"Fear Itself" was seen as a major letdown for fans. It had a good concept of the Red Skull's daughter unleashing an ancient god with hammers turning people (heroes and villains alike) into demi-gods. As Matt Fraction wrote that main mini-series and also writes "Iron Man," you'd expect this title to be well connected. Sadly, this connects the same way "Fear Itself" did: A good start but weak middle and an ending that leaves you underwhelmed.
It kicks off with Iron Man investigating reports of a hammer falling in Paris and discovers that long-time C-lister the Grey Gargoyle has been transformed by it. Now a monster, the Gargoyle's powers are enhanced to where he turns every living creature in Paris into stone. This leads to a chilling sequence of Iron Man and the Gargoyle doing battle, smashing through statues as Tony reminds himself these are the bodies of people. It's a fantastic bit that brings the nightmare of the storyline home.
Sadly, it lets down after that. First, we have an idea I hated in the main "Fear" series and even more so here where Tony willingly drinks in order to gain an audience with Odin so he can use Asgard's foundaries to build a special suit of armor. The idea of this man of science embracing magic is good but the writing just seems off, Tony too much either running himself down or acting an arrogant jerk to Odin on "why are we fighting your war" and just not clicking as the strong character we've known. Plus the bit of the cursing dwarves gets old fast. Better is the plotline of Pepper Potts trying to fight the Gargoyle and facing the pressure of this nightmare.
The art is great as Salvador Larroca is fantastic, especially in the Paris sequences and enjoys Tony in Asgard. But the story doesn't click as well as you'd hope, especially after that good start. Worse is the final issue, a "Fear Itself 7.3" where a horrible deus ex machina undoes much of the impact of what we've seen. That major misstep makes this story even more forgettable, a sad stumble for what's been one of the better Iron Man runs and not really worth picking up unless you're a serious "Fear" completist.