As you’ve doubtless heard by now, Marvel followed up the Fear Itself event mini-series with issues 7.1, 7.2 and 7.3. Let’s be kind and say the reception to these issues was mixed, at best. If you’re like me, those “point” issues put some titles on probation. Let’s see what happened with the set up. Spoilers ahead.
7.1 was the Captain America issue. It was a cheap “Bucky isn’t dead, after all” revival set up to springboard to the Winter Soldier series. I’m very curious whether this was planned all along or this is a retcon. Either way, it doesn’t effect the Captain America series.
Over in Thor #8, things pick up right where 7.2 left off. Odin has taken his dead brother’s body back to Asgard and locked everyone out of the 9 worlds, so you’ve got a few trolls and such wandering around on Earth. Interestingly, there _is_ one person that realizes the new thunder god is not the original. And that person is Loki, who goes about trying to figure out what happened. Towards the end of the issue, we have appearances by a couple Lee/Kirby era Thor characters and find out that the new thundergod is not what he seems. We also find out that dead for a god is probably not the same thing as dead for a mortal. There’s at least one layer of red herring from 7.2, possibly more. Basically, Fraction is going somewhere with this and had all this come out in a double-sized , there might have been less rolling of eyes. I’m not issuing a free pass on the story arc just yet, but I was very close to dropping Thor based on Fear Itself 7.2. I’m not dropping it yet.
You go to the new issue of Iron Man (#510) and, guess what, no references to anything that happened in Fear Itself 7.3. Things pick up from the aftermath of Fear Itself proper and from the Iron Man issues dealing with that. (Again, just like One More Day — Iron Man isn’t dealing with the 7.3 events just yet.) Tony Stark does indeed take in an alcoholic dwarf from Odin’s blacksmith department. Better, he takes the dwarf to an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting. We’ll see if Fraction goes there, but Charlie Sheen was technically correct about AA having a religious component. An Asgardian dwarf might take a strange view of the Christian-specific parts of AA. We also see the return of a couple old foes who are plotting a scheme that directly involves Starks activities during Fear Itself. Same old, same old. I’m chosing to pretend 7.3 never existed.
That is to say, things with Thor and Iron Man are not in as dire a state as it looked like a couple weeks ago, when I asked a comics merchant if 7.2 and 7.3 were bad enough that I was going to be trimming some titles from my list and the facial expression in response was an “I can’t tell him to not buy something, but I sure can’t recommend this” look of conflict.