Okay, be warned there are spoilers here. Minor ones for Iron Man and Thor. And a major character-affecting one for Captain America. And an episode-ending one for Spider-Man. I'll do the first two first, if you're still around for Captain America, well, you only have yourself to blame.
It's the end of the world as we know it. And in such scenarios we discover heroes' true characters. Some of them in, some of them out, it seems.
The first is for Iron Man at the front of the book, as we discover his planned deal with Odin. And it's perfect. The weapons manufacturer doing what he does best and, I guess, explaining the presence of The Mighty in the next issue of Fear Itself, transformed into their own Asgardian archetypes to take on the baddies. And also terrinly intriguing for isue 6 to discover exactly what it is he comes up with for everyone…
But then, and I know we're all into modern day speech for Thor now. But I don't want him tweeting, I don't want him adding me to his Google Plus circles, and I don't want his using slang trash talk. And I'm afraid that's what we get here, during the Big Brawl between him, the transformed Thing and the transformed Hulk.
Ripped me out of the story, I don't like it sir, I don't like it.
And now for your big bad spoiler. Stay away folks, but I want to talk about this. See, Matt Fraction has mentioned that he read a lot of crossovers before writing Fear Itself, to see what worked and what didn't. And obviously he must have read Secret Wars – and noted one of the more shocking moments from that run – when Captain America's shield was damaged by a Beyonder-fuelled Doctor Doom, demonstrating the powers they were dealing with.
And that's pretty much what we get here, to the nth degree…
Yeah, that doesn't go well, almost takes the spirit of Cap.
But then that's followed by something with Spider-Man and…
Look, I never had the problem with One More Day that so many other people had. I could quite see Spider-Man doing whatever was necessary, sacrificing anything in the world to save the life of Aunt May, even if it was a deal with the Devil, even if it cost him the love of Mary Jane. He'd exhausted other possibilities, this was his last ditch effort, and Spider-Man has always been about those.
And at the end of this issue, Spider-Man basically asks Captain America if he can leave the fighting, to spend time with his family. Which he then does. And I just don't buy it. Sure this is the end of the world, sure it underlines the seriousness of what is threatening humanity and the superheroes, but damn if it isn't the least Spider-Manny moment I've read. Where has the last ditch effort gone?
And now I suddenly sound like Jesse Baker. Damn you Fraction for making me this way!
Comics courtesy of Orbital Comics, London.