I was happy when I heard that Chris Yost would be writing Spider-Man's Fear Itself tie-in. I was already a fan of his work in Marvel animation when he wrote one of my favourite done-in-one Spider-Man stories of last year; "The Root of All Annoyance" which can be found in the Many Loves of the Amazing Spider-Man one shot. So I was hopeful that Yost would be able to take what can easily become a mundane and inconsequential event tie-in book and turn it into something special. Did he succeed?
The story opens by giving us a glimpse into the lives of three people; the corrupt C.F.O. of Roxxon Oil (Robert Christansen) who is afraid that his company's crooked books will be exposed resulting in hundreds of thousands of people losing their jobs and coming for his head, a pregnant woman (Karen Anderson) whose husband is leaving her because he believes the child isn't his, and a hapless homeowner (John Russel) who can't make his mortgage payments due to losing his job because of the recession.
Spider-Man rescues a cab driver who is about to be torn apart by a mob simply because his family is from Iran. The entire city of New York is lashing out in fear and paranoia due to the events of Fear Itself; the cab driver being the third person Spidey's had to rescue from an angry mob. Spidey tries to call Aunt May to make sure she's okay, but she doesn't answer. He resolves to keep New York from tearing itself apart until the heavy hitters can stop whatever is causing the fear.
Meanwhile, Robert contemplates committing suicide, Karen starts going into labour and Jack loads his handgun in case someone tries to take away his house.
Spider-Man does everything he can to help the city, but he can feel the fear getting to him. All his friends are relatively safe but he still can't find his Aunt. Spidey eventually comes across Robert, who is about to jump from the top floor of his office building. Despite Spidey's efforts to talk him down, Robert jumps. Spider-Man dives after him only to find that he's out of webbing. He suffers a rough landing but manages to save Robert. He is then attacked by Vermin.
Yost has crafted a story that manages to look at the events of Fear Itself through the eyes of ordinary people in a way that the main series hasn't really had time for, which is fitting considering Spidey is the everyman superhero. Although he spends no time as Peter Parker, Spidey is still very much relatable here, doing his best to help everyone through a crisis he has no control over while having to overcome his own fears and doubts. It's similar to what we all go through living in this world that we have no control over.
This story does suffer from an unfortunate scheduling coincidence, coming out at a similar time as the Psycho-Man story currently going on in Amazing. Both feature very similar themes of overcoming fear and doubt.
Mike McKone's artwork looks great, hopefully we'll see him do an arc of Amazing some time in the future.
Spider-Man's Fear Itself tie-in is a nice side story to the main series. Even if you're not reading Fear Itself, you can still pick this up and not have trouble following it. I can't see this having much of an impact on the main series, or even Spider-Man's world in general, but this is still a well written and drawn story that Spider-Man fans should check out.