Sporadic Sequential
Wednesday, September 10, 2008
Top Ten Ways Spider-Man J Is Better Than Spider-Man A*

10. New webbing weapons! Back in the days of Ditko, it seemed like Spidey was always coming up with new ways to use his webbing, creating web-bats (of both the flying and hitting variety); web-boats; web-gliders; web-parachutes; web-skis; web-shields; web-dummies; web-bolas; and even crude web-browsers. Nowadays, though, when was the last time Spidey spun something more exciting than a web-line? Thankfully, manga-ka Yamanaka Akira has remembered that Spider-Man is supposed to be a fun character and given us amazing new applications of Spidey's webbing such as the Spinning Spider-Web Buzz Saw! (Doesn't that just sound like a power-up from the Japanese version of the Spider-Man video game? I love it!!)

9. Telepathic spider-sense!
If I remember correctly, the OHOTMU characterized Spider-Man's spider-sense as a mild form of clairvoyance, so why not add limited telepathy to the mix? Finally, Spidey will be able to tell just how much J. Jonah Jameson J hates him without having to endure endless awkward hostess bar outings with his boss.

8. Web-treads on boots! How do you improve on that classic Ditko design? By filling in the one blank red space that Ditko forgot to draw with a web pattern: the soles of Spidey's shoes! C'mon, tell me that's not a bitchin' boot bottom! It's even better than Jim Lee's Bat-boot treads! And it would leave one heck of a calling card imprint whenever Spidey kicked some bad guy in the face!

7. Bizarro World signage! Apparently Spider-Man J occupies some strange alternate universe where all the signs are written in an odd backward mirror image.

6. Ancient ninja secrets revealed! Where else can you learn such ancient and adorable aphorisms?

5. Elektra, assassin with a heart of gold! I'm not sure what Elektra's current status in the 616-verse is, but I think I'd take this version over any of her many other incarnations any day!

4. A bevy of bug-based bad guys! General Wasperus! The Mantis! The Spotted Cat! And my personal favorite, the deadly... Dragonfly!!!

3. Wacky detective sidekick! This might sound lame, the equivalent of Poochie, but the more I think about it, the more I like it. Spider-Man has always worked well when he's played off other crime-fighting comrades (think of Spidey's frequent pairings with fellow heroes like Daredevil and the Human Torch), so why not make that dynamic a permanent part of the series? Plus, by making the character a cop, you immediately call to mind all those great buddy cop movies from the 80s like 48 Hrs. and Lethal Weapon. Also, Flynn seems to be the only person who (openly) knows Spidey's secret identity, so it provides Spidey with a trusted confidant, thereby cutting back on potential angst-inducing scenarios by at least 98%.

2. Aunt May is a billion times cooler! I'll admit, I never really cared for Aunt May. My memories of her mainly involve her incessant nagging; her constantly failing health; and her completely delusional world view that made her prefer villains like Doc Ock over heroes like Spidey. But the manga version of Aunt May is someone I'd follow in her own series. She's energetic, enthusiastic, and as unflappable as the 616-version is panic-prone. For example, when this Aunt May is held hostage, she passes the time by playing games with her abductor.

1. Those adorable lil' eyes!

'Nuff said!!

* The "A" is for "Spider-Man, Amazing"

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