Graphic Novel Spotlight – Spider-Man: Renew Your Vows


As a Spider-Man fan growing up in the 90s, the Peter Parker I knew was married to Mary Jane Watson. Having read earlier material and being introduced to Spidey from the 90s animated series, I was aware that he started out as a single high school introvert. However, I always loved the portrayal of this marriage as Peter and MJ had shown such strong chemistry in the many years prior to their eventual engagement and as a couple, it just felt like a natural pairing and was the perfect extension of the series’ theme: “with great power must come great responsibility.” Years later, I found myself pretty upset when the two were separated in the controversial One More Day storyline. It’s been eight years since Peter and MJ have been together and it’s still kind of sad. However, with Secret Wars shattering the Marvel Universe and springing different realities out of the cobwebs, Marvel has taken an opportunity to revisit a married Spider-Man.

Renew Your Vows presents a married Peter and Mary Jane in hiding with their daughter Annie after an all-powerful ruler known as Regent takes out the majority of the world’s superheroes and now rules a city where those with powers hide in fear. But when Peter is forced into action after super-powered students at Annie’s school are threatened by Regent’s crew, he throws caution to the wind and resumes his role as Spider-Man whilst at the same time trying to protect his family from the increasing threats to their safety.

Dan Slott has been steadily writing Spider-Man regularly since 2008. However, for me this is some of his best work. He does an excellent job of writing a Peter Parker who is both a husband and a father. Quite often, it is forgotten that the main theme of Spider-Man is responsibility, but this mini-series embraces it as Peter goes from high school introvert to responsible family man. But of course, that doesn’t mean his life has to become boring. With a child at school and an increasingly more dangerous city, Spidey’s life is anything but simple. Slott also writes a great Mary Jane in both nailing her personality and also ensuring that whilst she has no super powers, she is every bit Peter’s equal. The real surprise of the series though is Annie May Parker, who not only has inherited her mother’s street smarts, but also happens to have inherited her father’s powers. Whilst this makes her a target of Regent, she’s not going to be taken that easily. As cheesy as the idea may seem, it’s kind of satisfying to see a team that gets their strength from being a family. Pretty much only the Fantastic Four can top them in that regard.

Adam Kubert meanwhile is simply one of Marvel’s greatest artists of the modern era. As one of the main contributors to Marvel’s 90s output, he is a perfect choice for this series whether it be the down to earth family scenes or action packed clashes with Regent and his crew.

For any Spider-Man fan who wishes to see a return to a married Spidey, this one’s for you. And anyone who just wants to read a great stand-alone Spider-Man story will also find plenty to enjoy.

Spider-Man: Renew Your Vows is published 29 December by Marvel

Post by Leo Sutherland

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