Friday, September 30, 2011

The Bill September 28, 2011

With Fear Itself finally winding down (just in time for the next big event to wind up, I guess), I think it's time we talk about what is quite possibly the best tie in to the event. If you've been reading this blog for a while, you'll probably be able to guess what book I'm talking about. If not, well, you don't have to wait very long to figure it out.

The Best Fear Itself Tie-in:
Avengers Academy # 19
Writer: Christos Gage
Artist: Tom Raney

I've been in the tank for this book since it started and I have no signs of getting out. Start to finish, this book is amazing with rare missteps and this Fear Itself tie-in is no exception.

Let me start, though, with a negative. While I do think what they're doing is great, I also think they spent a little too much time on it. Maybe it's because I'm getting older, maybe it's a desire for the compression of old, but this was a story that should have been told in maybe three issues. As it stands, I'm mildly upset that the characters, their interactions, and their progression has been put on hold for so long. Dammit, I need closure on some of these people! COME ON!

Ahem. Sorry.

Moving on, what really impressed me about this run was how it made me care about the villains. I get that these 'Breakers of whatevers' are supposed to be foreign and we ought to be afraid because we don't know what they're saying, but it just doesn't work that way. Instead of being intrigued by the weird looking symbols, I find myself just skimming past and seeing whatever character more as a cypher than a person. Christos Gage fixed that problem: he just had them speak english.

It threw me as weird when it first happened, but as the storyline went on I was happy for the change. Suddenly, I was more afraid of these new gods (not to be confused with New Gods) and actually understood their motivations. And because of that, I was more scared for the kids and their survival. Weird how that all works...

So, this issue was the culmination of the conflict that's been ongoing for a few months. The kids, trapped in their miniature and rapidly expanding headquarters, were forced to make some pretty hefty, heroic decisions about how to survive. And because this is a book with no really big names, and the stars are all brand new characters, I was preparing for the worst. I don't want to spoil the end, but it was certainly unexpected.

In the end, Christos Gage delivered not just another great issue, but another great tie-in. Similar to his Thunderbolts Secret Invasion tie in, he was able to thread this book's storyline with the larger story in Fear Itself without making me feel like I'm getting only half the story. It's a hell of a talent, one that I wish some other writers had.

Finally, I'd be remiss if I didn't mention the fantastic art of Tom Raney. I've been a big fan of his for a while, and this book was no exception. He's got a clean line and can do wide screen like the best of them, I hope he's on this book for a long time.

Now, with all this Fear Itself malarky over, I can't wait to this book to get back to the business of being awesome all on it's own.

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