Preview Review: Amazing Spider-Man: Renew Your Vows (2016) #6


A surprise birthday party and an unexpected (and uncanny) guest make up this preview of the latest issue of Spider-Man and his Amazing family.

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Artist Ryan Stegman isn’t the only one who returns in tomorrow’s Amazing Spider-Man: Renew Your Vows (2016) #6. As we see in the following preview (via Previews World, Comic Vine, and CBR), we also see the return of Professor Charles Xavier/Professor X, Scott Summers/Cyclops, Jean Grey, and Logan/Wolverine of the X-Men. Well, alternate versions of these X-Men anyway. Renew Your Vows does take place in an alternate timeline, after all.

But we also get a glimpse from this preview not just an expansion of the familiar but different Marvel Universe that makes up Renew Your Vows. This also gives us a window into who else are in the lives of Peter Parker, Mary Jane Watson-Parker, and their daughter, Annie…and who may not be. And what better place for showing this than with a party scene? Because as Gerry Conway and Ryan Stegman’s Renew Your Vows has shown thus far, the changes and potential evolution of Spider-Man’s supporting cast should be just as fascinating as Spidey himself. But before we get into this latest “Preview Review,” we, as always, must look at the covers.

Credit: Ed McGuinness (Marvel Comics); Resurrxion Variant cover for Amazing Spider-Man: Renew Your Vows (2016) #6

Like the preview for Amazing Spider-Man (2015) #26, this is another “Resurrxion variant.” However, I find this one a lot more dynamic and attention-grabbing. We can clearly see how Nightcrawler “BAMFS” himself closer and closer to the viewer, and it’s a great touch having his tail holding a third fencing sword, emphasizing how Kurt Wagner fancies himself as an Errol Flynn-style swashbuckler. If this wasn’t a variant, it would make an excellent cover for a Nightcrawler series.

Credit: Ryan Stegman and Sonia Oback (Marvel Comics); cover for Amazing Spider-Man: Renew Your Vows (2016) #6

I don’t think you need me to tell you why X-Men fans, when this cover first appeared with Marvel’s solicitations for April of 2017, X-Men fans, got pretty pumped up. Especially those X-Men fans introduced to Marvel’s Merry Mutants through Fox’s animated series from the 1990s. Sure, it’s your classic group shot, with the heroes charging forward into battle, but there’s no denying it’s making a statement. And that statement is, “This is a world in which not only are Peter and Mary Jane happily married, but these X-Men are still alive and well.”

Credit: Ryan Stegman and Jesus Aburtov (Marvel Comics); from Amazing Spider-Man: Renew Your Vows (2016) #6

Remember how Mary Jane during Renew Your Vows #2 was mentally going over a guest list for a party she’d been planning? Well now, with this upcoming issue, we see exactly what kind of party it was. Although I wonder, based on the solicit for Renew Your Vows #5, if Peter’s surprise birthday party was originally intended for that issue.

Also, based on Mary Jane’s guest-list from issue #2, the people in attendance should include her sister, Gayle and her two nephews; MJ’s cousin, Kristy; the Robertsons; Glory Grant and her son, Jermaine; the Thompsons; and J. Jonah Jameson. Though it also looks like MJ invited Wendy from the barista next door; MJ’s assistant, Murph; and maybe Jonah’s wife, Marla. Honestly, as good as Stegman is, it’s hard to put a name to most of these faces, and this where Gerry Conway could’ve helped in informing readers who’s who in this scene.

Nevertheless, I really do like the interaction between Peter, MJ, and Annie in this scene. Especially MJ’s line to Annie that Peter “doesn’t get surprised, [he] gets embarrassed.”

Credit: Ryan Stegman and Jesus Aburtov (Marvel Comics); from Amazing Spider-Man: Renew Your Vows (2016) #6

You got to hand it to Conway with how quickly and deftly he shifts tone during this single page without any it coming across as abrupt and out-of-nowhere. First, it’s bittersweet as we learn that not only is Aunt May dead but so is MJ’s aunt, Anna Watson. And nice bit of continuity by Conway reminding readers it was both May and Anna who orchestrated bringing Peter and MJ together in the first place. Then the scene gets more amusing as Annie, in typical kid fashion, gets increasingly disappointed over the organic desserts. And finally, we have a bit of intrigue as the arrival of Professor Charles Xavier propels us into what will be the main story. Very impressive from a technical and narrative standpoint.

Credit: Ryan Stegman and Jesus Aburtov (Marvel Comics); from Amazing Spider-Man: Renew Your Vows (2016) #6

And finally, we get this great splash page from Stegman where we also get a taste of 1990s X-Men nostalgia. Looks like it’s not just Xavier, Wolverine, Jean Grey, and Cyclops who still retain their Jim Lee designs, but so too does Rogue and Iceman. The only one who doesn’t is Warren Worthington III, who’s in his traditional Angel persona as opposed to Archangel. It’s difficult making out who the two students are sitting on the lawn, the one standing is definitely Colossus. And I’m definitely curious about the toddler on Wolverine’s shoulders. Given the red hair, it’s definitely Jean’s kid, but is the father Cyclops or Wolverine? Because remember, Jean had feelings for both Scott Summers and Logan, so it’d be interesting finding out which one she settled down with in this universe.

So while this preview does lack fast-paced, visual dynamism from the Amazing Spider-Man (2015) #26 preview, its still very effective not just in terms of it’s dialogue but also with its world-building. And, like a good preview should do, it gives just enough of taste of that larger world so as to not give too much away. However, being that this is a Spider-Man comic, I do wish we got a little bit more time with Peter and MJ’s more immediate neighbors.

Amazing Spider-Man: Renew Your Vows (2016) #6 comes out this Wednesday, April 12, 2017