We're gonna kick this week off with a couple of Fear Itself issues, including the third part of the Fear Itself mini-series. I absolutely loved the second issue, let's see if Matt Fraction can keep the momentum going.
Fear Itself #3(of 7):
Summary: As you'd expect in a big event book like this, we do a lot of jumping around, with the secondary stories being developed more in the assorted x-over books. This issue gets started with Captain America(Bucky), Black Widow, Falcon, and Shang-Chi(Shang-Chi?! Really?!?), trying in vain to defend the beleaguered Washington DC from the onslaught of the Serpent possessed Sin and her super-powered Nazi war machines. While that's going on, Loki manages to break Thor from his cell in Asgard and after filling Thor in about what was happening on Earth, tells Thor that Odin was planning on destroying all of humanity in order to weaken the Serpent. From there Loki brings Thor to the few Asgardians who are willing to stand against Odin's plans to destroy the Earth, including Sif and the Warriors Three. Before they can spirit Thor to Earth, Odin arrives, because let's face it, as long as Heimdall is standing with Odin, Odin knows EVERYTHING that's happening on Asgard. Odin tells Thor to listen for once in his life, and allow Odin to do what must be done. Thor refuses, stating his desire to fight with Earth's heroes, so Odin grants him his wish, sending him to Earth, but warning him that once it appears the Serpent was on the verge of taking over the Earth, Odin would destroy the Earth and everyone on it, Thor included. The FF discover one of the Serpent's hammers on Yancy Street, and after analyzing it, Reed tells Thing to see if he could move it... Which turns out to be a big mistake, as Thing becomes one the Serpent's minions. Steve Rogers decides he's had enough of organizing the various heroes of the Earth, and puts Maria Hill in charge so he could try to help out in Washington. Finally, we head back to Washington where Bucky rallies the troops for one last stand against Sin, since retreat would allow Sin more of a foothold in Washington. Bucky manages to get one good shot in on Sin but with Sin being a god now, that's the last shot he gets, as Sin disarms Bucky(and I mean literally tears off his metal arm), before impaling him with her hammer. This issue ends with Sin walking away from Bucky while he slowly blacked out.
Thoughts: Hmmmmm...... Marvel wouldn't go and kill Bucky would they? I mean that would be a surefire way to piss me off... Nah... I won't believe it. You've got to think that if anybody would ever kill off Bucky it would be Ed Brubaker, not Matt Fraction. So although I am QUITE worried about Bucky's fate, I'm going to guess that all this means is that he'll be injured for a while, which will lead to Steve Rogers taking the Captain America mantle back, with Bucky eventually ending up as the new US Agent or Nomad or something like that. Let's see, the final scene with Bucky was the big shocking twist this issue, but there were a few other major things that happened here as well. Thing becoming one of the Serpent's goons is a pretty big surprise, as I didn't expect that, and Thor(as well as Steve Rogers) joining the battle as early as next issue should be pretty awesome. One of the coming attractions has the Avengers battling the Serpent possessed Hulk in an upcoming issue of the Avengers, which hopefully means lots of action and no more of Bendis's terrible dialogue(see Avengers #13 for an example of what I'm talking about...). All in all, this was a really good issue, jam packed with wall to wall action and story development. BUT, with me being one of the biggest fans of Brubaker's Captain America work, specifically his work with Bucky, this issue did annoy me just a bit, and as such, it falls short of last issue's mark of perfection... But not by much...
Score: 9 out of 10.Retreat dammit!!! RETREAT!!!!!
Thunderbolts #158: Fear Itself tie-in
Summary: While the Thunderbolts and the Betabolts(the second generation of criminals trying out for the T-Bolts) are dealing with a mess of zombies rampaging through Iraq, one of the Serpent's hammers crashes into the Raft prison, very close to where the Juggernaut was standing. Still pissed over the way Luke Cage treated him last issue, Juggy grabs the hammer and becomes one of the Serpent's Chosen. From there, Juggy goes on an epic rampage, destroying more than half the Raft before flying away to wreak havoc elsewhere. As the T-Bolts and B-Bolts are wrapping things up in Iraq, Fixer and Ghost begin to get some transmissions from the Raft asking for assistance ASAP. With the zombies defeated, the T-Bolts and B-Bolts have Man-Thing teleport them back to the Raft and are stunned by the enormity of the destruction. With dozens(hundreds?) still trapped in the rubble, including the warden, John Walker(the former US Agent), and prisoners stealing helicopters and boats to escape, this issue ends with Songbird taking charge and splitting the teams up to deal with the multiple problems while some of the B-Bolts plot against the T-Bolts.
Thoughts: Once again, this issue was really good. I've got to say, when Jeff Parker took over this series I wasn't all that impressed, but with every passing issue, his work impresses me more and more. This is now one of the rare comics I can count on month in and month out to provide me with a solid read, with the occasional great issue tossed in for good measure. This was one of those aformentioned great issues. I mean hell, there was so much that went on here, it's hard to even keep up with it. Juggy got possessed and escaped, the Raft was torn asunder, the two groups of T-Bolts were battling zombies, inmates were escaping, a few B-Bolts were plotting ways to get the nanites out of their system with the prison laboratories empty and theirs for the using, and oh yeah, Juggy is out there somewhere undoubtedly ripping something apart. Great issue here, with more greatness on the horizon.
Score: 9 out of 10.I am SO glad Satana is on this team.