Two-Bit Fears: Fear #3 – Dogs. I hesitate to list this here. It’s not a paralyzing fear by any means, and I even have two dogs at home that love me to pieces, but I’m not too crazy about dogs in general. When I was a kid, I got bitten by not just one, but *two* vicious dogs in the area where I sit, of all places (and the dogs weren’t even radioactive, which sucks). It’s a wonder I’m not traumatized. Probably the more unsettling thing about dogs, personally, is that I can’t tell what they are thinking—what they are gonna do next.
Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Penciler: Chris Bachalo
Inkers: Townsend, Faucher, Mendoza, Olazaba & Irwin
Colorist: Chris Bachalo
Letterist: VC’s Cory Petit
Cover Artists: Ed McGuinness & Morry Hollowell
***WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD***
Plot: Our illustrated oral history of the Avengers takes us back to the events unfolded within Fear Itself #3, more precisely, the fight of Spider-Woman, Ms. Marvel, and Noh-Varr against the Hulk as Nul, Breaker of Worlds, with the focus on Spider-Woman as she continues to struggle to find her place among the Avengers.
The Good: As always, let’s talk about the art first. We have Chris Bachalo back as penciler and colorist for this issue, and let me tell ya: I absolutely loved the art. Say what you will about Bachalo, but I liked what I saw here. There are times when the art gets a little too cartoony, which might turn off some readers, but that’s never been a problem for me. Personal preference and all that.
In particular, I liked what he did with the action scenes, as he plays around with his panels, having them go slightly slanted one way. It gives the fight a more dynamic feel. When things slow down or transition back to the interviews, the panels straighten back up. It’s a great technique.
Whereas in the last issue I felt that the art was lacking in detail, it’s the complete opposite here. Bachalo jams in a lot of detail in every action panel. It’s no wonder he needed five inkers to get the job done, but to be honest you can’t really tell. I like the consistency in this regard.
The cover by McGuinness and Hollowell was great as well. Perfectly encompasses what the issue is all about.
As far as the actual story, I enjoyed the focus Bendis gives to Spider-Woman (shouldn’t be that surprising, right?). He alluded to her struggles in the .1 issue, and here we see him picking the thread back up. As someone who is not very familiar with the character, I think he did a fairly good job in getting me invested in her, as I too want to see her overcome her past and find her place among the Avengers.
The Bad: If there’s one thing I felt was wrong with the issue, it’s the dialogue. Yeah, I know, it’s Bendis and all that (meaning that characters often sound like they all have the same voice). I wasn’t too annoyed by it, to be honest.
The Ugly: I only put this in here because I know it will upset some fans. Hawkeye backs-up the team during the battle, and after an intense struggle against Nul (in which they end up saving some kids and hiding), he and Jessica share their first kiss. While the concept might not appeal to some, I thought it was done organically, and Bendis and Bachalo don’t dwell too much on it (it wasn’t even a splash page or anything. Just a small corner panel at the turn of the page). We’ll have to wait and see where Bendis plans to take this romance.
Friendly-Neighborhood Spider-moment: Spidey only gives a little bit of humorous insight on Noh-Varr, when the latter manages to catch Nul off-guard.
SPIDER-MAN: (looking at the camera) Hey, if I was living on another planet, I would seem off, too. (looks away and thinks about it for a second) I live *here* and I seem off. (looks back at the camera) He’s okay. He just doesn’t get us entirely.
~My Two Cents