The first issue of Renew Your Vows did a wonderful job setting up the world of this Battleworld zone where heroes are almost non-existent. Dan Slott and Adam Kubert set up a good base understanding as to why Peter Parker would give up his identity as Spider-Man. Now that this family man version of Peter Parker has been established I am eager to learn how he deals with the Regeant’s control over this part of Battleworld. Let’s find out exactly that with Amazing Spider-Man: Renew Your Vows #2.
Writer: Dan Slott
Artist: Adam Kubert
Inker John Dell
Colorist: Justin Ponsor
Story Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10
Art Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10
Synopsis: During Spider-Man’s final battle with Venom Eddie Brock pleads with Spider-Man that the symbiote is responsible for the attack. The symbiote suddenly tries to gain control of Spider-Man.
Peter Parker suddenly wakes up in a cold sweat. Peter’s spider sense suddenly goes off and he and MJ rush to Annie’s room. They find Annie stuck on the ceiling. Peter gets her down and asks what’s wrong. Annie says she got scared by something under her bed. MJ notices that Annie broke her inhibitor bracelet. Peter reassures his daughter that there is nothing under her bed and that they have responsibility to hide their powers.
Later that morning Peter and MJ walk Annie to school. While they walk to Annie’s school Peter wonders how much they have in their savings from MJ’s last job to get replacement parts for Annie’s inhibitor bracelet. MJ says not much but she is looking for new roles. Peter tells MJ not to worry as he’ll just use his “Parker Luck” to get them through. Suddenly, some police vehicles race by and Peter follows them to see if he can get some pictures.
At the school Annie tells her mom if she could not walk her inside since the rest of the kids parents aren’t doing that. MJ says she is fine with it but tells Annie to try and blend in for today since they don’t want her powers to be revealed. Annie wonders if it’s just her powers that make her special. MJ reassures her that she is special with or without her powers.
Elsewhere the Shocker, Rhino and Boomerang are fighting a rogue Demolition Man. As Peter is taking pictures of the fight Mockingbird is hiding in the shadows also watching the fight. Mockingbird contacts SHIELD headquarters if it would be okay to engage. Mockingbird’s boss tells her that the organization can’t risk losing an agent just to save liability like Demolition Man. They then watch as the Sinister Six finish off Demolition Man and take him to the Regent.
At Regent’s tower, Regent says that Demolition Man is not worth his time but decides to promote Shocker since he got the finishing shot during the battle. He then orders Demolition Man to be dissected. Shocker is shocked by this but Regent says everything he does is for the greater good. Beetle walks in and says they detected something at a public school. Regent orders Beetle, Rhino and Boomerang to check it out.
At the Daily Bugle, which is now under Regent’s control, Peter shows JJJ the pictures he took of Regent’s men taking out Demolition Man. JJJ disgruntlely pays Peter to not have the pictures published whatsoever. A reporter comes in and says he heard about Regent’s team launching an assault on a public school. JJJ yells at Peter not to go take pictures of the situation but as soon as he turns around Peter is already gone.
Peter deactivates his inhibitor bracelet, covers his face in his hood and races through the city towards Annie’s school. As he is doing this Regent’s police detect him on their scanners. As Peter is being chased he calls MJ to let her know he is on his way.
At Annie’s school all of the teachers and students are running away due to Power Pack fighting Beetle, Boomerang and Rhino. Peter arrives and is able to hold back Regent’s trio for enough time to for Power Pack to run away and MJ to get Annie back home.
At Regent’s tower Beetle informs Regent on the return of Spider-Man. Regent decides to have his elite team hunt Spider-Man: the Sinister Six.
At the Parker household, Peter tells MJ and Annie that they will need to go into hiding after what happened. MJ disagrees and says Peter is going to have to fight back in a smart way from the shadows. She then pulls out the black Spider-Man costume. Annie says the costume is what she was has been seeing. Peter tells Annie that he hid that long ago but now he will do anything to keep her and MJ safe. End of issue.
The Good: Even after ending the Marvel Universe there has been no shortage of comic books starring Spider-Man. This week alone heavily featured Spider-Man in four Secret Wars tie-in comics. With Spider-Man being such a big presence throughout Battleworld it made what Dan Slott and Adam Kubert were able to do in Amazing Spider-Man: Renew Your Vows #2 that much more special.
What makes Renew Your Vows a series that feels different from all the other Secret Wars comic books is that it feels like an evolution for Peter Parker. Even as there are certain aspects of Secret Wars that loom overhead Slott is able to make this series feel like he is telling a brand new story. He accomplishes this by giving long-time Spider-Man fans a story we have long since wanted: the life of a married Peter and MJ that have started a family.
Slott smartly uses this issue in particular to explore the iconic Spider-Man quote of “with great power, comes great responsibility.” Even as he has Peter emphasize to Annie that they hiding their powers is the responsible thing to do Slott consistently shows us that is not what Peter should do. There is a responsibility that Peter and, by extension, Annie have to use their powers to help others. And the truth is the more they hide their powers the greater the sense of responsibility will become.
This reality was well executed as we saw the remaining Marvel heroes struggling to fight back or just live normal lives. The use of Demolition Man and Power Pack presented us these two different problems in ways that felt natural. Through these scenes Slott was able to build on the dangers that exist in this part of Battleworld for Spider-Man and other heroes.
These scenes also gave a greater sense of importance to Mockingbird’s involvement. The interaction between Mockingbird and the boss of the underground rebellion, who I’m guessing is the classic Nick Fury based on the silhouette, was interesting. It’s a short back-and-forth that gives you a greater sense of how much time has passed since the first issue. That sense of history keeps this story from feeling like it is stuck in particular time period.
The leader of the rebellion choice not to save Demolition Man also introduced an interesting angle in how the Regent is dealing with the remaining heroes. Seeing Regent using the remaining heroes as science experiments gives a further air of mystery of who he is. This mysterious experiment that Regent is running makes Peter’s return have even greater importance since we now know if Annie or others are caught they wouldn’t be simply placed in a prison.
And now seeing how dire things could become I am excited to see that Peter is going to be wearing his black Spider-Man costume moving forward. Slott does a good job emphasizing why Peter would wear the black version of the costume instead of the iconic version. MJ’s explanation makes the black costume now sound like we are going to see a more Dark Knight version of Spider-Man, which is again a good way to separate this series from other Secret Wars comics starring this character.
Speaking of MJ, I also got to give Slott a lot of credit in not missing a beat when it comes to how he wrote the Parker family. Slott does a great job showing us why Peter and MJ’s relationship is special. Even as there are some common relationship problems between the two as they raise young Annie they have been together long enough to deal with the problem as a couple.
Adam Kubert also deserves a lot of credit in this as he makes this version of Peter and MJ look older while still maintaining their classic look. He also does a very good job making alterations to the Spider-Man villains look that remind the reader that time has passed since Peter last wore his costume. The updated designs also make the Sinister Six, in particular, look much more menacing than they ever have.
The Bad: The one thing I was not particularly fond of in this issue was the tease of Venom’s return. I thought it was a powerful moment that Peter’s final act as Spider-Man was to kill one of the villains that has plagued him the most. It’s a bit worrisome that Slott may try to juggle too much if Venom is reintroduced since there is already so much in play with Regent’s control of this land.
Overall: Amazing Spider-Man: Renew Your Vows #2 was another strong issue in a series that has quickly stood out as one of the best Secret Wars tie-in comic books. Dan Slott is working his magic with how he has reintroduced us not only to a married Peter Parker and Mary Jane Watson-Parker but also Annie Parker. The dynamic that Slott has created with the Parker Family has made everything going around these character feel much more important. And with the momentum created by Peter’s final decision at the end of this issue I’m highly intrigued in what will happen next.