Slug-like aliens and sad Avengers abound, as Marvel Action: Avengers #9 brings the story of the Fear Eaters to a conclusion, as the alien invaders sweep through New York City.
An invasion of alien parasites that feed off the fear of the populace should be a big threat, and should feel like an epic fight for the Avengers. It’s been building for the better part of a year (especially with some of the long gaps between issues), and this should be the big pay off. Unfortunately, it doesn’t really feel like there are any stakes in this issue.
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The Fear Eaters, which always seemed quite large and looming in their previous appearances, are suddenly very small. They’re slugs the size of a cat with a weird goat/dog face and antennas. They float around ‘menacingly’ and make the Avengers see their worst fears. There’s very little about them that seems frightening or deadly at all; I’m a little surprised that average New Yorkers aren’t beating them back with sticks or something.
This sudden disappointing drop in threat level from the villains makes the majority of the issue more boring than anything else. Other than a few of the Avengers having to stand around looking at things that they’re scared of nothing really happens. Even the defeat of the aliens feels uneventful.
It turns out that the armour Black Panther has been working on is an adaptation of Iron Man’s stealth armour, one that’s been reinforced with vibranium, and now transmits a person’s thoughts rather than shields them. This means that T’Challa is able to don the armour and use it to attract the Fear Eaters to him. Once the aliens have been summoned to him T’Challa ends the invasion by confronting his own fear of his father’s disappointment, which for some reason causes the Fear Eaters to run away.
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I know that the Marvel Action line is aimed at younger readers, and that they might not want to overly complicate their stories so as not to confuse kids, but there’s pretty much no reasoning for the events in this issue. How were the Fear Eaters going to destroy Earth when they just float around making people sad and sacred? Why were they drawn to Black Panther by reversing its ‘brainwave systems’? And why is one person getting over their fear enough to end an entire planet-threatening invasion?
I don’t want to make it sound like one huge rant about the issue, but this simply feels like one of the weakest conclusions to a story I’ve read. The good guys win because they’re the good guys, and that’s about it. Sadly, I find it hard to believe that even their target child audience would feel satisfied with this conclusion. Hopefully the next story arc will prove to be be better.
Marvel Action: Avengers #9 is out now from IDW Publishing.