By: Chris Yost (writer), Mike McKone (artist), Jeromy Cox (colors), Joe Caramagna (letters), Ellie Pyle (assistant editor) & Stephen Wacker (senior editor)

The Story: As fear grips NYC, Spider-Man tries to maintain order.

What’s Good: In Fear Itself #2, we saw how “fear” is sweeping the globe and causing mass pandemonium.  Even though I can tell I’m not going to be spending a lot of time extolling the virtues of this issue, it is generally a good one just because it drives home the plot point of street-level panic in NYC: The people are afraid and threatening to beat the snot out of some poor Iranian cab driver and Spidey has to save the guy.  Then he has to save a guy ready to throw himself out of a 30th floor window who is afraid to live anymore, etc., etc.  Hey people: FEAR ITSELF!!!!!

It all plays on the age-old sense of responsibility that Spidey has where he wants to keep everyone safe and can’t.  It also plays with the notion that while he’s worrying about all of these strangers, he’s not tending to his own loved ones and spends much of the issue trying to get a hold of Aunt May on the cell phone.

Mike McKone’s art tells the story very effectively.  He’s really a very solid artist who usually isn’t trying to show off too much.  He has a really clean line and doesn’t embellish just for the sake of embellishment.

What’s Not So Good: Little annoyances….  Like why is Spider-Man doing this when Steve Rogers was yelling “Avengers Assemble!” in Fear Itself #2?  I know, I know… they’re superheroes and they can be in multiple places, but I’m old school.  I don’t like that while I’ve reading this issue, I’m trying to figure out whether this happens before or after Fear Itself #2.  I understand that this is just how comics work nowadays and that I’m part of the problem because I paid money for this issue, but I do wish for the simpler time when the story was just the story and not a jigsaw puzzle of smaller stories that you assemble at home.

The only other thing that bugged me was the political correctness of the mob of white folks being ready to pound the Iranian cab driver.  I really don’t like it when Marvel tries to link their stories to what is going on in the real world, because it pops the bubble of the story.  Instead of just saying, “Wow, they were going to beat the snot outta that poor guy.  They must really be full of FEAR ITSELF.” I find myself saying, “Really?  Are people in NYC really that full of lingering resentment towards Muslims in 2011?  Maybe I could fathom this scene in October 2001, but not now…”  Just stop trying to make comics that comment on the real world.

And who was that bad-guy at the end?  I’m not ashamed to say I had no clue who this rat-based villain was.

Conclusion: A pretty good issue that sells the concept of FEAR ITSELF.  The story has some macro issues (like FEAR ITSELF still seeming a little dorky as a concept and that hasn’t fully been explained in the main event book) and micro issues (continuity issues), but it is still a decent Spider-Man story that shows off his sense of responsibility for people he doesn’t even know.  But, based on this reading, I’m probably not getting the final two issues in the miniseries.

Grade: C

-Dean Stell

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