By Jody Houser, Nick Roche & Ruth Redmond
It’s time for a time-jump! Amazing Spider-Man: Renew Your Vows takes place eight years in the future, where Peter and MJ’s kid Annie is now old enough for her sophomore year and is struggling with her status as a superhero whilst trying to lead a normal life and get some grades that would look good for College. The book is a fun, charming and mostly low-stakes Spider-Man issue that acts as a good entry point on for newcomers who have not read a book in this series before.
The book itself is something that very much puts character first and there’s not a lot of plot established here. We get the usual cliché that’s commonly found in X-Books of a fight at the beginning revealed to be taking place in the Danger Room, but for the purposes of Annie’s training, it works, as well as developing the bond between both her father Peter and Logan. The dynamic between Annie and Logan is great, with Logan acting his typical self that is designed to get the best out of people he’s training. Annie’s annoyed that Peter is trying to constantly intervene in her fighting whilst she’s struggling to come up with a better superhero name than Spiderling.
Far too often nowadays Marvel will simply relaunch a book with a new first issue rather than bothering to simply just start a new arc, but it’s what they’ve essentially done here as Amazing Spider-Man: Renew Your Vows #13 is a reboot in all but name. The dynamic created here does unfortunately limits Peter and MJ’s roles, restricting them and not allowing them as much freedom as before. The humour also feels a tad forced as well, to the point where Annie even points it out, but for every joke that doesn’t work there’s a comedic moment that does, which almost balances the book out.
Nick Roche and Ruth Redmond bring a cartoonish, lighter style to the book that for the most part works. The pages where Annie, Peter and MJ are at a fair are simple and work well, and the artwork enhances the comic-relief factor when Annie gets angry at her parents at a theme park incident. Annie looks and acts like a real teenager, and Roche and Redmond create a clear distinction between her, Peter and MJ.
Houser doesn’t seem too focused on the plot at this point and this is a good thing as it allows us to catch up with the characters, and puts a big emphasis on Annie in particular, who’s front and centre for most of this issue. The late-game introduction of a fan-favourite villain is a welcome touch done largely with cliffhanger purposes in mind, and echoes Annie’s earlier narration that opens the issue as she states that regardless of how different the villains are, they always have one thing in common – they always come back.
The issue, then, may not be the best new beginning for the series as it has plenty of drawbacks that let it down, but despite its flaws, Amazing Spider-Man: Renew Your Vows #13 is a fun book with low stakes that makes for a refreshing read especially if you’ve been reading a lot of big event stories lately. There’s a lot of potential in the new status quo developed here for the series to thrive, especially as it isn’t hold back by the need for crossovers and events.