The latest multi-title Spider-Man crossover is now out
in a single hardcover, and will later be available in
two trade paperbacks. Is it worth it?

General Information

Title: Spider-Man: The Other

Authors: J. Michael Straczynski, Reginald Hudlin, and
Peter David

Illustrators: Mike Deodato, Pat Lee, and Mike
Wieringo

Original Publication Date: The hardcover version was
release on April
19, 2006. The individual issues were published as
Amazing
Spider-Man
#525-528, Marvel Knights
Spider-Man
#19-22,
and Friendly Neighbourhood Spider-Man #1-4
between October
2005 and January 2006.

ISBN: 0-7851-2188-9

Cover Price: $29.99 US, $48.00 Can

Buy from: Amazon.com
or Amazon.ca

Past comic reviews can be found here.

Premise

Peter Parker learns he has a life-threatening
condition just before
Morlun returns. The combined experiences throughout
the story result
in the revelation of new (or, perhaps, previously
untapped) powers.

High Point

Logan’s counselling techniques.

Low Point

This suffers the “too many chefs” syndrome. We’ve got
the collosal
continuity gaffe of an arm that is clearly broken and
put in a cast
one issue, only to be completely healed in the next
issue. We’ve got
hints that Morlun is protecting MJ, though there is no
real reason
why. We get the indication that Peter’s life
threatening condition is
of an unusual nature, but there’s no follow-up to
that. Most
irritatingly, we get the jarring artist changes every
single issue.
The styles of these three artists (two of whom I
really like) are not
at all compatible. It’s somewhat like A.I.:
Speilberg and
Kubrick are both great directors, but their styles
don’t blend. When
you alternate between them in the same project, you
get a style clash
that doesn’t hold up.

The Scores

The originality is good. We are often
promised stories that
drive characters in “Bold New Directions!” that don’t
actually
deliver, though this one will be nearly impossible to
ignore. There’s
even a new villain on the loose. (I suspect we’ll see
a return to
some of these plot threads once the Civil War is
over.) Some may not
think these changes are for the better (I’m undecided
on that), but
they can’t claim it’s been done before. I give it 5
out of 6.

The artwork is mixed. I love Deodato and
‘Ringo, but their
work doesn’t blend well together. I’ve seen Pat Lee’s
work in a few
places, but I’m not impressed by it. It’s his faces
that irk me; as
long as everyone’s in costume, it’s fine, but take the
masks off and
everyone suddenly has Prince Charles’ ears. These
three artists are
very different, and they don’t blend together very
well, leading to
jarring changes with every new issue. I give it 4 out
of 6.

The story seems to have been based on a good
plan, but
switching writers and artists so often seems to have
befuddled
things. Many aspects are unclear at this point,
including the exact
nature of Peter’s terminal disease (SPOILER: which, by the way, didn’t cause his
death the way you’d
expect
), why Morlun was manipulating MJ’s life
in this way, and
so forth. I get the distinct impression that JMS
planned the whole
thing, and that the other writers weren’t entirely
sure about which
pieces of the puzzle their chapters were supposed to
reveal, and how
those revelations were supposed to work. I give it 4
out of 6.



The characterization is very well done. Only
Morlun doesn’t
seem to fit well into his past role, but we knew so
little about him
in the past, that it’s not a big deal. The characters
we do know well
all fit together very nicely, so I suspect that Morlun
would have
acted this way had we seen him in similar situations
before. I give
it 6 out of 6.

The emotional response maintained som
interest, in spite of
the constant disruptions in the art, and the lack of
some pieces. I
give it 4 out of 6.

The flow is where the changing creative teams
really pound on this
title. I give it 2 out of 6, due to all of the
problems mentioned above.

Overall, it’s not a bad story, but it should
have been
better. Had any individual creative team written
these 12 issues
over a year, it would have played out better, but then
it would have
begged the question of why these events were being
ignored in the
other titles. I give it 4 out of 6.

In total, Spider-Man: The Other receives 29
out of 42.

Additional Notes and Comments

The next such story Marvel is releasing is the Ultimate
Power
miniseries this October. I’m not as excited
about that as I
was when I first heard about it, now that I’ve seen
the issues with
rotating creative teams here. Let’s hope that some of
these problems
were caused by the sudden switch from Mark Waid to
Peter David on
Friendly Neighbourhood Spider-Man, and that
the chosen
creative teams for Ultimate Power (JMS, Brian
Michael Bendis,
and Jeph Loeb on scripts, and artists not yet named)
will be able to
take more time to hammer out and finalize details
before they start
their individual scripts. (Note: That interview I
just tracked down
for the above link does imply that JMS did design “The
Other,” but
that there was a lack of communication after that
which they will
try to correct for the “Ultimate Power” miniseries.)