If Siege was the story of Loki’s redemption, Fear Itself is the story of Odin’s failure. So how did the All Father ruin every everything?
The roots of Fear Itself go back many, many years ago, as seen in the prologue Fear Itself: Book of the Skull by Ed Brubacher and Scot Eaton. Odin has an evil brother Cul, who is the god of fear, and is imprisoned on Earth. This prologue is set during World War II, with the Red Skull trying to find the enchanted hammer of Skadi, one of Cul, which according to old folklore granted its wielder immense power. Obviously, the Nazis would have wanted that. Captain America, Bucky and Namor prevent that from happening. Fast forward to the current time, and the Red Skull’s daughter Sin now wields the hammer.
This brings us up to the actual Fear Itself miniseries by Matt Fraction and Stuart Immonen. Sin–wielding a hammer that makes her as powerful as Thor–has freed Cul. To make matters worse, Cul has armed seven random super heroes and villains with enchanted hammers as well, turning them into a group of super powered heralds at his command. With them added to Sin’s Nazi army, Cul leads a rampage on Earth before setting his sights on Odin and Asgard.
The Avengers are in super trouble against Cul’s forces; Sin winds up killing Captain America/Bucky. Things get worse when Odin reveals his plan to destroy Earth as a way to stop Cul. It only gets more complicated as Odin further explains that there is an ancient prophecy that the only way to stop Cul will leave Thor dead. Odin would sacrifice mankind if it meant Thor would survive.
Fraction’s story depicts Odin as a cowardly old man. He may be the ruler of Asgard and one of the most powerful inhabitants of the Marvel Universe, but he’s petrified. His son Thor isn’t, and is willing to give up his own life if it means that Earth is safe. Even Iron Man sacrifices his integrity–in his case,his sobriety–in an attempt to offer something as a sacrifice to Odin for help.
Because Thor is a hero, I’m sure you have an idea how this winds up ending. What I liked about this story was how much of a hero he is, being even braver than Odin. the only thing that I didn’t like was them killing off Thor, since they did a whole world without Thor story a few years back after Avengers Disassembled storyline, and Bucky, because I was really enjoying him hanging around. But thanks to the flexible condition of death in comics, they came back not too long after this.