Comics : Amazing Spider-Man: Renew Your Vows Vol. 2 #1
This review was first published on: Nov 2016.
The 2015 limited series Renew Your Vows gave us a glimpse of a world where Peter Parker and Mary Jane Watson had stayed married; they have a child together, Annie May Parker, who has developed spider-powers much like her father. In that series, Peter, Mary Jane and Annie together with the remains of that world’s superheroes defeated the villain Regent. We finally revisit that continuity here in an ongoing series.
Amazing Spider-Man: Renew Your Vows Vol. 2 #1 (Story 1)
Nov 2016 : SM Title
Summary: Peter, Mary Jane and Annie Parker
Arc: Part 1 of "Brawl In The Family"
Peter is in costume, fighting the Scorpion. Really, he’s mentally compiling a list of items he needs to pick up at the store (“Milk. Laundry Detergent. Ice Packs. Bananas”). He gets an in-mask call from Mary Jane, who says they have “A code green”, and to “come home now!”. At hearing that, Peter puts a wallop on Scorpion and webs him up for the cops, saying he’s on his way.
As Peter web-swings by outside an office window, a couple of shadowy individuals are inside a darkened office discussing the reclamation project of Augustus (The Regent) Roman’s former compound. The woman, Ms. January, tells the man he owns the rights to Roman’s technologies. Also that something called “Project G” remains over budget and behind schedule.
Peter enters the apartment, and “code green” seems to convey that Annie has been put to bed and Peter and MJ get a little intimate, alone time. But a scream from her bedroom sends them running to it. Annie has got herself tangled up in webs from playing with one of Peter’s webshooters. As they disentangle her, Annie says she was trying to tinker with the webshooter to make it better. The next day, as Peter is making breakfast, he gives Annie an in-ear comm to be able to contact him. Peter and MJ remind Annie she needs to check with them before she decides to use her powers.
The scene shifts to the Daily Bugle; J Jonah Jameson is swiping through pictures Peter’s taken of himself in action on an iPad-like device. As ever, he tells Peter the pictures are boring crap and wants to lowball him in payment, but Glory Grant convinces JJJ otherwise. Dialogue between her and Peter establishes that Glory has a son named Jermaine, who’s Annie’s age and goes to her school. Jonah bursts in on their conversation, saying he wants Peter to get over to the reclamation site of Regent’s old building, where a massive sinkhole has appeared.
Swinging over there in costume, Peter is followed by a camera drone he’s made called Buzzbee that he’s programmed to track his movements and take in-focus shots of him in action as Spider-Man to sell to the Bugle. At the Regent’s site, a T-Rex is emerging from underground, followed by dozens of the Mole Man’s minions. They begin to overwhelm Spider-Man, but Mary Jane appears in costume to help him out. She tells him “You’re not a solo act anymore, tiger!”. But it turns out that Annie is also there, in costume, and she’s been captured by the Mole Man.
It took Marvel well over a year, but they have finally produced a follow up series to the successful Renew Your Vows miniseries set in “Battleworld” during 2015’s Secret Wars mega-crossover. There seemed to be a lot of potential there in stories told of a married Peter and Mary Jane, with the responsibilities of raising a child with powers like his own.
This ongoing is meant to pick up where that series left off, and veteran Spider-Man writer Gerry Conway does that very well. This also reads very much like old-school Spider-Man, and was probably written very consciously to evoke that past era. Peter still works at the Bugle taking pictures of himself in action, and Conway innovates with the Buzzbee tech Peter uses. Some other story threads are picked up from the 2015 series, such as the aftermath of the reign of the villain Regent; some intrigue is set up with whatever “Project G” is.
Conway also writes Mary Jane very well, though there is no explanation as of yet as to how she is super-powered. I was unsure of the look of Mary Jane’s red and white Spider-costume at first, but it’s grown on me quite a bit. As for Annie, she is irresistible, and is a very charming and worthwhile addition to the mythology.
Finally, Ryan Stegman produces some of his career-best artwork here. It was unclear what was going on only once panel to panel, when Peter was fighting the Scorpion and how he actually took him out, but his renditions of Peter / Spider-Man, Mary Jane and Annie are finely detailed and dynamic. Clearly, this project has energized Stegman and his enthusiasm for it radiates off of the pages. I do hope he sticks around for awhile on art.
While the issue ends too abruptly, it definitely left me wanting more. As Marvel has gotten wildly off-track with the main continuity Spider-Man comics for the last several years, this series comes as a welcome remedy.
Update: when MJ swoops in to save Peter from the Moloids, Peter explains (to MJ as well as the audience) "The suit I adapted from Regent's tech lets you tap in to my spider-powers", which is how MJ has her abilities in this universe. Thanks to our very own Al Sjoerdsma for pointing this fact out to me.