Comics : Amazing Spider-Man: Renew Your Vows Vol. 2 #3

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This story is part of an Arc: "Brawl In The Family"
     Part 1 / Part 2 / Part 3

This review was first published on: 12 Jan 2017.

Background...

Peter Parker in this universe is a proud parent and husband, and both his wife and daughter are super-powered. After a disturbance in the former site of a compound of the villain Regent, Peter and his family have run into the Mole Man and his Moloid army.

In Detail...

"Brawl In The Family, pt. 3"
Amazing Spider-Man: Renew Your Vows Vol. 2 #3
Jan 2017 : SM Spin-Off
Summary: Peter, MJ and Annie vs the Mole Man
Arc: Part 3 of "Brawl In The Family"
Writer:  Gerry Conway
Artist:  Ryan Stegman
Cover Art:  David Curiel, Ryan Stegman
Lettering:  VC's Joe Caramagna
Colorist:  Sonia Oback
Editor In Chief:  Axel Alonso
Editor:  Darren Shan, Nick Lowe
Assistant Editor:  Allison Stock
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Review

At Annie Parker’s Upper East Side grade school, she is doodling during class, a picture of her dad, mother and her, web-swinging in costume over a building. Her teacher catches her in the act, and demands Annie hand it over. Thinking of her family's collective secret identity, instead Annie wads up the drawing and tries to eat it. The teacher sends her to the principal’s office.

While waiting outside the principal’s door, Annie chats it up with Stephanie Kim, a fourth grader who Annie thinks “is the toughest kid in school”. Steph knows Annie’s name (to Annie's surprise and delight), and tells Annie not to let Principal Morton scare her. Inside, Annie tells the principal that the incident won’t happen again, and is dismissed for recess.

Out on the playground, Annie’s friend (and Glory Grant’s son) Jermaine is being bullied by some boys trying to take his lunch money. Steph comes over and also intervenes, driving the bullies away. In the midst of this, Annie has a spider-sense freakout, vividly showing her parents captured by the Mole Man and his Moloids. Sneaking back into the school, she retrieves her bookbag and suits up in her spider-costume, to go save them.

Arriving at the site, she is pulled down into the underground lair by the Moloids. At the sight of Annie being threatened, Mary Jane aka Spinneret goes into action and bashes the bad guys away from Annie, telling her she’s grounded, and to go home, that they’ll handle the Mole Man. Suddenly, what seemed like Annie's spider-sense vision becomes more like a premonition, Peter and MJ falling down the Mole Man’s hole.

Young Normie Osborn and his associates are also at the site, and upon seeing Annie swing by, Normie, clearly smitten, remarks “Who is that marvelous young woman?”.

Annie, trying to lead away a dinosaur running amok (last seen in issue #2), leads the beast over a cliff, but she herself lands in the Mole Man’s lair where Peter and MJ are chained up before him. Annie says it’s time for them to fight.

In General...

As expected, the first issue featured Peter’s perspective, the second, Mary Jane’s, and this issue is told through the viewpoint of Annie May Parker. I tend to think this series has a lot riding on not only the Parker family interaction, but the character of Annie herself.

I’m glad to say, this is another winning issue and Annie is a great character, one who has her father’s comedic timing (Annie eating the drawing instead of giving it up to her teacher was a very funny moment), as well as her mother’s fiery spirit. Conway blends in her schoolmate cast, which include Glory’s son Jermaine and the toughest fourth-grader in the school, Stephanie, to good effect. I really like the aspect that little Normie Osborn is instantly smitten with Annie, and also that there may be more to her spider-sense than we might have thought. Both plot points should lead to some entertaining storylines should this series be allowed to flourish.

What seemed choppy about issue one in particular, that it ended abruptly with Annie appearing out of nowhere at the end, is at least paid off by Conway’s narrative approach here. One drawback is that the opportunity isn’t taken this issue to give Annie a codename while in costume (and Peter and MJ both exclaim “Annie May!” at the same time when she appears the second time, and right in front of the Mole Man at that).

Ryan Stegman’s art continues to impress. It seems he’s actively trying to push the boundaries of the standard comic page, as well as his craft; witness the double page spread of Annie swinging into action in costume (there’s also an anime-like quality to Stegman’s art that I don’t think I’ve noticed before). The action scenes here also allow him to open up the scenery. Sonia Oback’s vivid coloring complements everything here perfectly throughout.

The only minor caveat I have is—while I’m enjoying this story so far, and also how Conway has structured it, I am ready for the narrative to move along past what’s happening here

Overall Rating...

Looks like the first two issues weren’t a fluke—Marvel has a very enjoyable and accessible book on their hands here. While I’m ready for the story to move along as stated above, I’ve enjoyed what we’ve seen up to this point. Once Gerry Conway gets past the table-setting requirements of his plotting, we should be in for some really good stories. 3.5 out of 5 webs for this one.

Footnote...

This issue also features a letters page for the first time, but like Annie in costume, it has no name as of yet. What are some good letter col names for this series?