The Amazing Spider-Man: Renew Your Vows #18 was written by Jody Houser with art by Nathan Stockman, Ruth Redmond, Joe Caramagna, Ryan Stegman, and Brian Reber.
So a few issues back, Annie May stumbled upon two kids in her school, Reece and Lacey, who had discovered some sort of chemical something-or-other that could give them super powers. At the time, I asked: “How will Annie handle this? And why does she want to face it on her own when friggin Spider-Man is right there and ready to help?”
Well, it turns out that the answers to those questions are “With the best of intentions, but very poorly” and “Because although she has a good heart, she’s young & stupid”, respectively. These two kids tell Annie they did what they did because they wanted to be super heroes. Annie pretends that the explosion (not an X-plosion, since this is a Spider-Man book) gave her powers too and agrees to work with them in the early stages of becoming super heroes since she’s already been through all of that as Spiderling. Only, they don’t know that she’s Spiderling.
Soon after they successfully stop their first thief, Lacey declares that they’re now ready to go kill Norman Osborn Jr., which she reveals has been her main goal in this whole endeavor since she believes Oscorp killed her father. We find out that find the chemical that gave her her powers wasn’t found in one of her dad’s old storage lockers like she claimed, but that someone had left it on her doorstep with a note telling her to use it to take out Osborn.
In this universe, the Oscorp was started by Norman Osborn, who went criminally insane and died, then taken over by his son Harry who also went criminally insane and died. Norman Jr. is only a teenager, but he seems pretty sane…at least for now. But as a child, he can’t be blamed for anything that his father or grandfather did, at least not by any rational person. Lacey, at the moment, is not rational. Reece isn’t really on board with this idea; and Annie obviously objects to the idea of killing anyone, especially Norman Jr. who she was friends with when they were younger.
Lacey takes off on her own after Osborn, Reece chases after her and Annie follows. But Annie soon gets busted by her parents, who have the same questions I did:
While there’s no good reason for initially keeping it a secret, Annie does seem to have one for keeping it a secret once things went south. She thinks that Lacey isn’t evil, just confused. She doesn’t just hate the Osborn family for destroying her’s, she also hates super heroes for not being able to protect her father. Annie figures that if a couple super heroes show up and punch her into submission it might just push her over to the dark side. That being said, Annie manages to convince them to let her continue working out this whole mess on her own, only with papa Spidey & mama Spinneret watching from a safe distance and ready to jump in if things get too hairy.
Annie & Reece confront Lacey just as she’s got Norman Jr. by the throat but soon manage to convince her that killing him won’t make her life any better, in fact it’ll make it a lot worse for her and everybody who cares about her. Annie convinces Norman not to press charges provided Lacey doesn’t come after him again. However, it turns out that she couldn’t even if she wanted to because the super power granting effects of whatever chemical they were exposed to seems to have worn off. Same things goes for Reece. Annie conveniently uses this opportunity to say that she also no longer has any powers.
Back at Oscorp, Norman Jr. is authorizing a Dr. Vardia, who works in the Oscorp medical research labs, to begin conducting human trials of a gene therapy that could possibly cure cancer. As Dr. Vardia leaves the office, the audience gets a clue that Vardia isn’t exactly what he seems.
Well, that’s quite a sinister look. Remember when he stole some of Annie’s blood a few issues back? And I’ll bet that he’s the one that sent the package to Lacey. Man…this guy sure does love to meddle!