This issue marks a landmark for those of us that either loved the old 2099 series from the mid-90s or played the recent Spider-Man video games not based on a movie. This issue is the return of Miguel O’Hara, Spider-Man 2099, and his introduction into Marvel’s 616 universe.
If you have been following Spider-Man since his recent conversion you have probably read an issue drawn by Ryan Stegman. While I don’t believe he is the greatest artist Marvel has in their arsenal, Stegman has a great skill with his style of taking what could be a much darker and more violent comic series and making it still feel fun and light. This is essential in the current story because although nothing about the series is like the old Spider-Man, there is a whimsy to the art which ties us back to before Doc Ock took over Pete’s body.
Ryan Stegman does a great job as always in this issue. His transitions from the Goblin’s Lair to a loft looking area inside of Horizon labs have him changing up the style in subtle ways where the Goblin’s lair has a more extreme and cartoonish look with the villains to a slightly more realistic feel during the meeting in Horizon Labs. One of the more impressive pages of this book is a large two page splash reintroducing Spider-Man 2099 in costume. It is incredibly dramatic, and is a great start to this issue.
If you have not enjoyed his work up to this point, for whatever reason you may have, I am sorry to say he is still with this title.
As for the writing and the actual plot of the book, I’ve enjoyed Slott’s run on Spider-Man so far even though he has broken my heart more times than I care to count. I don’t like what he’s done with the character, but after 1000+ in-continuity solo issues, Slott found an original story line and has made it gripping and it is well thought out.
[Warning: Spoilers] This book starts out with a quick reintroduction to Spidey’s 2099 world. He reintroduces us quickly to several of this Spider-Man’s different powers, to Alchemax (pay attention to that name, kiddies), Tyler Stone, and to the rewrite of vulgarities Peter David created back in 1992. As the story starts, Spider-Man 2099 must go back in time to save his father (who doesn’t know he’s his father), Tyler Stone, who is disappearing inside the time stream from the past being altered by all those idiots in the Heroic Age. This also bears a surprisingly similar plot point to X-Men: Battle for the Atom, also out this week.
The latest Green Goblin, whose secret identity is still technically unknown (hint: it’s probably Tiberius Stone), is mad at Ulrich for being a generally horrible Hobgoblin. Tiberius Stone with Liz Allen also purchases Horizon Labs along with all of Peter (Otto) Parker’s (Octavius’) Spider-Man tech. This makes him mad which leads him to change into the Superior Spider-Man and go after Tiberius. So Spider-Man 2099 goes back in time to 2013, and is in Horizon Labs which turns out to be at the same location Alchemax in the future. This was a nice tie to the two timelines, which sets up an obvious plot, but that’s okay. Ultimately 2099 sees Superior threatening Stone and the issue ends with a poised confrontation between the two Spider-Men. [Warning: Spoilers Done]
To be honest, as much as I enjoyed seeing Spider-Man 2099 again, and I’m excited to read the rest of this storyline, I can’t help but feel this was a fairly rushed issue with very little substance. It is not a bad issue, and not the worst so far in Slott’s long Spider-Man run, but I feel in the grand scheme this is a throw away issue to get some exposition out of the way so we can move the story along in other issues. This is often needed, so I don’t want to make it sound like this was an awful issue, just definitely not the best so far (and hopefully, not to come).
I’m wondering why Marvel has decided to use so many time traveling stories all at once across their Universe. They have to know their fans are smart and diverse enough readers to be reading all of these books at once, and with such similar plots and almost clichéd ideas about time travel are they going to bore those fans? I mean, jammit, man. What the shock?
Rating: 3 out of 5