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

The Story: Spider-Man tries to help in a NYC gripped by fear.

What’s Good: After reviewing the first issue of this event tie-in, I think I said that I was out.  Silly rabbit!  I’m way to compulsive for that!

For what it’s worth, I’m glad I stuck around.  If you’re “all in” on Fear Itself, this is going to be a worthwhile read because it captures the street-level terror raging through NYC as the civilians go nuts and chaos ensues.  In doing this, it is giving us extra flavoring that we aren’t getting in Fear Itself-proper which has focused much more on folks getting hammers, smashing stuff and ripping off of bionic arms.

There are lots of good little moments in this issue as we see Spidey trying to help people in spite of the fear that is creeping into him, but the best moment is when he confronts Jonah Jameson in the Mayor’s office.  Their whole interaction and relationship could be summed up when Spidey asks, “Jonah… Aren’t you scared?” and Jonah proceeds to tell Spidey about his inner source of strength (his brave son) and inspires Spidey to get back out there and help.  I do love these little moments when Spidey and Jonah can find common ground in their love of NYC.

McKone’s art is mostly solid.  He does a great job with the story telling and while his Spidey gets a little wonky in places (skinny and with a big head), I’d say the art is an overall positive.

What’s Not So Good: Well, this is the epitome of the “non-essential event tie-in”.  There is nothing in this issue (or last issue) that is vital to your understanding of Fear Itself.  On top of that, I think the story only has significance at this moment in time while we’re between issues #3 and #4 of Fear Itself.  By that I mean, I don’t see a ton of reread value in this issue even if Fear Itself turns out to be the best event ever.  If that happens, we’ll be focused on what happened in Fear Itself, not Spidey trying to save a pregnant woman from a riled up mob.

I also am enjoying the overall Fear Itself story a lot more when it is about big dudes with hammers who are smashing stuff.  The story kinda loses me when it plays up the concept that the public is riddled with FEAR and is ready to explode.  It just seems like a really tedious generalization of public behavior.  And if they play up home foreclosure again, I might gag.

Conclusion: If you’re all-in on Fear Itself, this is a worthwhile seasoning for the main event.  It’s kinda like adding a dash of pepper.  It isn’t a strong seasoning though (like hot sauce).  If you’re just reading the main series, you’ll be fine skipping this with feeling any regret.

Grade: C

-Dean Stell

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