Marvel’s Fear Itself

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Marvel held a live broadcast from Midtown Comics today at noon to announce next Summer’s Fear Itself event beginning in April. Joe Quesada was on hand to set the scene describing a world in an economic downturn, pundits telling you who to be afraid of, and people dealing in fear. It seems this is true in our world and in the Marvel Universe, making fear a great motivator with many taking advantage of it.

A trailer then rolled using the teaser images released last week along with a voice over track of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt. The closing frames revealed that Matt Fraction and Stuart Immonen would be the creators behind an event beginning in April 2011. Quesada went on to say that Marvel has always used real world as their canvas as events shaping our world shape their universe. Their comics are at their best when they act as a social commentary, and in Fear Itself, the heroes will once again represent the best of us as they struggle against the worst. He described it as what happens when despair is the norm, and mentioned the mysterious question of “who are the 8 most worthy.”

With this, they cut to Matt Fraction from Portland who reiterated that this story will be relatable to where we are today as a great shadow of anxiety and anger overtakes reason and discourse. Fear Itself will feature Marvel’s heroes versus the God of Fear. We’ll learn who are the worthy and why they were chosen. Fraction went on to say that while people are watching the Captain America and Thor movies this summer, they’ll be busting the door down with their biggest story.

I’ve enjoyed Fraction’s run on Uncanny X-Men since taking over at issue #500, but the other X-Men titles have honestly been been more appealing to me. A large part of that is due to artists like Greg Land, Terry Dodson and While Portacio working on the book. While Land and Dodson have done some great work, they’re not artists that really thrill me and as much as I hate to say it, I found little to enjoy in Portacio’s recent work. Stuart Immonen is someone that has been doing work that I really enjoy on New Avengers. I recently stopped reading that book, but after looking through issue #7, I may be back on board. He’s certainly someone capable of doing great things with a large cast on a book like this.

Editors Tom Breevort and Axel Alonso were on hand as well and mentioned that Marvel took the last year off from events and have been able to build for this during that time. While they think it’s been a while since we’ve seen something this big, it actually hasn’t been that long as Siege just published from January to April of 2010. Granted that was not as big as something like Secret Invasion, but Fear Itself certainly will be. In fact, it may even be bigger as the X-Men haven’t really been involved in the central story of any of these recent crossover/events and they (and everyone else in the Marvel Universe) will be affected by this one. It’s also worth pointing out that Matt Fraction is the current writer of Uncanny X-Men, practically guaranteeing some significant involvement from Marvel’s mutants.

The structure of Fear Itself will be 7 issues with a prologue in March. The prologue will feature Captain America, Namor and the Invaders during World War II by Ed Brubaker and Scott Eaton. It was also mentioned that a concealed act at the heart of the Marvel Universe will change the way everyone look at each other and will introduce this new threat. Issues will be priced at $3.99, but the first issue may have a higher price tag as it’s a larger page count, Breevort could not be specific at the time of the conference.

Other characters specifically mentioned as involved include: Dracula, the Hulk, the Avengers, Deadpool, and whatever is left of the Fantastic Four after the “Three” story wraps up. When asked where to look for more on the shelves, Breevort said that Phobos and Secret Warriors is an obvious place to start. Others will be clear after the March solicitations are released and beyond. Those in attendance got a special print of Immonen’s promo art, and Quesada, Breevort and Alonso stayed to do a small signing at the store.

Event publishing like this is always polarizing among fans. This one at least has a creative team that I can really get behind and has a fairly unique concept. I also really appreciate the choice to use a comic book store as the venue for this announcement. Midtown Comics has had a number of great events and signings recently and Marvel using their location for a major announcement is big deal.

Fear Itself will be a global event, new titles will launch as part of it, new developments and alliances between characters will emerge and there will be lots of secrets. The Marvel Universe will once again be changed. Get ready.

Read more about Marvel’s Fear Itself on MyLatestDistraction,
and follow each issue of the series here:

Marvel’s Fear Itself #1

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  • KevinMLD said,

    I would argue Shadowland and Chaos War are definitely also major events, even if Marvel wants to pretend they’re not.

  • ptb said,

    No argument here. Those are both pretty big events. Marvel is splitting hairs with the term “line wide” when they say it’s been a while since the last one.

    Even if you only go back to Siege, Fear Itself will start 11 months after the last event ended.

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