Writer: Ed Brubaker
Penciler: Scot Eaton
Inker: Mark Morales
Colorist: Sunny Gho Of IFS
Lettering & Production: Joe Caramagna
Cover Art: Marko Djurdjevic
Editor: Tom Brevoort
Release Date: March 16th, 2011
Marvel's big event kicks off today with the "Fear Itself" prologue, Book of the Skull #1, from Ed Brubaker and Scot Eaton. The issue is a highly accessible, thoroughly engrossing story coupled with great art, mystery and intrigue. The book both satisfies as a stand alone one shot and also whets your appetite as to what comes next.
For a reader such as myself, who is not as familiar with Ed Brubaker's Captain America, I am happy to state that I was able to follow along. As it read, you need not have followed the past few years worth of Cap stories, but I found myself wishing I had.
The book ties the present day Marvel U. into the past through the Red Skull and his daughter, Sin, who has followed in her father's footsteps - quite literally. Sin, with none other than Baron Zemo, is on a mysterious mission to discover the secrets of the original Red Skull. A secret long dead and buried - but one that promises power and glory.
As Sin goes on her way to find the Book of the Skull, we are witnessed to flashback scenes of her father's use of the book. Similar to the "Necronomicon," not only in that the book summons forth - something - but also as what the cover consists of (actually, there is more to it), the Book of the Skull is filled with magical incantations - a magic not easily controlled. A race is underway with the likes of Captain America, Bucky and Namor trying to put a stop to whatever the Book of the Skull has called forth.
The conclusion leads us to "Fear Itelf" come April and also helps explain the recent teaser campaign and just how everything is tied together.
Ed Brubaker gave us a quality story, one I felt to be well written in that, form my understanding, it's a bit of a retcon - but you weren't left guessing at the end the "why's" and "how come's." It reads more like a missing chapter in the history of the Red Skull, then anything added just for the sake of it.
Likewise, Scot Eaton's art satisfies; the photorealistic art with heavy dark undertones is a perfect fit. Sunny Gho's colors are the perfect shade, as the bright colors required of Baren Zemo and the crimson pigment of the Red Skulls are nicely done against the dark and dreary backdrop.
Book of the Skull is a promising start to "Fear Itself" - be sure to pick this one up. You won't be disappointed.