Dan Slott was given a golden opportunity to use The Amazing Spider-Man #1: Renew Your Vows to build bridges with Peter Parker fans. Instead, he opted for divorce. Fans who have waited years to see Peter and MJ back together finally got their wish, but unfortunately it was granted by the same guy who saw nothing wrong with turning the character into an afterthought in his own book.
Imagine you’re a fan of Peter Parker. You’ve patiently piled up a mountain of lackluster stories while waiting for another glimpse into the married life he once had. Finally, when Renew Your Vows hits, you open it up and the first thing you get is MJ nagging Peter not to fix his web shooters at the table. You turn to the second page to see a sullen Peter complain about changing diapers. Pensive and sad faces abound on the third page. The reader is told that Peter has “wedded bliss,” even though the evidence doesn’t back that up. Dan Slott then takes the action out of the apartment, and the next time MJ is seen she’s being held hostage by venom. No build up — he just escaped from Ryker’s Island penitentiary.
Question: Why should anyone care about an alternate universe MJ that they’ve “known” for all of three pages when those three pages have done nothing to show younger readers why the couple is so good together?
Answer: They shouldn’t.
A few pages are then allotted to MJ attempting to keep her daughter safe — as any sane mother would do in the same situation —and alternate universe Peter Parker ultimately ends up killing venom. “I did what I had to do,” is all he says before MJ can finish asking if Eddie Brock is dead.
Fans of Peter Parker are apparently supposed to have their minds blown that their hero — even an alternate universe version of the original — would ever be placed in a situation where he might have to kill a man. Correction: A psychopathic madman whose body has fused with an alien symbiote.
The only people this may be shocking to is Dan Slott of the infamous “No one dies” mantra, and those who think a man can be a hero and never — never, never, never — have to make such a difficult choice.
Newsflash: Cops are heroes and sometimes they have to kill. Soldiers are heroes and sometimes they have to kill. Spider-Man is a heroic character, and it makes sense that on a long enough timeline he may — despite his best efforts to avoid it — have to take a (likely super-powered) life to save others.
Only in the mind of Dan Slott would having to do what real heroes do every single day constitute the “death” of Spider-Man.
“That was the day The Avengers died. That every last hero died. Even Spider-Man. It just looked like him standing there. But that was just me. Peter Parker. A dad in a stupid red and blue suit,” the hero thinks while reflecting on his actions and The Avengers’ battle with Regent (aka: lame villain introduced for Secret Wars).
One word: Pathetic.
Imagine a world where cops, firemen, soldiers, doctors and many other kind souls all had the “I look after me and mine” mentality of a married Peter Parker (written by Dan Slott). What would that world look like? It would look like a pretty scary place, which is why no one who fundamentally understands Peter Parker would put those words in his mouth.
If you own The Amazing Spider-Man #1: Renew Your Vows, then I suggest looking through the issue for all the times Peter really looks happy. Try and find a wide smile on his face. You’ll see four — all from pictures hanging on his apartment wall — and he’s not even smiling in his wedding picture. He has a look on his face that says, “Here. I’m married. You got the shot you wanted. Can we move on?” It’s a small detail, but one worth noticing.
Marvel gave fans what they were thirsting for, but its creative team made sure to spike the product with something bitter. Although it should come as no surprise at this point, it really is quite stunning how Marvel uses every opportunity to mend fences with Peter Parker fans to spit in their faces instead.
Exit question: Why does Mr. Slott have a sick fetish with killing Peter Parker, whether it’s outright killing the 616 version, killing off 616’s ghost/memory fragment/soul/whatever he was, killing off countless other versions in Spider-Verse, and now doing so symbolically in Renew Your Vows?
Exit question II: Why is Mr. Slott asking if Renew Your Vows brought back readers? For years Marvel has told us that the number of fans who stayed away from the book post OMD was marginal at best. When guys like me talked about a significant number of fans who were sitting on the sidelines, we were scoffed at. Yet now, suddenly, those numbers are enough to warrant a sales pitch to catch up on “Big Time” and “SSM”? Interesting.