Aye, good start! Verily, let's pray it holds!
I snagged FEAR ITSELF #1 for my weekly review and I have to say I'm glad I did.
First off, there's A LOT happening in this book, but first and foremost, there's tension in the air on the streets of the Marvel Universe...a political nod to the climate of the world these days, I suppose. So the decision is made to build the Asgardians a home on Earth with the help of Tony Stark. With the support of the Avengers as well as Thor, a sort-of "spokesperson" for the Asgardians, the effort will employ a lot of people, plus it's a unifying effort to give people something to believe in and look forward to. So of course, something's bound to mess it all up.
And those things come in several forms. The daughter of the Red Skull comes into possession a mythical hammer in Antartica which transforms her into a bad-a$$ warrior woman called Skadi.
I'm the type of person who doesn't like to feel like they don't know what the heck's going on, so I did a little research on Skadi, which I'm gladly sharing with the rest of the class.
According to one tale of Norse mythology, Skadi (sometimes referred to as the Goddess of Snowshoes) waged war against the gods of Asgard after the death of her father, a giant. In order to appease her anger, Skadi was given the choice of a husband, but could only choose her mate by his feet. Not being a good judge of feet, Skadi mistakingly took Balder's feet for that of the sea god, Njord. The relationship didn't work out, since Skadi loved the mountains and Njord wanted to be near water. There are also Norse tales that claim Skadi married Odin and gave him more sons. Whether of this has any effect or bearing on the story has yet to be seen.
Now, back to the story. Skadi claims to have had a vision of killing Captain America with the hammer and becoming queen of the world. So this is prophecy to her at this point.
Meanwhile, the lordly King of Asgard, Odin isn't all to happy about Thor's decision concerning the fate of the Earthly Asgardians. He and Thor have it out, and Odin strips Thor of the ability to use his mighty Uru Hammer, reminding Thor that while "Odin giveth; Odin taketh away." Binding Thor and leaving behind the hammer, Odin then leads the Asgardians from Earth back home to their place in the sky.
Now go see THOR: coming to theatres May 6.
Skadi also appears to release an old man from captivity who calls himself the "All-Father". Together, they summon "The Worthy"...which can't be good for the Marvel Universe...and we'll have to wait until issue #2 to see what happens.
What is most appealing to me about FEAR ITSELF at this point is the way it touches at many aspects of Marvel mythology. The dialogue is believable and not too over-the-top, and the artwork is gorgeous. Matt Fraction's "Fear Itself" leaves the reader nothing to fear, except spending money on the next issue.
What's the bad side? Well, it made other books I read (like Annihilators #2, a book I was REALLY excited about) look like wastes of paper. The cover to the standard issue is a little "CIVIL WAR" for me, but thankfully, there are at least seven different covers as of this writing, with my favorite being the COMICSPRO exclusive cover.
On a collector's note, shops might not have ordered as heavy as they might have after some past disappointing MARVEL EVENT titles, so it might be worth your time as a collector to snag yourself some of the variants, including the 1:75 cover as well as the aforementioned COMICSPRO exclusive variant.
So head over to Comic Collector Live and ask...nay, DEMAND yourself a copy of FEAR ITSELF OR go to the iTunes store and download our official COMIC COLLECTOR LIVE iPhone application, and take every comic we catalog with you when you hit the local comic stores.