We've passed the halfway hurdle in Fear Itself, and it's finally starting to heat up a bit. With all the puzzle pieces coming into place, is there hope for our heroes to face this new, powerful threat?
Thor's triumphant return is well-timed: I don't think I could have stood another issue where he just bums around Asgard. he's quickly rising to prominence as one of the foremost protagonists of this event, and having him back on Earth where he belongs is a sign that Fear Itself is past its half-way mark.
Tony Stark's "sacrifice" was completely different than what I thought his actions were going to mean. The fact that he was the one pleading was interesting, as I think Tony represents someone who hasn't dealt with Asgard all that much before. If the previews of next issue are true to word, I think we could see some very interesting crossover potential between the Stark Industries playboy and the Norse gods.
Cap with a machine gun bigger than his arm is definitely something I haven't seen in awhile. Also, a return to the "goggles" mask is a welcome change.
Seeing "the big three" back in action just seems like a long time coming, and even though it seems a bit rushed (see below) it's nice to have a bit of a status quo back. You can really see the familiarity with each other that Tony, Thor and Steve share, as it's almost like "Well, here's this huge problem. It's not hopeless, because we're awesome and have saved existence too many times to count. We got this."
The amount of Odin in this issue is also a breath of fresh air, as we get to see a little bit more expansion of what's scaring him so much. I'm really hoping he plays a larger role in the future, and gets more dialog. The double-page spread juxtaposition of him and The Serpent was great.
The monumental death from last issue is almost swept aside casually as Steve Rogers throws the mask on again. Is it just me, or does it seem like Marvel didn't have any confidence in Bucky to do the job at all?
This is really what knocked the issue a couple notches down for me: it really seemed like they wanted us to care so much about it, but said "whelp! Time to get Steve back in action! Nothing to see here, folks!"
It also seems a bit dumb that one child screaming for his father is the one catalyst that The Serpent needs to regain his former power. I mean, it's be nice if they had a meter or something, to let us know that that was what tipped the scales: instead, it just looks like you needed to scare a child with a Halloween mask.
With Fear Itself half-over, things are steadily progressing towards the crux of the story. With Thor facing insurmountable odds on the last page of this issue, along with the other Avengers in various states of turmoil, it seems that the next two issues will be very big deals, indeed.
And, of course, we have our Comic Crossover Bingo card for all the issues leading up to this one. While I haven't been reading every single issue, I've managed to review most of them. So far, we seem to have a double bingo: is there a chance for three lines, with three issues left?