Alford Notes: Amazing Spider-Man #15 – Suit Yourself


asm15coverWill Peter continue to be a childish jerk?  Will Mary Jane and Peter get back together? Will Harry correct people on his new and improved last name?  Who will save our title hero this time? Get ready for the exciting conclusion of Renew Your Vows, I mean Power Play!

The Devil in the Details

Writer: Dan Slott and Christos Gage

Artist: Giuseppe Camuncoli

Inker: Cam Smith

Colorist: Marte Gracia

Letterer: VC’s Joe Caramagna

Cover Artist: Alex Ross

Editor: Nick Lowe

Published: 6 July 2016

The Story – Pay Attention, This Will Be on the Test

Oh no!  Iron Man and Spider-Man are trapped in little red bubbles!  The world is doomed!  But wait! Who is the mystery woman in the Iron Spider suit?  It’s none other than our very own Mary Jane and she arrives just in time to save the day.  Meanwhile, Harry breaks out of a tube designed to hold Thor and gets a message to Spidey.  Iron Man and Iron Jane hold off Regent as Spider-Man rescues Harry and the only one we really care about nowadays, Miles Morales.  Together, they break open all the tubes and the entire Marvel universe comes down on Regent.  Peter gives up Mary Jane (again) and then we get a will they, won’t they, she loves me, she loves me not routine just in time to see JJJ Sr. fall over (dead?)

Analysis –

This issue was not bad, but more on that in the pass/fail section.  If you read Renew Your Vows, just take out the loving relationship between MJ and Peter and take out Annie and you’ve pretty much got this story.  It was done well the first time and it is done well this time, but this makes me feel like I do when I read Catching FireHunger Games was great.  Catching Fire was the exact same story, just substitute some new characters, so while I enjoyed it, it just didn’t satisfy me.  However, that is not to say I didn’t enjoy it.  It was, as I said before, handled well despite it being a retread, so I was stuck with mixed feelings.

asm15before

Yeah it’s different – we’re missing the two best things about before – MJ and Peter’s relationship and Annie

On top of that, I couldn’t remember the state of the Iron Spider suit after Civil War.  Can you?

Pop Quiz Time

a. When we last saw the Iron Spider suit, it was:

b. still in pristine condition

c. only had a few rips around the face

d. missing back arms, multiple rips around face, legs, and arms

e. completely destroyed beyond repair

Click the image above to see the costume the last time it was worn.

Click the image above to see the costume the last time it was worn.

As far as moving the story of Peter along in this universe, we do get some moves forward.  Peter realizes that he has not been the most responsible person.  The issue with Mary Jane is resolved (turns out it was just a fan tease after all, who could have seen that coming?).  The Regent issue is resolved (as much as any comic book villain is resolved). So we are moving forward and the set up for the next issue is promising in that it seems to be promising an exploration of Peter’s life.  A Peter that is not so much a jack ass if this issue’s self-revelation is to be believed.  I’ve said before, I have no trouble with a rich successful Peter Parker as long as it is true to the character of Peter Parker.  I don’t think being poor is vital to the character.  So I will remain hopeful that we will get to see it (I know, I know).

Jonah Sr.’s passing out on the floor after coughing up blood changes our concerns for Aunt May.  Whatever it is, it has to be something that either May and Jonah contracted at the same time or something that is contagious (in which case, there goes all of Peter’s remaining supporting cast).  So let’s look again at the reasons Web MD gives for coughing up blood (if you need a more detailed description, see the review for ASM #14):

  • Bronchitis – not contagious not dramatic (Crawlspace odds – 0%)
  • Bronchiectasis – not contagious, not dramatic, not drastically life threatening (Crawlspace odds – 0%)
  • Lung cancer – the odds of both of them getting it is rare, unless it is because they have been in contact with something radioactive dealing with Parker Industries (Crawlspace odds – 50%)
  • Use of blood thinners – they could be sharing them I guess, but probably not (Crawlspace odds – 5%)
  • Pneumonia – again, a good Victorian novel could have this affect both of them, but odds are going to drop (Crawlspace odds – 15%)
  • Pulmonary embolism – basically blot clots in your veins – seems too much of a coincidence for both of them to have it (Crawlspace odds – 5%)
  • Congestive heart failure – this was a high probability for Aunt May, but for both of them? (Crawlspace odds – 10%)
  • Tuberculosis – again, the coincidence factor really drops this down (Crawlspace odds – 10%)
  • Dieulafoy’s disease – (Crawlspace odds – 5%)
  • Inflammatory or autoimmune conditions and pulmonary arteriovenous malformations – (Crawlspace odds – 5%)
  • Trauma, such as a gunshot wound or motor vehicle accident – great possibility if we are looking at complications from Kingpin’s attack, but now that Sr. is laid out… (Crawlspace odds – 0%)
  • Crack cocaine – Dang if that doesn’t fit perfectly here too! (Crawlspace odds – 100%)

Or… it’s some made up illness being given to Peter’s loved ones by whoever is in the Jackal mask (Warren, Warren’s high school teaching brother, Spider-Cide 2.0, evil Ben Reilly, etc.)

Or… maybe Aunt May and Sr. are merely clones and they are degenerating.  That’s the conspiracy in the Clone Conspiracy coming up!  Maybe she was a clone way back when she got shot by Kingpin!  All these past years were for nothing!  Ha!  Take that, loyal fanbase!

cough-cough

That third cough sound really raises the onomatopoeia impact.  In the next panel, he makes the sound BLRKBQRKPQRBLNB!

What Passed:

Regent didn’t get defeated by over taxing his power suit.  I felt like we were getting an overdose of a set up for that in the past two issues, but suddenly, the problem with his vital signs and suit integrity fixed themselves.  It’s a Festivus miracle!  In fact, the manner in which Regent gets unhorsed is very well played.  Spider-Man is trapped and it takes a supporting cast member to save him, but not who you would think.  It is Harry contacting Spider-Man over the web-ware that brings him to his senses.  It’s not a lift-the-heavy-machinery moment, but it doesn’t need to be.  Spidey comes to his senses and stops being helpless.  That’s when Iron Jane enters the scene, but even she would not be able to fight the good fight unless Spidey distracts Regent long enough to counter the spider sense Regent stole from Miles.  All MJ is able to do is to get a good sucker punch in that doesn’t defeat the bad guy, but it does cause him to drop Iron Man and Spidey.  It was a scene where everyone worked together and that is what this book needs IF we are going to involve other heroes.

MJSavesTheDay

The name’s MOM! Oh wait, wrong comic…

Peter owning up to the fact that he has been acting out of character – to the point of apologizing to Miles for being childish – is refreshing.  Again I hold out hopes that the character will develop from here.  I am even willing to believe that this whole out of character stint we’ve had since BND is because when Peter made that deal with Mephisto, a part of him was gone (losing your soul mate must do something to you).  Now, after all this time, he’s starting to see that he’s gone astray.  Maybe that brush with Mephisto or this run in with MJ is beginning to awaken the Peter Parker we all know and love and he will start moving forward from here.  We know Slott can write a good Peter.  We saw it in Renew Your Vows.  Maybe he’s been writing him as this irresponsible jerk on purpose all along just to make the point that this is part of the repercussions of a deal with the devil.

Maybe I’m just overly optimistic.

What Failed:

The art is still a problem, but I’m tired of pointing it out, so I’ll leave it at that.

Why does it make sense for Peter to go save Harry?  I know it all worked out for the best, but at the time, you’ve got a super powered bad guy who took down the entire Avengers with ease.  Why wouldn’t the most responsible thing have been to send MJ to rescue Harry rather than let her take on Regent?

ASM15GoSaveHarry

Can you imagine the months of angst we would have gotten if something bad had happened to her? *SHUDDER*

I understand that we probably needed this moment to show that Peter is willing to let go of MJ finally much like Maverick throwing Goose’s dog tags into the ocean (shouldn’t he have given them to Goose’s son?), but that just leads me to the next fail –

Peter and MJ.  Didn’t we already come to this conclusion that Peter and MJ can’t be together in Superior Spider-Man?  Didn’t Ghost Peter say something like, “I know it is time to move on” after Spock failed to win her heart?  Then why do we need to get this again?  On top of that, after he gives Tony his blessings to pursue the relationship with MJ, why is there the need to tease the reader with this scene:

tease

I feel like I’m watching the end of Return of the King.  It’s over.  No it’s not!  O.K., now it’s over.  Wait – there’s another scene!  O.K., now it’s….

It didn’t feel at all like clever story telling; it felt like Marvel constantly poking the readers.  It was a poor ending for a relatively good book.

This last one is a minor nitpick, but I’ll include it here so that you guys can enlighten me.  Doesn’t Miles need to make skin contact to do his venom blast?  If so, how did this work?

venomblast

Aside from her forearms, that’s the most protected spot on her body. I guess they make that stuff out of the same material stormtrooper armor is made from…

I’m just going to assume I’m wrong.

Extra Credit:

Name all of the people below:

asm15supportingcast

Props to Aunt May for having the funniest line in this comic.

 

Final Grade:

The story is good, but I’m going to have to deduct points for the retread so soon after RYV and for the MJ ending –

B-

Your Turn:

What grade do YOU give it?

What’s Next?

previewasm16BEFORE “DEAD NO MORE”! There’s an accident at Parker Industries! What will Peter Parker do to save his employees, both as CEO AND Spider-Man?!

(42) Comments

  1. hornacek

    Whatever grade I would have given this book, it got knocked down a point for Harry to mention Clash when he escaped from the glass tube of doom and called him "the Sultan of Sound" (or whatever the hell it was). It was bad enough when Slott retconned in Clash as the first (or one of the first) supervillains Spidey fought in Learning To Crawl, but now trying to convince the readers that Clash is so well known (and maybe popular) that he has his own descriptive title that even Harry knows ... no. Just, no. (maybe this was co-writer Gage trying to name-drop Clash to promote his Civil War tie-in)

  2. Mohammed

    @BJ No, it had already been established in issue #14 and the creators that it's the suite from the 1st Civil War.

  3. BJ

    Could the 'Iron Jane' suit have been one Tony was keeping from the Slingers group after the members pretty much all died? I didn't pay attention to how many arms those suits had though.

  4. Jason

    I think one of the reasons why I liked the issue was I'm still holding out for Peter and MJ rekindle their love. There seemed to be a glimmer of hope.

  5. Jason

    Chase the Blues Away - I think you hit the nail on the head in terms of how I've been feeling about Spider-Man since Brand New Day. I alluded to some of that in my post below.

  6. Jason

    Thanks Mark. I'll have to see what you wrote about it once I get a chance to read all the comments.

  7. Jason

    Thanks Mohammed. This, to me, is what happens when story lines aren't well developed and only cover the surface in order to move on to the next adventure. I want substance. I want drama. I want a story. I miss comics that didn't just rely on dialogue bubbles and art to tell a tale. I don't need action on every page. I want to delve into a character's personal life. I can't even consider this Bobbi person a real girlfriend or a person of interest because other than a brief team up, I can't recall them spending any significant time together that could even be constituted as a date.

  8. Mohammed

    @ Jason Who the heck is Bobbi? It Bobbi Morse AKA Mockingbird, whom is working with Peter as a liason with SHIELD http://comicvine.gamespot.com/mockingbird/4005-2497/ http://comicvine.gamespot.com/spider-man/4005-1443/forums/is-bobbi-being-setup-to-be-peters-next-love-intere-1804420/#21 What was the deal with the deja vu experience? This wasn't a joke referencing Spider-Island, was it? No, it was a reference to what they did in Renew Your Vows. The only Mini I like from Slott, actually I LOVED it. http://comicvine.gamespot.com/amazing-spider-man-renew-your-vows/4050-82337/

  9. Jason

    Who the heck is Bobbi? What was the deal with the deja vu experience? This wasn't a joke referencing Spider-Island, was it? A part of me was hoping it was some sort of opening to the life they once shared. I liked the issue especially the moments that seemed to bring Peter and MJ closer together. The fact that both May and Jay are both coughing up blood means some sort of disease which they both contracted somewhere. TB sounds like a winner. Other possible causes would make sense for one person, but not two at the same time.

  10. Al

    @Friendly: Yeah that was ASM #605 and that doesn’t really prove the facade is back so much as it proves how OOC MJ has become. Many Loves of Spider-Man is canonically dubious anyway given it’s just a one shot. But on the page MJ didn’t say ‘I remember everything’ and her actions do not line up with that at all.

  11. Henry

    I suppose in the grand scheme of things - it would not be too far fetched to imagine another MJ - Peter wedding annual issue. Where the wedding is on and of-course every superhero shows up - then it's off - then it's on again. They could plan their honey moon somewhere special and of-course Venom would have to show - up where Peter and Brock team up to fight some other greater evil.... ha ha ha.

  12. Jack

    They will keep on dropping MJ into ASM whenever they need to goose sales. They will also keep on mis-writing MJ, because the "MJ" they carry around in their heads isn't the actual MJ from 50 years of established story. As I said over at Whatever A Spider Can, Quesada beheaded Peter and MJ's relationship, but the body keeps getting up off the table because of how badly he screwed it up. Spider-fans know that Peter and MJ's relationship didn't end rationally or organically. Old-time fans won't obey Marvel's Orwellian re-write of their own (fictional) reality, even if they felt neutral about the marriage. Mephisto, arguably the most evil being in the MU, continues victorious over Spider-Man. This story is never over until Peter remembers what he did and resolves it (one way or another), and Mephisto is defeated (one way or another).

  13. Friendly Reminder

    @Al, If I recall correctly, one of the BND era stories had MJ decree that her facade was her "greatest creation" and that she was going back to it after leaving Peter in the revised timeline, I think it was Stern who wrote that it was a "restore to factory settings" story from that B.S "Many Loves of Spider-Man" one-shot. Correct me if I'm wrong though, I just remember those words sticking out to me. It was sort of a "saving throw" from a veteran writer who cares about continuity and characterisation enough to assure her any OOC b.s is down to just an act. Given Mephisto seems to remember OMD (and I look at this from a canon standpoint, I know from your blog that you approach this one being more down to Deadpool editorial than the Spider-Office) , it would'nt be too unreasonable to just retcon MJ's whisper from "leave him alone" back to what JMS had intended, (allegedly "I remember everything") I mean, Marvel have already retconned the O5 X-Men as being from the 1960s, aka a paralel timeline, and not the main continuity, despite certain stories in Bendis run that contradict that.

  14. Al

    @ Friendly Reminder: No I know. Peter and MJ have a repeated history of gravitating towards one another, even in BND and Slott’s run. MJ put up a facade but that was years ago. She’d passed that now. I’d love it though if we established that no she’s pretending and has some other reason for staying away from Peter even if she wants to reconcile with him.

  15. Friendly Reminder

    @Al, Peter's said he's lost MJ before, and yet they keep finding one another back in each other's lives. MJ saying she's happy does'nt mean much, she said she was happy with Pedro in Superior#31 and look what happened, she dropped him pretty quickly, and she's made allusions to her soul feeling empty in Invincible Iron Man. You're an expert on MJ's acting methods, and how she puts up a facade. Also we live in an age where the ontinious thought baloon has become a lost art so we're not always privy to MJ's thoughts and feelings.

  16. Mohammed

    @ Friendly Reminder @ Mark Alford Just thought I'd clear up a couple of things regarding Tony and Mary Jane. No, they are not dating, it's purely a professional relationship. Even in Civil War #1, he calls her Miss Watson and he also already had a girlfriend way before MJ came to book, by the name of Dr Amara Perera. http://comicvine.gamespot.com/dr-amara-perera/4005-124060/ So that exchange between Peter and Tony, was really Peter telling Tony that MJ is the best person there in Tony's Company and not to mess it up. and of course this also give the implication that Peter blames himself for messing things up with MJ, which as you know is the signature of Slott, Peter blaming himself for everything.

  17. Mark Alford

    @ Al - Yeah, Friendly Reminder's being overly hopeful, but so am I. It does feel like steps are being taken to return the characters to the original state, or at least, as much as can be after what has happened. Peter has let success go to his head. Forgivable (maybe) as long as he at some point realizes this and makes amends. I believe that is possibly the point for the supporting cast ending. More likely it is just that they need death to mean something for the next arc, so they are quickly trying to establish that people are close to Peter, but still, it's better than nothing. Plus, it's an election year - it's a time for false hope and since the candidates are doing a poor job of providing it, I'll take it here. :) @ Friendly Reminder - I will say that it appeared to me that Tony and MJ were dating. I'm not reading IIM, so I can only go on Slott's interpretation of the character. Thanks for that clarification.

  18. Al

    @ Friendly Reminder: But what on Earth was she thanking him for? That line didn’t mean anything because it came out of nowhere. It was just a cliché piece of dialogue inserted intot he comic because there needed to be a ‘moment’ there. As for the rest...I think your being overly hopeful. Peter says he’s lost MJ. MJ says she’s happy where she is and metatectually attributing that superhero stuff to yesterday’s fashion.

  19. Friendly Reminder

    I did think the "thanks, for everything" line from MJ was quite nice, I wish that'd have been brought up in the review. The story ends with their friendship almost repaired, that's not them moving on from each other, that's them taking the necessary baby steps towards one another again, and that gives me hope for something more next year. I noticed CBR put up another marriage era article looking at what happened to the original ending of "The Final Adventure" And yeah, we need to stop putting out the false assumptions Tony and MJ were "dating", Tony has an established girlfriend at the moment.

  20. Enigma_2099

    @Al How the hell is wanting the marriage restored "shipping?" That's "fixing a f*** up."

  21. Al

    @Chase: Superlative breakdown. As for what this was about, it was about: - Meekly following up on RYV because that was obligatory - Trolling Peter/MJ shippers - Doing a tie-in for Cap: Civil War - Maybe create a variant toy for Iron MJ

  22. Al

    The Iron Spider suit was damaged whilst Peter was on the run, presumablybeyond repair. Regardless it made no sense for it to be in this issue. As for what’s true to Peter’s character it’s not so much that he’s poor so much as...he’s the every man. He’s the average guy. The average guy is NOT rich. By definition you cannot be a 1%er and also be an everyman. He doesn’t need to be struggling for 2 cents to rub together but he shouldn’t be worry free about cash either because most people have ups and downs with it.

  23. Mohammed

    @Al "As for a moment showing that Peter is finally willing to let go of MJ a) He wouldn’t do that if he was in character b) He already did that in volume 3 I feel like a lot of people are misreading the scene regarding MJ and Tony. Peter didn’t give Tony his blessing he just told him she was great and he should value her and at the same time that was in the context of a professional relationship. Tony and MJ were not on a date, they were just having a co-workers/friends drink. " I agree with these statements/observations by Al

  24. Al

    Okey dokey having read the review infull a fe points of disagreement. Your right the issue was not bad because bad is too small a word to describe this for lack of a better word ‘story’. There were multiple story beats and moments in the story which were either clichés or there as filler. See the ‘do you trust me’ moment. Why is that there? No set up, no pay off, it’s there to be there because in most action stories that is the moment you’d have had an ‘emotional moment’ so let’s check our Lazy Writer’s Handbook of clichés and see what we can pick to slot into that moment. Ah, the old reliable “Do you trust me” moment, perfecto! Spider-Man doesn’t ACTUALLY defeat his villain himself again and is backed up by the entire Marvel universe even though he was able to take out the Regent with help from Mary Jane and a literal 8 year old and that Regent was presumably MUCH more powerful. Worse, it happened entirely off panel. At least in Spider-Girl #59 when she battled Seth the Serpent God of Death and the MC2 heroes came in to defeat the guy it was actually HER who had done the bulk of the fighting, we saw her be heroic and struggle to hold the fort and free the heroes who actually delivered the finishing blows to a villain out of her weight class. This though? Spider-Man contribution amounted to breaking some glass, something Mary jane or Iron Man could’ve done. Realistically it made more sense for MJ to do that as it was the least dangerous task at hand and her suit made it more than doable for her compared to fighting an Omega level bad guy when her experience and powers are very limited. Narratively it probably made more sense for Iron Man to free everyone else and leaving Peter and MJ to tag team Regent just like in RYV and satisfy readers. The way Slott did it managed to be the worst case scenario short of knocking out Peter and letting everyone else save the day but him. Yes it avoided what we all predicted would be the way Regent would go down but the unexpected route wound up being LESS satisfying than the predictable one. At least with the predictable one we would’ve SEEN a fight. So I must disagree with the assessment that it was RYV+ Iron Man-Annie. A retread it was not because that would’ve involved you know the titular character more actively involved in combating the villain and winning through a grand reaffirmation of his familial bonds. This reaffirmed that MJ and her new boss sure do make a great team. Not the same beats struck. Peter owning up to being OOC would mean something if it wasn’t for the fact that it was poorly motivated within the internal logic of the story and not to mention the fact that it wasn’t like Slott was correcting his own mistake. He intended Peter to act OOC and then plastered over the very deliberate crack in a half-assed manner. As for a moment showing that Peter is finally willing to let go of MJ a) He wouldn’t do that if he was in character b) He already did that in volume 3 I feel like a lot of people are misreading the scene regarding MJ and Tony. Peter didn’t give Tony his blessing he just told him she was great and he should value her and at the same time that was in the context of a professional relationship. Tony and MJ were not on a date, they were just having a co-workers/friends drink. I also think comparing it to Return of the King is ill advised. l after all even if you didn’t like how many endings there was to Return of the King at least all of those endings were satisfying instead of mean spirited. I could go on but I won’t I give this book, and this arc a hard F but only because there is no legitimately lower grade like ‘Omega’

  25. Friendly Reminder

    The Mockingbird thing is also a nod to OMD...prior to it being revealed Bobbi was replaced by a Skrull when she "died", was'nt her soul claimed by Mephisto?

  26. Enigma_2099

    "Oh well! Surely there is SOMEBODY else out there that liked this one O.K.? Anyone? *crickets*" http://www.meh.ro/wp-content/uploads/2011/01/meh.ro6390.jpg You're on your own, kid.

  27. Al

    B-? Tut tut Alford. We shalt hatheth to revoketh thyneth Lordshipetheth. I will probably respond more concretely tomorrow. Long story short: This issue was rancid, this arc was rancid, this status quo continues to be rancid and as I find myself frequently saying these days I am much more excited to read Superman every month than Spider-Man.

  28. Jack

    Peter and MJ will be over when the great majority of fans say it's over. Until Peter and MJ both remember, and Mephisto is defeated, OMD is an unfinished story.

  29. Mark Alford

    So, I'm getting a hint that some of you may not be on the same page with me on this one? Mighty lonely out here in B land... Feeling like I did when I liked the jump from the satellite issue! :) Thing is, I agree with everything you guys said. I just enjoyed this one. I think because I had no imaginings that Peter and MJ were ever going to get together under Slott's run (or as long as Quesada has any sway in the Marvel office), I was just mildly annoyed by the dragging out of the ending and not pissed off by it. Plus, while I'm tired of the team up mentality of ASM, I figured that this one had to have it since the all the heroes were going to have to be let lose, so it didn't bother me this time. @ Chase the Blues Away - nice analysis using the Stephen King method! @ Mohammed - you still think they are pushing the Bobbi Morse? I know Aunt May pointed her out to Peter, but I doubt her response sat well with May or with Peter for a future love interest. I kind of felt like it was a nod to the Internet for picking up on the vibe, but also a recognition that it wouldn't really work. @ Jeremy Gingrich - I'm a bit jaded right now on the series. No high hopes. Sadly, it helps with the enjoyment factor (and yes to all of you who are about to respond - that is sad and it is a reflection on how off the title has been and no, you do not have to set the bar low to enjoy the book (but it does help)). @ Friendly Reminder - I figured the reference to RYV was just a wink to the readers and not an indication that those events are somehow canon in this Spidey's life. I could be wrong. This is comics, after all - nothing is ever off the table. @ RDMacQ - ugh! Why did you have to bring Paparazzi back up . :( @ Evan - Well, going by Web MD's diagnosis, it is the only thing that really fits! @ T.J. - take a small break from the books. Get a subscription to Marvel Unlimited. Read up on the old Spidey stuff you missed and a few others (like Irredeemable Antman and Ms. Marvel). Once we are done with Dead No More, come back and give it another try. Don't let this do you in. Oh well! Surely there is SOMEBODY else out there that liked this one O.K.? Anyone? *crickets*

  30. T.J.

    What is a lower grade than an F-, because this issue was total crap! I stopped reading all comics after OMD, and only started again when I heard MJ was joining the Iron Man cast. I only read the ASM Power Play story, because I thought they might be laying the ground work for MJ and Peter to get back together. Instead I get Peter getting Hawkeyes sloppy seconds! I am so done with the Spider-Man books!

  31. Evan

    I wonder if Peter owning up to being childish is simply Dan Slott's way of pandering to readers or trying to say, simply, "See, everybody? I've been writing him this way on purpose! So there!"

  32. Realspideyfan

    Man oh man nothing like peter telling tony stark he can go after his sorta ex-wife/mother of his kinda child after the two of them start getting a Deja's vu about each other. Since DC rebirth is doing so well and giving fans something to look forward to and is kind of an apology for their screw ups I wonder how long until marvel pulls the same stunt. I can already see black panther or reed Richards finding out all the terrible decisions from marvel the past ohhhhhhh 10-12 years is somehow caused by dr. Manhattan even though that would make no sense. After the news of riri being the new man of iron eventually (bonus points for rere being slang for retard great job bendis!) I can already see the camel straining and its issues like these that make me long to see the back break finally.

  33. Friendly Reminder

    MJ's constant flip-flopping on why she can't be with Peter makes me think she's just looking for excuses at this point...it fuels speculation she truly does know everything after the deal made in OMD and is going through her usual acting facade to stay clear of him, knowing that it's impossible and that they always find a way to come back together (which she even says before the spell takes effect in OMD). I definitely don't see this is as anything but the latest in a long string of "final says" on Peter and MJ. Think about it, MJ stories have dominated the summer months of 2015 and 2016, who's to say there won't be another one for summer 2017? Where the 30th anniversary of the marriage will be upon us? Slott won't resist that. Another question is how Peter and MJ can be aware of Renew Your Vows when 616/Prime-Earth MJ was dead and Peter was a lifeboat survivor? Is it because the ANAD and RYV versions are somehow one and the same? And if that were the case, does that mean Annie May Parker exists in this world again?

  34. Henry

    I highly recommend the book if you feel like getting punched in the gut, otherwise I recommend focusing on other hobbies. Learn how to play the guitar. Do something nice for someone. Stuff like that.

  35. RDMacQ

    I don't know why you got a vibe of watching the Return of the King with the end of the story. You should have been getting a vibe of reading the ending of "Peter Parker: Paparazzi," since it's the exact same friggin' ending!

  36. Chase the Blues Away

    No surprise, but I completely disagree on the grade. Sorry for the length, but I feel it's necessary to point out just why this issue is such a fail. Let's do this as if Slott/ Gage/Camonculi had turned in Power Play as a school assignment. And let's let Stephen King, via his book "On Writing," be the instructor. King's cardinal rule of good fiction: "Never tell us a thing if you can show us, instead." You'd think this would go double for comics, which are a visual media, but...sigh. 1) Dialogue: King says, "It's dialogue that gives your cast their voices, and is crucial in defining their characters - only what people do tells us more about what they're like, and talk is sneaky: what people say often conveys their character to others in ways of which they - the speakers - are completely unaware...well crafted dialogue will indicate if a character is smart or dumb, honest or dishonest, amusing or an old sobersides....The key to writing good dialogue is honesty. [If you aren't honest] you are breaking the unspoken contract that exists between writer and reader - your promise to express the truth of how people act and talk through the medium of a made up story." Grade for Slott/Gage: F- The dialogue was painful to the ear. The characters all spoke alike, to the point Peter used MJ's catch phrases and I had to look at the panel closer to tell who was speaking. Subtext is apparently a four-letter word in the Spider-office, because the dialogue had all subtlety of a Presidential hopeful's tweet stream. Characterization was bypassed in favor of making pop culture jokes ("Hold the door" - rlly, Slott?) that did nothing but date the book. And ye gods, talk about anviling:. I'm paraphrasing but: Tony: Gee, Miles, sorry Peter and I acted like juvenile toddlers and let you get captured just because the plot demanded it. Peter: Yeah, someday we old white men will learn superheroes fighting each other is, like, totally stupid. Oh, well, guess it's up to you legacy hero young'uns to show us decrepit oldtimers how to behave. So...nice dig at Civil War II. Not subtle at all, oh no. Let's forget that Peter and Tony ARE responsible adults who only acted like menchildren BECAUSE THE WRITER NEEDED THEM TO FOR THE PLOT TO KICK OFF. 2) Characterization: King says, "Everything I've said about dialogue applies to building characters in fiction. The job boils down to two things: paying attention to how the real people around you behave and then telling the truth about what you see. ...My job is to make sure these fictional folks behave in ways that will both help the story and seem reasonable to us, given what we know about them (and what we know of real life)." Grade for Slott/Gage: D So...Mary Jane originally can't have superhero shenanigans in her life, but then takes a job as Tony Stark's assistant, so now she says the problem is Peter spent too much time in the costume (y'know, that responsibility which she said over and over is why she loved him), yet she still took a job working for someone who doesn't even have a secret identity and so he IS Iron Man 100% of the time, then she puts of a costume - with a face mask - TO RESCUE PEOPLE and SAVE THE MARVEL UNIVERSE but nah, superheroes, especially those with secret identities, are still selfish people who let the costume consume them?! WTF??!! Meanwhile, the Regent is a confused mess. You can see Slott/Gage just give up on the page when the Regent's lame motivations are parroted back at him and he basically says, LA LA LA CAN'T HEAR YOU SMASH YOU ALL!!!!11! Then there's Peter. Poor juvenile slacker loser Peter whose company succeeds in spite of him (and probably because of Doc Living Brain Ock). As is his wont, Dan Slott ends his story with a lesson more at home in a simplistic afterschool special for children. In Spider-Verse, Peter resolved to be a leader (yeah, how'd that work for ya, Pete?) Here, Peter resolves to enjoy the happy moments and cherish family (but not that Mary Jane person, no, good riddance to her. Eff inviting her to his party). It's trite, it's telling instead of showing, and we all know Peter will forget it by next issue and go back on the Slott manchild carousel. Theme: King says, "Not every story has to be loaded with symbolism, irony, or musical language, but it seems to me that every story - at least every one worth reading - is about something. Your job...is to decide what something or somethings yours is about. This may necessitate some big changes and revisions. The benefits to you and your reader will be clearer focus and a more unified story." Grade for Slott/Gage for Power Play overall: D So...what was this about? It seemed the biggest lesson was "Don't pick fights with other superheroes in public parks with kids and puppies around" but you'd think Peter and Tony would know that already. Oh, I guess it's "don't let your mission take over your life," but, y'know, Tony's and Peter's missions SAVE PEOPLE LIVES. When did that become something to guard against?! I truly believe Dan Slott has lost sight of what he's writing and why the characters have become cultural icons. I guess the real theme was "Trolling a certain segment of the fanbase for kicks and giggles" because otherwise, Power Play has no point. Pacing: King says, "Move too fast and you risk leaving the reader behind, either by confusion or by wearing him/her out..each story should be allowed to unfold at its own pace, and that pace is not always double time." Grade for Slott/Gage: D This story certainly did not need to be longer, but it did need to be paced better. Did we need the opening with the Ghost? No. Could the Regent/Augustus have used more build up? Heck yes. By leaving most of his battles off the page, and not fleshing out his motivation beyond a cursory "muh family" (see the LALALA CAN'T HEAR YOU scene, above), we're left with a story that lacks any depth or emotional weight. Peter and Tony have time to reassure Miles's family, but the rest of the ANAD Avengers are taken right after - why isn't Tony concerned about Kamala? Sam? They're also both teenagers with families. Peter starts the story with regrets over his relationship with MJ, but during their ONE conversation alone together he tells her "I can't do this now. Our soap opera." Then later, he pretty much gives Tony his blessing without saying a single word to her even though, hello, SHE JUST PUT ON A SUIT. Y'know, those superhero shenanigans she said she can't deal with. As is usual with Slott, the final battle is not so much a fight as it is the formerly unbeatable and unstoppable villain figuratively rolling over and showing his belly. We saw this in Superior, in Spider-Verse, in Scorpio Rising. The Regent, who took down ALL the X-Men, ALL the Avengers, ALL the Inhumans, ALL of Squadron Supreme - done in because the Regent apparently bought the glass used for movie stunts instead of something more substantial, and Harry Osborn conveniently decided he needed sonic protection (Why? Who needs a glass shattering app on their Apple Watch?! Is getting captured in oversized Mason jars something that happens to Harry on a regular basis?!) By the way, speaking of that panel, since apparently an issue of ASM can't go out without a typo: there's no such word as "soverign." It's "sovereign." And true to form, we don't see the final battle, either, even though the Regent ripped off the Hulk's arm in RYV so really, he went down without a fight this time?! Therefore, overall grade for Power Play: a very generous D-.

  37. Jeremy Gingrich

    I had high hopes for this issue, and I was severely disappointed with what the end product was. There was a lot of wasted potential

  38. Mohammed

    Unfortunately Mark. I can't be as generous as you because to me all this issue did, is show me that Slott used the Power Play story to waste an opportunity and use it to show that Mary Jane and Peter have moved on and that they no longer need each other. and as you know I am a BIG fan of Mary Jane, so knowing that Mary Jane was going to be wearing the Spider-Armor, you'd think I would get all excited over it, but Slott has done what I never thought possible, he made me lose that excitement over that fact. And any writer who does that to me with a character, that I've been following for years, deserves to be called a bad writer.

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