Fear Itself: The Fearless #1
Story by Cullen Bunn, Matt Fraction, and Chris Yost
Script by Cullen Bunn
Art by Paul Pelletier, Mark Bagley, Danny Miki, Andy Lanning, and Matthew Wilson
So I hated Fear Itself. Absolutely hated it. Awful series, great art, piss poor story, and a giant emotional disconnect. At no point in the series did you care beyond ‘big boom moment’. The destruction didn’t get sold in a way where you cared that whatever it was was demolished, the deaths were glossed over on the way to more moments thrown at the reader, and like I’ve been saying for months, it was a Michael Bay movie. Essentially, Fear Itself was Transformers 3, and Bucky was Ironhide, and Steve was Optimus. Big explosions and crazy action where you never feel for a second that the good guys have a chance of losing or that any of the real deaths of damages have any meaning since the characters are just glossed over.
So why in the blue hell would I buy the follow up? This book is Brightest Day to Fear Itself’s Blackest Night, and I found Brightest Day to be a sub par series launching out of an event that I enjoyed. So is this my hoping that everything is backwards and upside down with the world? That maybe a crappy event would lead to a surprisingly good follow up mini? I guess there’s a chance of that, but really, I bought this book because of Cullen Bunn. The writer of the Sixth Gun, and a plethora of Marvel projects since signing exclusive with them, is a hometown guy for me. I bought the book to support him, and honestly, it wasn’t so bad.
The story is essentially that Valkyrie is pissed that Captain America wants to leave the hammers locked up instead of giving them back to the Asgardians, while at the same time Sin is playing the role of Lex Luthor in Paul Cornell’s recent phenomenal run of Action Comics and wants to regain the power she had lost. So there’s the two core characters, and while one is a solidly D list hero and another is a formerly D list villain who has A name value due to using the Red Skull name, but is really a B despite killing a Captain America.. The opening sequence with a Valkyrie flashback actually does a lot for showing the writers intent in making her matter, as they seem ready to make her matter to the modern audience instead of surviving in the hearts of nostalgic fans who remember her from way back when. This is a good thing in my eyes as during my time reading the closest I’ve come to liking Valkyrie was Ultimate Valkyrie, and I mean the Millar version of her. Yeah, I went there.
Val makes an interesting case for what she wants to do with the hammers, but Captain America simply has a better one. Asgardians created this mess and were perfectly content to let Earth get wiped out so they could run in and pick up the pieces, so screw giving them back these super weapons. There are honestly no good reasons to trust the Asgardians at this point if you’re a human in the Marvel Universe, and with all of them banished to Earth, where the hell would they even store them? At least Sin is openly going through a power grab to take over the world, Val just seems like she has too much blind faith in her people.
The art is great. We’ve got Mark Bagley who really is one of those artists who is just custom built for the Marvel style. Really, he is, and during his time at DC it showed a lot as I kept wanting to see him throw in some Marvel characters because it just didn’t feel right. Paul, on the other hand, I’ve been a fan of since his run on Exiles, and keep finding him on art for random titles I pick up. So two artists that I like, and both are doing some good work here. Toss in the inkers in Danny Miki and Andy Lanning, who very well may have written some of the Pelletier titles I mentioned before, and you’ve got two guys who are aces at their jobs making it that much better. Matthew Wilson, meanwhile, comes in and puts the icing on it all as the coloring is top notch.
I’ll say it again, I did not like Fear Itself. However, despite being the aftermath, this book really does prove to the reverse of Brightest Day for me. It’s a title I wasn’t looking forward to at all, spinning out of an event I hated, and I think it could be pretty good. I’m not quite sure who to give the writing credits to, but the fact that Cullen Bunn is doing the scripting means that I’m most likely going to give him the abundance of it. He has the uneasy task of making Valkyrie matter to fans who don’t have nostalgia for her, and the even more difficult task of carrying seemingly half of the title with Sin. After one issue I can’t tell you that he’ll succeed in the long run, but he managed to sell me on the second issue out of interest and not just his local name value. Really just with the end sequence with Val and War Machine, that’s what will bring me back in two weeks.
Tags: chris yost, Cullen Bunn, Fear Itself, Mark Bagley, matt fraction, Paul Pelletier, Reviews, The Fearless, Valkyrie