One of the best things to come out of Marvel’s 2015 event Secret Wars was the great Renew Your Vows limited series that reunited one of comic fandom’s most beloved pairings. Since their marriage was controversially ended at the end of 2007, a large group of fans have been clamouring for Peter and Mary Jane to get back together. There wish was granted in the Secret Wars spinoff where an alternate world was presented featuring a Peter and MJ who are still married and now have a daughter who has inherited her father’s abilities. With the positive reaction, it was inevitable that a sequel would arrive eventually. And now we have that in the form of a new ongoing series.
Life is good for husband and wife Peter Parker and Mary Jane: their daughter Annie is their pride and joy, they’re both working and (barely) making ends meet, they’re keeping the streets of New York City safe from super villains… you know, normal everyday stuff. But now MJ and Annie have super-powers just like Peter? Being Spider-Man just became a family affair! And when the Mole Man attacks NYC, only the sensational Spider-Family can stop him!
This new series already has several positives going for it – number one being the outstanding creative team. Gerry Conway had the unenviable task of following up Stan Lee’s legendary 100 plus issue run on Amazing Spider-Man back in the day. Yet he did so with gusto providing many classic tales including the death of Gwen Stacy, the first appearance of The Punisher, Harry Osborn becoming the new Green Goblin and the original Clone Saga. Having revisited the Spider-Man franchise frequently from the early 1970s up to today, it is needless to say that he knows Peter and MJ very well. On the art side, you have Ryan Stegman who is one of the best artists working in comics today. Whilst you can tell he is inspired by legendary Spidey artist Todd McFarlane, he has developed his own distinct style which has resulted in some of the best Spider-Man art in the modern era. Spidey himself looks amazing but special props must be given to the great Spineret (MJ’s alter ego) and Spiderling (Annie) designs as well.
Obviously, there is some brilliant action packed into this series with an epic encounter with the Mole Man framing the story together. But the best parts of Brawl in the Family are the family moments between Peter, MJ and Annie. Peter and MJ’s chemistry particularly shines through which demonstrates why the relationship between the two has always been so popular and Annie adds a wildcard factor to the mix. Peter is still very used to handling the Spider-Man business alone and there’s plenty of great scenes of him struggling to adjust and overcome his concern over his wife now joining him in action. And once Annie gets involved too, both Peter and MJ go into full on parent mode (probably leading to my favourite scene where a trapped Peter and MJ are too focused on arguing about Annie to notice what she’s doing). Annie herself has an awesome solo segment detailing her struggles fitting in at school – all the while a delightfully creepy Normie Osborn is watching her and experiencing his first crush.
With witty and surprisingly touching writing, outstanding art and a successful revisit of one of Marvel’s best loved relationships – this is easily on of the best titles Marvel is currently putting out. Spider-Man fans and fans of great superhero comics need to pick this up.
9781302905804 – P/B £14.99
Panini edition also available
Post by Leo