Almost exactly a year after "Fear Itself" #1 hit the stands, "Fear Itself: The Fearless" #12 wraps up and tries to put a bow on the story. When the issue opens, Valkyrie is dead and the Earth is about to fall under the might of the Final Sleeper, a construct forged of the Serpent's hammers and directed by Sin.
Matt Fraction, Chris Yost and Cullen Bunn have stretched out the threat from the Serpent beyond "Fear Itself" into an additional twelve issues of "The Fearless," but this issue certainly doesn't seem decompressed. Bunn balances the story around Valkyrie between Crossbones' quest to save his lover, Sin, and Doctor Strange's mission to save the world. Naturally, all three plots weave together, but the end scene for that combination can hardly be called a conclusion. It is more like an intermission as the continuing adventures of Valkyrie, Sin and Crossbones remains to be told.
Valkyrie, through Bunn, is a strong character with issues of her own and a conflicted heart. She is a warrior through and through, but we are treated to her dilemma of returning from Valhalla and what she needs to do once she has returned. Paralleling Valkyrie's tale is that of Sin, who also finds herself slightly beyond a new crossroads. The issue ends with a whole lot of story left to be told, but if Cullen Bunn holds onto any of those threads, he has proven with "Fear Itself: The Fearless" #12 that we are in for quite an adventure.
The art on the issue is surprisingly consistent, given the crew of creators pumping out the imagery. Mark Bagley gets some quieter moments, such as the scene of Valkyrie in Valhalla, and Matthew Wilson jumps right in to fill it with heavenly colors. During the opening of that idyllic scene, I would not have been surprised to hear harps coming from somewhere nearby. Meanwhile, Paul Pelletier gets a majority of the action sequences that simply blossom under his storytelling and style. Knowing Pelletier is going to be working with Bunn on "Wolverine" has me looking forward to that series.
This final chapter touches on a great swath of the Marvel Universe from Captain America to Valkyrie, Sin to Hellstrom, from Asgardia to the DOA to the Dire Wraiths, but most importantly, we learn who the Fearless are, or at least what they are supposed to be. "Fear Itself: the Fearless" is over, but for the Marvel Universe this story is just beginning. Anyone hoping for a clean-cut ending might be sorely disappointed, but anyone looking for a fun, adventure-packed comic book is certain to enjoy.