Cage Stands Ready to Make a Profit on His $1 Mansion Purchase
Brian Michael Bendis dives into the action of Fear Itself with this second issue of the Avengers tie-in. It's Angrir, Breaker of Souls, in the body of the Thing versus the Red Hulk in the streets of Manhattan. This is an issue packed with action, which allows it to make the most of what scraps Fear Itself gives it to work with.
This is Red Hulk's big Avenger moment, and it is effectively done. It is a poetic twist for this fight to be a variation on the classic Thing versus Hulk brawls too. Bendis really captures the drama of the situation, using the interview framework from last issue to good effect as well as Jarvis as an innocent bystander to help keep the crazy action grounded. Even if the fight doesn't go Red Hulk's way, it is still a powerful heroic moment.
John Romita Jr. is back already. Apparently, we only get the one issue of Chris Bachalo's art before it is back to business as usual. Thankfully, it is not quite business as usual. The art is a bit more solid than it usually is for this series, and I mean that all around. The pencils, the inking and the coloring. It is possible the one issue break prevented the art team from rushing as they usually may be doing.
What drags this issue down is Fear Itself. There seems to be some kind of mandate to have writers exaggerate the dramatic impact of everything that is happening well beyond what the events of Fear Itself have actually earned. A big deal is made over Avengers Tower falling, as if this is not the second time in recent memory that has happened. Hell, this is the second time that JRJr. has drawn it happening. This is also the third time in recent memory where an event has had Manhattan get devastated by a superpowered attack. Oh, the things that are happening are certainly still terrible, but none of it is yet outside the realm of what most of these characters are used to dealing with. Are the Avengers going to mope because their headquarters got taken out? Maybe the X-Men can guest appear next issue to play them the world's tiniest violin.
Because this seems to be a widespread flaw in Fear Itself, I don't put much blame on Bendis for it. This is ot his event, and he is just playing his role like everyone else. By presumably setting these interview scenes after Fear Itself, he does give himself some extra justification to have these characters behave as if they are more emotionally exhausted, because they are dealing with the sum of Fear Itself rather than the bits and pieces as it goes along. So in that way, Bendis has found the means to make the most of the position Fear Itself places him in.
This doesn't allow Bendis to free himself of all of the difficulties of Fear Itself, though. His portrayal of Angrir is awkward, mostly because Fear Itself has not done a good job at establishing what the Worthy are supposed to be. Angrir speaks normally in this issue. Now, Skadi does too in the pages of Fear Itself. But you also have other Worthy who do not. Skadi and Sin also seem to be of one mind, but that does not seem to be the case with other members of the Worthy. Or does it? The consistencies of how one of the main elements of Fear Itself make things a bit confusing and hard to enjoy.
As I said, Bendis and Romita make the most of what Fear Itself has to give them, turning this into an issue of enjoyable action. It is certainly one of the tie-ins that is more worth reading if you are following Fear Itself. It is also worth reading if you are a fan of Red Hulk, as this is really his issue.