When it comes to movies that do conspiracies right, not too many measure up to the Manchurian Candidate. It’s a movie and a book about the son of a prominent American family running for office but has been secretly brainwashed into being an assassin in a wide-reaching communist conspiracy. The story was so good that it was remade a few years ago starring the venerable Denzel Washington. Many movies have tried to emulate the level of tension within the story, but none has succeeded including the remake.
That was until I saw The Guest starring Dan Stevens in the titular role, where he portrays himself as a soldier, a friend of the son of one family whose son died in action. As with most stories that seem ordinary, this one takes a turn for the worst, as he is government trained killer, who the government ends up looking for. These type of stories usually become good the slower the mystery unravels. This is the case in the Fear Itself book, Battle Scars, one which finds our protagonist, not your typical solider as he has everyone looking for him, including every superhero in the Marvel Universe.
We meet Marcus Johnson, an Army Ranger, whose mere presence is a threat to some and not knowing exactly why, as he has become public enemy number one. As his mother is killed in what looks like a robbery, he comes from Afghanistan, to attend her funeral, and to only discover someone looking to take him out, Taskmaster. This is when Captain America comes to rescue him, where he gets into SHIELD custody, which he soon finds out is a prison. Johnson eventually breaks out, finds an old Army buddy, and hunts down Taskmaster to get some answers, which unfortunately runs him right into the path of Deadpool. As we soon find out the reason he was being hunted, and that his DNA is the secret to our villain’s long life.
Overall, an interesting origin story to a beloved character wrapped in a mystery leading to pulse pounding thriller. The story by the creative team is action packed and intense. The art by Eaton is beautiful. Altogether, an excellent story which is definitely more than meets the eye.
Story: Cullen Bunn, Matt Fraction and Christopher Yost
Art: Scot Eaton
Story: 9.0 Art: 9.0 Overall: 9.0 Recommendation: Buy