Conservative Comic Book Pundit

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Review: Spider-Man: The Other (Hardcover collection)

Okay - I'll state the obvious first: Didn't we just read this story over in Jenkin's Spectacular Spider-Man? Well, not really, but the similarities are rather striking. I guess the mystical spider force needed to give Spidey a dry run.

But this story arc is the one that got reprinted in Oversized HC format, so it gets the publicity and the review.

There were three writers on this 12 part story arc: Peter David, Reggie Hudlin and JMS. Each one has strengths and weaknesses, but overall they create an interesting synergy that I think works more often than not.

The weakest writer was Hudlin - his sequence with Aunt May and Mary Jane using outdated Iron Man armor to take out Doombots. Sorry - they would be dead within seconds. However, Hudlin has two huge advantages over the other two writers: He scripts an awesome battle scene (the fight between Morlun and Spidey was very well done), and he has a much better feel for the integration of the Marvel universe. Of course Spider-Man would visit the Black panther and Dr. Strange and the Fantastic Four if he was terminally ill.

Peter David has the snappiest dialogue, and his "Tracer" character (the self-proclaimed god of machines) shows a lot of potential. His stories also move at a nice clip, whereas with some of the other authors seemed to be spinning their wheels for several pages in order to make sure the chapters of each arc fit a particular pattern.

JMS, of course, dovetails into the mystical aspects as he always does. While I love Babylon 5, the man is starting to sound like a broken record. What is interesting is that JMS is a proclaimed atheist yet holds many "mystical" beliefs.

He seems to be the perfect example of the "voodoo atheist" that they've been discussing over at The Corner. Someone who rejects traditional religion but can't help but believing in something mystical anyway.

Overall, this is a recommended read. Very intense, even though you know it will (more or less) end with Spidey alive. A nice chapter in the history of Spider-Man, even if it doesn't seem quite the major milestone Marvel hyped it to be.


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