So it all comes down to this… This story has been building to the clash of Regent and Spider-Man and his band of rebels, but with nary a mention of Doom or Battleworld at all. So-things jump right in with this issue, we see that Hawkeye is confronting Regent, and Annie and MJ are trying to find Spider-Man. Things are not going well for ANYONE up to this point, but since this is the last issue for the Renew Your Vows arc, we can guess up front that things will end up going okay for SOMEONE in this story, right?
I loved the opening sequence where all that is left of S.H.I.E.L.D. has banded together with the Parkers to try and take down Regent in a last-ditch-effort situation. Then, seeing the title page being a bit of a flashback for Peter, as his life flashes before his eyes- that really hit me. I thought that it was a nice touch that, for this Peter, his life’s most memorable moments were those that happened BEYOND his life as Spider-Man: what Peter Parker saw, were his best and worst times as HIMSELF, not the friendly neighborhood Spider-Man.
The next scene, was thankfully, a bit lighter, with Annie May putting some Spider-whoopin’ on some of Regent’s lackeys, while MJ takes time to suit up in some Regent-powered armor. MJ’s moment of “I already have a codename; its “mom”…” was a bit cheesy, but fit in the realm of bad “dad jokes” that were to be used in this book (a less positive moment with “dad jokes” comes later, but ill hold off on that for now).
The moment that ruined this issue for me, wasn’t actually anything in the writing or artwork of the book; the moment that threw me completely off this book (to the point that I had to put this book down, and wait and then come back to finish reading it) was when, in the middle of a massive double-page spread, the publishers stuck a double-gatefold ad in the middle of the page. So I was reading a panel, and looked DOWN because the page ends, so I assume I am supposed to look down, and something happens that is rather disjointed and feels a bit out of place for the moment. When I flip the page, I then see that the panels extended across the staple, and that the booklet of in-house ads was blocking off the flow of a massive double-page spread. So before I was able to continue with this story, because I was just so put off by the rather ham-fisted nature of the Marvel advertising machine, I put this issue down and moved over to a book from Image (spoiler alert: THERE WERE NO ISSUES READING THAT BOOK BECAUSE OF RIDICULOUS ADVERTISING DECISIONS).
Beyond that, I don’t believe my heart was really in it to read this book anymore. I think that I was just hoping that this story carried me on to the end, and that the emotional weight of all the father-daughter stuff would continue to pull on my heartstrings. The ending just sort of fell flat. I have no idea who Regent was supposed to be, either. I don’t know who **POTENTIAL SPOILERS** Augustus Roman is in the Marvel Universe, so maybe he is someone I should know, or maybe he is just someone people in this version of the Marvel Universe know.
The dad joke at the end of the issue also seemed a bit out of place, and Regent’s reaction to the joke seemed SUPER over-the-top and unnecessary- so that drew me further away from the story. Then come to find out that **SPOILERS** the people of this corner of Battleworld don’t even know they are ON Battleworld just threw me for a loop. Because things are just so all over the place with Secret Wars and Battleworld books, about who knows what came before Battleworld, and who knows the truth about Doom and his control over the world- that im just sort of lost. Not in a bad way, either; because I was able to enjoy Guardians of Knowhere (for the most part) even though it felt more removed from Secret Wars than this book did.
I hope that Spider-Man has a bit of a bounce back after this event is over, because I really really like Spider-man and Dan Slott, so I hope that this doesn’t spell the beginning of the end for those two working together anymore, but I do think that this story has ended not a moment too soon. I think that the book had good moments, and that the emotional stakes of the story kept me engaged over the five issues, but that I am not sad to see it go…
Things better turn around for Spider-Man, though if Superior and Spider-Verse are any indication, things are going to keep getting worse for Peter Parker before they get better. Though, that will hopefully mean that there is still some good, interesting and unique storytelling yet to be had in reading his book. Secret Wars is continuing to drag, and even got an additional issue, so let’s hope things don’t get delayed any further- because I would love to get back to business as usual.