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Fear Itself Attacks The Marvel Universe in 2011

The only thing we have to fear is Fear Itself. At least, that's what Franklin Delano Roosevelt told us. Joe Quesada echoed that today when he posed the question, in hard times, who should you trust?

His answer seems to be Marvel. At a press conference announcing the latest major cross-over, Quesada expounded that Marvel will celebrate 2011 with its flagship heroes going up against the God of Fear. (Already I'm pulling a blank as to who that character would actually be.) Matt Fraction, Stuart Immonen, Wade Von Grawbadger and Laura Martin will be the creative team on Fear Itself.

Starting in April 2011, Fear Itself will be a 7-issue mini-series (like Civil War) that Marvel promises will be self-contained, though the phrase "self-contained" means something different in the comic book world. Events will bleed over into other books as eight major characters get tested by these events.

Oh, and, according to Tom Brevoort, "There is a concealed act at the heart of the Marvel Universe that once revealed will change everything." Hope it doesn't cause an identity crisis.

That act will likely take place during World War II, as Ed Brubaker and Scot Eaton will be doing a prologue with Captain America, Namor and The Invaders. Whoops. There's that spill-over into an eighth issue already. Any good guesses? Could it be that Reed Richards and Benjamin J. Grimm fought in World War II after all, and then were put into suspended animation? – there have been assurances that whatever form the Fantastic Four is about to take, they will be involved in this event. Maybe Uncle Ben fought at Normandy, and made a deal with Mephisto that his nephew would be great?

It really could be good. Some of Secret Invasion was a great idea. When Brian Michael Bendis created the concept of the Illuminati, that gave the Marvel Universe an intriguing subtext, and already this event sounds like it may have some of that flavor. (It's also tying in to a "map of the future" recently revealed in New Avengers that looks suspiciously like Rip Hunter's whiteboard, but, hey – it's a good idea big enough for two publishers.)

The only thing I fear is the financial hit. Both publishers have made a big deal about lowering prices and trying to help the consumer, but here comes a massive event priced at $3.99 per issue, not $2.99. And who knows what side series will crop up – that's not a criticism of Marvel, per se, as both big publishers use big events like this to launch other books.

Yet it's exactly these kinds of events – and the press conference to go with them – that gets attention. Maybe these do lure new customers into the stores, but at this point, no one really knows if they stay.

Oh, well. The event has a great creative team and enough advance notice for people to start setting some money aside. And here I was going to go to Disneyland…

Derek McCaw

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