Dan Slott’s Renew Your Vows souffle falls flat; Regent, Sinister Stooges collapse tasty cake in 4th issue

Regent Renew Your Vows SpiderManA 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!”

Renew Your Vows 4 AnnieIn 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.

The Spot Marvel

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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

G. Willow Wilson’s A-Force: Will Marvel put ‘the boundaries of diversity’ before good writing?

Marvel A ForceMarvel’s upcoming Secret Wars will bring about the end of The Avengers and start of an all-female group known as A-Force.

Marvel confirmed Feb. 6:

Marvel Comics is excited to announce the new group of Earth’s Mightiest Heroes taking over an all-new era with Marvel Comics’ A-FORCE co-written by G. Willow Wilson and Marguerite K. Bennett with artwork by Jorge Molina .

This May, beginning in Marvel’s Secret Wars, the Avengers are no more! …

“She-Hulk, Dazzler, Medusa, Nico Minoru and other fan favorites, will take charge,” says series co-writer G. Willow Wilson. “We’ve purposefully assembled a team composed of different characters from disparate parts of the Marvel U, with very different power sets, identities and ideologies.”

Given that the current crop of Marvel editors and writers tend to prioritize political correctness over sound storytelling, one has to wonder if A-Force will actually be a creative juggernaut or a forgettable mess loved only by feminists for what it aimed to do instead of what it actually accomplished. Series editor Daniel Ketch hints at the answer, and it is not good.

The Huffington Post reported Feb. 6:

“Marvel has always celebrated the diversity of its family of characters and creators,” series editor Daniel Ketch said. “This new series will unite Marvel’s mightiest heroines with the exceptionally creative minds of writers G. Willow Wilson and Marguerite Bennett to craft a story full of epic battles, personal triumphs, and heart-stopping peril … and an all-new character who will push the boundaries of diversity in comic books even further.”

If a character just so happens to break new ground, then that’s great. It is a completely different situation when the creative origin of a character is “How do I push the boundaries of diversity?” The probability that the project will turn into politically correct psychobabble increases exponentially with the latter scenario because a writer will usually compromise his or her character’s integrity at the alter of “diversity” before allowing said hero to enter uncomfortable places.

Regardless, Ms. Wilson assured fans on Friday that she wasn’t going to “create yet another amazon.”

G Willow Wilson TwitterMarvel fans who rolled their eyes at She-Thor hope Ms. Wilson and Mr. Ketch are telling the truth. If they are, then perhaps A-Force will be a comic worth reading. If they are not, then it will be another embarrassing stain on a company that employs men like Tom take-your-devil-dealing-OMD-“medicine”-and-shut-up Brevoort.

Exit question: Marvel’s Daniel Ketch says the company celebrates the “diversity … of its creators.” Really? How many openly conservative writers are employed at Marvel? Can he name one? Where is the Captain America book penned by a writer who shares Nicholas Irving’s worldview? Has there been one since September 11, 2001? I don’t believe so.

Marvel’s ideological diversity seems to include a very small spectrum of political thought, which begins and ends with people like Dan go to “Christ-Land” Slott.

Update: If you’re one of the people bashing me over at Bell of Lost Souls, then … thanks for reading! I find it strange that you have such animated opinions of me that you’re willing to share with your friends, but not in the comments section here…but to each his own. It is telling, however.

And for the record, my avatar isn’t Tyler Durden from “Fight Club”; it’s Mickey O’Neil from “Snatch.” It fits with my “bareknuckled commentary” tagline. Your insults aren’t as funny when you can’t even get those straight.

Related: Ms. Marvel Vol. 1: Like Kamala Khan, intriguing book doesn’t know whether to go big or go small