In the past two parts of "The Other" Crossover, Peter has fought a new villain, The Tracer. After being injured in their first fight, Peter goes to Doctor Castillo for his wounds, but it turns out that he has a terminal condition. As Peter shares the news with MJ, the mysterious Morlun has returned from the grave...
While sleeping, May dreams of her and Ben being by her mother's bedside as she was dying. May decides to let her mother go, and not keep her alive any longer as she's only being kept alive by the respirators. She dies, but suddenly lunges forward and grabs at May's throat, telling her that she doesn't give in to death, that she must get angry and fight it.
May awakes in the middle of the night, with a dreadful start. She walks to the window and sees a serious lightshow outside. She thinks that it looks like a city under seige, and knows that Peter is most likely out there in the thick of it. She talks to Ben, internally, telling him that Peter is risking his life in his name, and why can't he let Peter go to have his freedom, if she can't escape his memory either. She comes across Peter and MJ as they have a fight in the hall, he in his Spider-costume. He's angry that MJ let him sleep through the pyrotechnics outside. He blows up a bit at Aunt May, as he's frustrated. She asks him what he's hiding, and he says nothing, and that she should trust him. She thinks of the irony, that he lied to her for so many years, and now asks her to trust him. She thinks of why Peter ran into her, and why his spider-sense didn't prevent it from happening.
Aunt May sits down and tries to talk to Ben's ghost (in her mind) about Jarvis, and how she likes him very much. She is interrupted by the Tracer, who has shown up and is sitting opposite May. He tells her that he's a Reserve Avenger, Tommy. He tells her that the machines are rising up in revolt, including cars and computers.
Meanwhile, Peter is hit into a fire escape, tries to hold onto it but then falls down into the garbage. He looks up and sees Morlun at the end of the alley. Morlun says some cryptic comments, then turns away. Peter grabs onto the wall but then falls off. Wolverine catches him. Wolverine gives him a bit of a pep talk, about how to work as part of a team, and tells Spidey to get back to the tower, that its not worth having him around if he's not his normal self.
Back at Stark Tower, May and Tracer continue their chat, her unaware of his being a villain. He tells her about how he's a God, that machines worship him. She continues making him a sandwich. Tracer freaks May out a bit by mentioning her pulling the plug on her Mom, but reveals he heard her shouting it as he walked past her room. She opens up to him, and tells him all about how she has problems dealing with her past, and what she did. She thinks about it because she's afraid of what Peter is hiding from her. Tracer asks her who her nephew is, but before she can answer, Peter shows up and calls his name loudly.
Spider-Man hits Tracer and damages the table they had been sitting at. Spider-Man runs at him, but Tracer holds him back and uses his machines to puncture his arm with sensors. He runs DNA samples, skin samples, tissue, blood, and analyzes them instantly, only to discover that Spider-Man isn't in top condition, but far from it. He gets angry that he doesn't get to face Spider-Man in his physical and healthy prime. Peter beats on Tracer, almost killing him, before his outer skin dissolves, revealing that he's a machine. Jarvis shows up, and regrets that he's going to have to clean up the mess. May confronts Peter, and tells him that he has to come clean with her. She tells him that she can be brave, as he takes off his mask and tells her that "that makes one of us."
The writing by guest writer Peter David is, on the whole, very enjoyable. The issue, on its own merits, as a single issue, is one of great characterization. The Tracer is humanized, which is a bit surprising given how the character has been written in the past two issues. Aunt May in particular gets some fantastic characterization here. Peter David has never written a May who knew Peter's secret, and now that he has, its really, really good. May is given more back-story here, more motivation, and it all rings true, and doesn't seem false or like its an element just thrown into her history and backstory.
However, where there are positives, there can also be negatives. As part of a greater whole and storyline, this issue feels a bit unimportant. Does May's feelings on Peter, death and Spider-Man really matter to the greater storyline? Not really, although death is central to the middle of the storyline, the revelations that are revealed here end up having no real bearing. Morlun shows up, but there's no real reason for it. He taunts Peter and then disappears, there's no reason for his appearance. The Tracer gets mad because Peter isn't at his best, but there's still no explanation as to what is really happening with Peter and what he's really battling. The characterization in this issue is top-notch, but its only half of the issue here, and considering that this is part 3 of a 12-part storyline, this issue doesn't add much, but at least ends the storyline involving the Tracer, at least for now (until, hopefully, Peter David brings him back).
The art by Deodato Jr. is once again amazing. The action is phenomenal, but the quieter, character-oriented moments are also astounding visuals. Issue in and issue out, Deodato delivers fantastic art on this book, which is a shame as he's soon leaving this title for the greener pastures of Brian Michael Bendis' New Avengers.
The story is pretty good, but the fact that the plot doesn't develop that much further, especially as part of a multi-issue arc, detracts from the rating. The art is once again fantastic, solidifying the 4-web rating.