Renew Your Vows: Dan Slott opts to divorce Peter Parker fans with tale of ‘stupid red and blue suit’

Dan Slott Renew Your VowsDan 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.

Renew Your Vows SpiderManQuestion: 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.

Renew Your Vows ASMFans 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.

Renew Your Vows1On the last page it gets worse. Peter says “It’s not a perfect world. But, I look after me and mine. And that’s good enough.”

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.

Dan Slott Renew Your Vows tweet

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Dan Slott: I write Peter Parker like a blockhead because Charlie Brown never kicked the football

Dan Slott LucyMarvel’s “Renew Your Vows” is just around the corner, which means Dan Slott has been making the rounds to preemptively defend the weird editorial mandates Marvel will soon shove down readers’ throats. Think of it like the “medicine” Tom Brevoort is fond of telling fans they need.

Flashback: “The medicine may not taste good, but if it makes you feel better, then you need to take it.”

Tom Brevoort Twitter OMDIn its lead-up to questions with The Amazing Spider-Man writer Dan Slott, here’s what Entertainment Weekly said March 16 about Marvel’s past attempts to administer fans their “medicine.”

While there isn’t much of a way to objectively measure these things, the dissolution of the Spider-marriage in 2007’s One More Day is easily one of the most widely disparaged story decisions for the character in recent memory. (The “death” of Peter Parker leading up to Superior Spider-Man may have come close, but a lot of people have come around on that front. Not nearly as many have said, “Hey, the Parkers selling their marriage to the devil to save Aunt May was actually great.”)

Entertainment Weekly writer Joshua Rivera (perhaps best known for not understanding why self-censorship is a bad thing for the industry), gently alluded to the possibility that Marvel would once again screw things up with “Renew Your Vows.” Dan Slott’s reaction: talk about Charles M. Schulz denying Charlie Brown the opportunity to kick the football out of Lucy’s hands.

Mr. Slott said:

“With any story where you give people what they want—there’s a difference, as a storyteller, between what your readers want and what your readers need. In a good Peanuts story, you want Charlie Brown to kick that football. But if Charlie Brown kicks the football, it’s over!” says Slott. “All the best stories in serialized fiction–it’s always about teasing the greatest wishes and wants, but monkey-pawing it. Always giving you what you want, but not the way you want it.”

The Marvel writer was so proud of his false analogy that he even started using it on Twitter:

Dan Slott Charlie BrownHow bizarre is it that Dan Slott willingly casts himself as the comic industry’s Lucy Van Pelt and then wonders why fans often want to verbally kick him around like a football? Regardless, like Mr. Brevoort’s “medicine” comment, the hubris of the modern comic book creator is on full display. Tom Brevoort knows what medicine you “need” to take. Dan Slott knows what you “need” — and it’s not what you want.

Dan Slott Charlie Brown footballDan Slott seems to really believe he is comparing apples to apples when he compares a static character who never ages with one who is much more dynamic. In one instance there is Charlie Brown — the sole property of Charles M. Schulz — who is inspired by the artist’s childhood. In the other instance there is Peter Parker, a character who was created by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko, but in no way meant to be trapped in his own hell-ish editorial version of Groundhog Day.

Why is it “over” if Charlie Brown kicks the ball? It’s not. It’s only over if your point all along was to convey some strange message about how women are duplicitous jerks who send good men reeling when they are trusted.

Is Dan Slott saying that Peter Parker’s “Lucy and the football” situation is marriage to a strong woman like MJ? What does Dan Slott have against writing a married version of Peter Parker? Just as it’s totally legitimate to ask what the heck Charles M. Shulz was thinking by never allowing Charlie Brown to kick the football, it is also quite valid to wonder why so many writers and editors at Marvel are uncomfortable with a marriage between Peter and MJ.

If Dan Slott really believes that his job as a writer is to be the best “monkey-pawer” in the business — and I have no reason to doubt that he is sincere when he makes that case — then it should be abundantly clear why the relaunch of The Amazing Spider-Man has been an embarrassment in terms of Peter Parker’s characterization.

Dan Slott is great at telling naked Spider-Ham jokes and he is great at treating Peter Parker like Charlie Brown trying to kick at the old pigskin, but he is not great at characterization. If you plan on buying “Renew Your Vows,” then you should take the writer at his word when he says that his job is not to give the fans what they want.