Comics : Amazing Spider-Man: Renew Your Vows Vol. 2 #2
This review was first published on: 15 Dec 2016.
This alternate continuity shows what Peter’s life would be like had he stayed married to MJ and they had a child, Annie, who also has spider-powers. Last issue focused on Peter trying to balance his heroics, his work at the Bugle, and being a husband and father. This month, the story focuses on his other half.
Amazing Spider-Man: Renew Your Vows Vol. 2 #2
Dec 2016 : SM Spin-Off
Summary: Peter, Mary Jane and Annie Parker
Arc: Part 2 of "Brawl In The Family"
Similar to the opening of the last issue, the story here opens with MJ web-swinging in costume trying to get Annie, also in costume, to school on time in the morning. She’s mentally going through a list of things she needs to do, of people she needs to invite to a party. Annie changes to civilian clothes in an alley, and is sent off to school. MJ, still in costume, then finds time to stop a duo of thieves armed with machine guns escaping on a motorcycle after a robbery.
At her clothing store in SoHo, she gets the word that her employee has ordered the wrong amount of wholesale on a sweater, leaving her with a $10,000 bill, and then that her landlord is raising the rent on the store 200%. The good news comes in the form of a major fashion critic picking up MJ’s blog. MJ is ecstatically telling the news to a coffee barista friend named Wendy, when she sees the news of the sinkhole in Midtown at the former Regent site, where Spider-Man has shown up. She bolts out of the coffee shop and to the location.
Peter and Mary Jane then have to save Annie, who has been captured by the Mole Man and his Moloid followers. They tell her to go home, that she’s grounded. At this point, Peter informs MJ that the process by which the former Regent tech Mary Jane uses to siphon some of Peter’s spider-powers may be having an adverse effect on him. They fall through another hole in the ground created by the Mole Man, and MJ wakes up with him gloating over her, with Peter next to her in chains. She informs Mole Man that she’s “Spinneret—and I’m royally pissed off!”
A common complaint of modern Spider-Man comics is that they focus too often on other characters rather than the namesake protagonist himself. This issue is nearly entirely Mary Jane-centric, but despite the fact that Peter as Spider-Man only appears on a handful of pages, this month’s story works extremely well. Writer Gerry Conway expertly details MJ’s searching for balance in a life as a wife, mother, shop owner and a superhero. I for one don’t mind the spotlight shifting to a character like MJ when the writing is this good. And I suspect the next issue will be devoted entirely to Annie’s perspective.
I’m not sure what to make of Mary Jane’s superhero codename, given to her this issue, Spinneret. I guess they had to call her something. Like her white and red costume, hopefully the name will also grow on me over time. We also get the revelation this issue that MJ siphoning Peter’s spider-powers with the Regent tech weakens Peter’s own powers, which is an interesting twist.
Elsewhere, in just a few panels this issue we have who we thought was a very young Harry Osborn appearing at the scene of the sinkhole at the former Regent site, telling the police that the Mayor has granted him access to the area. However, here he calls himself “Norman Osborn Jr.”, which is yet another interesting tweak to the universe this series takes place in.
On the art side of things, Stegman continues to deliver some of the best artwork he’s ever done. His scenes of MJ in action as ‘Spinneret’ have a nice weight and impact. The storytelling via the art is crisp and clear, with some very interesting angles and some great facial characterization. This series certainly has a unique look compared to the other spider-titles.
Plenty to chew on this month. Though the actual story doesn’t progress too far past the events of the last issue, I’m really impressed by Conway’s writing of Mary Jane here along with Stegman’s remarkable art. 4 out of 5 webs.