Thursday, 19 May 2016

Amazing Spider-Man: Renew Your Vows Review (Dan Slott, Adam Kubert)


In another life… 

Peter and MJ are married with a young daughter, Annie May. But the world they live in is without heroes. Anyone with powers must lie low and society is ruled over by a tyrannical supervillain called Regent, who absorbed all of the heroes’ superpowers. Peter retires Spider-Man and maintains a low profile to keep his family safe from Regent’s attention. But when Regent threatens his family Peter is reminded of his sacred vow: with great power comes great responsibility. Time to renew them, Spidey! 

Like a lot of Secret Wars tie-ins, Amazing Spider-Man: Renew Your Vows riffs on a famous past storyline: the wedding of Peter and MJ back in the ‘80s. But only in title and cover-style because there’s no wedding or romantic lovey-dovey crap in this one (this miniseries’ variant covers featuring MJ in wedding gowns are VERY misleading!) instead seeming to be a continuation of that storyline. What often follows weddings? Kids, and so Peter and MJ become parents. 

What bothered me the most about this story was Dan Slott’s portrayal of Peter who just doesn’t seem to act like Peter. Becoming a father changes everyone (I imagine) but Peter ends up killing someone who threatened his family and then lets his friends, the Avengers and X-Men, die without trying to help them - as if those guys didn’t have loved ones of their own! He’s just too selfish and abandons all of his principles for his kid - I don’t know, really? That seems like too massive a personality change for me to accept.

The story itself is pretty fun. Regent’s henchmen are the Sinister SIx and it’s always enjoyable to see Spider-Man take on his most famous rogues, doubly so when his gutsy daughter, who inherited his powers, joins him. The action is great as is the fight back against Regent once the Resistance discovers Spider-Man’s still active and attempts to topple his authoritarian rule. Regent himself though isn’t a great character. He’s boringly overpowered like crazy and only fails when he needs to - he may as well be called Mr Plot Contrivance! Slott needed a mega-powerful villain and so Regent was born - very unimaginative. 

Adam Kubert’s art is strong and I liked his redesigned Sinister Six. The ending though is very predictable and Peter remains unrepentantly obnoxious, only helping others if his family are threatened. If this is the guy Spider-Man becomes when he has kids, I hope he remains childless in the main series forever! 

Renew Your Vows only barely connects to Secret Wars but those are the kind of tie-ins that tend to be the better ones. It’s not a brilliant Spider-Man book mostly because of how Peter’s character behaved throughout it but it’s not bad either for the novelty of the setup and Annie May. It’s a mildly entertaining What If?-type story but definitely not a must-read.

Amazing Spider-Man: Renew Your Vows

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