TITLE: The Amazing Spider-Man: Renew Your Vows #1
AUTHOR: Dan Slott
PENCILLER: Adam Kubert
RELEASED: August 1, 2015
By Levi Sweeney
Staff Writer, Grand X
While my knowledge of Spider-Man stories is, at best, limited even I have enough knowledge of the Spidey mythos to know that The Amazing Spider-Man: Renew Your Vows #1 brings Spider-Man in an incredible new direction which is both innovative and compelling.
This issue focuses on how Peter Parker is happily living with his wife Mary Jane and daughter Annie. He’s balancing his family time with his crimefighting life, and things are looking up for our friendly neighborhood Spider-Man. But all is not well for long. Daredevil and Iron Fist are MIA! The Avengers are spooked about some Lex Luthor knock-off! There’s a prison break at Ryker’s Island! Worst of all, Spider-Man’s deadliest enemy has targeted the wall-crawler’s loved ones. Will our hero save the day?
I was pleased to find out that little knowledge of the ever-controversial One More Day story is required to enjoy this comic. I know enough to understand that this is the Spider-Man story fans have been waiting for since that odious storyline was published. Nor is Secret Wars itself required reading, as proudly proclaimed on the first page.
Beyond that, this issue gets nearly everything right. Peter Parker stays in character, given the new situation. Mary Jane and the rest of Spider-Man’s supporting cast are used well, though the latter are not featured prominently. The real villain of this issue, revealed about halfway through, is a perfect choice for the antagonist. I won’t say who it is for the sake of spoilers, but I will say that it would be a very different tone and even plot if it were anyone else.
Mary Jane in particular is more than Peter’s love interest, to the point of almost being a second lead. She uses her head to do something useful, to help protect her child and to help Peter to save both their skins.
Most of this issue consists of laying groundwork for what’s to come. In the mix of all that, however, is one wild card that hasn’t been seriously pondered since the end of The Clone Saga in the ’90s: Annie Parker. The idea of Peter Parker going on to start his own family isn’t entirely new, as evidenced by Spider-Girl several years ago. However, this issue lays the groundwork for a story that’s never been told before. The aforementioned Spider-Girl was focused on the titular character, while here, the story is centered on Peter himself.
The thing about Spider-Man is that he grows as the story grows. As he gets older, and naturally progresses into new phases of life, new thematic factors present themselves to be utilized in the comics. It was only when an attempt was made to turn the clock back via editorial mandate that problems occurred, resulting in a bad reaction from the fans.
In this case, Peter is adapting to new changes in his personal life, which influence his character development in this issue. The no-kill rule, with-great-power-comes-great-responsibility, etc., are all challenged by the events of the issue, to great effect. As Pete says via internal monologue in the last pages of this issue, “That was the day I learned what trumps great power… …An even greater responsibility.”
The Amazing Spider-Man: Renew Your Vows promises to be an imaginatively groundbreaking series which I will continue to follow. It not only brings back the Peter/MJ dynamic that we all know and love, but it throws in some refreshingly new takes on cornerstones of the Spider-Man mythos. Most importantly, Dan Slott, does all of these things quite well, not missing a single beat. A definite must-read.
Image 1 from thepunkeffect.com. Image 2 fromcomicbookrevolution.com.
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