Spider-Man: Renew Your Vows: Update: Backstory Details Established

cqjhqxiwcaa8bssAs I’ve mentioned in a couple other articles, this winter, Marvel is publishing a new comic book series, The Amazing Spider-Man: Renew Your Vows (aka RYV Vol. 2), a followup to the miniseries of the same name (aka RYV Vol. 1) that will feature the entire Parker family as a superhero team.

We now know that the first issue will be for sale on November 9th. The author and illustrator, Gerry Conway and Ryan Stegman, have also had an interview that answered a few questions about the series. The interview can be read here. I, for one, feel generally encouraged. Conway and Stegman not only seem to have put thought into the characters and setup, but also seem to be really excited for this project. The interview also answered a lot of questions I had about the series and how everything fit together.

My biggest question was if RYV Vol. 2  would be a direct sequel to Vol. 1 or a reboot à la Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan vs. Star Trek Into Darkness. The short answer is the latter, although the exacts maybe more complex. Conway explained his approach as follows: “…after ‘Secret Wars,’ this universe [the RYV world that was duct-taped into Battleworld] was reestablished, but much of the stuff that happened in that miniseries still occurred. So, as I mentioned, we don’t have the high tech future world from that mini, but the Regent did attempt to take over the world and he was put down by Peter, Mary Jane and Annie, together.”

The comment about Annie helping stop Regent’s coup seems to suggest that Regent’s timescale for his conquest was vastly different here; in RYV Vol. 1, Regent conquered the world when Annie was a baby, and then ruled for the next eight years until the Parkers’ helped overthrow him. Evidently in Vol. 2’s backstory, he waited much longer to set his plan into motion and never got to be king. Conway has even gone on record that Regent didn’t get to kill the X-Men and the Avengers this time around.

RYV Vol. 2 actually might be building more off of the pre-2007 Amazing Spider-Man comics than it its its own predecessor. “The notion here is our world was the Marvel Universe up to the point of ‘Brand New Day,” Conway said. [Brand New Day was the first arc of the comic’s reboot, where Spider-Man was retconned from being a married man to a bachelor, to the consternation of many of us.] “Then things continued without that big change. Things have also gone off track in certain ways, though.”

It’s unclear how sacrosanct the Marvel Universe history will be, though. For example, before the reboot, Peter Parker had been publicly unmasked and was a fugitive. So far, RYV Vol. 2 doesn’t support that as a past event. Stegman will be also redesigning many of the side characters. It has yet to be explained if this is simply artistic license, evidence that the universe has been slightly different from day one, or some other possibility.

Also, RYV Vol. 1 seemed to have a different history from the Marvel Universe long before the Brand New Day timeframe, which could mean that some of those differences also apply to Vo. 2. For example, Vol. 1 seemed to imply that Annie was born long before Brand New Day, which wouldn’t track if everything was the same in Vol. 2 back then. We’ll have to see how the story unfolds before some of these questions can be answered.

The circumstances that lead MJ to deciding that she wanted to be a superhero, too, were not addressed in the interview, but it was explained that she will be getting her superpowers using using Regent’s leftover technology. As fans of RYV Vol 1 know, this is a stopgap measure, at best, something the authors are aware of that and imply they will be addressing down the line. I was worried that the answer to this question would be contrived, but it’s actually a pretty good one and build off of the original story in an interesting way. I’m also glad that the limitations are being address and that it’s opening up new story possibilities for the future.

I was surprised to hear that Annie’s still eight years old in this series, just like she was in RYV Vol. 1. While the timeframe that the series is creating seems to work, Stigma’s sketches of Annie seemed to be As drawn now, she looked older, although that was mostly since she looked taller. I did really like her original child-aged characterization, so I’m glad to hear that she won’t be a pre-teen in this one.

So, in conclusion, RYV Vol. 2 looks like it’ll live up to its “Amazing” title. It’s a followup to RYV Vo. 1, but the series is assuming that that graphic novel represents an altered timeline that was created by reality getting messed up and was undone when the universe was fixed. That said, somethings in that timeline, like Regent inventing superpower-granting tech and trying to use it to take over the world, were variations of things that happened in the “correct” timeline. The series picks up from there, and we’ll be seeing where it goes.

So, are you amped for this series, or do you think that it’s jumped the shark? Share your thoughts — and/or guesses to the identity of the mystery villain that Conway promised would be playing a role in the series’ ongoing story — in the comments below.

Random RYV Vol. 2 wishlist:

– I really hope this series has a substantial run and isn’t one of those things that just disappears after a year or so.

– My votes for MJ’s second power source (as alluded to above) are either a version of the Iron Spider armor suit, something she’s borrowed in some of the franchise’s stories, or the virus from the Spider-Island comic story, which gave people Spider-Man’s superpowers. Since the virus eventually turned its victims into spider monsters (as seen in the Secret Wars version of Spider-Island), this scenario would need a new cure that would allow MJ to keep the powers after treatment.

– Since both comics center around a nuclear family, it’d be interesting to see the RYV Parkers team up with the Fantastic Four.

– J. Jonah Jameson will be back in RYV Vol. 2, and here’s hoping that his rants are worthy to stand alongside  J.K. Simmons’ best.

Spider-Man villain Scorpion and Fantastic Four villain Mole-Man will be the villains the first time around. Later down the line, I’d like to see Mysterio, my favorite lower-tier Spider-Man villain (why hasn’t he got a movie, yet?). Because of his important role in RYV Vol. 1., I’d like to see Venom come back. The Norman Osborn Green Goblin could be a really interesting antagonist; in the Amazing Spider-Man comics, he holds both Peter and MJ responsible for his son’s downfall and death. Just think of the kind of revenge he’d try, now that they have a child of their own. I also loved the Kingpin and gangland stories in Ultimate Spider-Man. It’d be fun to see some new spins on those here.

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