Fear Itself is a provocative suspense and horror anthology series pushing the boundaries of this classic genre through a host of provocative talent, both in front of and behind the camera.
Runtime: 60 minutes
Fear Itself - Fear Itself (comics) - Netflix
The comic “Fear Itself” is a 2011 crossover comic book storyline published by Marvel Comics, consisting of a seven-issue, eponymous miniseries written by Matt Fraction and illustrated by Stuart Immonen, Wade Von Grawbadger, and Laura Martin, a prologue book by writer Ed Brubaker and artist Scot Eaton, and numerous tie-in books, including most of the X-Men family of books. “Fear Itself” was first announced by then-Marvel Editor-in-Chief Joe Quesada, Executive Editor Tom Brevoort and X-Men group editor Axel Alonso at a press conference held at Midtown Comics Times Square on December 21, 2010. The story, whose title is a reference to the famous quote by Franklin D. Roosevelt, “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself”, depicts the various superheroes of the Marvel Universe contending with the Serpent, an Asgardian fear deity who causes global panic on Earth, and who seeks to reclaim the throne of Asgard he contends was usurped by his brother, Odin, father to Thor, when the latter vanquished him ages ago. Within the comics, the characters refer to this conflict as The Serpent's War. Although it is a company-wide crossover, it emphasizes Captain America and Thor, as with past crossovers of the late 2000s.
Fear Itself - Tie-in book reviews - Netflix
Alex Evans, reviewing issues 622–626 of Journey into Mystery for Weekly Comic Book Review, gave a grade of “A+” to the first issue, and an “A-” to the next three. He called the first four issues “brilliant”, repeatedly lauding their consistent excellence from month to month, and naming the series one of Marvel's best comics, saying the first issue was the best one of the year thus far. Evans described Gillen's child Loki story as “perfection”, and hailed Gillen's ability to tie in seemingly digressive elements as thematically relevant, his issue structure and his facility for narration and dialogue, as well as the humor, adventure and characterization. Evans called Braithwaite’s art and Ulises Arreola’s colors “stunning” and “epic”, finding it to be on a higher level than other comics art, and comparable to that found in a fantasy storybook, which he felt made the Asgardian environment seem “immense, important, and full of life.” Evans and D.S. Arsenault gave a “B+” to issues 626 and 630, respectively, with Evans that despite being “absolutely fantastic”, his grade was due simply to the exceptionally high standard set by the prior issues, and that Surtur and the troika of Try, Leah and the Disir not as interesting. Arsenault cited Loki's “heroically comic” scene-stealing, and aside from not enjoying the visuals in the flashback sequence as much (whose purpose he conceded he understood), he thought the book a “hoot” that new readers would enjoy. Chad Nevett and Ryan K. Lindsay of Comic Book Resources gave 4 out of 5 stars to issues 622, 624 and 625, and 3.5 stars to issues 623 and 626, seeing it as superior to the core miniseries. The reviewers praised the intelligence, structure and “cerebral” narrative of Gillen's of Thor and Loki's new relationship set against Asgardian politics, calling it a “glorious tale”, and an improvement over his previous Thor work. Also mentioned were Gillen's whimsical captions, “tight dialogue” and his ability to plant narrative seeds and follow through purposefully with winding plot twists. They also noted Braithwaite's “intricate”, “amazing art” and Arreola's colors, and how this lent itself to depicting Loki's various moods. Rich Johnston of Bleeding Cool positively compared issue
623 to the 2011 Thor feature film, calling it the “perfect comic” for
presenting Asgard in a “grandly poetic” light, “epic” and “beautiful”. Johnston praised the book for the complexity in which it elevated Loki as a more impressive character than Thor. Reviewers at Comics Bulletin gave 4 out of 5 bullets to Journey Into Mystery #622, 624 and 625, giving Kieron Gillen high marks for his storytelling, characterization, humor and satisfyingly brisk pace, and Doug Braithwaite for his “wondrously detailed” art. Jesse Schedeen of IGN, who gave issue #623 a “Great” rating of 8.5 out of 10, also enjoyed Gillen's “refined and almost lyrical” dialogue, and the art, though he felt the colors needed some adjustment. Schedeen gave issue #627 a “Great” rating of 8.0 out of 10, saying that what was essentially a filler issue was elevated by the creative team's execution, and that Rich Elson's made an appropriate substitution for artist Doug Braithwaite, but that the lettering was too small and indistinct. Schedeen gave issue #630 an “Amazing” rating of 9 out of 10, calling Gillen's Volstagg tale a “classic” and the series “Marvel's best ongoing book”. He compared it to the “Wiz Kids” segment of the 2001 Simpsons episode “Treehouse of Horror XII”, and applauded its humor, emotion, the rendition of the different sides of Volstagg's personality, and the manner in which guest artist Rich Elson's refined, precise pencils addressed the previous problems Schedeen perceived in the series. The “Fear Itself” issues of Journey Into Mystery have the highest score of any tie-in at Comic Book Roundup, with 8.6 out of 10. Roman Colombo of Weekly Comic Book Review gave a “B+” to The Mighty Thor
7, saying that the prequel story of Odin and the Serpent's childhood
did such a good job of providing a setup for the main storyline, and its impact so palpable that it should have been part of the prologue. In addition to the book's appropriately non-colloquial dialogue among the gods, Colombo felt that because of the much-needed characterization to the Serpent, which Colombo felt the main miniseries lacked, he would be more invested in re-reading that miniseries. He felt Pasqual Ferry's art was hit-or-miss, however. Erik Norris of IGN gave the book a “Mediocre” score of 5.5 out of 10, saying that issue was a “ho-hum filler” that did not provide context to Thor's death, nor accomplish anything not covered by the core miniseries, saying the book's revelations might have been topical and poignant had it been published before the miniseries was. Norris felt the transition from a young Odin to aged one was handled poorly, criticized the rendition of the Worthy as the contemporary characters that are possessed by them in the miniseries. Alex Evans, reviewing New Avengers #14 and 15 for Weekly Comic Review, graded them “A-” and “B”, calling the first issue the best since the series' first story arc, due to writer Brian Michael Bendis' intimate character work with Mockingbird, and artist Mike Deodato's ability to capture the most subtle nuances of emotion in facial expressions. Regarding the next issue, Evans thought that while it was not as compelling as the previous one, Bendis nonetheless fleshed out Squirrel Girl into a “fully realized, sympathetic character”, disproving his initial expectations upon learning that it focused on Squirrel Girl. CBR's Greg McElhatton enjoyed Nick Spencer's script for Secret Avengers #13, in particular the lateral thinking McElhatton felt Spencer employed in seizing the opportunity to do a different take on “Fear Itself”. Though he was impressed with the story's ability to stand on its own without requiring reading a different title, he did not care for its reliance on coincidence. McElhatton also enjoyed Scot Eaton's pencils, in particular his rendition of Beast and of the fight scenes, but noted that Adi Granov's cover to the book included a number of characters not in it. Alex Evans of Weekly Comic Book Review gave the issue a “B+”, commending Spencer for keeping the story topical with a sense of anxiety that transcended the story's villains, and for his work with both the Beast and Lenny's friendship and with Ant-Man. Evans also called Scot Eaton's art “incredibly polished, detailed, and high budget”, as seen in both the attack on Washington, DC and the character's reactions to it. Evans said the book fulfilled all the criteria for a good tie-in book, including a message that avoided being overly sentimental or silly. Ray Tate gave 5 out of 5 bullets to Avengers Academy #15, but only three bullets to issue #16. Conceding he was disinterested in the crossover's core miniseries, he nonetheless liked Christos Gage's exploration of Tigra in Academy #15, but thought issue #16 to be a “mixed bag”, saying that while the creative team succeeded in making the Veil story resonant, the drama of the Absorbing Man and Titania did not engage him, despite being technically good. Dean Stell of Weekly Comic Book Review gave a “B-” to issue #18, calling it a good opportunity for readers looking to read new characters, and as a someone whose first comic was Secret Wars, Stell was delighted by the use of Titania and Absorbing Man, though he thought the story could have been told in one issue instead of three. He also thought the art was effective, but was not enamored of what he thought was an overly-highlighted coloring style. Jesse Schedeen of IGN gave of “Okay” rating of 6.5 out of 10 to issue
20, based on less than ideal scene transitions, bad pacing and Tom
Raney's “underwhelming” art, which he felt looked rushed in many pages. Schedeen felt the series overall suffered from lack of focus on the entire team. However, Schedeen would later list it as the twentieth best Avenger story ever told, claiming the series “has never been stronger than when it tied into the events of Fear Itself.” Ray Tate of Comics Bulletin gave 2 out of 5 bullets to Fear Itself: Youth in Revolt #1, attributing this to confusing plotting, implausible behavior on the part of bit characters and lack of independence from the core miniseries. However, he expressed enjoyment of Sean McKeever's characterization of the heroes, in particular Thor Girl, as well as Mike Norton and Veronica Gandini's art. Tate gave the next two issues 5 out of 5 bullets, however, again mentioning his enjoyment of Thor Girl and the art team's work in issue #2, and the Hardball story in issue #3. Jesse Schedeen at IGN gave the first two issues “Good” ratings of 7 and 7.5, impressed with how many characters McKeever was able to fit and properly define in the series, but unimpressed with how McKeever failed to make abstract fear concept palpable, or to distinguish the book from other tie-ins with similar concepts. Schedeen gave “Great” ratings of 8 out of 10 to the next two issues, for the gravitas in the books that the main miniseries lacked, in particular the brutal death scene, which he contrasted with to the Bucky death scene in Fear Itself #3, for how McKeever's handling of the heroes' internal conflict, and his development of Gravity. Schedeen likened the depiction of the low point of the Initiative's crisis to the classic Marvel Team-Up #41 (1975) in which Spider-Man was trapped under tons of rubble. Schedeen consistently had kind words for Norton's “clean, expressive pencils”. Dean Stell of Weekly Comic Book Review gave a “B” and “B+” to the first two issues, pleased with McKeever's ability to write younger characters, in particular Thor Girl, Cloud 9 and Ultragirl, and utilizing B-list and C-list characters, which he felt added depth to the main series. Though he advised readers that it was not essential to the crossover, he enjoyed it more than the first two issues of the core miniseries. He felt the riots, however, marred the story, as he did not think them a believable reaction to “fear”. He also said that Norton's art was a “recipe for success”. Alex Evans, who reviewed Invincible Iron Man #504 - 506 for Weekly Comic Book Review, gave the first two issues a “B+”, and the third one a “B”, lauding writer Matt Fraction for using Iron Man's haunting discovery of Mokk's victims to set a chilling tone and atmosphere of the crossover, reminding Evans of the Minotaur in the Cretan Labyrinth, while still maintaining the unique dynamic and relationship of Stark and Pepper Potts through dialogue. Also singled out was his tying up of the Detroit Steel rivalry from the “Stark Resilient” storyline, and the development of Potts and Cabe. Evans questioned, however, the pacing in issue 504, and the use of runes for dwarven profanity in 506. Evans called Salvador Larroca's art “perfect”, specifying his design of Grey Gargoyle/Mokk, and the facial expressions with which he depicted Tony's reactions to the stone Parisians, but criticized his rendition of the dwarves' facial expressions for not matching their dialogue. Evans gave a “D+”, however, to Iron Man 2.0 #5, however, criticizing Nick Spencer for focusing on Iron Fist and the Immortal Weapons rather than the book's star, and the all-set up nature of the story, and Ariel Olivetti for his “unnatural and stiff” artwork, and his “horrendous” computer-generated backgrounds, which according to Evans, were either nonexistent or little more than slightly manipulated photos. Dean Stell, reviewing Hulk #36 and 37 for Weekly Comic Book Review, graded them “B+” and “A-”, repeatedly congratulating writer Jeff Parker for his ability to maintain his ongoing story despite the tie-in. Stell also took notice of Bettie Breitweiser's colors and lighting, which she felt were the only ones that depicted the Worthy in a way that they did not appear to be “Tron-rejects”. Joshua Yehl of IGN gave Fear Itself: Hulk vs Dracula #1 an “Okay” rating of 6 out of 10, citing the dull, formulaic nature of the conflict, which was already seen in numerous other tie-in books. While Yehl thought Ryan David Stegman's settings were solid and featured intricately detailed backgrounds, the character work failed to inspire awe or fear. Ryan Schedeen, however, while not feeling the miniseries made the best use of the three-issue format, gave 8.0 “Great” and 7.0 “Good” ratings to issues #2 and #3, respectively, finding the former an enthralling if mindless action romp with tense character drama, and comparing Stegman's style positively to that of Ed McGuinness, while also lamenting that the change of inker and colorist near the end of issue #3 harmed the art's overall quality. Dean Stell of Weekly Comic Book Review gave issue #3 a “B+”, citing the political intrigue of Dracula and the various breeds and factions of vampires, the introduction of the Forgiven, the sense that the book created something “new”, compared to the other tie-ins that he felt went in circles, the balance between cartooniness and realism in Ryan Stegman's pencils, and the manner in which Mike Babinski and Rick Magyar's inks maintained that strength. Reviewing Fear Itself: The Black Widow, Kelly Thompson of Comic Book Resources criticized the in media res structure, saying that instead of the payoff demanded by such an approach, the result is an “eye-rolling deus ex machina-like cheat that in any movie-theater would illicit [sic] vocal groans.” Though Thompson was pleased with writer Cullen Bunn's pacing, clarity and his handling of the character, and thought Peter Nguyen's art interesting if inconsistent, Thompson found the story heavy-handed, criticized it for employing wordy narration over visual storytelling, and thought the book a throwaway story not relevant to “Fear Itself”. Ray Tate gave the book 4 out of 5 bullets, likening the story to “an Alias-like hyperkinetic spy mission” that succeeds where other creators' interpretations of the character failed, and which will satisfy ardent fans of the character. Tate attributed the narrative's fluidity to Peter Nguyen's character designs, which he compared to Peter Chung's Aeon Flux, and also applauded Veronica Gandini's colors. Jesse Schedeen of IGN gave the book a “Good” rating of 7 out of 10, describing it as a pointless tie-in with little effective conflict that does not fit well with the main storyline, albeit an enjoyable one with spy-flavored hijinks, and art that is fluid and energetic, if lacking in facial expressions. Jesse Schedeen, reviewing Fear Itself: Spider-Man for IGN, gave issue #1 a “Good” rating of 7.5 out of 10, and “Great” ratings of 8.5 and 8 to issues 2 and 3. Despite thinking that the citizens depicted were a bit too archetypal, he felt issue #1 properly covered the effects of the Serpent on the populace that were ignored by Fear Itself #2 that week, including those inflicted on Spider-Man that formed a classic set of insurmountable circumstances for him that rivaled his fight with Morlun in the 2005-2006 “The Other” storyline. Schedeen felt Mike McKone's art was clean and cinematic, but varied between his familiar style and a flat, minimalist one in issue #1. Though issue #2 improved on this, he felt aspects of it were flat and rushed in issue #3. Dean Stell of Weekly gave a “C” grade to the first two issues, saying that while it was not essential to the event, it established the street-level panic caused by it, providing “flavoring” to the crossover's story not present in the core miniseries, and that it featured many fine moments, his favorite of which was Spider-Man's confrontation with J. Jonah Jameson. He nonetheless perceived problems in continuity and in the behavior of the mob attacking the Iranian cabbie. He also thought McKone's art was solid and effective, despite occasional problems in body proportions. James Hunt of Comic Book Resources praised issue #1 for “straddling the crossover line expertly”, telling a genuine story rather than serving as an arbitrary tie-in, and for helping to allow the reader to understand the stakes of “Fear Itself” by showing the chaos created in the core miniseries. Though Hunt questioned the book's choice of villain, he was interested enough to see how the story's use of that villain would develop. Hunt also Mike McKone's art and Jeremy Cox's colors, and their decision to depict a red-and-black version of Spider-Man's costume. Reviewing Fear Itself: The Deep #1, Hunt opined that the book was not an essential tie-in. He criticized the destruction of New Atlantis, without any mention of Utopia, which was supported by New Atlantis. He also thought that the development of Namor, while potentially interesting, did not entirely work. Though he suggested that Defenders fans would enjoy the book's improvised incarnation of that team, and Lee Garbett's art clear and enjoyable, there was little to either complain about or distinguish it. Ray Tate gave the book 4 out of 5 bullets, however, finding the change in the Defenders roster engaging (Loa in particular), and beautifully characterized. Tate also liked the creative team's design of the demons, and their rendition of the cast and their heroics. Jesse Schedeen of IGN rated issue #1 of “Mediocre” 5.5 out 10, finding the characterization at times erratic, inaccurate and flat, in particular that of Namor and Attuma. While Schedeen thought Garbett's art was “functional, if a little cramped” in the underwater scenes, he perceived a sharp divide in quality between his cover and interior work, and the colors to be too dim. At Comic Book Resources, Zawisza found Fear Itself: The Home Front #1 to be “somewhere between forced and irrelevant”. Zawisza criticized the Speedball story for a too-weighty collection of elements that threatened to stall it, and for artist Mike Mayhew's over-reliance on photo reference. Zawisza criticized Peter Milligan's Agents of Atlas story for lacking “pizzazz”, a clear direction and consistent characterization, but found Elia Bonetti's art a nice transition between Mayhew's and Howard Chaykin's. Zawisza found the J. Jonah Jameson story “little more than a one-page filler”, though useful in reminder the reader of Jameson's presence in the Marvel Universe. Zawisza found Pepe Larraz's art in the Broxton, Oklahoma story to be energetic and clean, and his characters believable. Overall, Zawisza felt the book did not add to “Fear Itself”, but was a “nice” read, even if not a “must-read”. Jesse Schedeen of IGN gave issue #1 a “Good” rating of 7 out of 10, saying that Gage handled the Speedball story with more depth and gravity than in the Avengers Academy that featured a similar story, and that the exploration of why the Superhuman Registration Act was abolished was welcome, though he questioned if the story was strong enough to go seven issues. Schedeen also enjoyed the story and art of Agents of Atlas, thought the inclusion of the J. Jonah Jameson tale was “bizarre”, and felt Jim McCann's Broxton story explored the human element, if not memorably, and that overall, the book was not essential reading. He gave the next two issues “Okay” ratings of 6 and 6.5, explaining that the backup stories should have been trimmed to give more space to the Baldwin story, in which Gage fleshed out Miriam Sharpe, and that while the Agents of Atlas work continued to be solid in issue #2, it failed to make good use of the crossover. Dean Stell, reviewing Uncanny X-Men #540 - 543 for Weekly Comic Book Review, graded the issues “D+”, “C+”, “B-” and “D”. Stell consistently denounced Greg Land's art, which, despite exhibiting good linework and a cinematic style, suffered, according to Stell, from over-reliance on photo reference, and constant reuse of a limited number of poses and facial expressions, in particular the same face used for all the female characters. Stell also was unimpressed with Land's storytelling, his questionable choice in depicting Cyclops with beard stubble and putting Emma Frost in a cowgirl outfit for no discernible reason, and with Justin Ponsor's color palette and overabundance of highlights. Regarding the writing, he thought the first issue had an average story, and the next two were “pretty good”, but disliked the final issue. Although he loved the thrashing that Colossus gave Juggernaut after decades of stories in which the latter dispatched the former, he disliked the Namor-Emma Frost romance, the Kitty-Peter drama, and Cyclops' haughty demeanor toward the Mayor of San Francisco. Hunt felt that Fear Itself: Uncanny X-Force #1, however, was one of the stronger tie-in books, opining that writer Williams, Rob lived up to the standard set by regular X-Force writer Rick Remender, exhibiting a similar density of ideas, well-pitched character work, and the same “fun” of that book, without aping Remender's writing style. However, Hunt felt the story suffered from being almost unrelated to the core “Fear Itself” storyline, and criticized the lack of clarity over the identity of the “unknown superhero” in danger, stating that it failed to invest the reader in his fate. Hunt also felt that Simone Bianchi's art was looser than on his Astonishing X-Men run, and criticized his lack of backgrounds, but enjoyed his intricate visuals and his restrained rendering. Jesse Schedeen of IGN, however, gave each of the three issues “Mediocre” ratings of 5.5, 5.0 and 5.5 out of 10, complaining that the story was barely related to the crossover, that the characterization was “bland” and unengaging, the humor “stilted”, that it was entertaining on only a superficial level, and of Simone Bianchi's poorly defined and figure-crowded page construction, bizarre anatomy and storytelling that lacked a proper flow. Hunt was pleased with Fear Itself: Wolverine #1, in particular its depiction of Wolverine and Melita's relationship, and their contrasting views on informational freedom. Though he saw potential in the otherwise generic S.T.R.I.K.E. mercenaries, he again was displeased that the story had nothing to do with the core “Fear Itself” narrative. While Hunt felt artist Roland Boschi made writer Seth Peck's heavy exposition effective, and found Dan Brown's colors serviceable, he found little inspiring about the book artistically. Poet Mase of IGN gave issue #1 an “Okay” rating of 6.5 out of 10, saying that while he felt the villain's plot was plausible, it was somewhat stifled under the weight of text exposition that should have been handled by the visuals, and was unimpressed by Boschi's art or Dan Brown's colors, with some frames looking unfinished. He felt these issues were resolved by issue #2, which he rated a “Good” 7.5 for being a good middle issue. Nonetheless, while he felt that Peck's focus on the power of fear over rationality, and the buildup of Melita's panic were well-done, he felt her journey through Manhattan to be somewhat aimless, a major plot point dispensed with via a poor plot device, and the final page a letdown. Fear Itself: Wolverine has the lowest score of any tie-in at Comic Book Roundup, with 4.3 out of 10. Dean Stell, reviewing New Mutants #30 for Weekly Comic Book Review, gave it a “B” for Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning's fun story, its good use of Mephisto, David Lafuente's “A-List” art, whose exaggerated gestures lent itself well to the storytelling, and Val Staples and Chris Sotomayor's colors. Reviewing Thunderbolts
158 - 162, Stell gave a “B+” to the first and last issues, and a “B” to
the middle three, citing writer Jeff Parker's effortless integration of the crossover into the book, his ability to fit large amounts of story into each issue with good pacing and his depiction of tension and relationship development of the team members. Stell also opined that all of the stories by different creators in the anthology issue #159 were good (Parker's Underbolts story in particular). However, he criticized the rehashing of material in issue 158 that was covered in the main miniseries, and Marvel editorial, however for inconsistency in Man-Thing's appearances in different books of the crossover. Stell enjoyed Kev Walker and Declan Shalvey's illustration of individual issues, an improvement over pre-crossover attempts on their part to share the duties, citing Walker's inking in particular, but was slightly disappointed by Valentine de Landro and Matthew Southworth's art, whose storytelling clarity was not substandard in areas, and whose overly buxom depiction of Moonstone clashed with Walker and Shalvey's. Jamil Scalese of Comics Bulletin gave 4 out of 5 bullets to issue #160, also cheered Parker's crossover tie-in abilities, recalling his Thunderbolts work during the 2010 “Shadowland” storyline, and commending Declan Shalvey's rendition of the characters as “superb”, and the style he employed when depicting the heroes infiltrating Juggernaut's soul. Minhquan Nguyen, reviewing Herc #3 - 6 for Weekly Comic Book Review, gave a “B+” to three of the issues, and an “A-” to issue #4. Nguyen appreciated that the minor connection to the crossover did not hijack the book's in-progress storyline, which was filled with action and humor, though he felt the writing in the latter two issues was hurried and underdeveloped. Nguyen praised penciler Neil Edwards' clean, detailed art, and how his design of the mythic characters, combined both classical and modern elements. He also complimented Scott Hanna's inks and Jesus Aburtov's colors. Sam Salama Cohén of Comics Bulletin gave 3.5 bullets to issue #4, celebrating Greg Pak and Fred Van Lente's accurate portrayal of Hercules, a welcome reinvigoration of the character following the “endless Limbo of poor characterization and mockery” to which Cohén felt the Greek hero had thus far been relegated. Cohén also said that Neil Edwards' art style had grown on him, extolling Edwards' depiction of both Hercules' “snarkiness” and his bold resolve. Though Cohén felt the book was a good follow up on the previous story arc, he felt it lacked that story's perfect mix of humor, action and foreboding. Alex Evans of Weekly Comic Book Review gave a “C+” to Ghost Rider #1, opining that the book featured some excellent ideas and solid artwork by Matthew Clark that were hampered by the crossover and some at times “sketchy” writing, which included flat humor, overwritten dialogue, the relegation of expository material to the backup story and an unlikable protagonist threatening children. Doug Zawisza found Fear Itself: Fearsome Four #1's attempt to marry the disparate art styles of Michael William Kaluta, Ryan Bodenheim, and Simon Bisley uneven and inconsistent (in particular their different renderings of Howard the Duck), even though each artist served their purpose, with the end result reading like “a poor man’s anthology that’s written to fill a projected collected edition than a coherent run at a single tale.” Zawisza thought the book was “slow and choppy”, the characters an “odd assortment”, and not worth the price of the next issue. At Comics Bulletin, Ray Tate gave four bullets and three bullets to issues 1 and 2, respectively, saying that in the first issue, Montclare's characterization was authentic and exhibited pathos, and Kaluta adept in his rendition of Nighthawk, recalling his previous work on DC Comics' equivalent character, but was somewhat perplexed by the resemblance of Bodenheim's Howard the Duck to the feature film version. Regarding issue #2, he thought Montclare's exposition of Frankenstein's whereabouts since the 1970s was intelligent, and Ryan Bodenheim's art strong, but thought Montclare's characterization of Nighthawk gratuitous and implausible, and found Bisley's art “scratchy, unattractive and often confusing”. Jesse Schedeen of IGN gave issue #1 a “Mediocre” rating of 5.5, saying that despite the clever premise, citing a lack of emotional appeal or any narrative rationale in the choice of the book's cast, the inconsistent tone, and an artist roster that creates a “jumbled” feel. Dean Stell of Weekly Comic Book Review gave the issue a grade of “D”, saying that it had an acceptable premise that was badly executed, citing the choice of characters used in the story, and Bodenheim's art, which deviated from his usual style, and in some areas looked rushed, or appeared to be an attempt to ape Mike Kaluta's style. Danny Djeljosevic and Nick Hanover of Comics Bulletin gave 3 out of 5 bullets to Alpha Flight #1, seeing its tie-in to “Fear Itself” as a forced way to use the crossover to gain attention for that team, while only paying lip service to the crossover's storyline. They also complained about the heavy handed opening scenes, the lack of exposition that would make “Fear Itself” aspects of the story confusing to readers of the trade paperback and problematic characterizations of Shaman and Snowbird. The reviewers were both disappointed with the art, with Hanover criticizing Dale Eaglesham for “the worst artistic interpretation of Vancouver I've ever seen”. Joshua Yehl of Broken Frontier thought Pak and Van Lente succeeded in evoking a sense of dread, as well as a sense of natural humor, and described Eaglesham's art as “masterful throughout.” Dean Stell of Weekly Comic Book Review gave the issue a “B” for recapturing the feel of the 1980s series, and describing it as “mostly a big, fast-paced fight scene that works really well and is enjoyable to read”, though he was disinterested by the political aspects of the plot, and disliked the use of Northstar. Dean Stell of Weekly Comic Book Review gave Fear Itself: Deadpool #1 a “C+”, saying that while the story's lack of impact on the crossover made it inessential reading, the concept of Deadpool's attempt to exploit the global panic upheld the book's signature tongue-in-cheek tone, and Bong Dazo's art fit this tone well. Jesse Schedeen of IGN gave issue #1 an “Okay” rating of 6.0, expressing the view that Deadpool's exploitation of a suburban family's paranoia and fear was so close sentiments in the aftermath of the September 11 attacks that writer Christopher Hastings struck at the heart of the crossover's core ideas, and that although some elements were characterized by dawdling exposition, spoilers and heavy-handed attempts at humor, penciller Bong Dazo was adroitly brought the physical humor to life. However, Schedeen gave issue #3 an “Awful” rating of 3.5, saying that Hastings' “painful” script consisted of a truncated plot, forced, unfunny cultural references, unresolved plot holes, and a nonsensical ending, and that despite Dazo's art, he advised readers not to buy the book.
Jesse Schedeen of IGN gave Fear Itself: Sin's Past #1 a “Mediocre” rating of 5 out 10, saying that the issues chosen for reprinting were not the ideal ones from which readers could learn about the character, as the character's first appearances did not feature her disfigured, skull-like appearance, did little to flesh out her character and the modern and because the bold, modern coloring did not mesh with Al Milgrom's soft pencils, whose detailing of Rich Buckler's layouts issue
355 were inconsistent in quality to begin with. Schedeen gave Fear
Itself: The Worthy #1 an “Okay” rating of 6 out of 10, opining that while the origin stories, they were not particularly memorable, owing to their limited page space, that Sin's segment was a rehash of the Book of the Skull prologue, and that while the Hulk and Thing segments were outstanding in terms of the writing by Greg Pak and Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa and the artwork by Lee Weeks and Javier Pulido, the entire book was available for free on Comixology.
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