AMAZING SPIDER-MAN: RENEW YOUR VOWS #13 by Jody Houser, Nick Roche, and Ruth Redmond
AMAZING SPIDER-MAN: RENEW YOUR VOWS #13 is a fresh and reinvigorating installment for what was already an extremely fun series.
90 %
A Fresh Start
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Jumping to eight years after the end of issue #12, AMAZING SPIDER-MAN: RENEW YOUR VOWS #13 features teenage angst, clunky parenting, and the classic charm you can always expect from a Spider-Man book. The series definitely benefits from this time shift, as it reinvigorates the series with new potential. The new creative team of author Jody Houser and artists Nick Roche and Ruth Redmond mix up the formula, with the fighting taking a back seat to the Parker family drama.

This issue is certainly not without its fair share of action. In fact, it opens and ends with very lively and colorful sequences. In the beginning, eight-years-older Annie takes center stage against the Sinister Six (in actually just a training exercise set up by Logan in the X-Men’s Danger Room). At the end, the Spider-Family unites against a rampaging Lizard on Coney Island. These segments work well to contain the family drama of the issue, which acts as the primary focus. This series has always had a good handle on balancing the two. So the lessened amount of action here should feel welcome to familiar readers.

Newer Storytelling for the Series

AMAZING SPIDER-MAN: RENEW YOUR VOWS #13 page 4. Image courtesy of Marvel Entertainment.

Speaking of Annie, she shines in this issue. Her new costume is a beautiful sight. Her original outfit was cute, but once I heard about this new one I couldn’t wait to see it in action. It definitely looks great on the pages as well. Though there are some odd spots, Nick Roche and Ruth Redmond do a tremendous job bringing Annie, as well the rest of the cast, to life. Although it’s no secret that Logan is a short guy, Roche draws him much shorter than we usually see, which only adds to the humor of the issue. Given the large handful of artists who’ve worked on Spider-Man, Roche’s style is very befitting of the web-slinger and his world.

In a similar manner, Jody Houser is very welcome as the new writer of the series. She understands how these characters work, and knows how to get across both the angst of being a young teenager and the uncertainties of being a parent. Overall, her portrayal of the cast is spot on. As Annie is fighting the Sinister Six, she’s going on and on about getting a new superhero name. In the moment, it seems so unimportant, but you can’t help agreeing with her. This is just the sort of “personal, yet universal” kind of dialogue that’s part of a Spider-Man book.

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The moment Spidey shows up, the humorous drama kicks in. Though family drama and overprotective parenting habits have been present throughout the series, it’s never been overbearing. So, in this issue, it feels more mature. For the first twelve installments, most of the drama came from Peter and MJ being extremely overprotective parents. They’re still kind of like that, but now the focus is more on them feeling awkward and unsure of how to act around their teenage daughter. The doubt shared between them feels very real, and I’m sure many parents can relate to it.

One of the best moments of the issue works with this drama in mind. Shortly after the training session with Logan, two pages are dedicated to Annie and her father talking during the car ride home. It’s impossible not to feel some secondhand awkwardness from Peter. He genuinely has no idea how to behave around his daughter, and it takes him a few panels to get the proper groove going. His behavior and dialogue seem very natural, as he’s struggling to relate and converse with his kid. His thoughts and actions, again, are probably relatable to many parents.

AMAZING SPIDER-MAN: RENEW YOUR VOWS #13 page 10. Image courtesy of Marvel Entertainment.

A Bright Future for the Parkers

Peter’s inner quarrel of feeling old is befitting of his personality. He’s always been a character filled with uncertainty. So adding in this new bit of doubt to his mind feels right. Not to mention, it gives a great deal of humor to this issue as well. It also provides for a fitting final moment, as the Lizard starts tearing through Coney Island. With the Spider-Family hidden behind cover, Peter pulls off the old “tear open the shirt to reveal the costume” cliché to excellent effect. It’s an ironic moment, but it fits the overall tone of the issue.

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The final pages of AMAZING SPIDER-MAN: RENEW YOUR VOWS #13 promise plenty of excitement for the next installment. Beyond that, there’s no doubt that the relationships in the Parker family will continue to mature from here on. It should be interesting to see where Houser takes the Parkers and what she has in store for them in terms of scale and heroic antics.

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