Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man #2

Title: Bargaining
Publisher: Marvel Comics

Writer: Reginald Hudlin
Pencils: Mike Wieringo
Inks: Karl Kessel
Color: Paul Mounts
Letterer: VC’s Cory Petit
Editor: Tom Brevoort
Publisher: Dan Buckley

Something has happened to Peter Parker. We’re not sure what, and we’re not sure why, but we know that it’s bad. From the way everyone reacts, it probably relates to cancer or some sort of radiation poisoning, but we’re not sure.

Welcome to Spider-Man: The Other – the current cross-title story of Spidey that is supposedly going to change status quo for the entire spidey-verse. The problem is that after three issues, we are still left with this rift of questions and all we’ve gotten out of it is a damn fine story by Peter David about a bad guy named Tracer.

What do we get in Reggie Hudlin’s beginning?

STORY!

Everyone that is important in Peter’s life knows what is going on. He is dying of something that might or might not be cancer. The problem with the narrative up to now has been that they haven’t discussed what the problem is. It exists on a piece of paper that Mary Jane has seen, Peter has seen, Aunt May has seen, Jarvis probably heard about in pillow talk (Damn you James Hatton for putting that image in my head! Damn you straight to heck! Aggrieved Editor K.), Dr. Strange knows about it, Reed Richards knew about it last year, but WE.. THE READER.. DO NOT!

Throughout this issue they learn from the experts what they think Peter should do about his problem. Reed tries to explain it in scientific terms, labeling that it’s not exacty cancer. The Hulk doesn’t want to hear a single thing about the entire affair. Black Panther tries to take Spider-Man and use warrior’s herbs, and sweat lodges, and mystical woowoo to make Peter stronger.

All of this leads Peter to go a bit batty. Wouldn’t you when you realize that everything you love is about to end? I know that in the context of a comic like Spider-Man, we know it’s not actually going to end, but the realistic drama that Peter goes through feels natural.. even with the hand of Hudlin on it (whom I have not been a huge fan of up ’til now).

In the end, we are left with still no answers.. just the knowledge that we are nearing an answer, and a dark and mystical one at that. Peter discusses that with one of the smartest members of the Marvel Universe… and even he says ‘Crap Pete.. go buy a plot of land and wait on it.’ It’s ‘WHO’ says it that is important.

ART!

Mike Wieringo, upon a very close inspection, is everything that I know about a Spider-Man artist. He has that simplistic detail of a classic artist that you find with John Romita, Sr. He also has that closeness of specific detail that I’ve been enjoying in Mike Deodato’s art.

If I was to come up with one problem, and a nitpicky one at that, it’s that I don’t like the way he draws Aunt May. It’s a bit hard to tell whether we are looking at an old woman or old man – and his Mary Jane looks strikingly like Daphne from Scooby-Doo. Again, these are really minor and inconsequential peeves at best.

OVERALL!

So how is The Other? Bleh. It’s just a book that is going through the same motion over and over and over again. The problem is that each story is defensible. The first arc of Peter David’s was a three way perspective of finding out that Peter Parker was dying. Reggie Hudlin’s first issue is a view of how the Marvel Universe comes to Peter’s aid. There is nothing wrong with this story, except for the fact that we still do not know what the hell is wrong with Spider-Man!

TELL US AND WE’LL STOP BITCHING MARVEL!!!!!!!!!

Oh, and let us know how Morlun came back. Thank you.

So in closing, this book isn’t bad, and it gives another great perspective of the story of The Other, but I will continue to mark down until they give a name to Peter’s problem and not some vague inkling into how it happened or what it is similar to.