A souffle that falls flat in the oven is usually going to keep its good taste, but on many levels it is still considered a disappointment. Dan Slott’s 4th issue of The Amazing Spider-Man: Renew Your Vows is just like a souffle that begins to collapse before the oven timer rings. The main reason for this is Regent, who continues to weigh down the story.
Issue 4 of Renew Your Vows reveals that Mary Jane and Annie were shuttled away from danger by Mockingbird and The Prowler, who are working for S.H.I.E.L.D. Their escape was made possible by Jonathan Ohnn (aka: The Spot), who is also working for the organization.
Spider-Man, however, does not fare as well. He and S.H.I.E.L.D. agent Sandman are captured by Regent, who uses telekinesis to immobilize them.
“And no, little man. It’s not fair at all. It never is when you battle a god,” Regent replies to the accusation that he isn’t fighting fair. It is not long afterwards that the souffle begins to deflate.
“I am a good man, Peter. Before you die, I want you to know that,” Regent tells his captive. He then says that he needs Peter’s spider-sense to battle Doctor Doom, who has become a near-omnipotent god on Battleworld. Although Peter calls this “insane,” in all likelihood there isn’t going to be a plot twist to make Mr. Slott’s idea any better.
Perhaps the second most embarrassing thing about Renew Your Vows is the way the Sinister Six has, arguably, become the Sinister Stooges. Not only does angry-Pete dispose of them with ease, but now his daughter is able to literally take out Shocker, Kraven, and Boomerang with eye-pokes and crotch-shots. In the middle of a story about an Orwellian police state, readers abruptly get Slottian hi-jinks; Kraven says “Gnyah!” when he’s kicked in the testicles. Mr. Slott should have gone all the way and had Annie say “Nyuk-nyuk-nyuk!”
In short, Renew Your Vows is still the best thing that Dan Slott has written in awhile. Fans have more-or-less gotten what they wanted out of the tale (e.g., strong MJ, Peter acting like a man instead of a man-boy), and Slott’s worst instincts have mostly been corralled. The Renew Your Vows souffle may not be the prettiest thing in the world, but it is still worth $4.00 if you’re a fan of The Amazing Spider-Man.
Side note: I would be remiss if I didn’t say kudos to Mr. Slott for his use of The Spot in this issue. I first came across the character as a kid while reading my brother’s collection of Peter Parker, The Spectacular Spider-Man. Even though he wasn’t treated as a serious villain, his powers fascinated me. He always seemed like a character with untapped potential. It was nice to see Jonathan Ohnn appropriately used here.
Is it any surprise that Slott turns the 6 into jokes to make another one of his fanfic characters into a Mary Sue?
Silk spends something along the lines of a decade inside a bunker, and then comes out and is a better fighter than Spider-Man. Annie basically spends her entire life in hiding (while wearing a power inhibitor bracelet), and then at the first opportunity she makes a joke out of Kraven, Shocker, and Boomerang. Okaaaaaay. I guess getting across a “Girl Power!” message trumps sound storytelling these days. Sad.
Random: Where IS Silkk during Secret Wars? So much was made of how wonderful she was…she essentially took over ASM Volume 3 and SpiderVerse. Did she die in issue 1 of Secret Wars??
It looks like the first time Secret Wars will be addressed in Silk’s book issue 7, which comes out Sept. 2.
It appears as though the most recent issues all took place prior to Secret Wars, and then they’ll basically have one issue where it goes down. I suppose issue 8 will then show Silk dealing with the aftermath…
I bought one issue of Secret Wars and then was like, “Nope. I’ll just read a synopsis later.” The whole universe-mash-up isn’t my cup of tea.
I think Silk has been passed-over, and plays no clear role in SW. Instead, when she comes back in the fall, she will be evil, and they’ll probably say that SW did it to her somehow.
It is interesting to note Peter sort of plays the damsel in distress role here, being the one the women need to save. I’m sure there’s some food for thought for feminist types there. Other interesting ideas like Ben Urich knowing who Peter is are sadly not really touched upon more and he vanishes just as swiftly as he reveals how the resistance came to know about the Parkers. I too was delighted to see Spot turn up, having read some of those classic issues and also watched the 1990s animated series make use of him. But my favourite part of the issue was Slott’s use of the Sandman that I was quite fond of growing up…Flint Marko as someone capable of redemption is something that seems to stick well in many an interpretation since it was done away with in the 2000s (Raimi’s movies, and even in the newspaper strip) so it was great to see Flint basically be the hero of the hour here. The cliffhanger seems to be very uplifting, and if reorders are any indication, expectations are high for the climax, let’s just hope there’s no bitter taste yet to come
“My favorite part of the issue was Slott’s use of the Sandman that I was quite fond of growing up…Flint Marko as someone capable of redemption is something that seems to stick well in many an interpretation since it was done away with in the 2000s.”
I always thought the redemption arc to Sandman’s history was also appropriate. It’s annoying when a character is written in a way where he/she matures and grows into a better person, and then another writer comes along and awkwardly shoves them back into the role of a villain.
I hope the last issue is a strong one, but the end of SSM was a letdown, Spider-Verse fizzled (to put it lightly), and the last issue of ASM before RYVs was a total dud. There is a lot that needs to happen in the next issue, and the track record doesn’t indicate that fans will get a smooth landing.
I am pretty sure this is the Spot’s favorite cartoon from the 1970s: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t7aKgR7hcpE
I think that’s a pretty good bet! 🙂
Great review, sorry I have not posted much and when I have it has been short. I am in the process of a career shift and it has been a crazy busy time.
No problem, Truth. I always enjoy when you comment, so please do whenever you get a chance. I wish you the best of luck on your career shift. 🙂
I am looking to get certified for teaching K-12 so that I can teach at other levels. I am strongly considering getting out of college teaching, or just teaching part time at the college level while teaching at the K-12 level full time.
You’re a brave man, Truth. That’s a whole new set of headaches. My mom was an elementary school teacher, so I’ve heard a few stories. The teaching environment is totally different now than when she started in the early 80s.
I might check this out when it’s available in a collected volume. It would be great to read a new Spider-Man story that is at least decent.
I have to say, I think it’s great that even though you and Dan Slott have…had your differences, you’ll still give him credit for good writing when he earns it. That says a lot about your character.
Thanks for the comment, Grant. I’m not sure what they’ll price the TPB at, but if it’s not too expensive then I’d say it’s worth checking out.
In terms of the Dan Slott thing, I have always maintained that the disconnect comes from his inability to distinguish the difference between criticism of his work on a particular story, and criticism of him as a man. I think even most of his supporters would acknowledge that he has a history of being incredibly thin-skinned. If he writes a good story, then I have no problem patting him on the back. By the same token, I also have no problem writing negative reviews when I see poor or sloppy work.
You have to read more X-men. I think I originally found this blog when I was looking for ‘Bendis Sucks’, than read a few posts that made me almost spew my lunch, because I actually found a writer/comic book fan who’s views aligned somewhat with my own. (Actually, I think it was Gay-Iceman…ok same thing)
I think with certain writers, like Bendis…and maybe Slott is the same way, theres a need to present ‘their’ kind of dialogue and snappy banter, at the cost of being true to a character and writing in a different way for different characters. Every time I read a story by Bendis, I’m able to move the balloon around to different people that Bendis showcases on his X-books and they make sense coming out of any mouth.
I loved Storm as a teen. The stripping of her powers, her internal struggles in Lifedeath and the iron will she got from it inspired me when I was young. Under Claremont, she was a natural leader, and you could almost feel when she would take charge and rally the X-men. When Jim Lee brought his great art and influence…thats when Storm seemed to diminish, going from lady that tosses lightning bolts and isn’t as good as Cyclops, and eventually, sadly, black female representative to bring more diversity (TM). She doesn’t take charge anymore, she defers to others, and she’s often just thrown in…Look! Storm’s here! Bendis has her sit around while he wrecks the X-men…staring at the walls and offering a few half-hearted words before she stalks off, she’s too ‘boring’ for Bendis, he needs someone ‘snappy’ and umm…him. He needs Eva….Eva Sue.
Of course, everyone mis-remembers the X-men now, I had no idea that they fought a decades long war against hate and mistrust in every.single.issue. even. I remember reading stories about a family and friendship among very different people (Nightcrawler, Colossus and Wolverine at the bar with Juggernaut; X-men #183), and I was sure at the time that was why the comic outsold everything else. Guess I was wrong! It was the grimdark battle against the horrifying future of right-wing San Francisco residents eventually killing innocent mutant liberals in a mass murder spree.
Sorry for the somewhat off topic rant. Guess I need my own blog
That is an astute observation. I agree with you. On some level I think this is a problem with more politically correct writers. Every personality the writer creates has a very limited spectrum of thought, especially when it comes to politics. With new female characters, they’re these strong, “plucky” women with wit, a sense of humor, and a feminist-approved worldview. The writers have so much difficulty seeing the world objectively that they can’t write heroes who see things in a different light.
I used to read my brother’s X-Men comics in the 80s, but for whatever reason I’ve generally just stuck to Spidey over the years. I bought some X-Men issues in the late 90s and early 2000s, but then I got away from it when money got tight. I collected X-Factor from 2005-2007, but then stopped when I moved to Washington, D.C. Again…money was an issue at the time.
There are right-wing residents of San Francisco? Haha. 😉
No problem, man. I would definitely check it out if you started your own blog. I would also be happy to answer any questions you have about starting a WordPress account, etc.
My God, Regent is an uninspired-looking villain. He’s like a knock-off of some kid’s Darkseid drawing that knocked off Thanos because the kid didn’t realize Thanos is a knock-off Darkseid. Speaking of uninspired, that seems to describe Marvel as a whole right now. I did a google image search for, “Regent Secret Wars” to try and verify that Regent looked like a complicated knock-off, but before I could find any pictures of him I saw a cover to a Secret Wars tie-in called Gwen-Pool (apparently Spider-Gwen Stacy/Deadpool?)
It was at that moment I realized, “Ohhhhhhh yeah…this is why I’ve been boycotting Marvel for the past few years.”
I feel so bad for the next generation of writers/artists/editors to take over at Marvel (assuming that Marvel still exists in 15 years). From what I’ve seen, the only way to fix this mess would probably be to just detonate a reality bomb and start all over with completely new characters.
“My God, Regent is an uninspired-looking villain. He’s like a knock-off of some kid’s Darkseid drawing that knocked off Thanos because the kid didn’t realize Thanos is a knock-off Darkseid.”
Zing! That’s a pretty good description of what’s going on. 🙂 When Regent was telling Peter Parker he was “a good man,” a couldn’t help but hear Vincent D’onofrio’s voice from the Daredevil Netflix series. His Kingpin gave very familiar speeches throughout the first season. In this issue of RYV, I just sort of imagined Netflix Kingpin if he absorbed a bunch of super-powers…
“Speaking of uninspired, that seems to describe Marvel as a whole right now.”
It seems as though the bulk of the energy is going towards proving its “diversity-cred” instead of telling memorable stories. “Hey, we made She-Thor a woman! And Iceman gay! And now you have Silk and Spider-Gwen!” Okay. That’s nice, but how were the actual stories?
It’s sort of like Tesla’s problems not too long ago; the company was bragging about its cars, but every time they were road tested a battery seemed to die or burst into flames. Not to mention it’s like, “Hey, we have these super-awesome cars, but they’re so expensive only the ultra-wealthy can buy them, and it would take you 100 years of driving to break even on the money you thought you were saving on gas.”
Marvel needs to just put a good product on the table instead of patting itself on the back every couple months for a “Look how diverse we are” press release.
Hi Doug, I think I liked this issue a bit more than you did. Though it is kinda sad to see the Sinister Six being dispatched like chumps issue after issue (though they did roll out Boomerang and Beetle here–third stringers if I ever saw any). And you could play a drinking game at this point with Slott’s overall run where Peter is captured / incapacitated, and has to be rescued by other characters.
I also liked seeing the Spot, in his civilian form at least. He’s a villain with an interesting visual gimmick, with a power set like no other among Spidey’s rogues, but he’s usually written as a cheap joke. Did you catch the issue during Brand New Day where Spot was made out to be more of a threat (it was an issue titled “Marked” by writer Fred Van Lente)? Pretty good, for that era. I think it was #589 or 590.
I’m thinking that we probably have very similar feelings on the issue, Cheesedique. 😉 I called the issue a “tasty cake,” said it was “the best thing that Dan Slott has written in awhile,” and encouraged people to spend $4.00 on it if they enjoy The Amazing Spider-Man. Like you, I also enjoyed The Spot, and put a giant picture of him on this post’s addendum. I gave Dan Slott “kudos” for using the character well.
As I said in my opening paragraph, this issue is like a souffle — a tasty one — but it falls flat for the reasons mentioned. Souffles that fall flat in the oven are still, on certain levels, a disappointment. To the extent we disagree on this issue, it appears to me that we may be off by only a few degrees.
Regarding issue 589, I remember that coming out, but I think at that time I was only sporadically reading the book.
Note to Stillanerd: Apparently the Regent doesn’t grasp what the phrase “all-powerful:” means, any better than Dr. Strange does. “My enemy is all-powerful. However, I will dodge his every attack.” Uh, no. Look up “all-powerful” in an on-line dictionary, maybe. If your enemy is all-powerful, then you’re toast, dude.