Thursday, October 20, 2011

Fear Itself #7 (of 7)

So the big problem with Marvel's "Event" books has been that, of late, they keep wrapping up with an anticlimactic finish.

Here I'm thinking of Civil War, when one side just quits fighting, or Secret Invasion, where a pile of superheroes beat up a pile of Skrulls (this is a strategy?), or Dark Reign, where a pile of superheroes kill the major menace (again, where's the plot twist?)... you get the idea.

There are certainly major events in this finale of Fear Itself, with a huge battle royale, some major deaths, a surprising twist or two and the setup for some future stories.

The problem is that everything that happens here was set up plainly in the previous issue, where writer Matt Fraction essentially said, "Here's what's going to happen." In this issue - it happens.

There are some satisfying moments, a few emotional scenes, a great speech at the end - but it all doesn't quite manage to live up to the buildup. Perhaps the problem is spending six issues building up these unbeatable foes, only to arrive at the seventh issue and have to wrap it all up quickly.

I should hastily add that the artwork is wonderful. Stuart Immonen and Wade Von Grawbadger get to cut loose here, with great double-page splashes of the battle, casts of hundreds and some tense moments. Outstanding work!

It wouldn't be an event without new comics spinning off from it, and in the back of this issue you get a sample of four comics that do that, including The Defenders and the Hulk.

And the story doesn't actually end here - it spins off into The Fearless, and there are three Fear Itself follow-ups (numbered 7.1, 7.2 and 7.3 - isn't that cute?)

Overall I give this series good marks, thanks to a strong story, some plot twists and lots of excellent art. It's actually a cut above the "Events" I listed earlier - but it didn't quite manage to stick the landing.

But it was oh so close!

Grade: B+


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