Personal Fear #5 – The infinite, emptiness of space. It’s awful and just goes on, and on, and on. (Like my writing.) I think it would be really cool to see Earth from the outer space perspective, but what that requires is just too much for me to handle. Why, and how, is our Earth just sitting here floating in this vast, vacuum of nothingness. And what about the aliens out there that are mastering the ways of light speed so they can invade our planet? What about Galactus!?
Fear Itself 5: Brawl
Writer: Matt Fraction
Art: Stuart Immonen
Inks: Wade Von Grawbadger
Colors: Laura Martin & Milla Molinar
Letters: Chris Eliopoulos
Cover Art: Steve McNiven
Plot: Thor is engaged in a battle with the duo of Hulk and Thing, who have been possessed by the powers of Nul, Breaker of Worlds and Angrir, Breaker of Souls, respectively. The violent hammer strikes of their fight echo throughout the destroyed city. Sin stands triumphantly over Captain America’s team of Avengers and proclaims that the Serpent’s Worthy are killing the Odinson.
Tony Stark, in his Iron Man armor sans mask, sits in the ruins of Asgard drinking alone when Odin appears before him. A defiant Stark throws his bottle at Odin. Tony demands that the All-Father give Earth a chance by allowing him to use the Asgardian workshop in order to make weapons.
Thor’s battle with his powerful foes rages on. The Asgardian warrior is sent flying through a building. Angrir charges his downed opponent with his hammer raised and Thor tries ineffectively to plead with Ben Grimm, the man inside the monster. Thor summons Mjolnir, his hammer, and the weapon impales Angrir on its flight back to its owner.
The god of Thunder turns his attention to Nul, saying that the Hulk was always a giant pain. Thor clobbers Nul, sending him through the office building. The mighty Avenger follows up his attack with several more lightning-enhanced strikes before they crash to the ground. In the streets, Thor finishes the fight by delivering one final earth-shattering blow that sends Nul into orbit. Thor vows to continue this battle another time, and then falls to the ground.
Valeria and Franklin Richards, two young members of the Future Foundation, appear where the possessed Thing had been wounded in his fight with Thor. Franklin tells his Uncle Ben that everything will be alright, to which the Thing replies that he deserves all of this punishment. Franklin then uses his reality-altering mutant ability to restore his godfather and rid him of the god of Fear’s influence.
The Serpent arrives in his fortress above the streets of New York and claims that this world now belongs to him. He greets his daughter, Sin, congratulating her on her excellent work. The reunion is interrupted by Spider-Man and several other Avengers as they mount an attack. The Serpent dispatches the heroes and breaks Captain America’s shield. He delivers one large, final explosive attack from his scythe and leaves the Avengers scattered in the streets.
Spider-Man rouses Captain America, and tells the leader that the villains have left and the battle is over. Spidey than regretfully tells Cap that he thinks it’s time for the heroes to retreat so they can check in on their own families. Spider-Man web-slings off, and Captain America tells Hawkeye that Spider-Man is right – the heroes are going to lose.
What to Cheer: The title of this chapter, Brawl, does a great job of summing up the premise of this story. A big brawl takes place between Thor and two other of the heaviest hitters in the Marvel Universe. Only this time, these two powerhouses have Asgardian abilities and weapons of their own. I was not the biggest fan of all the strong guys like Hulk and Thing being recipients of these hammers, but now it makes sense. Thor can have a hard enough time with these two characters normally, but having to face the enhanced adversaries at the same time really gives the brash and arrogant Thor a challenge.
The creative team did a great job fitting in as much action as they could. There were great little moments in the art that added to the power of the attacks. The continuous lightning strikes that came off Thor’s hammer are a good example. The final swing that Thor took to defeat Nul, was so powerful and infused with lightning that Thor himself was glowing with energy. Another little graphic of note that helped add to the action was the blood coming off Mjolnir after Thor sent the weapon hurtling through Angrir’s torso.
The fighting was also enhanced by the portrayal of the characters involved in the fight. I liked how Thor seemed upset about the action he was about to take to stop the Thing. Thor’s statement “him I liked,” was a good touch, as was his follow up claim that he always thought the Hulk, was “a giant pain in the ass.” That was a nice way to show Thor’s warrior mentality; that willingness to win no matter what, even if it meant fighting those that he had once fought beside or called friend.
The other two important moments in terms of characterization belonged to the Thing and Tony Stark. The Thing has been blaming himself for a lot of things in recent times and he mentions that as he lies dying. He will no doubt allow the path of destruction he sowed as Angrir cast a shadow over his head for the foreseeable future. This is also the Tony Stark I would expect to see; a drunk, arrogant arms manufacturer. I like the strategy of Tony asking to use Odin’s workshop to even the battlefield, but I would have liked it more if we didn’t already know Odin was going to consent to the idea.
“Hey Beardo, suck it!” doesn’t have quite the same effect that the “Avengers Assemble” rallying cry does, but I really enjoyed seeing Spider-Man lead the charge against the Serpent. The line may not have been his best opener, but the humor of it was heightened when Captain America later questioned its use. The Serpent breaks Captain America’s shield, which was a nice surprise to me as well, but I’m sure we’ll see another one produced for him later. Perhaps Tony can create one for him in his new Asgardian armory as a way of saying sorry for the Civil War.
What to Fear: I was disappointed when Spider-Man flaked out in the end, especially after he had just led the charge into battle. I understand his compulsive desire to want to check on his own family, but I didn’t like him being the one to suggest essentially giving up. This battle was clearly over though, and it appears that Spidey does come back to take up a weapon, so he’ll be back in action soon enough.
The only other minor hitch I found in this issue was the use of Franklin Richards. I am vaguely familiar with his mutant abilities and know that he is considered quite powerful, but I didn’t really like the idea of him just being able to cure the Thing. This dues ex machina type of situation and characters like Franklin, always bother me because it seems like an easy way out. I hope we see some sort of repercussions in the FF title for his actions here.
The Big Picture: I am fully on board with this story line right now. The art has been fantastic, and the story has been shaping up nicely now that it’s focused solely on the heroes. There are a lot of moving parts to this story, and the plots and characters are all balanced well. This issue really brings the reader back into the action after the last comic felt more of like an intermission. The pace has picked backed up and it seems as though it will be easy to draw everything to a close in the next two chapters.
I assume that the next issue will focus on the creation of Tony’s weapons, as well as Thor’s recovery from this exhaustive battle. I can’t imagine Thor being dead or going down like this, so I am hoping we have not seen the last of him in this series. My guess is that he will come back in the last chapter of the story when the rest of the heroes are equipped with Asgardian weapons of their own. I wouldn’t be surprised to see one more hero fall in battle before this is over, but my money is not on Thor.
Rating: Great, action. Good, art, characterization, story and writing. 5/5 Frightened Marvelites.