Moments ago, Marvel did a live-streamed press conference announcing a new seven issue series, Fear Itself, starting in April of 2011 with a preview in March 2011, starring Captain America and a few others back in World War II. Brought to life by Matt Fraction, Stuart Immonen, Wade Von Grawbadger, and Laura Martin, this seven-issue series will run $3.99 per issue, except for the larger-than-normal first and last issues.
Matt Fraction presented the project as “the biggest story we’ve ever told;” a story that will relate to the real world with tones of fear, anxiousness, despair, and anger. The core of the story will deal with eight “worthy” heroes leading the battle against the God of Fear, and will involve “everybody” in the Marvel Universe: “Avengers, Hulk, X-Men, Dracula… EVERYBODY.” The event was described as an “extinction level event. Like ‘Civil War,’ expect to see interesting alliances.” It is also described as being larger than Civil War was.
A Q&A followed the announcement, as they usually do:
Q: How much political and societal stuff is going into the story?
A: You will absolutely see the real world interject itself. It’s undeniable that there’s a certain something in the air right now. Tapping into that is what we do at Marvel and it brings out the best in our creators. But it’s all through the eyes of our heroes. Civil War had meaty issues, but it was also a super hero story. Same thought process here.
Q: What characters will be involved? Captain Britain? Phobos?
A: Phobos might be a good bet for Secret Warriors. Captain Britain and Nightmare–a little early, but we’re getting closer, so information will be coming out. There will be some fan favorite characters hearing the call to action.
Q: How does this tie into the first arc Avengers with the map of time?
A: Go back to that map and you will already see some portents; you’ll see more once Fear Itself starts.
Q: Is this already the end of the Heroic Age?
A: Our characters have always battled the darkness around us. The threats they’ve faced have never been a game of Tiddly Winks. This is a major challenge our characters will face. It’s not a movement back to darkness and death, though there will certainly be some of that.
Q: How much politics will we see in this story?
A: If we do our job right, we will see a lot of ourselves and our humanity in this story, and Matt Fraction is the right guy here who is very in tune with politics, social issues and morality, and every creator also has their own views, which makes it fun.
Q: Will what’s going on with FF tie in to Fear Itself?
A: Whatever’s left of the Fantastic Four will be involved.
Q: How long have you been seeding Fear Itself?
A: Around 18 months to two years. It will become more clear.
Q: Will this affect any of Fraction or Immonen’s other books?
A: Matt will continue on Thor and Iron Man, Kieron Gillen is helping him out on Uncanny X-Men. Stuart is coming off New Avengers to do Fear Itself.
Q: Will Steve Rogers be back as Cap ala the teaser image?
A: Right now Bucky is involved in a trial. This image could mean anything. Don’t count Bucky out too quick.
Are you looking forward to this new event? What do you think the long-term impact (if any) it will have on the Marvel Universe? Do you feel that hyping up a series like this is somewhat disingenuous, given the standard practice of returning a universe to the status quo?