A long time ago, Marvel put out a comic book detailing the life of future Spider-Man Miguel O’Hara who lived in the year 2099. It was part of a new imprint that Marvel tried out in the early 90s but while it started out very well, it quickly devolved into a confusing mess and by issue #46, the title ended. Last year, Spider-Man 2099 made a return in the pages of Superior Spider-Man which I reviewed here and now, he returns with his own series, having been stranded in the present in SSM.
Confused? You probably should be but I’ll try to explain as I review the first five issues of the new version of Spider-Man 2099.
This book continues very closely following Dan Slott’s resurrection of the character in Superior Spider-Man. Miguel is stuck in the present, having time-travelled back to save his grandfather Tiberius, a real scumbag who runs Alchemex, destined to become the future’s biggest corporation. To keep a close eye on Tiberius, Miguel has taken a job as a geneticist with Alchemex under the name Miguel O’Mara so that his real name never shows up in the company records of the far future. He tells people they can call him “Miggy”. No, nobody can ever call him that. Ever. Along with his holographic A.I., he tries to emulate the modern-day Spider-Man while keeping under the radar but that’s made difficult when an agent for T.O.T.E.M., the ridiculously named Temporal Oversight Team Eliminating Mistakes, who wants to kill Miguel because his actions pose a danger to the future. While fighting the agent, he learns that something he and his boss, Liz Allen, will do in the future causes the timeline to be disrupted. The agent offers to kill Liz instead and Miguel pretends to agree, but only to get the upper hand. However, Liz is no fool, she reasons that Spider-Man must be someone who works in the building and it isn’t long before she figures out Miguel’s entire backstory is a fabrication. Miguel has to reveal himself as a time traveller, although not as Spider-Man and while she’s intrigued, she figures he has to be here for some higher purpose and decides to put him to work, first in a mission to an evil dictatorship to sell a load of Spider-Slayers with his grandfather. What could go wrong? What indeed!
There’s a lot to recommend this book. It brings back Peter David, one of the original creators who made the character so good at the beginning of his run and he picks up exactly where he left off. The character voice is perfect right out of the gate. The secondary characters are excellent as well, I’m very intrigued by the super in Miguel’s building who is revealed to have a rare form of cancer and dying. Clearly something is going to happen between those two. I like Liz, even though she’s an evil bitch in these early issues and Tiberius… well, I don’t like him but I think he has some lessons to learn from Miguel that will soften him up a bit. I really haven’t found any characters I don’t like so far. However, everything isn’t perfect. There are plot holes that are massive, such as the agent from T.O.T.E.M. deciding who he can kill and who he can’t, based on their offspring’s contributions to future society. Of course, anyone who stops to think about it for a moment knows that’s not the only possible difference an individual can make but it’s the only one he seems to consider. I also find Peter David to be getting preachy, especially when it comes to the clear parody he uses with Alchemax’s corporate greed. He’s going absurdly overboard and feels the need to explain how horrible it is to sell advanced weapons to a corrupt government in a third world country not once, not twice, but three times. We get it already! Still, I can overlook some of that for the moment and enjoy the story that’s being developed on its own merits.
Artwork is great, it works without any big complaints thanks to Will Sliney and, of course, Peter David is putting together an intriguing story as I previously mentioned. It’s nice not to have any major issues to complain about for once. It’s not perfect but it’s certainly closer than a lot of comics I’ve read lately, I think I’ve got another book to be hooked on and since this version of Spidey has claws, that’s entirely understandable.