Title: Spider-Man: The Other
Publisher/Year: Marvel, 2007
Artist: Mike Wieringo, Pat Lee, Mike Deodato Jr.
Writer: J. Michael Straczynski, Peter David, Reginald Hudlin
Collects: Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man #'s 1-4, Marvel Knights Spider-Man #'s 19-22, Amazing Spider-Man #'s 525-528
When I began reading this trade paperback, I thought that is was another great "What If..." storyline. I was wrong. This is what happens when you aren't reading the comics regularly and chronologically. Much to my surprise, this storyline was apart of Marvel canon. Even better, the events happened right before the epic Civil War storyline Marvel published that same year.
The only way I was familiar with J. Michael Strazynski (who is also credited as the Story architect) was Babylon 5 before this trade. I loved Babylon 5, and I wish that I had watched more when it was available. After the final episode on regular TV, my interest fell and I have yet to watch any other Babylon 5. His writing kept me interested through the entirety of this book. Combined with Peter David and Reginald Hudlin's writing, this came to be a very interesting read.
Spider-Man has been through several incarnations throughout the years. Cosmic. Scarlet. Armored. Black costume. Red & blue costume. Six-armed. Clone. And he has gone through so much physical trauma. This book sheds the years and pain from Peter Parker, and let's him start over again. A clean slate... with some new found abilities.
The last time I actually read an issue of any Spider-Man book, either Todd McFarlane was still working for Marvel or maybe it was when they introduced Carnage. Needless to say, I was caught unaware of the changes in Peter's life. This trade brought me back to wanting to read Spider-Man again. It was just by chance that I actually picked this book up.
There are 3 styles of art in this book. I can't say I'm a fan of all of them, but the style that broke my desire for the book the most made me think that the characters had jumped from New York City to Japan. It had the manga feel that I am not a big fan of. I know that there are those out there that really enjoy the manga feel, so they may really dig this 3rd style of art.
In a nutshell... this book was an excellent read. The art didn't really detract too much from the reading enjoyment. Even though I'm not a fan of the manga style, I was still able to get through the book without having put it down due to headache or eye strain.
Pick it up. Give it a shot. I think any Spidey fan will enjoy the story, at the very least.