Amazing Spider-Man: Renew Your Vows #1
Written by Dan Slott
Art by Adam Kubert, John Dell and Justin Ponsor
Lettering by Joe Caramagna
Published by Marvel Comics
Review by Pierce Lydon
'Rama Rating: 7 out of 10
One More Day stands as one of the most reviled retcons in comics history because it erased what seemed like the most functional relationship in the entire Marvel Universe. To most fans, Peter and Mary Jane’s marriage was a sacred, untouchable constant up there with Uncle Ben being dead. Amazing Spider-Man: Renew Your Vows revisits those halcyon days as if that deal with Mephisto was never struck, but not everything is as you’d remember it. All-star creative team Dan Slott and Adam Kubert deliver a pretty effective throwback tale that sets some pretty high stakes moving forward. It’s been a little while since even the proper Amazing Spider-Man title had this much energy, and that’s definitely saying something.
That said, this issue does start off a bit rocky. The tone is a far cry from what we’ve seen in the post-One More Day Spidey Universe, because the focus is so different. It’s been so long since we’ve seen these characters in this kind of setting that even Dan Slott needs a few pages to really establish their voices. But the heart of the title remains the same - “With great power comes great responsibility.”
And there’s something refreshing about seeing Peter Parker not bumbling around, unable to juggle his personal life and his superhero obligations. That’s not to say that he doesn’t struggle with it, but he seems to have much more poise and resolve than the Peter we’re used to. It’s that slight change in his character that fuels this issue and leads to its conclusion that opens the door for a very heroic return to form. There are a few points where the plot drags a little bit and scenes are stretched to facilitate some tension in the script. And there’s a moment with MJ that sees her hitch onto a speeding fire truck while holding baby in one arm which seems a bit unbelievable, but I mean, we’re already believing a man can get spider-powers.
What really keeps the nostalgia train chugging along is Adam Kubert’s art. One thing I noticed was that Kubert seem to be channeling John Romita, Jr., a little bit in some of his character renderings and it worked really well as a call back to one of the most popular eras of Spidey comics. His renderings and panel compositions are a bit looser than we’ve seen from him lately, but inker John Dell sharpens them with incredible precision when needed. The biggest knock on Kubert is that he can’t for the life of him draw a baby consistently, but that’s (unfortunately) most artists. Given the rough start with the more domestic scenes, I was pleased to see Kubert really nail the action sequences. The first time we see Spider-Man barrel through a glass window is a moment full of power and desperation, exactly what is needed for that scene.
Amazing Spider-Man: Renew Your Vows could have been campy fan service, but it avoids that with an almost-twist ending. That sets the stage for what’s to come in a big way. Dan Slott and Adam Kubert took a good approach to this one and executed very well. Minor hiccups abound, but they’re not enough to take you out of the story or affect the readability of the issue. While it’s hard to gauge how important these miniseries are to the main narrative, some of them have undeniably been fun, and Renew Your Vows is no different.