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Appearing in "Fear!"

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Synopsis for "Fear!"

It is 11:00 p.m. as Spider-Man is web-swinging above Manhattan's theater district. Suddenly there is an explosion, and he descends to find an armored car blown open and a man with a bow and arrow running away. The man turns out to be Hawkeye, who recently quit the Avengers. When Spider-Man approaches, Hawkeye warns him to keep his distance. He stammers that he has weapons and won't let Spider-Man "hurt him." When Hawkeye nocks an arrow, Spider-Man realizes that something is dreadfully wrong. He tries to calm him down, but Hawkeye says it is a trick and lets fly his arrow. But because he is trembling too much, the arrow misses, so he flees once more. When Spider-Man catches him, Hawkeye prepares to load another arrow, so Spider-Man punches him in the jaw and he falls senseless to the ground. Spider-Man knows that he did not hit him hard enough to knock him out. Rather, it seems as if Hawkeye fainted in terror. By this time the police arrive, so Spider-Man quickly carries Hawkeye to the roof of a building. The archer slowly revives and apologizes for making a fool of himself. He explains that after the government forced him out of the Avengers, he found work as security chief for Cross Technological Enterprises.

CTE was shipping some valuable cargo in the armored car and he was helping guard it when the explosion occurred. The driver was knocked out, but as the smoke cleared, Hawkeye confronted the thieves. All wore costumes and masks. But before he could do anything, he became paralyzed with fear. With the gang leader's laughter ringing in his ears, and fighting nausea, Hawkeye ran as fast as his legs could carry him. When he concludes his narrative, Hawkeye realizes that he must have inhaled a drug in the smoke, and Spider-Man comments that his description reminds him of Daredevil's old foe, Mr. Fear. Hawkeye notices that his bow is missing, and Spider-Man apologizes for leaving it behind when the police came. There are plenty of bows at Hawkeye's Central Park West apartment, and as he and Spider-Man walk through the door, the telephone rings. It is Hawkeye's boss, Connors, calling to chew him out for letting CTE's cargo be stolen. Hawkeye promises to get it back, and Connors tells him that he is fired if he doesn't. After Hawkeye hangs up, he shakes a small tracer device out of his quiver. Just in case something like this happened, he explains, he "bugged" the cargo in the truck. His experience with the Avengers taught him to trust his hunches, and he had a hunch that someone might try to steal it. Now, with a new bow and a fresh supply of arrows, he can't wait to take on Mr. Fear again. Then he switches on the tracer, and he and Spider-Man leap from his apartment window, heading east. Hawkeye uses his wire-line arrows to swing along much like Spider-Man does with his webbing.

Meanwhile, Alan Fagan, now also known as Mr. Fear, relaxes unmasked in his penthouse apartment overlooking the East River. Although he squandered his father's wealth and was thrown out of all his colleges, he muses, he has something better. People won't laugh at him anymore, because he can make them all deadly afraid of him, he gloats, and he owes it all to his uncle, Larry Cranston, who died and left him his costume and devices. Fagan says that he has the imagination to use the Mr. Fear identity in new and original ways. The radioactive isotope he stole tonight will allow him to construct a nuclear bomb and begin a reign of terror to bring all New York to its knees. As he examines the stolen container, he discovers Hawkeye's transmitter and crushes it contemptuously. If Hawkeye should show up here, vows Fagan, he and his Men will take care of him. At that moment, outside Fagan's apartment building, Hawkeye tells Spider-Man that the transmitter has been destroyed. Unfortunately, he could not pinpoint where the isotope is. He suggests that Spider-Man start at the top of the building and work down, while he will work his way up. As Spider-Man climbs the building, he muses that Hawkeye is not as calm as he pretends to be. If Mr. Fear scares him again, he could break. Hawkeye, meanwhile, wishes Spider-Man were off the case, because he wants to prove he can stand on his own two feet. He learns from the doorman that the resident of the penthouse suite returned from a "costume party" some time ago, and his costume fits Mr. Fear's description.

With any luck, thinks Hawkeye, he will get to him before Spider-Man does. But Spider-Men, starting at the top of the building, reaches the penthouse first. As Spider-Man enters through an open window, Fagan quickly puts on his mask and orders his three henchmen to stop him, but Spider-Man disarms them, and webs them up. Mr. Fear taunts him, so he lets him take a free swing, and Fear nearly breaks his hand. But then Fear commands Spider-Man to cringe, in seconds, Spider-Man becomes a gibbering wreck, cowering in the corner. As Fear's henchmen recover, he explains that he injected Spider-Man with fear potion using the ring on his finger when he punched him. Usually all he needs is gas, he continues, but a man of Spider-Man's power required a full-strength dose. Now they shall conduct an experiment, he says. How many injections can Spider-Man take before he dies? Suddenly a flare explodes outside the window and Hawkeye swings into the apartment. Before Fear can act, Hawkeye shatters the ring with an arrow and takes out one of the henchmen. The other two jump him, but he easily knocks them out. When the first henchman tries to flee, Hawkeye wraps a Wire-line arrow around his legs and sends him sprawling to the floor. Fear himself, however, manages to slip away. Then, as Hawkeye helps Spider-Man to his feet, gas begins to enter the room through an air vent. Hawkeye plugs it with a putty arrow, but gas continues to pour into the room through other vents.

Then steel shutters cover the doors and windows, making the room airtight. A noxious fog permeates the room, clinging to Spider-Men and Hawkeye. When the room is unsealed, and after the gas dissipates, Mr. Fear enters to find Spider-Man and Hawkeye writhing in terror. Fear's henchmen are in the room as well, but Fear does not care. Such men are easily replaced. But as Fear confidently approaches the two crimefighters, Hawkeye suddenly shoots an arrow at him. He held his breath, says Hawkeye. Surely Fear did not think Hawkeye would be so stupid as to fall for the same trick twice in one night? But Fear replies that his gas is absorbed through the pores of the skin as well as through the lungs, a slower process but ultimately just as effective. Suddenly waves of terror pass over Hawkeye. He tries to fight the emotion, but this leaves him vulnerable to Fear's fists. Spider-Man is also affected and is unable to help. Slowly, Fear forces Hawkeye back to the balcony and then knocks him over the edge. Seeing Hawkeye plunging to his death galvanizes Spider-Man. With a powerful effort of will, he throws off his paralyzing terror and attacks the criminal. Hawkeye, meanwhile, is infuriated at having been "suckered." He lost his bow in the battle, but as he falls he removes a flare arrow from his quiver. The rocket in it should be strong enough to lift his weight, he thinks. Holding on to the arrow, he sets it off, and it arrests his fall and slowly pulls him back to Fear's apartment. Callouses from years of bow-shooting keep his hands from being too badly burned. Hawkeye slams into Fear with both feet, quickly ending the battle against Spider-Man. The police soon arrive to remove Fear and his henchmen. Unfortunately, they also need the isotope container as evidence. Hawkeye says he will gladly let Connors bail it out. After the police leave, Spider-Man re-enters the apartment from outside. Hawkeye asks him why he did not want his due share of the credit, and Spider-Man replies that he recently got out of trouble with the police and would like to keep it that way. When he thought Fear had killed Hawkeye, he continues, he was able to shake off the feeling of terror, and Hawkeye says that the same thing happened as he was falling. He simply did not have the time to be afraid. They agree that Fear's big mistake was not realizing that there are better and stronger emotions than fear.


Continuity Notes

  • Alan mentions how the original Mister Fear, his uncle, had died. This happened in Daredevil #91.

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