Over the last few years in particular but really going back all the way to Secret Wars, Marvel has made a habit of telling huge, earth-shattering crossovers. Some are great, and some are… not so great (looking at you Secret Wars II!). However, when they’re good, they’re GOOD. Here is a list of my 10 favorite Marvel events.
10. Fear Itself
The story centers on the return of The Serpent, the Asgardian God of Fear and Odin’s older brother (and by Asgardian law the true All-Father). This dude feeds off of fear, so the more afraid people are in general the stronger he gets. Not such a great combination when you see how he goes about spreading fear.
He is resurrected by the Red Skull (not Schmidt, but his daughter, Sin, the ‘new’ Red Skull), who finds an ancient Asgardian hammer that was created by the Serpent ages ago. When she grabs the hammer she is transformed into an avatar of the Serprent, and gets crazy, Thor level strong. Her awakening frees the Serpent, and a bunch more hammers drop to Earth, and are eventually grabbed by Atuma, the Absorbing Man, Titania, the Grey Gargoyle, the Thing, the Juggernaut, and the fucking Hulk! Each one of them loses their personalities in the hammers and basically do whatever they can to spread fear around the world, mostly by destroying every damn thing in sight.
The Avengers respond, and spread themselves perilously thin to combat the menaces. The Red Hulk is trounced by the Thing; Hawkeye, Spider-Woman, the Protector, and Ms. Marvel BARELY survive the Hulk, and just manage to save some people from him before he jumps away; the Grey Gargoyle turns every person in Paris into a statue and beats the holy living shit out of Iron Man; Titania and the Absorbing Man throw down with War Machine, Iron First, and the Immortal Weapons; Dr. Strange and Namor confront Atuma; and the X-Men are only able to ‘defeat’ the Juggernaut when Colossus agrees to become the new Juggernaut when he meets the demon Cytorrak (who grants the Juggernaut his powers pre-hammer)! Finally the Red Skull leads and army of her Hydra bastards to Washington, DC where they lay siege to the city, and she claims her greatest victory when she stabs Captain America (at the time Bucky Barnes) through the chest!
The destruction they cause spreads panic and fear everywhere, especially when Avengers Tower falls. This makes the Serpent strong and young again, and he basically takes over the Earth.