The Amazing Spider-Man: Renew Your Vows #3
Writer: Gerry Conway
Penciler : Ryan Stegman
Colorist : Jesus Aburtov
Letterer : VC’s Joe Caramagna
Release Date : 4/12/17
Price : $3.99
Private school or public school? It’s a big choice for any parent, now just imagine if you add super powers into the mix. This is the question that Peter and MJ face when Professor Charles Xavier proposes that young Annie May Parker come to enroll at the Xavier School for Gifted Youngsters. Let’s hope she survives the experience.
If you are a 90s baby and or a fan of the classic X-Men animated series you are going to love this issue. The entire time I was reading this issue the old theme song was playing in my head. The nostalgia levels were off the charts. This issue did a lot of great world building for the renew your vows universe. In this universe we find out that Charles seemingly prevented the events of what we know as the first Civil War by agreeing to help police both mutants and superheroes. We also see that Wolverine and Jean Grey are currently running the school and they are married and have a little girl named Katie aka Shine. The best part about this issue is that it brings up the age old debate: is there a real difference between a mutant and just someone with super powers? Exploring that question is always interesting. I loved the dual perspectives of Peter and MJ as they were deciding making the decision of letting Annie go to the institute or keep her in public school. Peter’s high school experience sucked even before his powers, so it makes sense that a school that nurtures kids that are different would appeal to him.
On the other side of that I totally understand why Mary Jane is against letting Annie go to the Xavier institute. Not only does she not want to miss seeing her little girl learn and grow but also she was a social butterfly and grew up as a popular girl, so of course she strongly believes that Annie deserves to have a normal life and with her own friends and experiences. I found it really cool that MJ actually found a kindred spirit in Scott Summers aka Cyclops, and Conway hits us with a huge dose of irony when we find out that this version of Scott teaches ethics and human-mutant relations. If you’ve been reading X-Men books for the last five years or so you’ll know just how ironic that is. Scott is the one who tells MJ more about what Charles has done and while he still has much respect for his mentor his days of just blindly following him are over. This creates an interesting dynamic between Charles and Scott and gives MJ a unique perspective. I can’t wait to see how this information will influence her going forward with this story. Renew your vows continues to show just how strong of a character Mary Jane Watson-Parker is and I can’t get enough of it. Lastly it feels really refreshing to see a version of Scott Summers that isn’t just a boy scout without also being a total jerk. Conway has managed to find a great balance and reminds me how much I actually miss adult Cyclops.
I’ve been reading both Spider-Man and X-Men comics as long as I can remember and 90s comics have a particularly special place in my heart. Say what you want about the stories from back then but I’m sure that most of us can agree that the art in that era was awesome. This comic totally captured that look and feel. It managed to really hit my nostalgia while still feeling very new and modern. Every time I saw a classic character design I couldn’t help but smile, and as always the vibrant colors in this book really makes each panel pop off the page. The character’s facial expressions were great. We got to see a wide range of emotions throughout the issue. Everything from Peter’s happiness when he walks into his surprise party to his conflicting thoughts and emotions about possibly sending Annie to the Xavier Institute. We also get to see Mary Jane get angry and defensive and I’ve gotta say Peter and Charles survived that experience. All in all not only does Stegman continue to prove why he is my personally favorite Spider-Man artist working today but now I wanna see him do more stuff with the X-Men.
I loved this issue so much. This issue gave us some much needed world building to further establish the renew your vows universe, and since I grew up reading Spider-Girl and other MC2 comics I couldn’t help but think of that. Much like with Mayday when she started Annie is still trying to figure out who she is both with and without her powers, and the struggle for Peter and MJ is trying to figure out what’s best for her while trying to raise a young superhero. Which is why I think the X-Men were the perfect choice to be the first major superhero group to reintroduce into this world, since one of their main goals has always been to help guide and nurture children gifted with abilities. It also creates an interesting debate within the Parker-Watson family where both sides could be seen as equally valid. Now speaking as a life long X-Men fan this issue reminded me of everything I love about good X-Men stories. It had interesting characters, ethical and moral questions, and I really enjoyed the fact that in classic X-Men fashion Conway leads you to believe the story is going one way only to throw a twist and cliffhanger at the end. Well played Mr. Conway, well played indeed.