Over the past five days, Marvel has released several teaser images for its upcoming event, Fear Itself. From the official announcement two months ago, we know that eight “worthy” heroes will be chosen to take on the God of Fear, who will make his debut in the seven issue miniseries. And all of the teasers released this week have featured villains alongside heroes desperately trying to claim five different Mjolnir-like hammers.
In the first image, perennial C-list villain, the Grey Gargoyle, Iron Man and the latest Captain America are seen reaching for the hammer. Cap and Iron Man aren’t a shock, but Grey Gargoyle’s inclusion is somewhat surprising. He’s definitely not a hero and he’s never really been all that important.
Second, we have Giant Man and Ms. Marvel trying to hold back the Absorbing Man. Again, not a very big villain. So why is he here?
Next we see Juggernaut and Hercules struggling for the hammer while pushing Loki (is his current youthful state) away. Loki and Juggernaut are both higher on the villain food chain than either Grey Gargoyle or Absorbing Man. In fact, Juggernaut has been in this kind of story before…
For the fourth teaser, Dracula (in his incredibly bad redesign), the new Red Skull and Storm reach for a hammer that almost seems as if it is in a grave.
And finally, a piece without any villains at all that features the Hulk, Colossus and the Thing. Collectively, they might be the strongest heroes in the Marvel Universe.
So, what’s going on here?
Well, as I mentioned earlier, Juggernaut has been in a story like this before. In 1999, Juggernaut was revealed to be part of the Exemplars, eight human beings who were empowered by mystical entities to act as their avatars on Earth. And I can’t help but notice that this current storyline also features eight heroes to be chosen.
My current theory is that there will indeed be eight heroes chosen to fight fear… but there will also be eight villains picked to fight for the God of Fear, potentially elevating some occasionally pathetic supervillains into powerful foes going forward.
But it’s all conjecture at this point. We’ll find out what’s going on when Marvel releases Fear Itself on April 04, 2011.