Normally this would be the point of the regular introduction to Fear Itself Fridays with the warning that spoilers might, in fact, lie ahead with regards to Marvel's latest summer event. However, with this week's look at the Sin's Past one-shot that shouldn't be much of an issue given that most of the work under consideration has a cover date of over 20 years ago.
That's right: Sin's Past is a reprint that walks like a one-shot, and a strange one too, given all the previous stories featuring the Skull's daughter that Marvel might be able to draw from. Maybe the issues (or at least excerpts of each) chosen for the book--Captain America #s 355-357--because of their relative compactness and and ready-packaging for 60-odd page book (sans ads, at least). But again, its relation to Sin is direct and at the same time at right angles to the story being told by Matt Fraction in Fear Itself and even the framing device written by Jim McCann (Hawkeye and Mockingbird, Return of the Dapper Men).
That framing device--presumably taking place before Fear Itself--involves Cap responding to a bomb threat at the statue of liberty which appears to be the handiwork of Sin and then narrating the character's particularly damaged upbringing, thus segueing into the reprints which--well, it's neat to see some work from the late, great Mark Gruenwald reprinted, but it the story contained within feels inessential to what's going on with Fear Itself and does nothing to push forward any idea other than the easily summarized "Sin is nuts."
There's a very interesting idea about how Sin is an irredeemable character who revels in hate and violence and that's actually quite true of the current incarnation of her, but it sort of discounts the good work Ed Brubaker did early on in his Captain America run to show Crossbones thoroughly and completely destroying the good girl persona that had been built for Sin. I was actually always disappointed that this was a plot point that never got much play beyond that initial arc, but perhaps there's something to be said for proceeding full-bore with the new status quo and not looking back.
Anyway, looking back at Sin's Past, all of you emptors out there be aware that I'm laying out a particular caveat if you expect anything deep of particularly resonant about Fear Itself between these pages. It's unfortunate, really, because I think there was room for (and I'd have to imagine some interest in) a more insight into Sin, whose main qualities are essentially having daddy issues and being quintessentially chaotic neutral. I feel like the main trait for her father--beyond his incredible hate for all living things, save himself--was that he was a master planner, negotiating a couple of steps ahead for some grand scheme. Sin seems more interested in sowing hate and chaos, which is alright as a tactic but it doesn't leave you a lot of room to go for deeper plotting.
Beyond that, it's another slow week for Fear Itself, which is really only just getting started at this point, you see. I'm not too worried--within weeks we'll almost certainly be freaking out about the tons of tie-ins of interest (or possibly maybe otherwise) hitting the shelves and warranting our attention.
Tune in next week!