The penultimate issue tends to be one that holds back just enough to allow the final issue to go nuts. That means you typically get a transitional issue and in most cases a bit of a boring read. Let us check out the penultimate issue of this Secret Wars tie-in and determine…is it good?
Amazing Spider-Man: Renew Your Vows #4 (Marvel Comics)
This issue opens where we left off with Mary Jane and Peter’s daughter running for their lives. Peter is fighting off the Sinister Six as Regent prepares to take out Spider-Man once and for all. This issue delves into the underground group of heroes who have been hiding in the shadows preparing to strike at Regent ever since he took out nearly all the Marvel heroes all at once. The chips are down and the stakes are high, but unfortunately this issue falls a bit flat.
This seems forced.
Writer Dan Slott delivers one thing though, and that’s seeing Peter’s daughter in costume and kicking butt. Some fans will simply love this, but I for one had a problem with the costume which screamed Hit-Girl. It was also a bit cheesy. On top of this most of the issue is Mary Jane and the kiddo learning about the Hawkeye-ran underground hero group. To say it’s boring is an understatement. There are some interesting members to be sure, but it’s not worth the pages they are given. We do get a big detail on Regent and a possible weakness, but how the “solution” to beating him comes up feels really forced.
I’m also not sold on Sandman’s inclusion. He’s sort of just thrown in for fan service (there are a few other elements like this elsewhere) and his mini arc in this issue is very forced. If we’re supposed to care about him by issue’s end it doesn’t work.
Groan inducing exposition.
Speaking of fan service, to see the Spider-Man characters who were involved with the underground operations is eye-rollingly lame. To be told certain characters had a hand in Spider-Man’s survival since the rise of Regent is just plain lazy. Given, Slott didn’t have a lot of issues to build towards these things, but the way they are inserted feels like he’s added them just so fans know he had ideas for them.
The art unfortunately takes a hit too, most likely due to Adam Kubert sharing artistic duties. It’s not to say the art is bad, but it’s just not as awesome from panel to panel since it’s obvious he’s getting help. I can’t help but think if Kubert was given more time the more boring exposition scenes would work better with his fantastic lines.
Oh look it’s Hit-Girl…wait.
Is It Good?
This is a stereotypical penultimate issue that falls flat, drags on and holds back so the climax will be all the better. If you’re dying to see Peter’s daughter kick butt you might love it, but it’s a skippable issue for most.