So as I mentioned the other day, we have planned including more content on this site outside gaming. To that end here is the first of a series of reviews on graphic novels.
Now as a warning do not expect there to be a large amount of organisation to the order these are done in.
When I was at university I was an idiot, I sold the entire of my comic collection and got a pittance for it. Since then I have been slowly rebuilding my collection but never got back to a point where I pick them up as individual comics.
Instead now I prefer to pick up graphic novels as they don’t rely on me having kept up with what has gone on in the universes. If there is anything that they really need me to know about in the timeline, that is not covered in the book itself, they generally put it in the foreword.
The first one that I going to review is the of the Fear Itself graphic novel, that brings together the core issues of that ark (Fear Itself Prologue: Book of the Skull & Fear Itself #1-7) into one unified story.
What follows is an overview of the key points of the story, if you want to jump to the my opinions of the comic as a whole then click here
The book kicks off with Sin (Daughter of the Red Skull) and Baron Zemo hunting for one of the forgotten bases of the Red Skull, after some long forgotten artifact. What that turns out to be is a book, bound with the skin of Atlantean’s. A quick flashback to the Second World War, explains that this was involved in one of Red Skulls many dabbles with the occult and resulted in him summoning a Hammer to fall to earth.
This offered up a lot of promise to the story at this point, as like Thor’s Mjolnir, it seems that only a chosen person can lift it. Seriously pissed, the Red Skull demands his followers build a fortress around the hammer and find away to allow him to use it.
Then to wrap the prologue up it then returns to the present day, the forgotten base Sin & Zemo are in starts to fall apart meaning its time to scarper. Finally to prove there is no honour among villains, SIn double-crosses Zemo and leaves him in the desert as she heads off to find the hammer for herself.
This is where the prologue ends and the main story arc kicks in and there is a lot that happens all at once. While a riot kicks off in America, Sin finds the Fortress and the hammer it protects and as expected, like Mjolnir, grants here the power of a god. The power of Skadi.
This grabs the attention of Odin All-Father, and to say his reaction is not good. This is not helped by the appearance of The Watcher, whose presence generally means something is about to kick off in a big way.
Odin orders all the Asgardians off Earth, and knowing something is up Thor argues with his father and is carried back in chains after taking a bit of a kicking from the old man.
Meanwhile, Skadi finds herself being guided by her hammer to ultimately release someone for below the ocean. That turned out to be The Serpent, the unknown brother of Odin what draws his power from Fear.
In order to increase that fear he summons 7 more hammers, that like Skadi’s cause the holders to be overwhelmed by the Gods and then go out on a rampage. What I did enjoy was that they did not go for all A-List villains as the hammer bearers. Instead there is a nice mix including Juggernaut & Absorbing Man, but I was even more impressed when The Hulk & The Thing are recruited by the hammers.
Seeing these heroes brought in was a very nice twist and played into The Serpents need to increase the fear of the human race and as a result his own power to achieve his end goal, revenge.