12 Jul, 2011

Fear Itself #4 Q & A with Matt Fraction

Posted by Raphael in Blog|Featured

Hello Midtowners!! Bloggerinos!! Compatriots! Raph’s back and Fear Itself was released last week, which means Matt Fraction’s inbox was bombarded by yours truly! Matt and I had a pretty good discussion going, but why tell you when I can SHOW YOU!

1)  You said earlier when we talked that each book was going to have a big moment. The big moment in this issue was the reunification of the Avengers trilogy, and the three of them working together but separately on a plan to take down the Serpent. When it came to plotting Fear Itself, did you form some of the issues around these tentpoles, or did they appear like a flash of lightning (pun unfortunately intended)?

MATT FRACTION: I think there’s a few big moments in this one– Steve in the Cap uniform again, the big three together again in uniform as you say… and then Tony’s fall at the end. Most of the tentpole moments suggested a general structure and had a logic for where they’d need to fall. Once you start thinking about the mythic stuff and the refrains the story has to have as it builds towards prophecy’s end, they all sort of fall into line. The biggest moment– the biggest surprise, the biggest shock, the one that seemed to even take Tom Brevoort back, was very much a flash of lightning coming to me in a fit of nervous exhaustion, up some 40 hours without sleep in an airport, looking at another long 24 before I’d finally be able to crash. I sent it to him in an email and then immediately apologized and got on a plane… and when I got off, there was mail from him saying, wait, not so fast…

“I have need of your bathroom!” “Git out of here Thor!” “Fine!”

2) I’ve been a big fan of myths, and it’s partially due to Marvel’s use of Thor that this happened. I went back and did some research, especially since you mentioned the Ragnarok reference to Thor’s death. The traditional myth nerd in me wants to call you out on using Loki’s son Jormungand as Odin’s brother, but I also realize that this is a Marvel story, and Marvel isn’t bound to the rules of the myths. So how did you come to the conclusion to adapt Jormungand as the God of Fear and Odin’s brother? Will you introduce a link to Loki?

Well, it’s Marvel-Thor, so it’s Marvel-Ragnarock– which we’ve already done TWICE at least– and Marvel-Asgard so… so, y’know, there’s not necessarily strict fidelity to the prose eddas or anything. That’s the one thing I’ve always wanted to ask Stan Lee, actually– like… where did that impulse, that courage come from, to rewrite centuries-old Norse myth?  Anyhoo… it’s not Jormungand. This is something new; something hidden, the truth of which will be on you, the reader, to decide.  The idea is that it’s so affected Odin, so stained him, that all the other stories have its influence. The truth of the Serpent is behind all of the Norse myths that followed.

“It’s my time to shine… in theaters July 22nd! Thanks Marvel! Won’t let ya down!

3) Steve Rogers is back in action, and all that pops in my head is the Team America theme. There’s been some backlash against Bucky being killed, and we don’t really see Steve deal with Bucky’s death. Since we mentioned that Ed was going to kill Bucky off originally, it’s obvious this was part of a plan, so is Steve going to mourn for Bucky eventually? Will Cap even survive to mourn his fallen friend? Sin’s no joke after all…

Good! Backlash means it mattered, backlash means people care. And no– there’s no time for Steve to mourn. If they survive the end of the world, maybe he’ll find the time to bury and weep. For now, though, there’s a world that needs saving.

4) Another quiet, but powerful, moment was Tony pleading for Odin’s attention. Tony goes as far as to break his sobriety, which is an act that should reverberate for Iron Man fans. The guy’s been sober for over two DECADES. There was the bag that Tony had in last month’s Invincible Iron Man, and in the preview for the next Invincible Iron Man, it seems like he’s building a weapons factory… so Tony is sacrificing another vow: to never make killing machines. Is this to give a further sense of the magnitude of the threat of the Serpent (Tony giving up two of his important vows), and is this also a commentary on humanity itself. We tend to focus on technology to kill our enemies more efficiently than worry about stuff like the environment. There’s a lot of effort to make people aware of the environment, but we also romanticize war and violence. Is there a sort of parallel there?

Yes, but, the more I say about it the more I’ll tip my hand. Tony’s story– Iron Man’s story– plays out in INVINCIBLE IRON MAN and throughout FEAR ITSELF and beyond. I wasn’t teasing or overhyping when I said Tony had a big year ahead of him and that starts with how much of his soul he’s just sold to try and save the world.


5) And now, my favorite, comic fanboy squeal moment. The Serpent transports Thor away, only for the God of Thunder to face off against Angir: Break of Souls (The former Thing) and Nul: Breaker of Worlds (The former Hulk). Historically, Thor and Hulk have always been of equal power class, with Thing being just a shade below them. With the power of their hammers, they’ve had significant boosts to their powers… you mentioned this fight before, but I’ll ask again, what’s going to happen to Thor? You can’t kill our favorite Norse God of Thunder can you???

Why not? I just killed Captain America. I’M DRUNK WITH POWER, RAPH.

And the next issue is called “Brawl.”

Hang on tight!

That is a man DRUNK WITH POWER. Matthew Tiberius Fraction.

Oh we will Matt, we will…

See you guys next time and–



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