Written by: Dan Slott
Art by: Adam Kubert
*Spoilers for the issue below*
I’ve been a fan of Spider-Man for as long as I can remember. He was one of the first characters in comic books I truly latched onto, and in the 90s, I saw him married, have a baby girl, have that baby taken to Europe, find out he has a clone, be told he’s a clone, retire, have Aunt May die, have Norman Osborn come back to life along with Aunt May, watch his clone die, become a totem, find out Gwen Stacy had sexual relations with Norman Osborn and had twins, and so much more.
Yet I remained a fan because I can relate to the character, and the good has always outweighed the bad…for the most part. Granted One More Day nearly killed my love of the character, but I did see why they wanted to remove the marriage of Peter Parker and Mary Jane (I just wish it would have been handled better). But with Secret Wars now commencing, we have been given the chance to see an “alternate” version of how things may have played out if Peter and MJ had stayed together and Norman Osborn had never taken their child.
Except, this isn’t that at all.
No, this my fellow Spider-Man fans, this book, written by current Amazing Spider-Man series writer Dan Slott, is a middle finger to us older fans who yearned for things to play out differently back in the 90s (and no I am not counting Earth 2’s May Parker) and have Peter and MJ married, with a child, and the stories that would come of it. Instead, we get this poor excuse of an attempt to make yet another The Dark Knight Returns spin (which was already masterfully handled in Spider-Man: Reign) where Peter, Mary Jane, and Annie (what? her name was May!) are trying to live their lives and suddenly there is a drop off of superheroes in New York and Peter is trying to pick up the slack. The opening scene between Peter, MJ, and Annie feels stiff and quite awkward and ends somewhat abruptly. We then transition to where it’s revealed many of the non-powered heroes of New York have been killed, the X-Men are now all missing, and a new super powered threat is taking over the city that only the Avengers can stop (along with Spider-Man’s help). Alas, at the exact same time the Raft has a break out and all the super villains are escaping to which Captain America (with a older style logo) gives the “ok” to leave to take on the bigger threat.
This is when things start to get interesting for about two pages, mainly because Peter calls MJ to check in on her and Annie (ugh that name) to make sure shes fine when they get a visitor at the door. Peter then realizes if ALL the inmates of the Raft are loose that could mean “he” is loose. Now who is that he you may be asking? Norman Osborn? Doc Ock? Hobgoblin?
NOPE! Venom, Eddie Brock Venom no less…
Peter opts to head back to his apartment where he finds MJ and Annie in the tendrils of Venom. Now, before I go on any further, this has a MAJOR problem that needs to be addressed: Eddie Brock Venom was the “Lethal Protector” wherein he’d never kill innocents, only the just deserved. How are killing MJ and Annie justified? Thankfully, they both escape, and Peter gets to “cut loose” and hit Venom with everything he’s got, not like he wouldn’t do that with a more overpowered foe like Juggernaut or Kang or Green Goblin. Nay, Venom gets the Superman “I never get to cut loose until now” treatment. Cut to a scene where MJ and Annie are running away from Venom again, get a hold of a firetruck, and blast the horn so loud it disorients him so Peter can swing in and push him into the burning building. We get the obligatory fight scene when MJ suddenly asks if there is anyone else in the building, and when its revealed no one else is, Peter brings the whole place down, killing Venom and Eddie.
Spider-Man doesn’t kill. Ever. This is clearly shades of when Batman killed Joker in The Dark Knight Returns, and it’s a poor attempt at it. And then after all that, Peter decides to hang up the suit for good because the Avengers lost and there are no superheroes left in the world. So he takes the selfish route to be with his wife and daughter instead of trying to protect the city? I get it, as a parent I may do the same thing, but this is Peter Parker, the man who was told “with great power comes great responsibility” and he just shrugs it off like that? The hell???
The final page is a scene in the future, maybe seven or eight years (it never specified) where super-villain crime is ongoing and Regent (the fella who killed the Avengers) is in full power. The last two dialog boxes really show you how much of a crap job Slott decided to go with this issue:
It’s not a perfect world. But I look after me and mine and that’s…good enough.
How is that good enough? It’s good enough you’re letting the whole world crumble and allowing innocent people to be hurt or worse because you’re family is safe? That’s not the Peter I grew up with and if this was an “alternate” Peter, it’s hogwash because you, Marvel, you Dan Slott, teased us with this being our Peter and Mary Jane, the ones we never got to know from a time long gone. This issue is utter garbage, and if you’re a fan of Spider-Man at all do, yourself a favor and pick up some of the classic trades. This issue that’s not worth the paper it’s printed on.
Dan, you’re a good writer, but you’re time on Spider-Man MUST come to an end, and this just proves it.