So, I’ve not read one single page of the Secret Wars mini-series. How does Spidey’s return to the married life play out? Is it all that fans were hoping for? Or is it just Marvel playing another cruel joke on long time web-heads.
WRITER: Dan Slott
ART: Adam Kubert
COLOR: Justin Ponsor
INKS: John Dell
EDITOR: Nick Lowe
STORY: Our issue begins with a married Peter Parker working on his webshooters at the dinner table. Mary Jane is upset that he isn’t at home spending enough time with their new baby girl Annie. He explains that on top of his rogues gallery he is also battling Moon Knights, Iron fists, and Daredevils villains stating the heroes haven’t been showing up to stop crime. He promises to make it up to Mary Jane. From here we cut to the offices of the Daily Bugle. Operating just the same as it did back in Spidey’s hayday. Peter wants to sell his brand new photos of Spider-Man when he discovers that Jonah has been given an order by the mayor not to run anymore pictures of superheroes in the paper. When Peter asks why Urich explains that heroes are missing, and turning up dead all around New York.
Spidey immediately decides to go to Avengers mansion to see what is happening to all of the missing heroes. Once he arrives he discovers that they have been expecting him. The Avengers are preparing to take down the man suspected of killing the heroes. Simultaneous to their assault Hawkeye states that there has been a breakout in Rykers prison. Captain America tells Hawkeye they need all Avengers to take on the threat, and that they will deal with the breakout later. Spider-Man realizes which villain he has locked up in Rykers and immediately rushes home to Mary Jane. The Avengers go to face the threat whilst Peter goes home. Once he arrives home he discovers Venom sitting there with his child and Mary Jane as hostage. The two foes go at it while MJ runs downstairs to get help. Eventually she finds a fire truck and sneaks on hoping to get to a place to hot for Venom. While this is happening the Avengers face down the man menacing their world. He has stolen all of the X-men’s powers and uses it to destroy the team. Venom then follows the fire truck and Spider-Man manages to corner him in a flaming building. At this time Venom begins to go on a monologue about how Spider-Man is now beatable due to having a real weakness. This causes Spider-Man to decide murdering Eddie Brock is the only way to stop him. After the murder we cut to a few years later where we see Spider-Man ignoring a robbery, and walking his daughter down the street.
PLOT: I have not been reading Secret Wars because I am not Scrooge Mcduck and cannot afford the immense cost such an endeavor would involve. My only experience with the event is this book. This issue might as well be called “I’m right you’re wrong” because this doesn’t feel like an organic story. Instead it feels like Dan Slott pushing his opinion down your throat. I mean even the title “We can’t have nice things” is built to just anger old Spider-Man fans. This issue has Spider-Man murdering Eddie Brock without even attempting to find a solution. This is for Spider-Man what Man of Steel was for Superman fans. The only reason he kills in this issue is because this story is written to undermine the very idea of the Spider-Marriage. It really rubs me the wrong way, why even write this story?
Before I go to far into the negative there are some good things about this issue. Mary Jane is written like a character who can solve problems, and is helpful to the situation. This is contrary to many of her modern portrayals so that’s good. The moments with Annie the Spider-Baby are really cute, and it seems like how it would be in a real marriage for the character. The artwork is magnificent with splashes of unique costume changes that successfully let you know this isn’t the 616 Marvel Universe. The artwork also does some real wonders with perspective, particularly when you see the reflection of the scene through Spider-Man’s lens’s. Kubert is an awesome artist who hopefully gets more Spider-Work.
Now back to my ranting. So take a step back from Spider-Man, just who the hell is the main villain? Some weird super power version of TaskMaster? Furthermore since when is the skin of Colossus, and the eye-beams of Cyclops powerful enough to stop the Hulk? I mean yes it’s an alternate universe so anything is possible, it just doesn’t explain these changes. Also just an incredibly minor point wouldn’t it have been nice to see the child be named “May” or something a little bit more meaningful to the Spider-Universe. Annie at least to me seems a little bit of a wasted opportunity. Is she named after Aunt Anna? We’ve seen Spider-Man time and time again rise to every foe, every herculean feat, and throughout it all he uses his wits to save the day. WITHOUT MURDER. Now again this being an alternate universe you could say its a different Spider-Man but Venom before his death makes it clear that this is a character change. So him having a child turns him into a murderer? This had the potential to be a story that could have been a nice “here’s what could have been” plot. Show a nice normal love filled Spider-Man, who has adapted to the married life. A different perspective on the Spider-Man marriage, a positive one. Instead we get a rehash of what Marvel’s PR team has been saying for years. Which is a disappointment and insures these two books will be the only stories I delve into for the Secret Wars tirade.