Tomorrow sees the release of Fear Itself #7, the giant-sized finale to one of the uber-events that’s been keeping the Marvel Universe busy over the last few months. And, because it’s the last event book to finish this year, following things like X-Men: Schism and DC’s Flashpoint, I have only one thought in mind about it: Please don’t suck.
I have no idea why, but this year feels like it’s the year when event books forgot how to finish. Flashpoint‘s final issue was a jumble of characters showing up for a final battle and then dying without reason, revelations about what’s going on that made little sense given what had come before (Seriously, Barry Allen changed the past? Even though he was the one talking about why he’d never do that, just three issues earlier? And he could remember everything about the old timeline, except for the part where he’d decided to change the past? Seriously?) and an out-of-nowhere introduction to the new timeline that the DCU would have the next month. Schism, in contrast, just… didn’t really try to surprise, or even end; the schism of the title being more like “two people had a fight that then turned into a mild disagreement and went off in a strop, taking people with them.” After two such high-profile misfires, it’s all on Fear Itself to be the one event book that doesn’t screw up in its final hours.
Weirdly, despite my not really loving the series to date, I’m hopeful that Matt Fraction and Stuart Immonen can pull it off. They have extra pages to use to cram everything in, they’ve shown an at-times-ridiculous ambition to do “big” ideas and set pieces, meaning that they’ll avoid Schism‘s understatedness, but they also don’t have to pull any last-minute twists in order to bring things to satisfying conclusion, nor do they need to conclude an entire timeline, a la Flashpoint. Surprisingly, out of nowhere, I find myself pulling for Fear Itself to do this thing we can “finishing without a disaster,” and prove that the art of the event book isn’t (temporarily, pending a reboot, retcon or cosmic entity that can reanimate fallen heroes) dead.
No pressure, though.