Amazing Spider-Man: Renew Your Vows #13
Written By: Jody Houser
Art By: Nick Roche
Colored By: Ruth Redmond
Lettered By: VC’s Joe Caramagna
Spider-Man Created By: Stan Lee and Steve Ditko
Spider-Man is a hero known for his youthful nature and his relatability as a common teenager juggling an average life with being a superhero, but Spider-Man Renew Your Vows re-imagines the character as a full grown adult, with a wife and daughter. In an alternate world where Peter and his wife Mary Jane stayed together and the fans are actually satisfied, Peter tries to be the best father he can be while managing a family of superheroes and keeping his city safe.
What You Missed:
Over the first 12 issues of Renew Your Vows, we see Peter, MJ, and Annie learn to cooperate both as a family and as a superhero team. Annie starts out the series as a young girl, following in her father’s footsteps and wearing a literal biking helmet as she comes to blows with the same supervillains and hectic life her father has lived. As of issue 13, we see a dramatic time skip of 8 years with Annie as a teenager, nearly the same age Peter was when he first became Spider-Man.
This issue has the reader dropped right into the middle of everyday life for the Spider-Family now that Annie is in high school. We see her training in the X-Men’s danger room with her father, a scene that demonstrates how far she’s come as a superhero and how much further she has to go before being a pro. Peter spends much of the issue lamenting the fact that Annie is a typical disinterested teenager now, and tries to figure out how to make her excited about life and spending time with her parents again. MJ is still around, much to Quesada’s chagrin, and she tells Peter he’s trying too hard to make himself seem like a cool parent. The family decides to go on a brief outing to spend some time together at a carnival, but finds the fun only just starting as the Lizard begins trashing the affair. The issue ends just as the family puts on their costumes and springs into action.
While this issue may seem a little lacking in action, its function is to assure the readers that not much will change after the transition of writers. Legendary comic scribe Gerry Conway left the series recently, displeased with the time-jump and direction Marvel wanted it to go in. This move left fans worried that Jody Houser couldn’t fill Conway’s shoes as the new lead writer, but as previously stated, this issue confirms that the dynamic and focus of the comic will remain. Renew Your Vows isn’t about Peter in the same way that it isn’t about Annie or MJ. The book is about their family and the way they work together as heroes and in everyday situations. This issue gives equal focus to the three and shows that even though Peter is getting older, he’ll always be the character we grew to love. Its interesting seeing a version of Spider-Man that’s a father and husband, but isn’t a typical “dad” stereotype. In stark contrast to Spider-Girl’s one legged, gray hair and bushy beard having, tired out Peter Parker- RYV shows that Peter’s youthful nature and capability as a superhero don’t dwindle with time.
Peter and MJ look as young as they ever have, and in a strange way, aren’t much older than Annie in terms of personality. Its an indirect way of saying that age is just a number, and someone like Spider-Man won’t ever stop being cool, even if his teenage daughter disagrees. Houser’s first issue of RYV is a lovable tone setter for a new chapter in the life of the Parker family, with plenty of scenes of witty dialogue and clever winks to the reader that says “Growing up and getting older sucks, but that’s okay.” While I had my reservations about the change in creative teams, I think I’ll stick around for the issues to come.