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Marvel Pick Of The Week – June 3, 2015 [SPOILERS]


Pick Of The Week:

Amazing Spider-Man: Renew Your Vows 1, by Dan Slott and Adam Kubert

The summer Secret Wars crossover event has produced a high quality of tie-in books (such as last week’s Pick, Old Man Logan, or the multiple titles recapped in Bam Smack Pow’s Battle Reports), but it has also disrupted some long-running titles, such as Dan Slott’s Amazing Spider-Man. I was thrilled to learn that Slott would continue to write Peter Parker’s adventures this summer and even more excited to see that his alternate version of Marvel’s most popular hero would be the one I met when I discovered comics. In this first issue of the summer miniseries, Peter Parker joins up with the Avengers and the New Warriors but leaves a cosmic-level battle to save his family from Venom, a choice that allows the villain to murder all the heroes and take over New York.

I started collecting Marvel comics in the mid-90’s as a teenager, and I was so excited to see that this Warzone had the versions of the heroes I loved so much – Firestar is in her yellow costume, Namorita is blonde, the Vision is bleached-out and creepy. Plenty of work will be done this summer pointing out the silly excesses of the 90’s, like how everyone had ridiculous weaponry and superfluous belts and pouches. The villain of this piece, Regent, has a uselessly vague name and power set painfully reminiscent of this time. The 90’s earned this mockery, and I can love this era and still shake my head. But this was also a time period of powerful heroes, distinctive voices, and memorable shifts in the status quo. This comic book was every bit as much fun as the stories I remember reading around a grocery store spinner rack.

More importantly to a large portion of Spider-fans, though, is that this book resurrects the marriage of Peter Parker and Mary Jane Watson. A few years ago, their marriage was magically annulled because it had appeared to limit the options writers had to tell Spider-Man stories. This upset fans, but Dan Slott has certainly brought in entertaining love interests like Silk and detective Carlie Cooper, so I have learned to accept this wrinkle in my continuity. In this miniseries, though, Slott proves he can also get a great story out of a family-man status quo. Peter and Mary Jane are a team, trusting each other and working together to protect their daughter from Venom’s attack. Rescuing Mary Jane used to get tedious in the old stories, but when it hasn’t been overdone, it smoothly raises the tension. Pete’s decision to abandon his teammates costs them the win, but it’s not obvious that his presence would have been all that helpful, and the dramatic force of a young father fighting a monster made that the far-and-away more compelling story.

It’s too early to tell how much this summer will impact future story lines. Maybe this fall will see Spider-Man remarried; maybe Peter’s going to keep bumbling through the singles scene. But Dan Slott has shown that his talent will make either outcome a must-read.

Honorable Mentions:

X-Tinction Agenda 1, because even in his role as God, Doom is still kind of a racist jerk.

Unbeatable Squirrel Girl 6, because amazing roommate Nancy puts together a friend group with people who use animal communication powers, and she dubs herself the Xander, and Squirrel Girl decides to test every animal in the zoo with her to see if maybe she has untapped potential, and this is exactly the way friendship works.

Secret Wars: Battleworld 2, for giving us a scene of 70’s era Blade fighting the vampire duck running around Howard The Duck’s Warzone…

Then the delightful metacommentary between Arcade and Taskmaster including what should be the official Secret Wars expletive, “God Doomed Hell.”

Giant Size Little Marvel: AVX 1, because in a book full of images that made me smile and chuckle, Skottie Young delivers the DEFINITIVE Cable picture. Cable should make this his Facebook profile.

Groot 1, for a scene from the point of view of a space shark’s uvula as Groot and Rocket fight a school of space sharks that shoot laser beams out of their eyes. I almost love this book as much as I loved Rocket Raccoon, and I LOVED Rocket.

Catch up on all the Picks here!

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