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File:FearItself 2148.gif

 Do You Fear...

The 2011 Crisis Crossover for Marvel Comics.

At some point during the Second World War, the Red Skull enacted an arcane ritual under the orders of Adolf Hitler, causing a mysterious artifact to fall from the heavens and crash land in Antarctica. Upon locating the artifact--a large hammer, supposedly tied to the Norse goddess Skadi--and learning that he is incapable of lifting it, the Skull has the Thule Society seal it away in a fortress and guard it with their lives. Fast forward to the present day, where Sin, believing the hammer to be her inheritance, comes to collect; and after killing the guards and getting her hands on the hammer, she proves capable of lifting it. Of course, as with any mystical weapon there is a catch to wielding it, and this hammer is no exception; for, as the runic inscription on its shaft states,

 "And he who shall be worthy shall wield the power of Skadi."

As such, much like Donald Blake before her, Sin is transformed into the powerful Asgardian, Skadi. With the awesome power conferred by the hammer, Skadi sets out at the head of a large Nazi force to lead a blitzkrieg on the United States...but not before stopping off by the prison of a mysterious deity known only as the Serpent and busting him out, first. Setting the stage for a series of other hammers to fall all over the world with each its "Worthy" gaining awesome power and the order to spread fear around the globe.


Fear Itself provides examples of:

  • A Day in the Limelight/Merchandise-Driven: The series, whilst a Crisis Crossover featuring important roles for several of Marvel's A-List heroes, is more focused on Thor & Captain America. Conicidentally, both characters will have had Summer Blockbusters released during the publication of the series.
    • Fully justified in that Matt Fraction's original proposal was for a self-contained crossover between Thor and Captain America. Only afterwards was it decided that Fear Itself would be a Crisis Crossover.
    • an Issue of Journey into Mystery was an all Mephisto Issue. Also counts as an Villain Episode.
    • Several issues of the Fear Itself: Homefront mini series aside from the Speedball main story, featured one off stories featuring various less popular to out and out brand new characters reacting to the various problems and hysteria caused by the Serpent.
  • Adult Fear: Ultimately, everything Odin did was a crazed, futile attempt to save his son from dying.
    • Also invoked whtn Skirn and Greithoth invade the Infinite Mansion to strike at the Avengers Academy alumni: since Absorbing Man's hatred for Hank Pym was too big for Greithoth to override, Skirn suggested they attacked the students for whom Pym voiced concern earlier.
  • Anti-Hero: kid!Loki, somewhere between type 2 and 3. He's got a comparativly good cause (apparently he has to make something bad happen to prevent something even worse from happening instead) and even asked Thor's advice (while being very vague) to make sure he doesn't do the wrong thing. However, he's made deals with Mephisto and Surtur and really only seems to want to stop The Serpent so it won't kill Thor, with the rest of Earth just being a bonus.
    • That deal with Surtur? Loki agreed to work to bring into Asgard to feed on it's core to escape his imprisonment. He got out of it by bringing him into the Serpent's Dark Asgard, but due to everything now Surtur is still free.
  • Artifact of Doom, Evil Weapon: The Hammer of Skadi, natch, along with all the other Hammers of the Worthy.
  • Ascend to a Higher Plane of Existence: Thor Girl, at the end of the Youth in Revolt series, after reawakening her original powers and deciding to leave the Earth.
  • Big Bad: The Serpent.
  • Breakout Character: Kid Loki. Critics and fans are praising Journey into Mystery as Marvel's best book in a long time and Kid Loki as a fresh take on the character that is still true to who he is. A good thing too, since the current JIM writer said Loki's main arc is planned at 30-40 issues and with the publicity it probably won't be cut.
  • The Chosen One: More like the chosen seven; The Worthy are those deemed...well, worthy to wield the Serpent's hammers.
    • And now, Marvel's released a teaser showing The Mighty, 9 heroes chosen to wield even more hammers, these presumably from Odin as part of a deal with Iron Man.
      • The Mighty later materialize in the final act, as the core Avengers equpped with Uru weapons. Not exactly hammers, but close enough. Cap gets Thor's hammer, though.
    • And yet a third teaser, showing The Forgiven, a team of Vampires to deal with The Hulk.
  • Cleanup Crew: After all this is over, Damage Control is going to be very busy
  • Cutting the Knot: Thor finds himself unable to best Nul in a straight up fight. He proceeds to teleport Nul into orbit.
    • Which causes Nul to land in Romania, becoming Dracula's problem.
  • Curb Stomp Battle: The first issue of Hulk Vs Dracula is Hulk/Nul beating the crap out of vampires.
  • Demonic Possession: It appears that those chosen to wield the Hammers of the Worthy find their personalities overwritten or at least subsumed by the deity to whom their respective hammer belongs. Because of this, the villains of this piece are a mixture of actual bad guys like Sin (Skadi), Attuma (Nerkkod),the Juggernaut and the Grey Gargoyle (Mokk), and heroic or antiheroic characters whose bodies have been taken over by the evil spirits within these hammers, like The Incredible Hulk and the Thing .
  • Denouement Episode: Fear Itself 7.1, 7.2 and 7.3.
  • Did Not Do the Research: One Marvel writer (Doug Zawisza) claims that The Serpent ""following Norse mythology, would be Jörmungand" apparently forgetting that Jormungand has already appeared in the comics for years as the Midgard Serpent who is not a god, but a force of Ragnarok. This is especially confusing since The Serpent was revealed to be Odin's brother and therefore most are assuming that it is just a case of Lying Creator ir at least not-paying-attention creator.
    • However, it does explain why there's suddenly another force of evil with "Serpent" in its name that's prophesized to kill Thor if they're the same. Still, you'd think everyone would rememeber that Thor's fought Jormungand at least five times by now (at least three in modern coninuity if you're picky) and has always survived and managed to kill the thing. So it's probably a bad quote.
    • Added to that, when Loki tells the story of the Serpent, he appears as an Asgardian. With The Reveal from lower on the page, it's looking less and less like it'll really be Jormungand.
    • Finally confirmed to not be the Midgard Serpent. The Serpent even says that he was always the Serpent that was going to kill Thor, not Jormungand. That explains of course why Thor never died against the latter, but also almost feels like a writer remembered Zawisza's remark and was correcting it.
    • Fridge Brilliance: In Norse mythology, Odin had two little-known brothers called Vili and Ve. They helped Odin create the universe from Ymir's body, and "retired" shortly afterwards.
      • The Serpent himself clearly denounces Odin as a liar. The whole story implies that Odin willingly muddled the prophecies since forever to steer Thor away from his destiny. It didn't work, in the end.
    • A more minor thing is Thor's overt hostility towards The Hulk. While the two have a storied rivalry, they've been on friendly terms for the last couple years. If nothing else it seems odd that Thor would attempt a "I Know You're in There Somewhere" Fight with Thing and not even try with Hulk.
  • Downer Ending: Looks like it's shaping up for one. Marvel's theme in November is "Shattered Heroes" where everyone is "reeling" from the events of the crossover. Also, they've all but comfirmed that Thor is dead/will die, and already have a successor lined up.
    • Oh, and Loki's supposedly going to go on trial for his crimes against Asgard afterward he just helped stop the Serpent.
  • The Dragon: Sin/Skadi.
  • The Dreaded: The Serpent once again; while much about this elusive deity remains uncertain, the fact remains that he has Odin scared shitless of him, to the point where the Allfather is willing to raze the entire planet Earth just to destroy the Serpent.
    • In fact, the only person in the MU not seemingly in on the mass panic attack is Loki, who is a kid at the moment (and actually has a plan...whatever it is).
    • Strong as They Need to Be: Odin has faced down far stronger opponents than the Serpent in the past without even a shudder, and has undergone a degree of Badass Decay in regards to just how powerful he really should be (in the past its been demonstrated he can destroy entire galaxies). The Serpent is powerful, but it doesn't even come close to matching the power of, say, Dread Dormammu, or the various other Cosmic Horrors he has succesfully defeated before.
  • Dual Boss: Thor is confronted with Nul and Angir, the two strongest of the Worthy, at the same time.
  • Evil Makeover: Those who become The Worthy.
    • Often includes Tron Lines for some reason.
      • Even the Mighty have ones. In-story, that's explained as aftereffects of the transformative properties highly concentrated Uru (a sponge for Asgardian magic) may have on baseline humans.
  • Evil Twin: What the Serpent claims to be to Odin.
    • Apparently they're brothers
    • The Serpent summoned something over NYC called "Dark Asgard" that is a mirror image of Asgard that he plans to use to strike at the real one. Kid!Loki apparently has a plan for dealing with it, that like all his other deals has so far falled under the Unspoken Plan Guarantee
  • Fridge Logic: When something causes She-Hulk, Nighthawk, Howard the Duck, and Frankenstein's Monster to turn into monstrous versions of themselves, Howard the Duck turns into... a lizard creature. Repeat Howard the DUCK turns into a LIZARD as an apparently monstrous version of THEMSELVES.
  • Five-Man Band: The Forgiven.
  • Hannibal Lecture: Hulk actually gives one to Banner in his The Worthy tie in prologue.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Hardball SEEMS to make one using his powers to the max to try to save people in Vegas. It didn't stick.
    • Thor's heroic sacrifice is the whole point of the entire event.
  • Hopeless Boss Fight: Anytime the Worthy show up at least during the first half of the event..
  • Hope Spot: The Battle of St. John's Newfoundland Speedball arrives to fight off Nerkkod and sends him flying by redirecting his own hammer back at him, seemingly defeating him. As Speedball limps away still thinking of possibly aiding others, Nerkkod returns lays into Speedball and summons a tidal wave to drown the thousands of people in the area.
  • "I Know You're in There Somewhere" Fight: The Thunderbolts try this on Juggernaut
    • Red She-Hulk's also vaguely trying this on Hulk, while mainly trying to get people out of his way.
      • She tries it again in Hulks vs Dracula #3, This time it works and Hulk breaks free from the hammers control and destroys it.
        • Of course, that wasn't actually Betty/Red She-Hulk, but a vampire mesmerizing Hulk so that he saw her as Betty.
  • Jumping on a Grenade: Geiger does in in Youth in Revolt #2.
  • Late Arrival Spoiler: More like Spoiler-given-mid-event. In their promos for November's "Shattered Heroes" Marvel unveiled the replacement for Thor as well as a cover that seems to show the original dead. The bets on how long that'll last are short and really short.
  • Mind Rape: Inverted: Veil tries to neutralize Skirn by possessing her like her future self had done to Korvac before, but it's Veil who gets mindraped with the horrors within Skirn's mind.
  • Names to Run Away From Really Fast: The seven other members of the Worthy, both for their actual names and for their titles. See The Red Baron for more information.
  • Never Say "Die": A subversion of this happens when one of the Avengers Academy students asks Falcon about Bucky Cap being stabbed, he initially lies to them saying that it was critical and they are trying to save him, until realizing he is treating young heroes that just fought a hellish battle like children and told them the truth that he is dead.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero When Hulk broke free from his hammers control, he destroyed his hammer....Which released Nul, who now doesn't need a host.
  • Pay Evil Unto Evil: The whole point of the Hulk vs Dracula mini is to have Hulk not cross into Moral Dissonance by having the his near unstoppable evil side rampage on a nation of vampires instead of normal people rather during the second half of the event.
    • Yes and no. Gischler's said that he wants to show Dracula and the vampires as being sympathetic against the unstoppable force that is Nul, Breaker of Worlds, without forgetting that they are, in fact, vampires.
  • Pragmatic Villainy: MODOK and Zero/One, who has been hunting the Red Hulk, decides that it's far more important to fight the Nazis that are causing havoc
  • Precision A Strike: Thor gets one during his fight with Nul and Angrir, after having Mjolnir run through Angrir.

 Thor: And him I liked. But you? You were always a giant pain in the ass.

  • Prophecies Are Always Right: Thor meets his fated end fighting against the Serpent. Even Loki's machinations and attempts to rewrite fate only give Thor the chance to take the Serpent with him.
  • The Red Baron: Every single member of the Worthy, Skadi excluded, is called the "Breaker" of something. To wit, we have:
    • Kuurth, Breaker of Stone (Juggernaut);
    • Nul, Breaker of Worlds (Hulk);
    • Skirn, Breaker of Men (Titania);
    • Nerkkod, Breaker of Oceans (Attuma);
    • Mokk, Breaker of Faith (Grey Gargoyle);
    • Greithoth, Breaker of Wills (Absorbing Man);
    • and Angir, Breaker of Souls (Thing).
  • Sacrificial Lion: Bucky Cap
    • Though eventually subverted in Issue 7.1, where it was revealed that he survived the beating given to him by Sin/Skadi and had his death faked by Black Widow and Nick Fury to convince Steve Rogers to become Captain America again, as well as give him the leeway he needed to attend to his own problems.
  • Sequel Hook: One shows up at the end when it is revealed that Nul somehow separated from Hulk and Bruce Banner, and is poised to be at the heart of the first story arc of Matt Fraction's new run on The Defenders.
  • Shoot the Hostage: Hardball in order to get Juggernaut out of Las Vegas tries to blow him away with his powers. Juggernaut comes across some homeless people that didn't evacuate with most of the rest of the city to the designated areas. His team gets most out while holding Juggernaut back, but one group refuses to leave even with Hardball's team unsuccessfully battling Juggernaut right in front of them. So Hardball orders a evacuation of his team and uses his powers to blow Juggernaut out of the city limits, injuring himself but apparently killing those that didn't evacuate when his team tried to get them out.
  • Spanner in the Works: Loki's resurrection is, depending on the source, either the reason The Serpent is back, the key to the only way to defeat The Serpent, or both. Either way, by bringing him back, Thor very possibly caused this crossover.
    • Turns out to be the key. Loki's deals, machinations and secret infiltration into the Serpent's strong hold, allowed him to gain access to a type 3 Reality Writing Book. And give the Serpent just enough of a weakness that Thor could "win".
  • Starfish Language: Half of the Worthy don't seem to bother speaking anything but this unless their hosts have a relationship with their current opponent/target. Or at least Depending on the Writer.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Gravity and Hardball both get to say one of these To each other.
  • Unspoken Plan Guarantee: We have yet to be told what Loki's plan for defeating the Serpent is (outside of the fact that he seems to be the only person with a plan at all and that it's a brains-over-brawn plan). Since we have no clue, it is therefore likely to succeed, according to this trope. And the fact that Loki is a reincarnated Magnificent Bastard.
    • Now Iron Man has a plan too, and we're not quite sure what. Odin's plan is stated-destroy Earth entirely and the Serpent with it.
  • Villains Out Shopping: Grey Gargoyle's prologue tie-in has him walking around Paris, drinking coffee from a local cafe, and lamenting on his Villain Decay, wondering where his life will go from there before he stumbles onto one of the hammers...
  • Wham! Episode: Played with in Issue 3: Sin/Skadi apparently kills Bucky Cap, though this was arguably done to return Steve Rogers to his role as Captain America.
    • Word of God states that this (Bucky dying & Steve becoming Captain America again) was always going to happen in the main ongoing.
  • Would Hurt a Child: Obviously given the grand scale carnage they bring about all the Worthy. Special mention does go to Greithoth (Absorbing Man) and Skirn (Titania) for deciding to head after Pym's Avengers Academy students after their battle in Dubai.
    • Everyone Kid!Loki faces is perfectly willing to kill him (most don't becuase he makes it so they would owe him, or becuase they know Thor will mess them up for hurting his little brother)
  • Wild Card: Juggernaut explains that this is how he sees himself; he's not hero and he's not a villain. He's the Juggernaut[1]. He works for whoever's offering him a spot on the team for however long that lasts(and it never lasts long) and then he moves on.
  • The Worf Effect: Red Hulk getting his butt handed to him by a possessed Thing

Notes

  1. bitch!
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