Marvel has a company-wide crossover event called Fear Itself that I’m currently reading, which brings about memories of past crossover events that I’ve read and collected, stories like Civil War, Siege, and Shadowland. It’s quite challenging financially to catch up on all the tie-ins of a major event, so I thought I’d do my part and talk about Fear Itself’s tie-ins (SPOILER alert).
In Part 1, I talked about Sin’s Past #1, Fear Itself: Spider-Man #1-#3, Iron Man 2.0 #5-#7, and Fear Itself: FF #1, recommending the Spider-Man and FF tie-ins. In Part 2, I talked about Secret Avengers #13-#15, Herc #3-#6, Fear Itself: Black Widow #1 and Fear Itself: Deadpool #1-#3, recommending none of the tie-ins but giving the Herc and Deadpool tie-ins as good reads.
Both issues revolve around the Red Hulk’s battle with the Thing in New York, but add the story of M.O.D.O.K. and Zero/One, two technologically-enhanced organisms that used to be human who are pursuing the Red Hulk in order to kill him. Their advanced intelligence leading to the realization that Sin’s invasion force is the greater enemy, the two villains instead cooperated and defended New York from the invaders that followed the Thing’s path of destruction. This has strong ties to Fear Itself, and I think is a must-read just to see the real outcome of the Red Hulk and Thing fight.
Can the Thunderbolts stop the unstoppable?
One of the better ongoing titles that has ties to Fear Itself, the Thunderbolts issues first show the team deal with the situation at the Raft, securing prisoners and escapees and restoring security before heading out to stop their teammate from wreaking havoc on Chicaco. Failing to stop the unstoppable Juggernaut, both the Thunderbolts A- and B-Teams engage Sin’s invasion force. This is what I’d like to see in tie-ins: the issues successfully continue previous plot threads and start new ones while directly tying-into the main storyline. It also gives screen time to the Thunderbolts staff – insights on warden John Walker, former member Crossbones, and then-current member the Juggernaut before he became possessed. Finally, I like how they avoided plot holes by limiting Luke Cage’s appearances to simply communicating with Songbird (after all, Cage was with the Avengers in New York) so it meshes well with the overall story. My only nitpick is that even after 3 re-reads, the end of #162 didn’t mesh well with the start of #163 – it’s like something happened off-panel. I won’t spoil the details so you’ll have to get the issues to read about it. This is definitely a must-read tie-in.
Heroes for Hire #9-#11
Another ongoing title that ties into Fear Itself, the Heroes for Hire issues revolve around two pairs of heroes hired by Misty Knight to help with the situation: Elektra and the Shroud at the Raft breakout and Paladin and the Gargoyle at Yancy Street to deal with the Thing. At the Raft, Elektra and Shroud helped round up escapees but they are soon confronted by the Purple Man. Paladin and the Gargoyle ended up losing badly against the possessed Thing and decide to stay to help out survivors but are attacked by a new villain called Monster. A decent read, but the connection to Fear Itself isn’t as strong as other tie-ins – the Raft scenes are limited to just one section, and the battle with the Thing only lasts a few panels. Not a must-read, but it adds to the Fear Itself experience. Get this only if you have the budget.
New Avengers #14-#16
As I mentioned before, the Avengers tie-ins (save for Avengers Academy) focus each issue on individual members of the Avengers. What separates Bendis’ work from Secret Avengers is his “oral history” approach – a story is woven via excerpts taken from “interviews” conducted with the Avengers members. Another advantage is that the New Avengers tie-ins manage to continue story threads of previous New Avengers issues – Mockingbird’s “rejuvenation” is covered in the first tie-in, Squirrel Girl’s value as a nanny in the second tie-in, and Daredevil’s long overdue inclusion in the New Avengers is shown in the final tie-in. All three issues are right in the middle of the New York invasion so this really does add to the Fear Itself experience, but the “oral history” storytelling method is an acquired taste – yes, the New Avengers tie-ins really happen in the middle of Fear Itself, but that doesn’t mean it’s good. Not a must-have, but should be considered if you have extra cash (note the emphasis on extra).
That’s four tie-ins, all with strong enough ties to Fear Itself, but I only consider two (Hulk, Thunderbolts) as must-reads. The other two tie-ins are for those who want to get all of the tie-ins or those who just want a little more of the Fear Itself experience. We’re drawing to a close now – the main series is already at issue six (of seven) and most of the remaining tie-ins are on their last or second to the last issue – how many more are Worthy of your money?