While the in-canon titles all do well to build on what came before, it’s always fun to enjoy an elseworlds tale to see what could have been. That’s why Renew Your Vows is fun, because it can explore alternate ideas. It also means you get a fresh take on characters that takes big chances.
Writer: Gerry Conway
Artist: Ryan Stegman
Publisher: Marvel Comics
So what’s it about?
The official summary reads:
Magneto strikes! The Brotherhood of Evil Mutants has defeated the X-Men…and now it’s up to the Spider-Family to stop them!
Why does this book matter?
Its Spider-Man and Wolverine teaming up against the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants as they’ve infiltrated Xavier’s school. Given the X-gene can be exploited, writer Gerry Conway uses that to make the Spider-Family all the more important.
Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?
Wow, what a lot of fun this issue is and that’s coming from a guy who hadn’t previously read a single issue of this series! The basic premise is easy enough to understand going into this big climactic issue. Ryan Stegman draws his pants off and then some with some killer splash pages (Spider-Man and Wolverine swooping in!) and dynamic panels (Spidey’s daughter hiding in a vent above a lurking villain). I can’t say enough how good this book looks. Given the heavy inks you’d think it was a sad sort of issue, but the emotive characters, colorful costumes, and big in-your-face action swings things in the opposite direction. It’s fun to see these characters take on the staples of the X-Men rogues gallery and should make any longtime X-Men or Spider-Man fan giddy.
Part of the reason the action works so well is Gerry Conway’s integration of character wrinkles and personality. A quiet moment between Mary Jane and Cyclops where Cyke explains why he and Jean broke up is compelling and adds weight to the dangerous situations. Peter and Mary Jane continue to possess a spark that you can’t get enough of and the issue never loses sight of their love for each other. A big surprise is how well Peter’s daughter and Wolverine’s daughter get along. Only 9, Peter’s daughter is steadfast and headstrong while Wolverine’s daughter is much younger, cute, but filled with courage. If Marvel ever decides to give our favorite heroes kids, this is a good template to riff off of.
The issue ends up concluding nicely too. Really the entire issue is very efficient, but the climactic page wraps things up well and then spills into an epilogue of sorts that sets up the next issue well. Given the tease of the final panel I think Spidey fans are going to be dying for the next issue.
What a splash page!
It can’t be perfect can it?
My only gripe was being unsure of how this world is different from the main one on a larger scale. Wolverine and Jean are together, I get that, but the action in this issue is so self-contained it’s hard to grasp the differences. In a way that makes it better–it’s easier to relate to the characters who are so similar to the main universe, but the twist of Renew Your Vows is lost.
Is It Good?
Highly enjoyable and incredibly efficient, this is a comic book that’ll satisfy any comic fan. Seriously, give this a spin if you like Spider-Man or the X-Men because it’s a home run by all accounts.
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