on the comic book message boards. Given some statements from Marvel officials recently, we must not be pissed off about them enough to care.
Furthermore, it shows a problem with Twigg's whole argument that the old books need to end to make way for new. There is nothing wrong with wanting new, there should be new, it is how the medium will grow one day. However, whether a character has been around for 80 years, 30 years or less than five, you have to write compelling stories.
Herein lies the real problem with this book, soapboxing aside. I just don't care. It was a struggle to get through the whole thing. Yeah, crazy stuff is happening in the Marvel Universe, so Steve Rogers calls Prodigy to start up a new team. None of this really makes sense. It isn't an X-Force situation where you are putting together a special forces team of the best of the best. No, Steve seems to be grasping at straws and tells Prodigy to restart the Initiative on his own terms. Maybe because he knows it is a stupid idea, maybe because he is lazy, Prodigy uses it as an excuse to get the band back together.
It's a cliché ridden story full of slightly ham fisted dialogue and characters this reader (and a lot of other readers) is not familiar with. It's not awful, problem is... it's not great either. It just is and since it has an event banner on it, it starts to feel like less than it is as it appears to be a bit of a money grab.
Norton's art is competent, nothing special there either.
It's an average book. That's what happen when you pick random tie-in minis to review.
Much like the Avenger's Academy book, our cast here is padded with more than a few Initiative escapees and the shadow of that title hangs heavy over Youth in Revolt. While I still have no idea why Cap is assembling all the heroes (Aside from 'everyone is scared' but that can't be it right?) I understand their reluctance to be assembled after the last time they all ended up under one roof due to lingering Civil War grudges. They've mostly gone by now which is necessary for the telling of stories but still feels hastily swept away all this time later, which shows just how much scope there was in the CW concept that nobody ever decided to explore when they could show people punching each other. Where was I? Oh yeah. Youth in Revolt, while lacking the amount of Michael Cera I have come to associate with the name did come with enough event-baggage from the last few years to render it fairly unreadable to the casual passer-by despite featuring characters who were once supposed by be aimed at said casual individuals (I think? Wasn't Gravity meant to be all friendly for new folks?) so I'm not sure who this was for. Feels a lot like Sean McKeever was given an editorial mandate and told to run with it which worked soooo well on Teen Titans if I remember rightly. (Seriously, I have blocked out most of that run from my brain). It feels like a waste of talent and ink. Also Mike Norton is involved. He certainly does draw people doing things. Yup.
I feel like I overused my namesake score lately, but honestly this was a comic with no reason to exist weighed down by way too much obscurity to interest me and it came close. The one point is because I really liked Sentinel.
While this had some characters I genuinely like, the mish-mash of the event tie-in plotlines of Civil War and Fear Itself made it something of a tedious read. It was kind of cool to see where are the Initiative characters are since I bailed on that series when Slott did, but they were all a bit mopey. Slingers never appealed to me so having Prodigy getting most of the focus in this was meh. I guess considering the circumstances this was probably as good as it could have been. I hate that Marvel is currently in a mode where accountants are driving plotlines more than creative people like Sean McKeever.
Mike Norton is a comic book artist. You can tell in his pages he loves doing the superhero thing. It's not big or flashy, but it is suitably fun.
Ouch. This book only got 5.40! Let's hope next week's pick, Hawkeye: Blindspot #4 fares a little better. To read the full thread, click this please.
Written or Contributed by: Niam Suggitt