Graphic Novel Review: Amazing Spider-Man: Renew Your Vows
10:59 08 January 2016
Spider-marriage, how we’ve missed you - but we want you back for good!
Peter Parker’s marriage to supermodel Mary Jane Watson lasted from 1987 until 2007, at which point editorial edict determined that the wedding never took place following the intervention of the demon Mephisto, with the flawed argument that a younger, unattached Parker had more relevance to a contemporary audience.
But although the last nine years have seen some of the strongest Spider-Man stories in the character’s history, there is still a section of fandom which hankers for a return to the wedded bliss of old that existed before the reboot. After all, Pete and MJ were married for 20 years, which is a massive chunk out of the character’s 53-year history, and even now it is hard to ignore this aspect of their relationship.
Enter current Spidey-scribe Dan Slott for a mini-series spinning out of the Secret Wars crossover event which not only features the married Parkers, but also their daughter Annie, who has inherited her father’s arachnid abilities.
While the publicity for this story suggested it would be very much a continuation of the pre-reboot continuity, its close links to the Secret Wars storyline ruin such promises after all-powerful supervillain Regent systematically wipes out most superpowered beings and sets himself up as ruler over an oppressed fascist state – part of the patchwork planet known as Battleworld.
This means we have a fugitive Spider-Man who goes into hiding for years, only donning his costume again when his family is threatened, with only the opening sequence in this volume actually giving us the day-in-the-life of Mr and Mrs Spidey drama which we wanted.
These first few pages see the Parkers portrayed as husband and wife, father and mother, with Peter still struggling to eek out a living as a photographer for the Daily Bugle, while Mary Jane is no longer the successful soap opera actress she once was, and striving not to let his second career as the webslinger infringe on raising Annie.
Yes, Slott serves up a perfectly adequate tale set within the confines of Battleworld, as established in the main Secret Wars series, but if anything this tip of the hat to the days of old fuels an even more hungry sense of nostalgia for the Spider-marriage, one which isn’t satiated by this rather generic tale of outlaw heroes rallying to overcome an all-powerful foe.
Listen up Marvel! What we really want to see is a proper series focusing on the married Pete and MJ we grew up with for 20 years, living in a recognisable version of the Marvel Universe, instead of this half-baked nod to yesteryear which fails to deliver on expectations.