Spider-Man is one of the three most recognizable superheroes in history, responsible for turning legions of kids to comic books. He’s an institution. So fans were understandably upset when the flagship Amazing Spider-Man title strayed so far from what makes Peter Parker a compelling figure. While sometimes entertaining, the book never truly feels right. It doesn’t hit home like a Spider-Man book should. Luckily, veteran Spider-scribe Gerry Conway is delivering everything fans want in an alternate universe tale, Amazing Spider-Man: Renew Your Vows.
Renew Your Vows originated as a mini-series during 2015’s Secret Wars event; Conway’s new ongoing series begins where the mini leaves off. It takes place in a universe where “One More Day” never happened. Peter and Mary Jane are still married, and they even have a daughter, Annie. Long story short, Annie has genetic spider-abilities, and Mary Jane has tech that siphons off some of her husband’s power. The Parkers are now a family of supers.
That’s a pretty big change to Spider-Man lore. Now, many will defend the current Amazing Spider-Man by saying that people who don’t like it just don’t like change. Renew Your Vows proves that isn’t the case. Conway shows that it’s possible to tell new and fresh Spidey stories and still maintain a familiar feel.
Peter Parker is an everyman. He deals with everyday problems, like juggling a personal life with work (and superheroing). RYV captures that concept perfectly. RYV Pete isn’t a tech billionaire running his own company like he currently is in ASM. He doesn’t have employees or robots to help lighten the load. He’s just a man trying to do his best out in the world every day and get home to his family. Issue one actually starts with him webslinging through the city, stopping to fight crime, and reciting his grocery list to himself the whole time. That’s Spider-Man to a T.
Plus, if anything, Conway has brought the webhead to his natural place in 2016. He has a family now, probably much like the fans that grew up reading his stories. He’s helping them get through adulthood just like he helped them get through adolescence. Teens today have Miles Morales to be their Spider-Man; adults should get to keep Peter.
The key to writing Peter Parker is to make him relatable. Amazing Spider-Man simply isn’t getting that job done. For those of us that want to laugh with Pete, cry with him, and learn something of value from him, Renew Your Vows is the best book on the market.