Marvel’s Next Big One: The Road to ‘Fear Itself’…

I remember a little over a year ago talking to my comic guy about the then upcoming Marvel event, the Heroic Age which was about to start up. It was supposed to return the heroes to a more peaceful and manageable existence. He was ready for the heroes to get back to basics and just be superheroes without all the complexities of real life added in. His main reasoning was that there had been too many ‘dark times’ for the Marvel superheroes, and it was time for a mood change.

I couldn’t have disagreed more. I love nothing more than seeing the Marvel heroes collectively fight for their lives and deal with loss as normal people do. I love seeing that heroes from Hawkeye to Captain America are not only vulnerable, but killable. And heroes like Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver are mentally vulnerable. The last several years at Marvel had been all about this, dark and depressing. And the story that started it all was of course Avengers Disassembled, where the Avengers were literally – disassembled.

And done so,  from the inside by one of their own. We have an unknown force messing with the Avengers, which results in multiple casualties, seeing Ant-Man and Hawkeye both killed in the first wave. Tony Stark is then ousted as the U.S. ‘Secretary of Defense’ and Avengers Mansion is all but destroyed. Numerous Avengers are put out of commission including She-Hulk, Vision, and the Wasp. The big reveal is that it was the Scarlet Witch committing all of these attacks, and it was actually quite heartbreaking to see why she did what she did.

Years earlier the Witch used her magic to become pregnant with twins, using Mephisto‘s essence, but they were suddenly taken from her when that essence returned to Mephisto. Imagine trying to cope with your kids just ceasing to exist, I’m not a mother but that has to be a cause for severe depression. Combined with constant abductions by jobbers such as Chthon and Immortus and manipulations by her loving dad Magneto, and even Agatha Harkness routinely wiping the memory of her children away it’s no wonder she suffered a nervous breakdown. Maybe this all could have been avoided with a nice psychiatrist seeing Wanda a couple times a week. After the heroes confront Wanda and a super throw down ensues…in House of M.

In House of M, the Marvel Universe is transformed by the Scarlet Witch’s reality altering powers into a mutant utopia where humans are the minority, and Magneto is the ruler of the United States. Once the heroes determine what has happened they realize that Magneto didn’t manipulate Wanda into doing this, but that it was her brother, Quicksilver. I mean seriously, who needs villains at this point?

By the end of House of M we are left with the majority of the mutant population de-powered due once again, to the Scarlet Witch .

Civil War begins with the heroes slowly recovering, and the mutants effectively sitting it out due to their kick in the oblongs from the events of House of M/Decimation. A shenanigan involving the New Warriors and an obliterated elementary school eventually culminates in the passing of the superhuman registration act, where all heroes will work under the U.S. government, sans secret identities to keep the public safe. The inevitable then happens, with heroes taking sides on the issue and all hell breaking loose between them.  Like I said, who the hell needs villains at this point? The series ends with many heroes going underground and Captain America death.

The next event kind of comes out of left field, but The Secret Invasion storyline was still pretty decent, and was a stepping stone to the next event.

Basically there is a Skrull invasion of Earth. All the heroes unite to defeat the aliens, but in the end it is too late to stop our old, psychotic friend Norman ‘Goblin’ Osborn from stepping up and taking control of SHIELD. Under Osborn’s leadership SHIELD is renamed HAMMER. [Ed. – Reminisant of DC electing Lex Luther President]

This leads us into Dark Reign, where the world is slowly placed in the grip of the world’s villains. Norman Osborn replaces the Avengers with his own team of “superheroes” consisting of :

  • Iron Patriot – Norman Osborn wearing a suit of Iron Man armor emblazoned with the star of Captain America.
  • Hawkeye – Bullseye, Killer extraordinaire.
  • Wolverine – Daken, the son of Wolverine.
  • Spiderman – Mac Gargan, the Scorpion, wearing the Venom symbiote.
  • Ms. Marvel – Moonstone
  • Captain Marvel – Noh-Varr, Kree Warrior.
  • Ares – Greek God of War.
  • Sentry – Superpsycho.

Dark Reign the leads into Siege where Osborn tries to conquer Asgard, but is finally defeated by the Avengers and promptly arrested (His inner goblin finally reared it’s ugly head for all to see).

With the heroes finally united again, and the Heroic Age stuff about to wrap up it’s finally time for a new storyline for our superheroes.

The very ominous looking Fear Itself.

Not much is known about the seven part series except that the superheroes will be facing off against a God of Fear, perhaps from Asgard? The heroes will face their greatest fears, which should be interesting in itself. Just to see what currently haunts big hitters like the Thor, Captain America and the Hulk, sounds good. There is going to be a prologue where a supposed “concealed act” in Marvel history occurs that has ramifications for the story. This prologue involves the Red Skull during World War 2 and it reeks of some sort of change in continuity.

That part may be good or bad. From all of the recent promos for the storyline Asgard must figure in somehow with different trios of characters reaching for what look like different variations of Thor’s hammer Mjolnir.

I don’t need multiple doom and gloom storylines for the next five years, but I hope starting with Fear Itself Marvel gets back into the swing of making the stakes for our heroes high, and the ramifications of said event significant leading into the next one. So far Fear Itself is shaping up to be very interesting.

On the other hand I’m not excited about what Juggernaut appears to be doing in his promo picture. Is that Hercules in the peculiar position in front?

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4 thoughts on “Marvel’s Next Big One: The Road to ‘Fear Itself’…”

    1. In the “Civil War” crossover, Captain America opposes mandatory federal registration of all super-powered beings, which he sees as an erosion of civil liberties for the superhero community, and leads the Anti-Registration faction and resistance movement. He becomes a fugitive and opposes the heroes of the Pro-Registration group, including his former friend Iron Man. He adopts the alias “Brett Hendrick”, a mall security guard, to avoid government detection. As the War continues, Cap enlists the assistance of several figures with whom he would not choose to ally himself under normal circumstances, such as the Punisher and the Kingpin.

      Captain America battles Iron Man during the climactic battle and has victory within his grasp when a group of civilians attempts to restrain him. Rogers realizes that he is endangering the very people he has sworn to protect. He then surrenders to the authorities and orders the Anti-Registration forces to stand down. As Rogers is led away in handcuffs, the Punisher retrieves Captain America’s discarded mask.

      The Death of Captain America story arc follows his surrender. Steve Rogers is indicted on multiple criminal charges; as he is brought to a federal courthouse, a sniper shoots him in the back. In the chaos that ensues, he is wounded three more times in the stomach and chest by Sharon Carter. Rogers is taken to a hospital, where by all evidence he dies. The assassination, orchestrated by the Red Skull, involves Crossbones as the sniper and Dr. Faustus posing as a S.H.I.E.L.D. psychiatrist, who gives Carter a hypnotic suggestion to shoot Rogers at a crucial moment.

      The superhero community is shaken by the assassination. The Punisher temporarily adopts a costume similar to that of Captain America, while Winter Soldier and Wolverine seek to avenge Rogers’ death. The Winter Soldier steals Captain America’s shield, and the Punisher provides him with the mask from Steve Rogers’ uniform. Captain America is publicly laid to rest in Arlington National Cemetery, under a monument built in his honor. The body in Arlington is a fake: Tony Stark, accompanied by Hank Pym and Janet Van Dyne, returns Rogers’ body to the Arctic where Rogers had been found years before. Namor attends the small private ceremony and vows no one will disturb the site.

      Stark receives a letter containing Rogers’ final requests: Stark should “save” Bucky, and that, despite his demise, the world still needs Captain America. Bucky accepts Stark’s offer to take on the mantle of Captain America in exchange for a promise of autonomy from Stark.[74] Bucky kept Rogers’ trademark shield, but donned a new costume and began carrying a pistol and a knife. The Norse god superhero Thor communicates with what appears to be Rogers’ spirit on the first anniversary of Rogers’ death.

      Captain America: Reborn #1 revealed that Rogers did not die; instead, the villainous Red Skull had Sharon Carter use a gun that transported him to a fixed position in space and time. Since then, Captain America had been phasing in and out of space and time, appearing at events in his lifetime and fighting battles. The Red Skull brings Rogers back to the present, where he takes control of Rogers’ mind and body. Rogers eventually regains control, and with help from his allies, defeats the Red Skull.

      In the one-shot comic Captain America: Who Will Wield the Shield?, taking place after the conclusion to Reborn, Rogers formally hands Bucky his Captain America shield and asks his former sidekick to continue as Captain America. Later, the President of the United States grants Rogers a full pardon.

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  1. Superhero death entails maybe a year or two not appearing in anything. Then they come back due to either a clone, miraculous resurrection, or they didn’t actually die as it turns out. No one really stays dead.

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