Doctor Octopus Renew Your VowsIssue No. 3 of The Amazing Spider-Man: Renew Your Vows is out, and fans get another dose of Peter Parker doing anything to protect his family. Writer Dan Slott’s “No one dies” philosophy for Mr. Parker has been replaced with “No one dies — unless you threaten my wife and kid,” which gives readers plenty to talk about. Just like issue number two, the writer does a decent job exploring the Parker family’s attempt to survive in an Orwellian nightmare. It’s a shame that its lame main villain, Regent, continues to drag down the quality of the tale.
SpiderMan Renew Your Vows Doc OckThere is something incredibly satisfying about seeing a part of the enforcement arm (no pun intended) of a totalitarian police state getting ripped to shreds by a true hero. Unfortunately, the reaction by characters like Doctor Octopus to Spider-Man’s no-joking demeanor — only moments after telling the hero that he and his family would die a gruesome death — comes across as too comical.

If a man’s stock-in-trade is to hunt down and murder entire families, then he can’t be surprised when the head of the household — yes, even Spider-Man — counters deadly force with commensurate power.

Renew Your Vows Doctor OctopusWould it be logical for Doctor Octopus to be taken aback by Spider-Man’s sudden willingness to use deadly force? In a world where state-run televisions turn off and on like something out of George Orwell’s “1984,” no. In a world where superheroes (and their children) are summarily hunted down and executed, no. In a world where Spider-Man lived after the entire Avengers team, Professor X, and The Hulk fell to Regent with seemingly little effort, no. Regardless, in this instance Dan Slott can be forgiven if his handling of Doc Ock’s response to “dark” Peter was a bit clumsy.

For those who didn’t get the message earlier in the book, Mr. Slott hammers it home in the final pages when Spider-Man webs an activated pumpkin bomb to Hobgoblin’s hand. “BWHOO” translated into writer-speak for this issue of Renew Your Vows is “If you mess with Peter Parker’s family, then there is a good chance that you will die.”

Hobgoblin Renew Your Vows 3It is unfortunate that Regent is such a generic villain. Readers are left in a weird state of cognitive dissonance because on one hand the character is tied to a story that shows Peter and MJ at their best, but on the other he is a creative millstone around the neck of writer Dan Slott.

If Regent is another man’s creation that Mr. Slott has been forced to use, then I feel bad for him. If Regent is Dan Slott’s creation, then he shouldn’t complain when digital tomatoes are thrown his way for months to come.

SpiderMan Renew Your Vows Parker FamilyIn short, Renew Your Vows continues to be a story worth reading if you are a fan of Peter Parker. It has its flaws, but it’s better than 95 percent of what Dan Slott churned out for the entire relaunch of The Amazing Spider-Man in 2014.

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About the Author Douglas Ernst

I'm a former Army guy who believes success comes through hard work, honesty, optimism, and perseverance. I believe seeing yourself as a victim creates a self-fulfilling prophecy. I believe in God. I'm a USC Trojan with an MA in Political Science from American University.

15 comments

    1. Regent is sending The Sinister Six to hunt down Peter because he needs to “absorb” his powers for some mysterious reason. He’s basically absorbed the powers of ever single hero, but for whatever reason he says Spider-Man’s abilities are key to his master plan.

      When Doc Ock finds Peter trying to buy technology that will mask superpowers, Peter then seemingly beats Ock within an inch of his life (the reader never sees the results, but Hobgoblin suggests that a garbage truck pick him up). Hobgoblin is blown up (dead?) at Annie’s elementary school. The issue ends with Peter fighting three others while his wife and daughter are being dragged away by seemingly undercover resistance operatives.

  1. Great review Doug. In particular I liked MJ’s semi-lie to Annie that Peter’s never failed also. I say “semi-lie” because I interpreted like this: Despite failing at times to save loved ones and even give up on his web-swinging, Peter always rose above those setbacks and answered the call, and by surviving all of that to acheive a wife and a daughter and to maintain family life under this police state for an endless amount of years, he truly has succeeded in a karmic kind of way, at least for now. I don’t know if Dan intended for this scene to play out this way or not, as he tends to have an idea of how to present something and cuss people out (like RDMaQ and StillaNerd) when they see something else entirely, but since I’m singing his praises, I don’t think he’ll mind my own unique view this time, rofl.

    1. Thanks, Zariusii. I too thought that particular moment was rather thought provoking. Any time you go back to the question “What does it mean to be a hero?” it’s fertile ground for worthwhile discussions.

      If a man is a hero, then can he every really “lose” (as Annie asked)? As you said, MJ may have committed a lie by omission in that her “No” answer was based on a more complex definition of the word “hero” than perhaps her daughter was capable of grasping at such a young age. If a soldier’s actions save 9 out of 10 of his platoon members, did he “lose”? Of course not. A fireman may save a mother and son from a burning building, but fail to return in time before a third individual dies from smoke inhalation. Did the fireman “lose”? Of course not.

      Peter Parker is a hero because and he always “wins” in that always tries to figure out what the heroic thing to do would be — and then he takes action. That is why I was so annoyed with the ending of the first issue of Renew Your Vows when he just sort of shrugged off The Vulture making off with a woman’s purse. It would have been irresponsible for Peter to leave his child and run off, but at a minimum he would have been torn up about the whole predicament.

      Side note: It looks like Stillanerd is already up and running over at “Whatever a Spider Can.” I’m really happy for him.

  2. Stillanerd’s review of issue 3 is up. Here is an excerpt:

    “With Amazing Spider-Man: Renew Your Vows at its midway point, its maybe not premature of me to declare this as one of Slott’s better Spider-Man stories he’s done in awhile, certainly much improved from the previous eighteen issues of Amazing Spider-Man’s regular run. That being said, Slott does have difficulty when it comes to sticking the ending after doing a capable job of setting the stage. Yet as a friend of mine once told me, Slott is better when it comes to the “short game” as opposed to the long one, that he excels better when he has to tell a story with a clear beginning, middle and end.”

    It’s sad to see him leave Crawlspace, but I’m happy to see that his quality continues to impress.

    1. Actually, I thought Mysterio was cross-referencing before/after images to see fathers who had disappeared. Like, this guy was there five minutes ago, but gone by the time Spidey showed up, ergo suspect

  3. No, Mysterio’s logic is sound, assuming he has the ability to research every husbandless family. He can just eliminate single-parent homes off the top, then methodically pick his way through a finite list.

    1. Well, it was pointed out to me that Mysterio does in fact say (and I even have the panel included in the review) “Compare earlier footage with now.” Meaning when he says, “Find the family missing a dad. And we’ll know who Spider-Man and his kid are,” he’s talking about the family currently missing a dad. So yes, in that regard, Mysterio’s strategy for finding Spider-Man and Annie does make some degree of sense. I think I missed the first time around because it was just so awkwardly worded.

  4. Are we still supposed to be horrified at Peter’s current modus operandi? Because so far I’m cool with his methods, **given the circumstances**.

    1. Stillanerd talks about this in his review. It appears as though Dan Slott’s message is, “This is why Peter can’t be married, because the dark Spider-Man you see here is what he would become.” What Dan “No one dies” Slott doesn’t seem to get is that, as you say, it would be logical for Peter to behave this way given the circumstances. The Peter Parker who lives in an Orwellian police state … whose family must literally run for its life, would certainly behave differently than the Peter Parker who lives in the wannabe police state of New York City (e.g., weird attempts to ban 32 ounce sodas).

    2. Imagine if Marvel allows Dan Slott to continue writing ASM for 10 more years on the assumption that it will generate a lot of money for them by that time via 2025? Will Nick Lowe and Axel Alonzo be around in 2025 to allow Slott to continue his fan-Fiction service?

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