In a clunky, “only-in-comics” tale, writer Dan Slott keeps “Amazing Spider-Man: Renew Your Vows” #3 disconnected from the grander “Secret Wars” event, making it feel like an inventory tale rather than a sliver of an event. Artist Adam Kubert is along for the ride, with a trio of inkers that, unfortunately, render his work in this comic uneven and unremarkable.
Though truly a Battleworld domain, the world in which “Amazing Spider-Man: Renew Your Vows” #3 takes place is ruled by a being of immense power known as Regent. In this issue, the Parker family — Peter, Mary Jane and their daughter Annie — tries to avoid notice while attempting to figure out how to stand up for what is right, rather than what is easy. Following the threat to his daughter’s school, Spider-Man is in the crosshairs of Regent, who has sent off his Sinister Six.
Let’s pause right there for just one second. Why would you call yourselves the “Sinister Six” if you’re allegedly upholding the law, regardldel>ess of the ruler? Yes, they’re “Regent’s Sinister Six,” but they don’t shy away from the brand and make for the most terrifying “security” team to evaluate the assembled populace of an elementary school. Yes, it provides a strand for readers to relate to, regardless of familiarity to the “Secret Wars” event (so long as they have familiarity with Spider-Man’s mythos), but it just highlights the easy choices that result in a clunky, awkward story. Annie refers to J. Jonah Jameson on television as “the big screaming-head guy,” which is funny but seems forced, especially given that Annie is a kindergartner.
I’m not saying that Slott cops out, but I will say this is far from his best work. Some of the Six redesigns are fun in their own way, but there just isn’t enough fun in this story.
As previously mentioned, Kubert’s art is uneven. Inkers John Dell, Andrew Hennessey and Mark Morales all season the pencils differently, which results in a mishmash of finishes for the figures throughout the issue. The characters are recognizable throughout, but the visuals clunk along, not flowing through the pages but stuttering. Kubert does have some nice shots throughout the story, and I would love to see more of him drawing the adventures of the Parker family, but he needs consistency overtop his pencils to carry his style through more cleanly. As always, Joe Caramagna’s lettering is spot on, and Justin Ponsor’s colors are good, giving the issue a pretty coat of polish.
Buried beneath a clunky story is the fact that this Spider-Man isn’t as committed to his values as the “regular” Spider-Man. Slott makes it quite clear throughout the story but doesn’t give the reader enough material to evaluate whether or not they prefer a slightly harder-edged webslinger. More noteworthy is the fact that Peter and Mary Jane feel content telling their kindergartner a life-altering secret and seeding lies around the rest of Spider-Man’s story. “Amazing Spider-Man: Renew Your Vows” #3 is a decent enough inventory story, but not the type of tale I’m likely to go back and re-read any time soon. Its connection to “Secret Wars” is, currently, tenuous at most and the characters just don’t have enough personality or vitality to make this storyline exceptionally memorable.