Friday, October 21, 2011
Fear Itself: Why it Failed
So I just finished reading the final issue of the Marvel Comics event: Fear Itself. This wasn't a small-time event like Chaos War where it affected only a few books, this event effected EVERYTHING. It all leads back to Secret Wars, the first major Marvel event. For the most part, these game-changers have been astonishing, save for a few. (Secret Invasion.) Universally, it is is accepted that Civil War is the best out of them. In fact, no event prior Fear Itself came anywhere near Civil War in terms of quality. So to combat the more negatively reviewed events after Civil War, prior to Fear Itself, (Secret Invasion and Siege) Marvel decided to make the biggest story they ever told. Don't remember or believe me? Here are some quotes I had the courtesy of finding.
"We are going to be busting the doors down with the biggest story we've ever told."
When I heard that, I took it like a marketing technique. That's just basically hype, I doubted they really meant "the biggest story they ever told." But they said it, and based on the title of this editorial, you can tell it wasn't. However that quote was not the most important my friends, this was.
"The biggest event since Civil War, maybe even bigger!"
Whoa there, hold on a second. Unlike Secret Invasion and Siege, they were pouring down MASSIVE hype toward this event, they really did mean it......or should I say, meant it. You see, Fear Itself didn't come close to being as epic as Civil War. Of course, you've heard lots of people say that, so I'm here with this editorial to explain things deeply.
Now to be fair, the first issue of this event was the perfect start, I gave it a PERFECT score. The seeds were planted in that issue, ensuring that the event would definitely be world-changing. What what we got wasn't even a land-changer. It changed things, sure, but practically every major thing felt forced. Alright, like I said, issue one was a stellar beginning with amazing moments. The scene where Thor and Odin battled and the latter chaining the first was not only epic, but supremely dramatic. That goes out the window an issue later where Odin lets Thor go free. Huh? Where did this sudden change of character come from? Of course, the aspect that got on everyone's nerves was:
THE DEATH OF BUCKY BARNES.
It wasn't the death itself that annoyed the fanbase, it was how afterward it was forgotten and undervalued. No one seemed to really care, not even Cap. (His care for it was displayed in the Avengers tie-in.) In the issues after, it was forgotten, like the death didn't matter. I knew that he would be the one to bite the dust, but it just felt so meaningless. Like, back in Civil War, Goliath died, that felt major, and was never forgotten. And he isn't even as close to a major character as Bucky! When a death of a major character feels meaningless, you have a problem.
The main antagonist is the "God of Fear:" the Serpent. This guy's backstory with Odin was very interesting, but wasn't explored or fully fleshed out enough. It doesn't help that he was given MASSIVE hype over the course of this event, yet he loses pretty fast in the last issue. I guess it's because he himself barely fought during the event, it was the Worthy who did all the work. One scene they did right was when Thor when to meet the Serpent for the first time, and he slapped aside the Thunder God like paper. What this event needed was more of the Serpent showing his power. The problem with a lot of media, is that if you wait until the very last scene to showcase the villain's power, it will feel underwhelming, cause you kinda know that he won't be able too look too powerful, especially in Marvel's case here, cause they were already saying what's coming after. Therefore the Serpent couldn't have looked like the world-changer villain they hyped him up to be. In a couple of months, this guy will most likely be forgotten, never to be seen again like other characters. (Toxin, what happened to you?)
Another major hyped-but-miserably-failed factor of the series was this:
They were the Avengers' answer to the Serpent's Worthy. Now that's one pretty awesome concept, I mean, look at those guys. Powered up with Asgardian technology, it's an amazing concept, if executed correctly, it could be one of the epic things to grace comics.......and of course this event mishandled the concept. They were saved for last, which was fine, but they have really no significance in the story. There's no big transformation sequence, it should have been more of a factor.
Fear Itself DOES have its moments. I said in a previous editorial that a very powerful scene I'll never forget was when Cap said, "We're going to lose." The Thor vs. Hulk and Thing battle back in issue five was one of the most epic battles I've ever read in comics. Not to mention the stellar art, some of the best I've seen in comics. And the last issue had the Serpent transforming into well, a real serpent. Now that was EPIC, that beast was the perfect end-boss......if only it could have lasted longer, the final battle was too anti-climatic. So the prophesy was fulfilled that Thor takes out the Serpent, and dies along with it. Not only does this death feel empty, it's hard to take seriously. There wasn't much emphasis on it, and let's face it, he's coming back. And don't get me started on Odin. He never seemed truly sane in this series. I mean, when Cap told him off back in issue six, he actually seemed surprised by the way the Avenger was addressing him. Also, even in all the chaos and "fear," the Spidey I know wouldn't abandon the battle, it just isn't in his character.
Here's another false quote. "It has a beginning, a middle, and an end."
It doesn't have closure. One of the epilogues has Sin waking from injuries. What follows are these strange people saying that there's still work to be done. So Sin gets up saying that the world can still be changed. TO BE CONTINUED IN FEAR ITSELF: THE FEARLESS it said. Therefore, the story of Fear Itself isn't completed. Wrong, just wrong. They should have just killed of Sin, no one likes her anyway, and I really don't see much people having interest in this Fear Itself sequel. Let's face it, it will have no significance at all, with big events coming such as Avengers: X-Sanction, and 2012's the Age of Ultron. This Fear Itself sequel is nothing but a waste of time.
Overall, Fear Itself was a sound concept, we had very unique teasers showcasing what our heroes fear most. We didn't get any of that. We knew what Marvel was aiming for in this event, we knew that they wanted to make it grounded in the public's view. It was meant to be the opposite of Final Crisis. It was meant to be more from our point of view, what fear feels like. It failed. Fear Itself failed as an event. DC's Justice League and Detective Comics has more of a high-quality feel when compared to some of Marvel's all-star books, like Avengers and Amazing Spider-Man. It's sad. Marvel needs to step it up now, I hope they've learned from this, and start to produce high-quality stuff like they use to.
Thanks for reading.