Man. I had a copy of Journey Into Mystery in my pile this week that I was just SAVORING. I had it on the very bottom of the stack, waiting like an elegant digestif: it would end my Fear Itself session on a high note and my entire review would be better as a result. But when I cracked it open I realized it was last month's issue. There was no new Journey Into Mystery. I fabricated a new issue out of childish, baseless desire.
So here's my continued review of a backlog of Fear Itself issues. I hope that my bitterness doesn't bleed through too heavily.
- Invincible Iron Man #504-505 - Xmas said recently (and I paraphrase): "the best crossover writers are the ones that write whatever the fuck they want whilst the 'event' is just happening. " I agree with him (though not with his lifestyle or the choices he's made). When Fear Itself is just a context, a sort of background thing to other, better stories, this whole series becomes pretty damn sweet. And while most Fear Itself books don't seem to be heeding to this guideline (and are suffering accordingly), Matt Fraction, the event's architect, really hits the nail on the head in his flagship Invincible Iron Man series. These were a great couple of issues. The Grey Gargoyle, in his turn as the coolest hammer-wielder thus far, is turning the citizens of Paris to stone. When Iron Man shows up to shut that shit down, he realizes (mid-melee) that all of the rubble he crashes and is punched through...is peoples!!! This is pretty weird and gross for the I-Man, as you can imagine, and you get a real sense of all this FEAR that everyone's been talking so much about. I liked!
- Fear Itself: Fearsome Four #1 - Man...Howard the Duck...what the damn...huh? Forget it.
- Fear Itself: Deadpool #1 - Funny! Deadpool is funny sometimes! He's just such a scamp, you know? Always getting into some type of mischief. This adventure finds our protagonist scamming a suburban couple before tricking a hard-luck villain named "The Walrus" into thinking he's found one of the Serpent's Hammers. But who is that other inner-thought dialogue box? The white one? I didn't get that. If someone could explain that to me, that would be great.*
- Secret Avengers #14 - Nick Spencer's back again, obeying what I will henceforth refer to as the "Xmas Event-uality," using the larger "Fear" stuff to execute an almost stand-alone story. I didn't get into this one as much as the last issue (with Congress and The Beast and what-not), but it was a pretty fun ride. Points for good use of Odin and Valkyrie, demerits for having the two main characters being all kissy face in the middle of a giant Nazi robot fight. Like Secret Avengers #13, this one was just so close to great.
- Thunderbolts #159 - I was a third of the way through this giant sized, special issue of Thunderbolts when I realized I had no idea what was going on. I was enjoying it, I think, but I was pretty much totally lost. I leave a review of this issue to a certain co-blogger who knows better, who might have something substantive to contribute. He knows who he is.
- Fear Itself: Black Widow - I am not an expert in terrorists. I will be the first to admit this. But do terrorists refer to "terror" as often as they do in FI: Black Widow? Don't they usually employ terror incidentally, in service of some greater cause? The goal being X, with the "terrorists" wiling to employ violent means to achieve X, with terror being a bi-product or ends towards X? Am I splitting hairs? Isn't this just a comic book? Yeah ok, but this issue was still stupid. A group of bad guys, looking to capitalize on the craziness happening in France, are in the middle of doing some "terror." Do they want money? Prestige? I don't know and neither do they. For a better example of Cullen Bunn's writing, please see Sixth Gun, which is fantastic. And then let's all pretend that this didn't happen.
* Before I even finished writing, I was informed that the other dialogue box is...also Deadpool. Because he's, like, crazy. So it's his inner dialogue, apparently. Maybe you knew that, but there we go.