The world has gone mad with Fear Itself. Spider-Man is just as scared as everyone else. But he has made a vow: as long as he's around, no one dies!
He will not rest as long as there are people to save... but Spider-Man himself needs saving... from Vermin!
New York City. Hour Twenty-Five of the Fear!
John Russell points a gun at the man he thought was breaking into his home. Karen Anderson, heavily pregnant, was on her way to hospital when her cabbie abandoned her. Norah Winters goes out to cover the story in New York. The Fear consumes Spider-Man! He imagines those he loves dead but realises that the pain he feels is real. He regains consciousness to find himself being savaged by dozens of rats! He fights clear but is attacked by Vermin! With both of them influenced by the fear, the fight is bloody and brutal until Robert Chistansen (the Roxxon CEO saved last issue) smacks Vermin with a golf club!
Hour Twenty-Eight of the Fear!
John Russell shoots! Karen wishes her pain would end. Norah is attacked by members of The Goblin Cult! A hammer waits… Spidey has collected a fresh costume, dropped Vermin off at The Baxter Building and continues to help New York. He checks in on Mayor J. Jonah Jameson. JJJ’s son, John, is safe from the affects of the fear so JJJ’s worse fear (that he is dead) has not come true. He tells Spidey to get out there and fight like his son would! Spidey sets about saving anyone and everyone he can!
Hour Thirty-Seven of the Fear!
John knows there is only one way back from what he has done. Karen blacks out. Norah heads to a church for sanctuary. The Future Foundation gathers around a hammer on Yancy Street.
Hour Thirty-Eight of the Fear!
Norah joins a gathering of all religions who have sought a place to pray. Suddenly, John storms in holding his gun! He confesses to killing the man in his house. Spider-Man crashes through the window and tells him to lower the gun, explaining that the man is not dead, only wounded. The father of the church asks John what he needs and John collapses, desperate for forgiveness. John gives him his gun. Spidey and Norah leave the church to find Karen collapsed on the steps!
Spidey swings off with Karen to hospital. Thing picks up the hammer and transforms into a member of The Worthy - Angir: Breaker of Souls!
Having delivered a stunning opening issue, Christopher Yost and Mike McKone continue their exploration of A New York gripped by fear with a cracking fight sequence, an emotional and motivating scene between Spidey and JJJ and a narrative that really gets to the heart of Spider-Man. Where Yost fails to capture the tension correctly is the church scene. In fact, this spoils the comic somewhat. All the pieces fall nicely into place (Norah, Spidey and the minor characters) but the execution and threat falls short as you never feel the fear that Yost so wonderfully displays in the rest of the comic.
The Vermin appearance is brutal, suitably short and impacting and Yost’s use of the “Hours” pages is superb. It is here he expertly ties plot threads together, teases the next stage of the story and even ties Spidey’s narrative to what is coming next. It is this level of intricate storytelling that raises the quality of this mini-series.
Forever adding to the quality of anything he touches is Mike McKone. Although partly to blame for the awkward final scene, everything else he draws is completely clear and totally brilliant. The fight sequence is furious and bloody, the Spidey/JJJ conversation emotional and McKone’s Spider-Man is as flexible and contorted as ever. Love it.
Even though there are some slight execution problems, the level of storytelling keeps this a delight to read.