Your Friendly Neighborhood Family-Man
Art by: Ryan Stegman & Sonia Oback
Cover Price: $3.99
Release Date: November 9, 2016
Review by: Branden Murray
Marvel Comics confuses me with some of their decision making lately. However, in this reviewer’s eyes, releasing a second volume of Renew Your Vows might top the list of good decisions they’ve made in the last calendar year. For those new to the series Renew Your Vows is a Spider-Man title that’s come back for a second volume after spinning out of Secret Wars last year. The main difference here, compared to the current Spider-Man canon, is we see what life would be like for Peter Parker had his marriage with Mary Jane Watson never been “One More Day-ed” by Mephesto. So with it now being made clear this is Spider-Man is living the #DadLife let’s get into the events this month and see why having super powers doesn’t make raising a family any easier.
The issue kicks events off with the Spider-Man we all know and love, Peter Parker, taking on a slightly beefed up version of the Scorpion. Think regular Marvel 616 Scorpion meets Bane resulting in a strappingly ugly love child. As the two old foes battle, Spider-Man suddenly gets a call on his com-system from Mary Jane stating “there’s a code green” at home, forcing Spidey to wrap up the battle quickly heading for the “spider nest”.
On Spidey’s way home we’re provided a few important teases which highlight a shadowy figure, which looks very Osborn-ish, watching Spidey swing through the city on his way home. There’s some important information dropped here which appears to signal the Osborne Corporation (speculation: run by Harry’s son?) is possibly mining the building site left behind by Regent for traces of his technology (see volume 1 Renew Your Vows trade). A flash the building site just referenced, shows the ground underneath rumbling, which appears to be unconnected to any current events … hmmm what could that be?
Before long Spider-Man arrives home and we find out just exactly what “code green” means. Hint, hint: it’s sexy time with Mary Jane. However Spidey can’t even slip out of his underoo’s before a scream from his daughter Annie’s room interrupts the main event. The two concerned parents run down the hallway to find Annie and her pet turtle strung up from the ceiling by webbing. The following pages are constructed of some well put together family banter as Peter and M.J. talk to Annie about the dangers of playing with her father’s super hero gadgets and using her power all willy-nilly over breakfast the next day.
The issue moves along as Peter arrives to work later that next day after breakfast. While debating his pay scale and the quality of photos he’s taken with J. Jonah, Peter receives a tip to get photo evidence of something strange going on in the city. He sets off dressed as Spider-Man and no time a T-Rex, yes you read that correct a T-Rex emerges from a hole in the city to distract Spider-Man as he’s ambushed by a group of goons he refers to as the Albino Stick Men.
Things look dire as Spidey is overwhelmed by the combination of creatures attacking him when his own narration mentions that he feels he’s being “tapped”. Out of left field Mary Jane swings into the picture, in some pretty sweet super hero swag might I add, to provide Peter with the assist he needs to get out of trouble, all the while lambasting him for not calling her sooner because “it’s not a solo act anymore”. We’re quickly filled in on the how and why concerning M.J., her suit, and powers before the “spider couple” are stunned by our cliffhanger reveal … that Mole Man has Annie Parker!!
Overall the book provides a pretty decent bang for your buck with a pretty solid main story accompanied by two quick back up stories. While the back-ups don’t add much to the overall narrative the main story provides plenty of meat and cheese to chew on until next month’s issue two arrives. Gerry Conway nails the family dynamic and dialogue in this comic book making it an enjoyable light hearted read (think current Superman title with Superboy as far as DC comparisons go). The art done by Ryan Stegman and colored by Sonia Oback was the issue highlight and all the new costume designs for Scorpion, Mary Jane, and Spider-Girl all look amazing.
Bits and Pieces:
Spider-Man and Mary Jane living the married life is something a lot of Spidey fans have been clamoring for and Conway, Stegman, and the rest of the team involved don’t disappoint. Despite an odd choice for the villain the group will combat in coming issues I look forward to continuing to follow this story because of what my favorite character now has in common with myself … a normal life.