The Other: Suck or Blow"
I'm sure that by now most
of you comic book fans have seen the wretched abomination that is
Spider-Man's new costume. After all, people have only been bitching and
ranting and raving and sending death threats over the internet for weeks
now, and yes, I'm going to talk about it too. Eventually. But see,
unlike the others who are focusing all of their bitterness on the
costume, I want to focus on the immensely horrid, crappy so-called
"epic" storyline that led up to this costume.
This story-arc was called "The Other: Evolve or Die" and it spanned
across three monthly Spider-Man titles: Amazing Spider-Man, Marvel
Knights Spider-Man and the newly launched (and it's never a good sign
when you launch a new book with a crossover) Friendly Neighborhood
Spider-Man. And it was easily the crappiest Spider-Man story to come out
in recent years.
I'll admit that I haven't been reading Spider-Man for very long; I only
hopped onboard when J. Michael Straczynski took over the Amazing title
about five years ago. But I've always been familiar with the character
and vaguely aware of what was going on with him from the corners of the
Marvel Universe I did follow (i.e. I know all about the crappy Clone
Saga, but I've never read it). So I know that Spider-Man's always been
plagued by the occasional crappy storyline, but this is the only big one
I've experienced firsthand. But enough babbling, let's get down to brass
tacks, shall we?
I thought the idea in a robbery was you wanted to NOT draw attention to
The story opens with
Spider-Man trying to stop a bank robbery in progress by a new villain,
named Tracer. He's called Tracer, not because he inks comic books, but
because he has special magical bullets that will lock on to an opponent
and follow them around until they make contact. And he wears a skirt.
Walking down the catwalk now, Tracer is wearing the new
‘skirt and gunbelt' combo that will be all the rage this spring.
He fires a couple shots at
Spider-Man, who replies with "LOL! You missed!" and then Tracer retorts
with "Magic bullets! You are FUX0RED!!1"
It's as if the bullets are afraid they will become
infected with Tracer's tangible lameness if they hit him.
Spider-Man swings his way
across half of Manhattan, dodging the persistent bullets before he
finally decides that the only way to avoid these bullets is to somehow
catch them in his bare hands.
Spider sense going craz—holy shit, I'm actually
trying to catch bullets! Am I fucking insane!?
"Thanks, Spider-Man! You saved us from those awful bumblebees!"
He actually manages to
somehow catch one of them, but the other one (I got similar results when
I attempted this trick at home) punched through his hand and into his
shoulder. In the resulting trip to the doctor, she decides to run some
blood work on the ol' webslinger so that she can better treat him after
future idiotic mistakes.
"You mean this cloth costume isn't bulletproof!?"
Peter eventually finds out
from the blood work that he's dying, so he gets all angsty and decides
to patrol the city. He encounters that lame new villain Tracer again,
flying around the city in his one-man rocket. Spidey's fellow Avengers
teammate Iron Man shows up at the scene and somehow Tracer ends up
controlling his armor and making him fight Spider-Man.
"Spider-Man! I'm pummeling the crap out of you
because I can't uh—control myself, yeah that's it!"
The results of this fight
occur off-panel, and the next time we see Spider-Man he's back home and
tells his wife Mary Jane that he's going to die. We don't know what kind
of spidery disease he has, but whatever it is, it's terminal.
In the middle of the night the city is attacked by giant robots, so the
Avengers all head out to save the city, except for Spider-Man, who
manages to sleep through it. Upon waking up, he yells at Mary Jane for
letting him sleep through the attack and decides to rush out and help.
Spider-Man practices shoving old ladies out
of the way for that mad holiday shopping rush.
He bumps into Aunt May in
the hallway, who wants to know what's going on, but Peter yells at her
and then leaves.
"With my eyes closed I have no idea who I'm
even yelling at! And that makes me mad!"
Aunt May then goes into
the kitchen, where she encounters Tracer, who just sits at the table and
convinces her that he's not a goofily dressed villain, but actually a
"With these spiffy high-tech goggles I can see through
anything, even clothing—OH GOD MY EYES!!!!"
She makes him a sandwich
and they have a serious talk, while the Avengers are out fighting the
robots and out-of-control machines that Tracer has set loose upon the
city. Spider-Man has an encounter with a gothy villain named Morlun, who
feeds off the psychic life energy of others (not to be confused with
Morbius the Living Vampire, who looks just like him and does pretty much
exactly the same thing). Morlun spouts some cryptic nonsense and then
Morbius or Morlun? Who is the gothiest of them all?
Oooh, extra points to Morlun for his dramatic, trenchcoat-swooshing
Spidey goes back to the
Avengers' home base, Stark Tower, only to find Aunt May feeding Tracer a
"How many times I gots to tell you to take the crusts off?
Baby, why you make me hit you?"
Spidey freaks out and
attacks Tracer, who during the fight, for some reason decides to stick
some needles in Spider-Man to take a DNA analysis.
"That was the last slice of turkey you just ate, asshole!"
He feels insulted when he
learns that Spider-Man is dying, having wanted to face a full-strength
Spider-Man. So out of "respect for the dead", he backs off and
apparently "dies" himself, revealing himself to have been a robot the
whole time. And that's the last we see of that completely lame and
pointless villain, whose whole purpose in the story was to make
Spider-Man go to the doctor so he could learn he is dying.
Hey, isn't that the same robot who hung out with Pizza the Hutt?
"Or else Pizza is gonna send out for you!"
After the fight, Peter
fills Aunt May in on the fact that he's dying and she freaks out and
tells him to get a second opinion, at which point he proceeds to get
more and more tests by famous brains of the Marvel Universe. They go out
and fight the Hulk because they want to get Dr. Bruce Banner's opinion,
Peter travels to Africa to consult with the Black Panther; everyone from
Mr. Fantastic to Dr. Strange gives their professional opinion: he's
There's only one thing to do when you find out
you're dying—hang out with hot chicks and...
Get your hair braided.
So Spidey does what any
dying hero would do: he takes Mary Jane and Aunt May (both wearing Iron
Man's old prototype armors) along with him to break into Dr. Doom's
castle in Latveria to use his time machine, so that they can travel back
in time and see Peter's parents and Uncle Ben before they died and he
can get all depressed about it. Because apparently Dr. Doom's time
machine only allows him to go back and view the past, not affect it. (I
have access to such technology myself, but I call it a video camera.)
Mary Jane: "We're heroes now, right?"
Aunt May: "I have to poop!"
Then Peter decides he's
going to really live it up during the last days of his life, so he takes
Mary Jane up in one of Tony Stark's (Iron Man) space pods for the
romantic activity of viewing the earth from orbit.
Peter: "Yep, I
figure a couple more hours till we run out
of oxygen and we can both die peacefully together."
Mary Jane: "WHAT!?"
At this point Morlun,
who's been lurking around and popping up only long enough to spout gothy
witticisms like "your time is almost up" decides to quit beating around
the bush and actually attack Spider-Man.
"God, I'm such an anachronism. *sigh* I hate myself."
"Ow! Hey, I think you actually broke something! You know
these comic book fights are just for show, right? Right!??"
They have an "epic"
battle, which really isn't that interesting (we see them punch each
other through walls and into cars numerous times) before Morlun decides
to pop Spidey's eye out of his head and eat it, sucking off the life
energy contained within.
It's at this moment that Spider-Man realizes he's
going to have to adopt a pirate shtick.
Perhaps some fava beans a nice chianti with that eye?
He then pummels the crap
out of Spider-Man until he's just a broken heap lying on the street.
Suddenly the cops show up and manage to chase away Morlun before he can
feed on Peter.
"Oh shit, I think I hear the fuzz! Yikes! I'd better get outta here!"