Will 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?)
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 Fire. Hunger 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.
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
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!
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.
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.
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?
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:
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?
I’m just going to assume I’m wrong.
Name all of the people below:
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 –
What grade do YOU give it?