Fear Itself Spotlight #1
This spotlight issue was published a few weeks after the Fear Itself story arc had already begun, but still served as an excellent preview for the upcoming event. Filling 32pg with preview art, interviews and other features that set an historical context for the readers, it contained all except an actual checklist of the massive company-wide crossover. In a section called, “The Main Event”, Spotlight Bullpen writer Jess Harrold recaps many other company-wide crossovers from Marvel history, which ought to remind readers of the content in Blockbusters of the Marvel Universe #1, but shrunk down to 6 pages and mashed up with full-on advertisements for recently published HC collections and other TPB’s.
One of the HC collections shamelessly hawked is the Marvel Premiere Classic #45 “Avengers: The Contest” book which collected the Contest of Champions series from 1982. The dustjacket shown features art taken from the cover of the first issue of that series, colored using modern techniques. Sasquatch, who played a significant role in this series, can be seen near the center.
The accompanying text correctly notes that the series was once supposed to be based on the 1980 Olympics, but the comments goes awry shortly after that. It states:
With cosmic string-pullers Death and Grandmaster handing out the medals, the all-powerful American team engages in spirited competition with some plucky new foreign super-types – including China’s Collective Man; France’s Peregrine; and Ireland’s lucky lassie, Shamrock.
Wait, the Grandmaster and Death didn’t hand out any medals! Also, there wasn’t an American team battling it out with an International team; the two teams of twelve heroes each were evenly distributed. For those of you who keep track of these sorts of things, there were eight heroes from the United States selected for the two teams (Angel, Captain America, Daredevil, Invisible Woman, Iron Fist, Iron Man, She-Hulk, and The Thing) and they were divided equally between the two teams.
It’s rather bizarre to describe the Contest of Champions this way, as all vestiges of the Olympics were removed by the time the issue went to print. It’s hard to believe that Jess Harrold or the editor(s) of this section had even read the Contest of Champions series in the first place, because anyone who had actually read it would never have made these errors. Still, it’s always good to see Sasquatch representing Alpha Flight from that moment early in the team’s history and I’m glad that a little three-issue series from almost thirty years ago is considered on par as an “event” with the insatiable mega beast horde of 120+ issues that is Fear Itself.