Spider-Man: Renew Your Vows Update: Spider-man and His Amazing Family Are the New Fantastic Three

cqjhqxiwcaa8bssIn a previous post, I mentioned that Marvel was publishing a new Spider-Man series based on their popular Secret Wars graphic novel, Renew Your Vows (aka RYV). Being a fan of that book, I was really happy that they were planning to revisit Peter, Mary Jane, and Annie Parker’s little corner of the franchise.

Since then, a couple of concrete details have been announced. The first issue of the new RYV series is coming in November, and the series has a new twist to the mythos. Peter won’t be the only one “living on the edge, fighting crime, spinning webs” and all that. Not only is Annie stepping up as a rookie superhero, MJ’s also joining the club, having gained her own version of her husband and daughter’s superpowers through as-of-yet unspecified means.

I was honestly expecting something different, that RYV would follow more in line of a hybrid of classic Spider-Man with Spider-Girl; Peter was Spider-Man, we’d see Annie learning how to be a superhero, and MJ would not be strapping on web shooters. So, do I like the new premise? Well, it will be unique and keep all the characters relevant, since all the characters are deuteragonists, instead of one protagonists and two supporting characters.

The status quo arguably builds off of the original story, which had the entire family working together to save the day. It’s also very much like The Incredibles — which fluxes with Spider-Man 2 and Captain America: The Winter Solider as my favorite superhero movie of all time. In The Incredibles, I really liked the family element, so I could see myself appreciating it being recreated with my favorite family in the genre.

That said, I’m unsure about MJ being a superhero. In all the previous iterations of the franchise — including the original RYV — MJ was a normal human, meaning that, unless the new series is a total reboot, then there needs to be some kind of explanation. Explanations after the fact tend to be really forced. If I had to guess how they’ll explain it here, I’d vote that MJ is using a non-lethal variation of the superpower technology from the original story.

Also, I think the character works better if she’s a non-powered person who’s life brushes against the superhero world. As a supporting character, she primarily anchors Peter to his civilian life. Now, depending on how the story is written, the family could still anchor each other, but I really like the non-superhero scenes in the comics with the characters. Having them all in on the action could overtake the series.

character-size-comparison
How things change. Concept art of MJ and Annie for the Renew Your Vows ongoing series (sketch by Ryan Stegman) compared to their appearance in the original Renew Your Vows miniseries (art by Adam Kubert and Scott Hanna)

Potential stories aside, the artwork itself looks great. Spider-Man is in his traditional costume, which I appreciate. I’m not a big fan of costume changes. I hated the first Amazing Spider-Man movie’s suit and think that the only flaw with Tom Holland’s Spider-Man in Captain America: Civil War were the minor changes in the costume. I wish that the webbing looked more like cloth webbing pattern and less like the outlines of a mosaic, but it still looks like the same costume, and that’s good. The new costumes for Annie and MJ are welcome, too.

In summary, I’m not completely sold on the whole “Fantastic Three” thing, but I do like the characters a lot, the artwork looks solid, so I’m overall still looking forward to the series, even if I’ve had to change my perceptions of what it would be. I do hope that we get a balance of superhero-themed material with family subplots since the dichotomy of this guy who does fantastic stuff but otherwise lives a normal life is one of the things I love about the brand.

So, what do you think? Are you ready to revisit some old friends on their new adventures, or do you think that you’ll be collecting Spider-Man: RYV no more? Share in the comments below.

Extra notes:

– Fan can check out Ryan Stegman’s Twitter feed here. There’s quite a few RYV art samples as of this writing, ranging from Spider-Man in action to Peter and MJ sharing a tender moment.

– The RVY series is being published under the “Amazing Spider-Man” title, although it’s an alternate continuity to the main Amazing Spider-Man series via the “parallel universe” trope. Since the latter will be telling the franchise’s fifth installment/reimagining of the infamous Clone Saga, it’d be a good idea not to get the two mixed up.

– Ryan Stegman’s depiction of Annie includes freckles, something that she didn’t have in the original RYV comic. Whether this could be chalked up as a seasonal thing or just ignored as artistic license is up to the readers. Ironically, Annie takes after her mom in this regard, as MJ is normally freckle-less, but sometimes has them in specific artistic renderings.

– I’m really curious if MJ and Annie will be using superhero codenames and, if so, what they will be: In the original RYV story, MJ didn’t want one at all and Annie wanted to call herself “Amp” (an acronym of her initials), which has very little to do with the spider motif and sounds more suited for an electricity-themed superhero.

– Adam Kubert, the artist for the original RYV story, will be drawing one of the cover options for the first new RYV issue.

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