Marvel Fall Previews 2017: Lies, like Venom symbiote, envelop company

Anyone who has a job knows that you do not want to make a habit of over-promising and under-delivering with you boss. A person who does that too many times will soon find themselves in the unemployment line.

Marvel Comics under Editor-in-Chief Axel Alonso, for some weird reason, does not seem to have learned that lesson. It’s almost like every person who was habitually fired for over-promising and under-delivering got together and managed to land top jobs at Marvel.

For example, take this week’s Marvel Previews 2017 issue. It was billed as evidence of an industry-changing event when, in reality, fans are getting more of the same. Cosmetic changes have been made that allow for a ‘Happy-Happy Joy-Joy press’ release, but everything that caused sales headaches for the company over the past year remains.

In short, Marvel is showing the world what happens when a company lives out so many lies that it no longer knows the value of telling the truth.

For more on the sad state of affairs that is Marvel Comics in 2017, check out my YouTube video below. As always, feel free to share your thoughts in the comments section below.

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Secret Empire #3: Nick Spencer event is really his ‘Secret Lecture’

Marvel’s Secret Empire #3 came out this week, although at this point it really should be called Secret Lecture. As I have said before, writer Nick Spencer is an intelligent man who knows a thing or two about the technical aspects of storytelling. The problem, however, is that he uses his gig at Marvel as a psychiatrist’s couch and a college professor’s podium. He seems to care less about entertaining readers than he does about working out his own political issues and lecturing America for electing President Donald Trump.

There’s much more to say, but for that I invite you to check out my latest YouTube review. If the format is up your alley, then make sure to subscribe and leave your thoughts in the comments section below.

Secret Empire #1: Hydra-Verse and Marvel PR damage control in full swing

Marvel’s comics division has been taking it on the chin in terms of bad press for well over a year now, and the official kickoff to its latest event is no exception. This week saw the release of Secret Empire #1 and a tie-in issue for Free Comic Book Day, which theoretically should bring elicit smiles across the country. Wrong. In fact, the project is so controversial that Marvel had to put out a statement earlier this week asking fans to be patient (even though the story has been building for well over a year).

My latest Youtube review covers the good, the bad and the ugly of writer Nick Spencer’s reality-warping Hydra-Cap tale. And yes, on some level it is good — but the whole situation is a bit complicated.

Anyway, check out the review and let me know what you think in the comments section below. Also: If anyone knows YouTube’s exact rules for using music clips without getting copyright infringement strikes, then let me know — I don’t want to make a habit of joke-singing songs like “Patience” by Guns N’ Roses…

Tom Brevoort sells ‘Champions’ by likening Cyclops to ‘Kid Hitler’

Tom Brevoort

Something rather amazing happened last week that mainstream comic book websites ignored: Marvel Editor Tom Brevoort likened Cyclops to Adolf Hilter — the infamous man responsible for killing six million Jews.

For some inexplicable reason, Mr. Brevoort thought it was a good idea to sell the upcoming “Champions” book on more political activism and “Kid Hitler.” Seriously.

Entertainment Weekly reported July 5:

BREVOORT: This is the young Scott Summers pulled from the past. In my head, he’s kind of the first challenge the group faces. Which is to say that when they get together and start to do this, what they’re doing is not just putting together a superhero team, they’re more like activists. They’re making an inclusive statement that they mean to be for all members of their generation: it’s time to get together and stand up and fix the world. This is a message that goes out and people come in response to it. Cyclops shows up and goes, “Boy I love what you’re putting down, I’d like to be a part of it.” It’s kind of like Kid Hitler showing up at the door. The older Cyclops has done some stuff. He’s a hugely divisive figure in the Marvel universe, so the first question these kids have to answer for themselves is, should we let him be a part of this? Is his very presence going to taint what we’re doing? His older self became a radical and a revolutionary and did awful things, but is it the same guy? And that’s kind of why he’s there I think. He wants to go down a different road than his older self did.

A comic book fan does not even know what has happened in the X-Men books for the past few years to understand how pathetic it is that Scott Summers is “Kid Hitler.”

  1. At what point in time did the Holocaust essentially become an Entertainment Weekly punchline for Mr. Brevoort? Oh that ‘Kid Hitler.’ Tune into to see if the other super-kiddies welcome him into the club after what he’s done! 
  2. At what point did Marvel decide that it was “fun” to read heroes who earn Hitler analogies?

Marvel is in such sad shape these days that heroes seem to fight heroes more than villains, Hydra-Cap gimmicks are required for quick sales, Doctor Octopus spent over a year in Peter Parker’s body, and now Cyclops is “Kid Hitler.”

If you get a chance, ask Marvel’s writers and editors how much money they estimate Mr. Brevoort’s Holocaust analogy in Entertainment Weekly will net the company. My guess is that they will somehow try and portray you as the bad guy, but if they do then just keep in mind who you’re dealing with — men who turned Cyclops into “Kid Hitler.”

Brevoort Cyclops analogy Hitler

Marvel turns Trump into villain ‘M.O.D.A.A.K,’ hopes hackery buoys sales

MODAAK Trump Marvel

It was only one month ago that activist-writer Nick Spencer turned Red Skull into a Donald Trump stand-in. Objective readers wondered just how deep Marvel’s well of partisan hackery might go. Spider-Gwen Annual #1 by writer Jason Latour offers the clearest evidence yet that it is deeper than anyone can imagine.

Comic Book Resources reported Saturday:

In this week’s “Spider-Gwen Annual” #1, writer Jason Latour and “an awesome assemblage of artists” offer a tour of Earth-65 with a collection of short stories that includes She-Hulk as a pro wrestler, the origin of Koala Kommander, and an all-too brief showdown between Captain America and M.O.D.O.K. — wait, make that M.O.D.A.A.K. (Mental Organism Designed As America’s King).

Illustrated by Chris Visions and colored by Jim Campbell, the two-page sequence depicts M.O.D.A.A.K. as an orange-skinned, tiny-handed villain sitting in his floating chair, leading the forces of A.I.M. near the United States/Mexico border. There he declares, “If American will not act — M.O.D.A.A.K must!”

However, just as he begins to utter a familiar slogan (“Must make America–“), he’s cut off by a well-placed shield throw from Captain America. Crashing to the ground, M.O.D.A.A.K. leaves us with a parting threat (and a jab at Trump): “Crush you … in … my … powerful handsss …”

Regular readers of this blog know that I have no love for the billionaire’s campaign, which is why it pains me to have to defend the man. Although, truthfully, it’s not really about Mr. Trump. What this is about is Marvel Comics filling its ranks with pathetic partisan trolls whose bright idea for keeping the company afloat is to cultivate loyalty with the lowest common denominator.

Note to Jason Latour, Nick Spencer, Dan Slott, Tom Brevoort, and everyone else within Marvel who thinks dividing people is a great business model for long-term growth: The internet exists. When you create stuff like Trump-M.O.D.A.A.K., those stories end up in news feeds next to ‘White House reveals number of civilian deaths from drone strikes.’

CNN reported Friday:

President Barack Obama’s administration estimated Friday that between 64 and 116 civilians have died during the years 2009-2015 from U.S. drone strikes outside of Iraq and Afghanistan.

In the same time span, the administration said between 2,372 and 2,581 militants had been taken out by drones. …

Human rights groups, however, were unsatisfied by the government’s disclosed figures, which came in far lower than independent estimates of civilian causalities.

Selective moral outrage and Marvel-approved hypocrisy are easy to expose thanks to the internet. Whether one loves him or hates him, Donald Trump has never dropped bombs on 116 civilian heads.

President Obama decided long ago that he would rather splatter suspected terrorists into a blood-red mist than capture and interrogate them like George W. Bush, but yet it is Mr. Trump who gets the M.O.D.A.A.K treatment. Telling.

Readers get what is going on, which is in part why Spider-Gwen had estimated sales of a whopping (drumroll please) … 33,797 copies last month.

The moral of the story is this: There are many, many, many readers who are fed up with immature antics of writers like Nick Spencer and Jason Latour. We do not have an affinity for Donald Trump, but we also don’t want to see him turned into a de facto Red Skull or alternate-universe M.O.D.O.K. (Mental/Mobile/Mechanized Organism Designed Only for Killing).

Superhero comic books were once used to unite readers of all ages and from all walks of life, but these days Marvel employees work to divide — and that is one reason why so many life-long customers no longer care and are walking away in droves.

Related:

Red Skull

Nick Spencer’s Hydra-Cap #2: Brevoort’s ‘not a gimmick’ line a lie for quick sales

Red Skull Kobik

It was one month ago that Marvel executive editor Tom Brevoort and writer Nick Spencer asserted to the world that Captain America’s “Hail Hydra” moment was “not a gimmick.”  Sure, they responded to outrage by trying to Jedi mind-trick readers into forgetting the whole Nazi aspect of Hydra, Red Skull, and his crew, but the message was clear: Hydra-Cap wasn’t a shameless cash grab. Captain America: Steve Rogers #2, however, makes it clear that Mr. Brevoort has no qualms about lying if it will line Marvel’s pockets with short-term cash.

Here is what you need to know about the issue:

  • Kobik, the sentient Cosmic Cube, sought out Red Skull the moment she manifested in S.H.I.E.L.D. headquarters years ago.
  • Dr. Selvig and S.H.I.E.L.D. never knew that Kobik was being raised by Red Skull, who led her to believe the most ideal world would be one run by Hydra. The doctor’s mind was altered before his initial suspicions were confirmed.
  • Red Skull used Pleasant Hill, an super villain prison created by Kobik, as bait for Captain America.
  • Everything that transpired at the reality-altering facility was orchestrated so that Kobik would implant a false past — a Hydra-inspired past — into Steve Roger’s mind.

Most readers, your friendly neighborhood blogger included, assumed things would eventually be put right after “Cosmic-Cube weirdness” was revealed. We knew what Marvel was doing, but a.) objected to story as a matter of principle — writers should not desecrate a hero for mere shock value, and b.) deemed the length of time it was implied that Hydra-Cap would be working for the terrorist organization as a betrayal of the character.

Blind supporters of Messrs. Brevoort and Spencer made it seem like critics were hyper-impatient, when it was Marvel that created the perception that bread crumbs would be dropped over the course of months.

“I thought we wouldn’t know this much for at least five or six months,” the manager at my local comic shop said when I asked him what he thought about the issue. We both wondered if the timeline was accelerated due to fan backlash, but the owner said he was confident that was not the case.

All of this begs the question: Why?

Why would Marvel expend so much time and effort lying to its fans for a short-term sales boost?

Red Skull Selvig

That answer appears to be two-fold:

  1. The people running the show have no shame. Ironically, the writer who rails against Donald Trump now subscribes to the same “all publicity is good publicity” philosophy that has been perfected by the billionaire.
  2. Marvel Comics, which is currently populated by a slew of petulant man-boys, wanted to steal headlines from DC Comics’ Rebirth.

A rising tide lifts all boats, but guys like Tom Brevoort are working overtime to needlessly torpedo ships that sail the same ocean.

If that is the kind of behavior you want to reward, then head on over to your local comic shop as soon as possible. Otherwise, save the $4.00 for a day when the “House of Ideas” once again has significant floor space dedicated to respecting long-time readers.

Tom Brevoort tries Hydra Captain America spin-job, Newsarama goes full toady

Captain America Jack Flag

One of the reasons this blog began reviewing the comics industry years ago was because the mainstream “news” outlets almost always serve as a mouthpiece for whatever bilge the creators dish out. If there is one good thing to come out of Nick Spencer’s “Captain America: Nazi-sympathizing Hydra Agent,” it is that more people realize that allegedly impartial reporters are usually glorified toadies for men like Tom Brevoort.

Take a recent piece by Newsarama’s piece by George Marston:

“Reaction to the news has been mixed, with some, familiar with the ebb and flow of comic book storytelling intrigued by the twist, or resigned to wait it out and see its explanation, while others less familiar with comic book tropes decried the reveal as an outright betrayal of Captain America or even his creators.

According to Tom Brevoort, Marvel Executive Editor, an editor of Captain America: Steve Rogers #1, where the reveal took place, Marvel was somewhat surprised by the reaction to the twist, not expecting the level of vitriol some fans have levied at the publisher, and at Nick Spencer, writer of the issue and architect of its twist.”

Did you get that first paragraph? If you view Marvel’s decision as a grotesque betrayal of the character, then you must be **hurrrrrrm** “less familiar with comic book tropes.”

Tut. Tut. Now excuse me while I wipe my monocle, you rubes.

The message by Newsarama is clear: Only ignorant fools who don’t know comics oppose the latest “bold” idea by Marvel’s editors and writers. Nick Spencer could turn Captain America into a serial killer and there would be guys like George Marston calling it “bold” at this point.

George Marston Newsarama Twitter

One would think that Mr. Brevoort’s “surprise” at the negative reaction to Mr. Spencer’s story would be challenged, considering it was the Marvel editor who told USA Today he knew it would be like slapping fans in the face.

“‘We knew it would be like slapping people in the face,’ says Brevoort. […] “The idea of Captain America means something very primal and very strong to the people of this nation, and they have a very visceral reaction when you get to something like that. You want people to feel and react to your story. So far, so good.”

Even though Mr. Marston covered the “slap” comment in his own column, there was no push-back against Tom Brevoort. The Marvel editor explicitly said a decision was made to “slap” readers in the face, and then he is “surprised” when people are angry. Newsarama’s decision is to then label critics as “less familiar with comic book tropes.” Classic.

Perhaps the most laughable moment in Newsarama’s interview with Mr. Brevoort comes when he tries (and fails) to say that equating Hydra-Cap to a Nazi is out of bounds.

“There’s a subset of people who are upset about this, who are exactly like that. The reporting on this, and the sort of game of telephone on the internet about this went from it being ‘Captain America is Hydra,’ to ‘Captain America is a Nazi’ – which is already a leap – to ‘This is anti-semitism,’ which is ridiculous, in that, if you look at the comic book that we put out, there is nothing in it that, in any way, shape, or form, is even slightly anti-semitic. But because people were able to go ‘Hydra = Nazi, and Nazi = anti-semitism,’ that’s what reactions became about.

By reporting that we revealed ‘Captain America is a Nazi and anti-semitic,’ people that haven’t even read the work react with outrage, because they understand who Captain America is, even if they’ve never read a comic book.”

Hyrda’s history is well established in the comics, the MCU, and television. The reason why Mr. Brevoort said the story would be a “slap” in the face to fans is because he knew people would put two and two together. Now that the story has amazingly unified readers across the political spectrum, he wants to feign ignorance.

Cap a Nazi sympathizer? Where would you get that idea? Who told you 2+2 = 4? It’s five.

If you want honest reporting on comic books, then websites Newsarama are typically not the place to go. The vast majority of the time their writers and editors are only interested in keeping the access-spigot flowing. They cannot bite the hand that feeds, but they will gladly give men like Tom Brevoort a thumb to suck every time he runs to them crying.

Withhold your cash when it comes to Captain America until Marvel learns its lesson. If you want to reward the company for good work, then purchase Charles Soule’s Daredevil. Just be aware that one day a writer will come up with the idea that Matt Murdock has never been blind and was working for Kingpin all along — and reporters like George Marston will be ready and waiting to insult you for showing displeasure.

Editor’s Note: Henchmen’s Lounge was kind enough to invite me onto a podcast to discuss Captain America. We begin talking about Hydra-Cap at the 18-minute mark.

 

‘Captain America #1’: Nick Spencer turns hero into Hydra agent with Tom Brevoort’s blessing

Hydra pamphlet

Your friendly neighborhood blogger wrote a piece of satire in January 2015 that involved Marvel Comics turning Red Skull into Captain America. Fast forward in time to May 25, 2016, and the company has, for all intents and purposes, done just that.

Captain America has seemingly been a Hydra agent since the very beginning — and Marvel executive editor Tom Brevoort claims it is not a gimmick.

TIME magazine reported:

Every single month whether it’s a run of the mill month for Captain America or an extraordinary month, our job is to put him in situations that place that character under some degree of pressure and see how he reacts to that. And hopefully our readers are surprised, shocked, elated, see something of themselves, learn something about themselves. To say it’s a gimmick implies that it’s done heedlessly just to shock. The proof is always going to be in the execution. So you’ll have to read the rest of the story to see.

But I certainly believe it’s not a gimmick. It’s a story that we spent a long time on, that’s compelling and captures the zeitgeist of the world. It will make readers wonder how the heck we’ll get out of this.

The truth, however, is slightly different: Readers want to know how Marvel got into this mess. Hiring Nick Spencer — a man who is so weirdly partisan that he says Republicans are “evil” — explains a lot, but the problem goes much deeper.

Before we move on, however, here is what you need to know about Steve Rogers: Captain America #1:

  • Steve Rogers had an abusive father.
  • Steve’s mother, Sarah, is aided by a “Hydra Society” member one night after her husband beats her. She takes a pamphlet for Hydra’s New York chapter (because creepy skulls with tentacles would never set off warning bells).
  • Red Skull recruits the next generation of Hydra in 2016 by making fair points about Europe’s refugee crisis (i.e., Nick Spencer wants you to associate rather innocuous conservative observations with Nazi villains).
  • S.H.I.E.L.D. finds Baron Zemo, which prompts Captain America, Jack Flag, and Free Spirit to the lawless city of Bagalia.
  • Jack Flag ignores Cap’s orders and assists in confronting Zemo in the villain’s jet.
  • Captain America laments Jack Flag’s decision and then throws him out a cargo drop.
  • The issue ends with Captain America saying “Hail Hydra” to Doctor Erik Selvig, a scientist Zemo held hostage in an attempt to find the sentient Cosmic Cube known as Kobik.

Red Skull

The question on everyone’s mind, judging from the #saynotohydracap hashtag that trended on Twitter all morning, is simple: Why?

The answer: A culture of moral relativism inside the halls of Marvel is so prevalent that Doctor Octopus had to become “Spider-man” for over a year and now Captain America must run around as a Nazi-sympathizing Hydra agent for an extended amount of time.

Iron Man was turned into a villain.

Spider-Man was turned into a villain.

Captain America is now a villain.

Heroes battled each other in Civil War and will do so again in Civil War II.

Notice a trend? These are the hallmarks of an organization that is so uncomfortable drawing a clear line between good and evil that instead it would rather go with a “one man’s Captain America is another man’s Red Skull” approach.

Nothing matters: Captain America is Hydra. Doctor Octopus is Spider-Man. Iron Man is a George W. Bush allegory and Red Skull agrees with Republicans (and moderate Democrats) on the issue of Syrian refugees. That is your modern Marvel comic book, and it wouldn’t be so embarrassing if men like Tom Breevort didn’t lie about writing for “the zeitgeist.”

Captain America Jack Flag

Take the following claim by Mr. Brevoort, for example:

TIME: In the comic the Red Skull of Hydra talks about “criminal trespassers” who “make a mockery” of America’s borders and calls the refugees in Germany an “invading army” bringing “fanatical beliefs and crime” to Europe. Obviously, this hate speech is nothing new for the organization, but it sounds like rhetoric we’ve been hearing this election. Is that purposeful?

Brevoort: We try to write comics in 2016 that are about the world and the zeitgeist of 2016, particularly in Captain America. Nick Spencer, the writer, is very politically active. He’s a Capitol Hill head and following this election very closely. So we can talk about political issues in a metaphoric way. That’s what gives our stories weight and meat to them. Any parallels you have seen to situations real or imagined, living or dead, is probably intentional but metaphorically not literally.

Mr. Brevoort liked the word “zeitgeist” so much that he used it twice in one interview, but it’s funny how the “zeitgeist” only relates to making Republican presidential candidates look like Nazis and then turning Captain America into a Hydra agent — all in the same issue where a guy with ties to white supremacists turned himself into a Hyrda suicide bomber.

Why is it that Marvel’s zeitgeist-quota is laughably focused on metaphors of white, Republican males as evil instead of, say, national security threats posed by Islamic terrorist organizations controlling large swathes of Syria, Iraq, Yemen, Libya, and Afghanistan?

How strange is it that Nick Spencer did not find it timely in a post-9/11 world to have Captain America team up with Ranger-run task forces in Pakistan, but he did to turn him into a Hydra agent?

If you increasingly find yourself feeling like Doctor Erik Selvig or any other characters who are held hostage in Marvel’s comics, then you should know that you are not alone. The characters you grew up with are now beholden to partisan writers and editors who enable immature and mean-spirited fantasies. Hashtag’s like #saynotohyracap are fine, but withholding hard-earned cash should always be the primary method of conveying displeasure.

Tune in here in for future updates into the sad decline of Marvel’s comics division and the activist-creators behind it all.

Update: John C. Wright was kind enough to link to this post. To all of his readers: Welcome!

Captain America Hydra

Nick Spencer calls Republicans ‘evil,’ Marvel, industry ‘journalists’ yawn as customers walk

Nick Spencer Marvel

Imagine you are a Marvel editor on Steve Rogers: Captain America, which comes out Wednesday. You’re hoping the book sells well despite the new costume looking like something from Marvel’s NFL Superpro in the 1990s. Everything is ready to go, and then you glance at the writer’s Twitter feed and realize that he constantly advertises his own hatred towards [insert large group of potential customers here] and calls them “evil” instead of promoting the book. What would you do?

The answer — at least when it comes to having 20/20 hate-vision for Republicans — is nothing.

Yes, that’s right, Captain America writer Nick Spencer can tell the world he has an Orwellian “2 Minutes Hate”-thing for Republicans and there are apparently zero repercussions.

Nick Spencer blind hate

It is glaringly obvious that readers who are independent voters are even turned off by his rhetoric, and yet Marvel and so-called industry journalists do nothing. They sit back and watch as sales suffer because writers like Mr. Spencer tell potential customers they are evil — merely for disagreeing on public policy.

Nick Spencer Twitter politics

Take this in: The man who writes Captain America — a hero who should transcend petty politics — is a partisan hack of the highest order. He speaks of the “myth” of the “good Republican” because … they might disagree with liberal family members on complex issues.

Nick Spencer Twitter political rant

Mr. Spencer says conservatives turn “so evil” when discussing cultural issues. Let us now take a moment to examine the refugee crisis in Europe, for example.

CNN reported Jan 6:

Germany has been shocked by the apparently coordinated crime wave, in which Cologne police received more than 100 criminal complaints from women who said they had been sexually assaulted or robbed by gangs of men of Arab or North African appearance in the city center during New Year’s Eve festivities. Cologne police would not elaborate Wednesday on the total number of crimes reported, as the figure continued to rise.

Police have said that about a quarter of the complaints related to sexual assaults, including a rape, and that they believed the assaults were probably intended to distract the victims, allowing attackers to steal mobile phones and other devices.

Say you’re a young man who reads Mr. Spencer’s Twitter feed. You’re not particularly political, but you know that your brother is a conservative guy. You ask your brother about the refugee crisis and the conversation goes as follows:

Comic Kid: What do you think of the refugee crisis in Germany?

Conservative Brother: Did you hear about the waves of sexual assaults on New Year’s Eve?

Comic Kid: Yeah. What’s up with that?

Conservative Brother: Germany took in 1.1 million refugees from the Middle East and North Africa in 2015. They flooded cities with Muslims, and it’s going to have a huge cultural impact in the years to come. Many of these individuals have no respect for western values. They came from countries where women could be beaten for leaving the house without a related male escort, they could be executed in “honor killings,” etc.

Comic Kid: Hmmm.

Conservative Brother: There was one city, Sumte, which had a population of just over 100 people. They were ordered to take in 1,000 refugees. The German government culturally upended the city of Sumte with one stroke of the pen.

Comic Kid: It’s kind of hard to argue with that.

In the mind of Nick Spencer, pointing out irrefutable facts that make his preferred public policies less desirable is “evil.” Instead of simply acknowledging that reasonable people can disagree, he takes to Twitter to tell anyone who will listen that their conservative family members are “evil.” Mr. Spencer is a sick man.

If Marvel has any responsible editors left within the building, then someone will rein in Mr. Spencer’s behavior. We all know that if he said people need to “stop believing in the myth of the good Muslim” then he would be fired, but perhaps there is someone with a shred of integrity who will address the situation.

Congratulations, Marvel Comics. Your Captain America writer spends his time on social media telling about half your potential customers that they are “evil.” Good luck with that business model.

Renew Your Vows #2: Dan Slott hits a rare home run, proves Tom Brevoort’s ‘medicine’ was poison

Renew Your Vows 2 SpiderManBaseball fans know just how fun it is to watch a pitcher hit a home run. Likewise, comic fans can stand up and cheer because Dan Slott, despite going 0-25 in his last 25 at bats, finally knocked one out of the park with issue #2 of Renew Your Vows. He bumped his batting average up to .038 with one home run. He also managed to expose once and for all how Tom Brevoort’s “medicine” (i.e., his comments on the decision to end Peter Parker’s marriage to MJ) was in fact poison.

Tom Brevoort Twitter OMDA lot of people joked about Annie’s name when it was first revealed, likening it to a cheap take on “Little Orphan Annie” because of her red hair, but after reading issue #2 of Renew Your Vows it is hard not think of her like a super-powered Anne Frank.

Just as the Frank family had to go into hiding during World War II, so too must the Parker family. An evil dictator with a penchant for genetic testing once controlled Germany and sought subjects on whom he could experiment; likewise, Regent hunts down a minority group — superheroes — and kills or experiments on them. If all of this was on accident, then Dan Slott stumbled onto a powerful accident. If the parallels were purposeful, then at least with this issue he did an stellar job.

On almost every level, the second issue of Renew Your Vows works.

  • Peter struggles with nightmares linked with having killed Eddie Brock (Venom), just as any cop or soldier might.
  • The dialogue between the entire family is touching and emotional.
  • Peter springs into action and acts like a true hero. He exudes grit and determination.
  • Mary Jane becomes the mother everyone knows she would have been — if it weren’t for Tom Brevoort’s “medicine.”
  • Annie is intriguing, and her reactions to Peter’s heroics touch anyone who once watched their own parents come through in a difficult situation.

All of this begs the question: Why has Marvel denied readers these kinds of stories — for years? Why has Marvel pretended like readers could not relate to a married Peter Parker when this issue proves them incredibly wrong?

Yes, it’s true: Dan Slott wrote an issue of The Amazing Spider-Man that is, for all intents and purposes, flawless.

It is inexplicable that fans have had to deal with man-child Peter Parker, the death of Peter Parker, and “Please-help-me-Silk-and-Anna-Maria” Peter Parker when Dan Slott could have been writing about Peter Parker the grown man, who is trying to raise his super-powered daughter with a strong woman by his side.

Come out for a curtain call and tip your hat, Dan Slott. You earned it. But as you return to the dugout, I highly suggest telling your team manager that he should stop administering his preferred “medicine.”