As soon as details emerged about “Dead No More“, readers couldn’t help but wish this Regent nonsense would be over already and fast forward to the next big Spider-Man epic. Even when the secret got out about the next event involving clones, many comic book fans across the internet voiced their ever-so-important opinions about “Dead No More” finally being a point for them to jump back in. The truth is, right NOW is the best time to jump back into Amazing Spider-Man, as there is plenty of spider-action to love before things get all “George Cloney” on us.
Amazing Spider-Man #15 closes up the “Power Play” arc that has seen super-villain Regent imprison all of Earth’s mightiest heroes and use their assortment of powers. If this seems familiar, the “Renew Your Vows” story from Secret Wars was about the future world in which Regent killed all heroes and used their powers to rule the world (except the Parker family). Regent belongs in that gray area file of post-Secret Wars happenings that have no explanation as to how or why they are in the new 616-universe; but we won’t get into that now.
Setting aside their differences, Iron Man and Spider-Man combine their efforts to combat Regent as they are the two heroes remaining free of his prison. Elsewhere, Mary Jane Watson and Jarvis have uncovered Regent’s dastardly plot. Upon defeat at the hands of their almighty foe Regent, Iron Man and Spidey are on their way to becoming his latest trophy. That is until MJ dons the Iron Spider suit and saves the day by freeing the two gentleman heroes.
Regent finds himself in his own prison and in the aftermath, Dan Slott plays with readers’ heart strings and teases a Peter/MJ night out. Instead of the two getting together, MJ is out with Stark and Pete has collected his family and friends for some much needed catching up. Just as things start to wrap up on a happy note, good ol’ Parker luck strikes again and John Jameson collapses to the floor!
This issue was a nice wrap-up of Regent’s very short-lived reign as an all-powerful foe – short and sweet. Clearly, Slott wants to move onto bigger and better things for Spider-Man, much like his readers. There was a nice smirk inducing moment where Peter dishes MJ her classic “tiger” line as she saves the day in the Iron Spider costume. There has been a subtle tension growing with these issues as Slott keeps tapping into my (and many others’) undying want for the two of them to get back together. He plays with it even more towards the end in a well executed misdirection that even though was a heartbreaking tease, still ended up in a place that made the heart happy.
It was noticeable, and probably on purpose, that Peter only invited his classic cast of characters to the gathering; no Horizon or Parker Industries employees (Harry doesn’t count). Presumably, this means things are about to get personal for Spider-Man and his longtime fans. Bendis has been nailing Tony Stark’s character recently with his work so Slott’s version of Iron Man comes off pretty weak, but for this story was still serviceable. The shocker ending definitely warrants excitement, but so does Regent being locked up and that potential future in which he rules the world is no longer a possible development.
If you’re not digging the Spider-Man International era or the recent stories, I still urge readers to pick these books up for the art alone. During the 15 issue run of Amazing Spider-Man so far, even the weaker books are worth your time simply to look at. MJ’s short tenure in the Iron Spider suit will surely be long-remembered, and most of the credit for that belongs to Camuncoli and Gracia; it was an absolute joy to see the Civil War fan favorite dusted off for another spin. In the final scene, where Peter has gathered his friends and family in a coffee shop, he’s wearing a puzzling combination of color in his shirt and tie. A green shirt with a purple tie, the colors of the Green Goblin. I wonder if that is to be a subtle hint at things to come, or simply an unintentionally confusing choice made by Gracia. Either way, it stuck out like a sore thumb on Peter Parker.
Amazing Spider-Man #15 was a fantastic comic book; the perfect amount of time spent on this story arc and we are done with Regent for now. People choosing to ignore this series for the time being are foolish, these books are fun and beautiful. Regardless, there are no excuses now as ASM #16 is the beginning of “Dead No More”, I for one am very much looking forward to some clone action; and curious to see if Dan Slott is up to task!