Two-Bit Fears: Fear #2 – Most Sharp Objects. I often joke around that I’m more likely to stab myself with a knife or switchblade than I am of doing anything else with them. I know it’s a guy thing, but I’m not comfortable carrying, handling, or wielding any sort of sharp blade for fear of slashing or stabbing myself (if only being thick-skinned helped in this kinda situation). Oddly enough, I absolutely LOVE swords and wish we lived back when everyone carried one around and challenged each other to duels. I guess my logic is that only an idiot would injure himself with his own sword, and I am certainly no idiot…
Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Penciler: John Romita, Jr.
Inker: Klaus Janson
Colorist: Dean White
Letterist: VC’s Cory Petit
Cover Artists: Alan Davis, Mark Farmer, & Javier Rodriguez
***WARNING: SPOILER (YEAH, ONE) AHEAD***
Plot: The Avengers look back on the events that take place between Fear Itself #3 and #4, namely, Ben Grimm becoming Angrir, Breaker of Souls, taking on the Red Hulk, and bringing downAvengersTower. They also ponder on what it is that makes an Avenger.
The Good: JRJR is back on art duties for this issue. I’m not going to pretend to know why he’s switching with Chris Bachalo every other issue, but it works for the best here. This is definitely a more serious story (thankfully glossing over Hawkeye and Spider-Woman’s romance introduced last issue), and it demanded Romita Jr.’s ability to convey that through the facial expressions of the Avengers.
The Bad: There are quite a bit of things I didn’t care for in this issue, unfortunately. It wasn’t a bad issue per se, but, to put it bluntly, it was pretty meh. I get the feeling Bendis was going for a somber tone, but it just fell flat to me. Allow me to elaborate.
Since the main action is happening in the Fear Itself mini, there is really not a whole lot you can tell in the Avengers book without feeling like a rehash, but Avengers #14 manages to tell a story that doesn’t take place in Fear Itself. Right after The Thing lifts the hammer that transforms him into Angrir, the Red Hulk is the first one to face him in battle. And quite the battle it is, as the Red Hulk takes a lot of punishment, including having the entire Avengers Tower fall on him and then being batted to who-knows-where. The whole fight looks okay. Personally, I thought the art lacked a certain detail. It also takes up most of the issue with very little dialogue, but what banter is there I found it entertaining.
My main issue with the plot is that we have yet another story where Bendis is trying to play up Red Hulk’s reform into an Avenger, which is fine, because I do find Ross’ change of heart intriguing, to say the least. But that’s just the thing. We already had a six-part saga in which the Red Hulk fights for redemption. Do we really need another one immediately after?
Like I said, the issue fell pretty flat to me. Considering that what goes on is pretty major (the taking down of an Avenger heavy-hitter, the possession of another, the fall of the Tower), this story really should cause the reader to feel the consequences of the Serpent’s ascension, but for some reason it didn’t resonate like that with me.
Friendly-neighborhood Spider moment: We see Spidey in his Future Foundation uniform throughout this issue. I thought he looked pretty cool. And that’s about it.
Verdict: I hate being this harsh with this story. I feel like I’m the one with the problem because I didn’t feel what this issue wanted me to feel. But I gotta be honest with how I perceived things, so this issue gets 1 Starktech Force Field Personnel Shields out of 5 (this is how Stark Resilient employees are evacuated from falling buildings).
~My Two Cents