I’m OK, You’re OK, Fear Itself is OK


No matter how jaded I may get—and, I’ll own it, that is pretty damned jaded indeed—it turns out this is still a thrilling time to be reading comics. The medium is still full of excitement if you look outside of the books themselves.

I was reflecting on this, and how lucky I am to be a weekly buyer keeping up with such things, while listening to the Founders Three on the most recent Pick of the Week podcast. The Founders Three, as they must do to keep from being ripped to shreds by you insatiable blighters, were weighing in this weekend on the summer’s “event” comics. In so doing, they took the time to apply the kind of measured, reasonable analysis they are known for to reviewing Fear Itself #4, calling it (after much sober deliberation) “fucking garbage.”

“Wow!” I said to a room full of no one after hearing that considered assessment. “That is refreshing. It is so heartening to see that, even after a decade of plumbing their way through issue after issue of thousands of comic books and becoming industry experts, these guys can still occasionally be wrong about a book. It gives a man hope, to see such seasoned veterans blow it so completely.”

And as I was—

What’s that?

I’m immediately fired?

The uniformity of the iFempire’s collective Overpinion must be respected at all costs?

I see.

Very well. Before Carol and I gather my things, though, let me just say this:

I’m enjoying Fear Itself, and you can’t take that away from me. Leaving aside the fact that calling it “fucking garbage” would be something of a stretch for anyone who also read the Chuck Austen run on Uncanny X-Men where Nightcrawler’s father was the actual devil from the Bible, or the arc where Buffy and Angel boned a universe into existence from outer space, you have to give me the basic planks in the “event” platform: you’re at least mildly interested in what has come before, and you are nominally curious as to what’s coming next. At least as it compares Nightcrawler’s father being the actual devil from the Bible. (Uncanny X-Men spoiler alert: that arc spoils Uncanny X-Men.)

True, Fear Itself is not changing my life, making me examine how I love, or redefining the way I see myself as a father. It is sort of pleasantly meandering. I’ll go to the other extreme, in fact: aside fom the fact that everyone on earth is in it, I’m not sure at this point what makes it a capital-E Event. It certainly isn’t bringing me a wow per month, like Civil War did.

Here’s the thing, though: in hindsight, Civil War was atrocious. Big bangs and plot points took precedence over characters and consistency. The other Marvel events of the decade have followed a familiar pattern, and Fear Itself seems no different.

Look at House of M, World War Hulk, Secret Invasion, or Siege. At the time, on a month-by-month basis, you heard a lot of "Where is this going?" or "They're still in the Savage Land?" or whatever the laziest snark of the month was. (Has there ever been an easier joke than the “still in the Savage Land” joke, other than possibly something involving Rob Liefeld and feet?) Guess what: when you read that trade, they’re not in the Savage Land all that long. The whole book happens in a day. It’s pretty fast-paced and exciting.

(Incidentally: going from “they’re still in the Savage Land?” to “Fear Itself doesn’t stop to explain what’s happening enough” is the kind of thing that makes writers look for work in other fields. Which is probably for the best all the way around.)

In the grand scheme of things over the last decade, one or two changes came out of each Marvel “event” in the end, but not nearly as many as you expected. Nobody beats Marvel when it comes to building themselves an escape hatch and then not using it. The Scarlet Witch could have changed anything in the universe. Anyone could have been a Skrull. We got Mockingbird and ten fewer mutants. Ponder that as the third annual DC reboot rolls along.

Mostly—and this is just my experience, mind you—they all turned out to be much better books when you sat down and read them in one sitting without the hype and tie-in nonsense a year later. As an “event,” House of M has no reason to exist; as some stuff that happens in a book you read on a rainy afternoon, it’s a delight. Fear Itself looks to be par for the course. Right now, it’s decent, and a year from now it’s going to be pretty great.

(Especially when compared to the rote, semi-coherent snooze of Flashpoint, which inexplicably continues to walk around like it owns the place despite the fact that we already know months in advance that its ending takes place beneath a giant THIS WAS ALL FOR NOTHING banner in September and… I’m sorry? Pack my desk faster? Will do.)

Of course, one may well ask, “If all of these events read better as trades without all the tie-ins, why were they events in the first place?” That’s certainly a fair question, and I’m delighted that answering it is not my problem. I’m just in charge of buying the stuff and reading it. That’s my department, and my department is doing a great job. In all candor, what would an event have to do to impress you anymore? Lord knows I have been put through the ringer by these stories in the past, but as someone who fears plenty of things here in the real world my imagination has been captured by the things happening around the edges of this blockbuster. I want to see where it’s all going. I can’t ask for much more.

 


Jim Mroczkowski is probably not fired. Even if he were, there’s always Twitter.

Comments

  1. My main problem with Fear Itself is since it labels itself as a major company wide event, I view it as one. And as an event, it is pretty bland. It reads more like a Thor event that has some crossover guest stars. Like X-Men’s Utopia arc that brought in the Dark Avengers. The stakes just dont seem that high despite everyone in the book telling me they are. I still dont see the tie to ‘fear’ at all. Just hammer-wielding monsters blowing stuff up. I guess that makes people more afraid than say, World War Hulk? I just dont see anything wow worthy happening in this. Which makes me sad, since I love Matt Fraction.

    I dont know. Maybe if I were a bigger Thor fan I’d be more into this. As it stands, I’ve dropped all tie-ins and only read the core issues, and more so out of a sense of “At least I want to know what happens” than a sense of “I cant wait to see what happens next.” 

  2. Excellent article, sir. Your assessment of Marvel events is spot-on.

    After enjoying the hell out of Fear Itself this month while being bored to tears by Flashpoint, I found myself becoming riled when I listened to the podcast, until I realized that that’s ridiculous. Their opinions don’t change my enjoyment of one book, nor my unjoyment of another. I listen to the podcast and read the website for happy fun-times, and I am always rewarded with such. No need to take umbridge at a difference of opinion. In fact, it’s asinine.

    I apologize, everyone who was reading my thoughts at the time.

  3. While I don’t particularly agree with your sentiment on this book, I agree with it’s philosophy overall. This was refreshingly optimistic change for your articles. It was, dare I say, Katers-esque. 

  4. And this right here is why I love iFanboy: Agreeing to disagree all the while engaging in a dialogue as to what our own individual tastes are without launching into a diatribe. 

    Having said that, I am much more partial to FLASHPOINT than FEAR ITSELF. Having read issues #2 and #3 respectively back-to-back this weekend, the former is much more compelling to me as a reader than the malaise that seems to encapsulate the latter.

    But those are my two cents. You may want your change back.

    Great article, Jim.

    -J. 

  5. FI is the first event where i’m enjoying the tie-ins almost more than the main book, although i’m having fun with the main book now

  6. Paul Montgomery (@fuzzytypewriter) says:

    While I agree with the arguments that Fear Itself falls into montage and summary too often, I’m really enjoying the main series as well. 

  7. I think the problem with Fear Itself, and I’m actually interested to see where it goes. Not loving it, not hating it, just going along with the story. But I think the problem I’m often hearing is people don’t know what it’s really about. All the other events can be boiled down to a sentence. “Alternate Universe where Mutants Rule” “Skrulls attack” “Hero vs. Hero”. I guess with Fear Itself it’d be “A fear God comes down to become more powerful” which is a bit more of a heady thing then “Super big fight”. And I don’t mind that, interested to see where it goes, it’s not fitting into the “box” of a normal event or how we want them to fit, and as of right now, that’s okay by me. 

  8. @font-face { font-family: “Arial”; }@font-face { font-family: “Cambria”; }p.MsoNormal, li.MsoNormal, div.MsoNormal { margin: 0cm 0cm 10pt; font-size: 10pt; font-family: “Times New Roman”; }div.Section1 { page: Section1; }

    “Big bangs and plot points took precedence over characters and consistency.”

    True, but Fear Itself’s problem isn’t that it’s doing these things (afterall that’s why we enjoy the events, it’s a chance for big explosive summer blockbuster action and damned to the -potential- consequences). The problem is that Fear Itself is doing it badly.

    The big bangs and plot lines are stumbling clumsily through 20+ pages of beautifully drawn book that so far has amounted to a confusing mess. The big bangs and surprises just appear, they aren’t a payoff for anything. There is no construction in the plot lines or build up.

    Oh this happened, and yeah now that exploded. Oh and by the way now he’s dead or is he? Oh he is, but look this person is back… somehow. Oh and he’s in the costume again, but nothing really happens.

    It’s a @font-face { font-family: “Arial”; }@font-face { font-family: “Cambria”; }p.MsoNormal, li.MsoNormal, div.MsoNormal { margin: 0cm 0cm 10pt; font-size: 10pt; font-family: “Times New Roman”; }div.Section1 { page: Section1; }meandering mess and with 3 issues still to go you have to wonder if Fraction will inject any plot into this lifeless shell of a book – because so far it’s been $16 really terribly spent.

  9. The greater appeal of Flashpoint is that it’s a What If (or Elseworlds as the case may be) story. Writers have free reign to do whatever they want whereas in Fear Itself, when all is said and done, they need to keep playing in that same sandbox and aren’t just blowing it up and moving to a new one.
    I am enjoying Fear Itself and think that it will pull itself together nicely when all is said and done. I also could not agree more with your House of M assessment.

  10. Your use of words like ‘overpinion’ keep me in a state of anticipation for the next Jimski article. 

    Excellent work sir!

  11. Jim suddenly became my favorite person.

  12. I dropped Fear Itself with issue #3.  I wasn’t enjoying it and it seemed silly to buy something just to see it through.  The story itself felt a little too loosey goosey and ending to issue 3 left me feeling very perturbed from a story standpoint, especially after all the fan fare the last few years.  It seemed a lazy way to deal with specific character changes in the universe.  (Sorry for being vague but I don’t want to be spoilery).  I’m really only reading few Marvel titles right now (half of which are completely ignoring Fear Itself), so I don’t feel too bummed about missing the “big” universe stuff. 

  13. I’ve also enjoyed Fear Itself, as well as some of the tie-ins, like The Mighty Thor and (especially) Journey Into Mystery (a fantastic book!).

    I like Flashpoint even more. I’ve been eagerly reading all the Flashpoint one-shots and minis, and I can’t get enough. I don’t care how it fits into continuity or canon. I also don’t care that it’ll all go away in the Fall. All I care about is that it’s a really good read right now. Batman: Knight of Vengeance #2 – that last panel made me go “WOW!!!” and I can’t remember the last time a comic did that. Deathstroke fighting the Warlord as pirates on the seas over a drowned Europe? More please! The creators of these comics must feel loose and free with these books, because it all has a fun, take-no-prisoners style that, while assuring it won’t make it into anything close to continuity, ensures some really cool comic-book reading right now. And that’s comic books at their best. It’s what made me love the medium way back in the ’70s, when dinosaurs roamed the aisles of the convenience store where I bought my first funny-books.

  14. Glad to hear the iFanboy Fear Itself disappointment isn’t systemic. I’ve been enjoying the series (but not loving it, admittedly) and my tastes tend to align with Josh’s, so I had a very brief crisis of conscience when he said it was “fucking garbage” (Maybe they’re right??).

    It seems to me that event comics are all about redrawing the map. While of course I want a cool story, it’s the new status quo that comes after an event that has me most excited.

    I re-read Fear Itself #1-3 before I picked up #4 and even though the story hasn’t stuck with me much on a monthly basis, rit read better in one chunk and really raised my awareness of what it might be setting up.

    I can see this ending with Asgardians no longer being welcome on Earth, forcing Thor into a Spider-man/X-Men role (a menace, feared and hated). The ramifications of the death in #3, and Tony’s actions in #4 ought to linger for a while, and I think it’s distinctly possible that The Worthy and The Mighty (if they survive) might have a hard time getting back to normal.

    I’m not old enough to remember, but what were people saying about Crisis or Secret War while it was coming out? 

  15. Diversity is awesome.  I’m having a blast reading Flashpoint, and I’ve been bored by every issue of F.I. (which I read in the store – I’m certainly not paying good money for it).  In terms of my personal enjoyment, I put F.I. below Secret Wars II, but above Secret Invasion.  Flashpoint, meanwhile, is less fun than Final Crisis, but more fun than Millennium.  “It’s better than Millennium” may be damning with faint praise, but it’s a heck of a lot better than “not as good as Secret Wars II.”  That said, I’m glad that people are having fun with it.  Different people have fun in different ways apparently.  Some people, I’ve heard, juggle geese.

    The interesting thing, for me, is that Marvel seems to be taking a “related lines” tactic: this crossover is almost entirely in Avengers titles.  Annihilation was cosmic.  Messiah Complex was mutants.  War of Hulks was… you know.  It reminds me a lot of the approach that DC is taking in the Fall: splitting their line into discrete, related parts (Dark, JLA, Young Justice, etc.).  Different execution, same theory: Avengers fans will buy an Avengers crossover, but not an X-Men crossover, and keeping the crossovers in their own “worlds” entrenches the fans, deepening the base rather than expanding it (which is the point of the company-wide crossovers that everyone complains about but buys anyway).  

  16. I’ve sort of managed to forget ‘Fear Itself’ is a thing in spite of that banner being on almost every comic book that I buy.  That actually makes it my favorite kind of event because it’s not derailing the stories in other books I read; it’s giving those folks something to fight. I’m sure I’ll read the whole thing in one sitting at some point and appreciate it more.

    Main points appreciated, though: there is no inviolable monolith of critical opinion, it’s hard to judge event comics month to month; six months from now we’ll likely all be baffled that we cared this much.  

  17. I dropped it after choking my way through the second issue. Flat out refused to spend my money on a poorly written even that just isn’t interesting.

  18. my reaction to Fear Itself was similar to Josh’s but i wan’t sure if it was because i wasn’t as hardcore a Marvel reader as some. To me this seems very inaccessible and i get that sense that there is tons of homework that i need to do to in order to get any of it. All in all it really doesn’t feel self contained, and really made for the hardcore Marvel Zombie as opposed to someone like me who’s a bit more casual. 

    Also, i’m just not into the Thor stuff, so all that Thor speak esp that font is just painful for my eyes. 

  19. “Fear Itself” has been very….”ok”. My biggest problem with the event is that the promotion was wonderful but the execution is mediocre (sounds familiar). I have little to no interest in the tie-in books and I’m still not sold on this huge global threat. Yes it’s cool and the main book has been pretty good. But I haven’t been sold on the gravity of the entire situation.

    For my money Flashpoint has been more fun and more involving. I’ve had a bigger interest in many (not all) of the tie-in series and the main book seems to be getting stronger. I can sense a greater cohesion and am getting more out of it all. Maybe it’s due to the reboot and Flashpoint’s role in it, but it seems to carry much more weight than Fear Itself.

  20. If anyone other than Immonan were drawing this, it would probably fall super flat (he’s pretty much the only reason I’m buying it). Fraction is pretty hot and cold for me–I would say that for all the fanfare Casanova gets, the art is still the heaviest hitter there as well. I just don’t get any sense of consistancy of story or plot from the way Fraction is writing Fear Itself or why I should care. This is surprising because on another book where the artist heavily photo-references celebrities as cast members (I’m looking at you Invincible Iron Man), Fraction is able to make me care what happens and really has a handle on all the characters involved.

    Looks like Marvel needs a different architect for their event books (other than Bendis), or some other idea entirely to energize what has become a ho-hum way of approaching large-scale, summer blockbuster storytelling.

  21. I liked Civil War, i thought it was interesting concept. was it deep? no but outside of Final Crisis (which itself had problems) name one that was? Events are all about the “moments” and not really the characters. That’s where Civil War, Secret Invasion and Blackest night suceed. I think that’s also where Fear Itself fails. It’s trying to focus on the characters while the event kind of just takes place in the background. I also don’t think it’s doing the greatest job focusing on the charcters either though, but you can tell that that’s what Fraction is trying to go for

  22. Way to go Jim. I just spoke with Joe and Tom and they wanted me to tell you that your check is in the mail. 

    Fear Itself? Meh. I’m reading it. I dont think It’s fucking garbage, but it still hasn’t hooked me yet. I think there have been and are going to be lazy choices made within the direction of the plot. Thor gets taken away, just to be thrown back 2 issues later? Bru brings Bucky back just to give him a throw away death. Stark honey doesn’t work for Odin, so maybe he’ll help for Stark vinegar. Villains get Asgardian buffs? Ok, give the heroes Asgardians buffs.

    The majority of the most creative things are happening outside of the main book, and thats a problem for me. Making it come down to who has the better toysis a cop out. Unless “The Mighty” are going to be walking around with their weapons after the fact, then what is the point? I can promise that Quesada has said that the tie-ins aren’t essential to understanding the main story, and that is a crock of shit.

    Alternatively, I am loving Flashpoint. To be completely honest, the first issue didn’t hook me. The news of the reboot did. Wait, wha-?

    If I may take umbridge with the least relevant point within your arguement, the “Reboot = DC is irrelevant until August” arguement is a weak bit, especially when applied to Flashpoint. For someone so against the use of “the laziest snark of the month,” you’re guilty of your use of the laziest snark of the summer. Comic book common senses dictates that an event started by the recreation of reality, will probably end in similar fashion. I don’t know if it has been confirmed yet, but I’d lay cash down that Flashpoint will be the story responsible for the restructuring of the DC reality. That immediately makes it relevant to the reboot, which means that saying it won’t matter is probably the furthest thing from the truth.

    At the end of the day, I like reading comics because I have fun reading comics. Considering that as the deciding factor, Flashpoint has my vote.

  23. Sorry everyone, I edited that down to half the size but it still came out longer than I thought.

  24. I am more of a DC guy, so definitely take that into consideration:  But I quit Civil War after issue 2.  Civil War sucked simply because:  META’S NEED TO REGISTER AFTER TRAGEDY CAUSED BY METAs PROMPTS NON-META’S TO INIATE REGISTRATION ONLY TO LEARN SAID TRAGEDY WAS ORCHESTRATED BY [insert villain(s) here].  METAs FIGHT FIRST, THEN UNITE TO DEFEAT COMMON ENEMY.

    Really?  I’m pretty sure the whole entire Xmen existence is driven by this concept, not to mention Marvel and DC having done similar stories many times before.

    But I am trying to give Marvel a fair chance w/ Fear Itself, but its definitely NOT the title that would draw me into the Marvel U.  But hey, you totally said it:  Its just ‘OK’.

  25. I got as far as the end of issue 2… No more Fear Itslf for me.

    But the above article is unbelievable. Marvel publish monthly comics. if they don’t read well in monthly form then whats the point? why come back for th next issue? because it might turn out alright in the end? No thanks I’m not going to risk that.

    If Marvel and DC want to continue of publihers if MONTHLY comics, they have to grab the readr EVERY issue make sure the nxt issu is unmissable.

  26. Oh… also…

    Juggernaut w/ Asgardian Magic Weapons VS Alternate Timeline where Bruce Wayne died as a child and his father is one mean-ass looking Batman???  Flashpoint may not be for everyone, but its definitely not boring.

    If someone called me an ass-hat, I’d laugh and walk away… not get my thong all twisted and retort with, “well….nnyyaah… .YOU’RE AN ASSHAT… ASSHAT!”… which is basically what this pro-Fear Itself rant-blog really is.

    I’m glad some of you love it, and as correctly stated: No one can take that from you. 

  27. I hear what you’re saying, as a fairly new reader most of my experience with event books has been through trades, and i prefer trades in all things.

    However, Siege knocked my socks off with every issue, Blackest Night, while not as exciting kept me genuinely interested the whole time.

    And buddy, my opinion of Flashpoint aside, if youre reading it angrily and saying this story will all be for nothing come September, then I think you’re writing for the wrong site. I pay to be a member here every month because the guys here seem to love indivudal stories for being stories, not establishing new status quos or having to matter. 

    That attitude is “fucking garbage.” 

  28. Truth be told, I’m not all that wound up about Flashpoint. That’s me at 1:00 a.m. being blindsided by the “garbage” assessment and going, “Compared to what?”
    Really, all of these stories count, and none of these stories “happened.” They’re stories, after all. It is a little unfortunate to have that September spotlight looming over the proceedings; takes me out of it a little bit.
  29. @JesseCuster That’s not how Civil War ended. beyond the Thunderbolts and the inital explosion, there was absolutely no supervillain involvement in that series. it was hero vs hero. Granted, what your describing may have actually been a better ending than what we ended up with…

    I still stand by the fact the major beats hit by Civil War were damn entertaining (when Cap takes down that jet? Spidey unmasking? the Hero fight? all awesome)

  30. Biggest Problem with Fear Itself: Too Many Hammers. It spreads the characters and story too thin. 

  31. Is it just me or does Fear Itself seem like a trashed script of what Geoff Johns wanted to do after GL: Rebirth before he came up with the fully forrmed Sinestro Corps War? 

    Parallax The Serpent, a godlike being who preys on fear, is looking to exact revenge against the Guardians Odin for imprisoning him for so many centuries.  Using his disciple Sinestro, he sends out cosmically powered rings hammers to various members of the DC Marvel Universe that he deems with the ability to cause great fear “worthy” and uses them to spread fear and grow in power.  Meanwhile, the Guardians are Odin is acting like a total tool in fear of what Parallax The Serpent will do and is undermining Hal Jordan Thor every step of the way who simply wants to protect Earth.  Eventually, several non-Green LanternThor heroes get their own rings hammers in the hopes that that will save the day.

    Granted, Flashpoint is essentially a DC remake of House of M but Flashpoint has a much more interesting universe than House of M did.

  32. Funny seeing all the people agreeing with this article when FI has been being mostly bashed on the site. That said I think FI is laughably bad and easily the worst event I have read so far. It is a total disjointed unintelligible mess of recycled ideas with no emotion. And it’s not as if I don’t want to like it, I really do. Even if you have Marvel blinders on I can’t see how anyone can think it is more than sub-average thus far. Imagine, just for a second, that Immonen wasn’t drawing it…

    And saying that Flashpoint is irrelevant only makes the pro FI agrument irrelevant.

  33. Sometimes I’m scared that my real name is Jim Mroczkowski.

    Seriously, I don’t even have anything to add to this other than this:  It is scary how often I found myself thinking that Jim is reading my mind.  

    We have to disagree about something!  Next article, maybe just maybe, you’ll say something that I don’t agree with wholeheartedly.

  34. Oh dear God I’m actually staring to agree with Jimski…good article, mate!

  35. Wow. I’m agreeing with Jimski more than any of the main iBoys. This has got to be a first. 😉

    I totally get most of their criticisms from the podcast. In fact, I agree with most of them. The story isn’t all too interesting. It’s moving way too fast, with little explanation or earned development. But I draw the line at “fucking garbage.” IMO, it’s just like Jimski says, par for the course when it comes to summer events. And maybe that’s the problem. Maybe this is one par too many for Josh, and that’s where the now famous garbage comment comes from? I dunno.

    My main thing is that I just don’t see much difference or reason to be thrilled by Flashpoint either. To me, it’s nothing more than a bland elseworlds story spiced up with fanboy winks of “look how we changed character x!” That’s not a riviting, exciting story to me. Oh boy! Look, Superman is skinny and frail! All that is happening in Flashpoint is Barry Allen is running around screaming, “I have to change it back!” and Cyborg running around doing nothing but being lame.

    I think the main reason people are enjoying Flashpoint more is due to the tie-ins. The tie-ins have helped build more of a world and a thus bigger feeling story. So when the main Flashpoint book is sparce and bland and does nothing (like this past issue where nothing happened besides revealing skinny Superman), people are more willing to go with it and let it be. Where as Fear Itself isn’t fleshing out it’s story with tie-in books and earning the ability to have the main mini-series be light on content.

    Had Fear Itself been surrounded with interesting world building tie-in books that allowed the universe and grand story to breathe and make sense, I definitely think it would be viewed through a different prism. It would be much more of a fun action book, as opposed to a breakneck paced smorgasbord of unearned exclamation points.

    All in all, neither event is doing it for me all too well. But I find it interesting how the two are being received. I definitely am now of the opinion that regardless what readers may say about not wanting to be inundated with countless tie-ins. In reality, they really want them. They want their events to be big and engrossing. We always hear people say they want a nice simple streamlined event, and not some gigantic checklist of books to have to keep up on. But in the end, the checklist wins out.

  36. @j206  I’m not enjoying the main Flashpoint books because of the tie-ins. I am enjoying it for itself.

  37. And yes, I do realize that Fear Itself has tie-ins and a checklist. But it does not operate in the same way as Flashpoint at all. Flashpoint is your standard, “read the tie-ins to get the full story” event. Where as Fear Itself, as marketed by Marvel and Fraction, is mainly just the main miniseries. It’s “tie-ins” are really just character stories set within the happenings of Fear Itself. None really adds anything other than show you the hammer monsters smashing stuff. The event was meant to work on it’s own, and the tie-ins have as a result really been about as non-essential as could be. It was Marvel’s intent due to the readers saying they don’t want to feel forced to read a bunch of tie-ins. And yeah, just look how that worked out.

  38. @j206  I don’t agree at all that you need to read the Flashpoint tie-ins to get the full story. Most of them are side stories that are not at all involved with the main plot. They flesh out the world, but are not necessary to read to follow along with Flash, Batman, and Cyborg.

  39. I just find that we get event books so often now, they’ve become pretty uneventful. Kind of like the oversaturation of superhero movies. What’s so special about them now? (“The Avengers” excluded; but where to go from there?)

    But now I’m talking about the overuse of the event book, and nobody wants to bust out that old chestnut of an argument… I agree with Jimski big-time on one point: I enjoy most events a whole lot more in TPB than I do as monthlies, particularly the Marvel one. 

  40. Also, in regards to “Secret Invasion”… that was a backwards designed event. I found the run-up to that so much fun that the actual even was insanely anticlimactic. There were really no good Skrull reveals. It kind of soured me on events as a whole, I had been so invested in that.

    The SI build-up, though, was amazing. 

  41. @j206  I also disagree that you need to get the tie-ins to Flashpoint to get the full story.  I got nearly all of the #1 issues, and only the WW one added to the story.  Most of them have been just jaunts into this Elseworld.

    To me, it is the narrative with FI that I am bored with.  Too much hopping without any investment.  No payoff for the first three issues, but #4 was fun.  As opposed to Flashpoint, where there has been a payoff in every issue.

  42. @Conor – I am not saying that you NEED to read the Flashpoint tie-ins. I’m saying that reading them has helped give the story more depth and meaning, and readers in general a much more positive opinion on the whole. I’m not saying they are a necessity. I am saying that they exist, and have a much larger impact on the overall Flashpoint universe than those of Fear Itself. And have helped Flashpoint on the whole, where as the Fear Itself titles have not. Do you disagree with that?

    You don’t NEED to read the Flashpoint tie-ins to be able to follow the Flash/Batman/Cyborg story. Sure, you can do that. But to me the Flash/Batman/Cyborg on it’s own is rather simple and bland. So far all it’s been has been Barry trying to convince Thomas Wayne, getting himself electrocuted over and over, and Cyborg doing a bunch of whatever so Geoff Johns can give him more importance prior to his JLA promotion for the relaunch.

    As with anything, it’s all a matter of taste. I personally just am not getting a ton out of the main Flashpoint book other than discovering the neat elseworld changes. Which are fun and cute. But don’t on their own make for a compelling narrative. This is just my own take and opinion. But if Johns was telling the current Flashpoint miniseries on it’s own and without the crutch of elseworlds Thomas Wayne and skinny Superman reveals to end each issue. I don’t see how people would be loving it as much as they seem to be doing. I guess it comes down to what you look for in a comic book. If character tweaks constitute a fun narrative for you, that’s cool. I just see them as kind of a comic book version of putting lipstick on a pig. It’s fun and cute. Just not a whole lot more.

  43. Great article i feel the same way, I felt that garbage was a strong word to describe a very good book.  I am reading both events and i tend to like Fear Itself a little better than flashpoint,  I thing the tie-ins for flashpoint is better than the main series.  But then again that’s my opinion and that’s why Ifanboy  is a better comic book site than most other,  because you will get three different but honest opinions.  At the end of the day we will never always agree on the good or bad of comic books, but what we can agree on is that it is a great time to be reading comics, and isn’t that the most important thing.

  44. I read Flashpoint #3 last night and loved it. I’ve enjoyed most of the tie-ins, some greatly, and a few I just didn’t care for and won’t contrinue. Granted, I am more of a DC guy, but I do read some Marvel.

    I haven’t read the latest FI, but it is at home on my stack and I will be reading it tonight. So far, it has been OK. Not enough detail on each of the characters affected, but maybe that’s what the tie-ins do. BTW, I am not reading the tie-ins. The core event books should tell the story without me needing to.

    I have followed several Marvel events, but I always seem to pick the “wrong” ones. That is, the ones I read turn out poorly. So I think the main problem I have with them is the endings. It must be difficult to write a satisfactory ending for some of these events. I was very disappointed in Civil War and Planet Hulk, so much so that I skipped Secret Invasion and Siege (which I’ve heard a lot of good things about). I went back and read the first 5 SI issues and am trying to find the remaining ones, and I’ve enjoyed it so far. But I can’t weigh in until I read the ending. I feel the same about FI – I need to see the ending to make a fair assessment.

    Marvel also does a LOT of tie-in books, seems like more than DC, for their events. Some are done through running titles, some seem to be just for the event. But I think a lot of retailers get burned on the tie-in books. Probably applies for both publishers.

    I’ve generally liked the DC events, but to be fair I did not like the ending of Final Crisis. I read a lot of the tie-ins, but not all of them, so having critical plot information and events in a tie-in book is inexcusable, especially if there is no editorial or marketing references to let you know you have to read the tie-in for the story to make sense! Here I am, reading issue 7, and suddenly… WTF? Who is this vampire guy? You mean HE was behind the whole thing? REALLY? Come on, that’s terrible. And this is freaking Grant Morrison! (Sometimes his excellent ideas are not executed well – not sure who is to blame).

  45. Now everyone agrees with Jimski?

  46. @MisterJ – Again, it’s not a matter of NEEDING to read books. Those were Conor’s words, not mine. You don’t have to need to read something for it to have a positive effect. If Flashpoint universe tie-ins are good and help grow this reality in the reader’s mind, then they help give the reader an overall investment and overall positive outlook. They don’t have to have a direct correlation or connection to the main story. All they have to do is be good on their own and help the reader’s overall vibe.

    The Batman FP title is pretty much it’s own elseworld’s story. As Ron said in the podcast this week, you could totally read it on it’s own and it be an awesome story. But when you are reading it in conjunction with Flashpoint, your enjoyment of the title only helps add investment and appreciation to the Thomas Wayne character in the main miniseries. Again, it is not NEEDED on a narrative level when it comes to him running around with Cyborg. But it does indeed HELP build the universe and build good will towards the concept and character. Same goes for the rest of the tie-ins. The more FP tie-ins you read that you enjoy, the more you enjoy the universe, the more you enjoy the main story of the universe.

    It’s no different than how the main DC or Marvel universes work. The more good books that you enjoy that take place in one of the universes, the more investment you as a reader are going to have in other things that happen in it. And the more investment you have, the more interested you are in what goes on. The two events that are currently taking place are perfect opposing examples of this.

  47. @CaseyJustice:  Unjoyment.  A word I will now be using constantly.  Thanks.

  48. @j206  I do disagree that the tie-in books have any bearing on the quality of the main books. They rise (Flashpoint) and fall (Fear Itself) on their own merits.

  49. Fear Itself has not been “fucking garbage”. It has been “fucking dogshit”. Glad I’ve been able toclarify here.

  50. @conor  I kinda disagree about Flashpoint. Sure, it’s not that difficult to follow the FP story just by sticking to the main book. But I’ve found my enjoyment of the “event” is due to the better tie-ins and how they expand the story. There’s been some FP crap but there’s also been some pretty good books that make the whole FP story feel broader and weightier.

  51. @keith7198  The tie-in books absolutely expand the feel of the universe, but they are mostly side tales that never come within miles of the story going on in Flashpoint.

  52. Haven’t read Flashpoint, so I really don’t have a clue. Finally read Blackest Night two years after the fact and couldn’t help wondering what the hullabaloo was all about. Aside from the artwork in that book, it was a serious yawner. I enjoyed Civil War … and Secret Invasion … and Siege … hmm …

    Fear Itself is interesting to me for its meta-complexity. The idea that there is this alternate Serpent All Father who Odin is deathly afraid of to such an extent that he’s willing to sacrifice the earth to defend his own domain … Maybe that is the real problem that has some folks saying Fear Itself is “garbage” … I would think it would be difficult to blend that cerebral complexity with the more concrete stuff of heroes getting their arms ripped off … which, frankly, wasn’t really all that impressive … kind of hackneyed and cliche. While I can’t say I don’t enjoy Fear Itself, i can say that I’ve enjoyed some of the tie-ins better. Some of the stories in Home Front have been cool and Journey into Mystery has been making my comic-book-reading-summer oh so worth it this year. THAT has been the story to read this year. To know that Loki has the key information regarding Odin’s mystery, that he may or may not be on a mission to make things right … within the subtext of wondering whether he is or is not the God of Mischief (or whether we are witnessing the birth of a new god of Mischief perhaps?). If anything, folks should be upset at Marvel for trumpeting the wrong book, because if you aren’t reading Journey Into Mystery, then you really don’t know what you’re missing.

  53. @edward – I always agree with Jimski. It’s almost scary. But at least 99% of the time.

  54. @conor  (Accidently posted before I finished) I suppose my bigger point is that I love good tie-ins that compliment the main story. Unfortunately they are often times a cash grab. Flashpoint is one instance where I’m enjoying many of them.

  55. Love and agree with the article

  56. “I’m enjoying Fear Itself, and you can’t take that away from me. Leaving aside the fact that calling it “fucking garbage” would be something of a stretch for anyone who also read the Chuck Austen run on Uncanny X-Men”
    Calling Fear Itself “fucking garbage” is pretty mild compared to some of the criticism you’ve given other books. If I remember correctly, once on a podcast you expressed the desire to physically punch Salvador Larroca in the face  because he didn’t draw Tony Stark how you prefer. Like, you wanted to inflict the dude bodily harm. i’m relieved for Stuart’s sake that you like what he’s putting down in Fear Itself 😉

  57. I think the tie-ins that work well for Fear Itself are the ones that are not minis. The tie-ins in the ongoings have been fun (Thunderbolts, Avengers, Iron Man). I have enjoyed Fear Itself.

  58. I am still angry regarding how Bucky was just thrown away, as we all should be…Bullshit!
    ..and on the other side lets just keep hitting Barry with lightning till the end of time…Ug

  59. Thank god for this post.  I’ve been listening to those guys rip fear itself and spend almost no time on it since it started while spending a ridiculous amount of time on all that flash point crap every week.  It’s good to know that every one on staff isn’t bonkers…..well I guess they all are now that Jim’s been fired.
     

  60. Hey folks, it’s me again, the guy who can’t shut up! 🙂 Seriously, though, I read FI #4 just now and I found it to NOT be fucking garbage. In fact, I thought it was the best issue yet. The page layouts on 6-7 were great, with the similar framing and soliloquies. I thought the peril was conveyed adequately, and there were several examples of the devestation and panic on Earth. I like how it was tied into the Midgard Serpent mythology. Looking forward to the showdowns to come between Thor and the fear-mongers, Cap vs. Sin…

    Now, it took a while for the action to bust loose. So, the pacing could have been faster. But the main core book is giving me enough to keep up with the overall story and not bog down in the details in the limiteds and ongoings. I might seek some of them out, actually. I do find it kind of odd when I see someone buying every FI tie-in at the LCS, but I’m sure they scratch their head at my FP purchases. So, it’s all good.

    FI isn’t perfect, and I am enjoying FP more, but so far I’m not sorry I bought it.

  61. I’m loving FEAR ITSELF, and I’m as jaded and cynical as the next fanboy.  I think the complaints that “we’re not spending enough time here or there or everywhere” is silly and not true.  The story is all there and you can take as much from Black Widow grieving in three panels as you can two pages.  There’s no time to deal with a dead Bucky when the world is crumpling around you.

  62. My main problem with Fear Itself: it’s really boring.

  63. I have to disagree Fear Itself bored the crap out of me. Come to think of it out of the tons of big events (which in of itself is irritating)MMarvel has done, Civil War is the only one that blew me away. It just seems like every 6 months marvel is doing a big game changing event and it got old a while back.

  64. Spoilers ahead, of course.
    The consternation that I feel for Fear Itself is that it is a checklist of events rather than a story.
    Hero death to emphasise the stakes. Check.
    Reuniting the Avengers Trimvirate. Check.
    Massive destruction. Check.

      Those things all happen in the first 4 issues but none of them feel like they matter as time is not spent on the foreshadowing and build-up to each event and then no time is spent on the ramifications of their occurence.
       Bucky dies after a brief battle. The isn’t anything remarkable about how he goes out, partly to emphasise the strength of the Worthy, but if you don’t accentuate Bucky’s heroic nature and his prowess then this doesn’t raise Sin’s new power or the tragedy.
       The pause to consider Bucky’s passing and Steve taking up the mantle once more is done in a few panels where it is not the horror of his death which is focused on simply that his passing shows how dangeorus the situation is and that Steve can put back on the old uniform (except for the bloody awful helmet which will probably have a specific value in the coming fight).
      If Fraction had taken the time to use an emotional beat it would have focused the scale of danger and horror of the fight much better than skipping over Bucky’s death to show they don’t have time to grieve due to the urgency.
      To me this is where Fear Itself’s flaw lies: characterisation (and no not the type of cheap trick with Tony holding a bottle, what next? Cap running with a flag?) isn’t earned, it is payed lip-service in order to move along to “necessary epic event/plot point no.6”.
       No matter what explosion/death/fight/twist happens in a story, if you don’t take the time to develop the characters and their reactions to the events it becomes a narrative list, which is what Fear Itself feels like at its worst.

  65. IMO an event comic such as this can not be just OK. i’ve always been of the opinion that event comics should come along once every couple of years and every issue should blow away fans and not merely be OK

  66. @Jaredan   I can understand where you’re coming from. In a way, the core FI book is sort of like a “Cliffs Notes” version of the story. It covers the basic story and doesn’t dwell too much on anyone.

    @darknite125  I think there are too many events now. It used to be just the big summer event. Now, it seems like there are multiple events per year. It lessens the impact of the events, and it probably lessens the quality of the stories. And they can’t just be OK, or be good up until the end. It’s got to end well.

  67. I think “iFempire” should be adopted as a permanent moniker. 

  68. To be honest, it sounds like a girl vampire built by Steve Jobs.

  69. Here’s how I do it: All I follow are my favorite writers, and everything else be damned. I don’t like Fraction or Johns (though I will be giving the JLA reboot a try), so I’m not reading either event. I am still reading Avengers, T-Bolts, Avengers Academy, so I’m getting the gist of FI, only through the eyes of the writers I respect and like. (only exception: Iron Man 2.0-who thought throwing Rhodey in with the Seven Immortal Weapons was a good fit? Great art, though.)

    Same with Flashpoint-I’m reading Lois Lane & WW because of Abnett and Lanning, Frankenstein because of Lemire, and if I miss anything, I’ll catch it in trade.

    Work for anyone else?

  70. Oh my god! I do not have any adjetive to desribe the degree of awfulnes in this post. If you want to laim you are smarter than everyone else, fine, there are a hundred thousand douchebag like that on the internet, but dont do it while claiming, “how awesome was Secret Invasion?” That is just pathetic.