Written by Dan Slott
Illustrated by Ryan Stegman
Colored by Edgar Delgado
Inked by Livesay
Lettered by VC’s Chris Eliopoulos
THE PLOT: In the year 2099, the time stream is being messed with due to an anomaly that happens in the past. Tyler Stone begins to fade out of existence, prompting Spider-Man to travel back into the Heroic Age to ensure both his and his grandfather’s existence.
LONG STORY SHORT: Because of Max Modell’s propensity for super science hijinks, he’s arrested and sent away, leaving Horizon Labs vulnerable for a hostile takeover which instantly happens. Liz Allan and her cronies show up to inform the remaining scientists that her company “Allan Chemical” now owns Horizon, and Tiberius Stone is now their senior supervisor. Peterpus refuses to let this stand, so he attacks Tiberius Stone as Spider-Man. However Miguel arrives thanks to the use of Grady’s time portal and engages in a battle with Ock to save Stone, revealing that he’s Miguel’s grandfather.
MY THOUGHTS: So here we are, the long awaited and much hyped return of Spider-Man 2099! How does Slott handle the character in this Superior era?
Pretty well actually. Nothing to complain about in that department.
I’m going to be honest, I’m not the big Spider-Man 2099 fan as the majority of the people who’ve read the series seem to routinely be. Not saying that it’s not good, but having bought the recently released trade collecting the first 8 issues, I wasn’t left clamoring for more. It’s okay. The world is interesting and the character of Miguel is fairly original.
But it was REALLY 90s.
I’m not holding that against the series, but I can’t say that it was a timelessly written title. The slang for one thing is something that Slott completely nails in this issue, because the swear word “Shock!” is uttered again and again, just like in Peter David’s book. To me 2099 was one of those futuristic takes that insisted upon hitting you in the face with how futuristic it was. Again I’ve nothing at all against the series, but I’d be lying if I said it’s my favorite alternate version of Spidey.
But let’s not get off topic. In this issue, Slott uses Miguel well. I can’t imagine he’s not a fan of the character since he incorporated him in the Shattered Dimensions video game. The first solid third of the book shows him and his world and quickly gets the plot into the picture prompting him to come back in time. While I have read some of Miguel’s title, I didn’t know that Tyler Stone turned out to be his grandfather. Luckily they establish that fact immediately so you can understand the need for Miguel to preserve his existence. Ultimately the world of 2099 is so bombastic that Slott’s style of writing fits perfectly for it. He could not have done a better job of bringing the character into the story.
Now concerning the main plot taking place in present time, the plot of Max being arrested and Horizon being seized by Allan Chemical is an intriguing one to say the least. Slott brings forth the logic in having Max lead away in cuffs over the crap that he’s allowed to have happen under his watch, and although Ock thinks this is all a set up Max seems completely resigned to his fate. It will probably be revealed that Stone had something to do with it, but I’ve no problem with the idea that Max Modell by all rights should be punished for what he’s condoned from his workers in the past year or so. I like the character and everything, but…come on. The Morbius/Lizard story was more than enough to get this guy away from science as fast as possible.
According to Chris’ review, Tiberius Stone is actually a character originating from the pages of Iron Man. With the fact that he’s related to Spider-Man of 2099 compounded with revelation that he’s now working with Liz Allan of all people, this character has become increasingly notable in the past few issues. He’s still nothing more than a slime ball just waiting to get punched in the face, but he’s working a lot of angles to get things moving, which keeps the story less predictable. I would have been interested to see Peter take him on, because the guy’s only going to die at Otto’s hands sooner or later.
Okay, so Liz Allan. On the one hand, I really enjoy seeing her again as she’s a Ditko-era character who goes for years and years without appearing every now and then. She was gone for nearly ten years after she and Peter graduated high school, dipped in and out of circulation once she married Harry, and was all but completely absent in the 2000s (Save for some Paul Jenkins issues and Back in Black). I really like Liz as a character, and bringing her back for any reason has me interested (especially with a Goblin subplot brewing in the background).
The thing I didn’t like, and this very well might come down to Stegman’s art, is how mustache-twirlingly evil Liz and her entourage all come off in the takeover of Horizon. Company takeovers don’t have to be malicious, and the reason it’s happening is because Max Modell was doing illegal things. Nevertheless, because change is happening Liz is being painted (so to speak) as the bad guy and everyone she rolls with comes with incredibly haughty, snobby looks on their faces. It struck me as being desperate in the story needing some sort of villain for Ock to interact with, when Liz isn’t doing anything wrong. Her dialogue is barely registering tolerance for Peterpus’ “You shall rue this day.” (again, does Liz think Peter talks like that?) as tho the two aren’t friends who go way back. She’s one of Peter’s oldest friends going back to the beginning of the character’s history. I would have liked it if she told Peter they could catch up later in the day to discuss it further, but because she’s Ms. Business she has to come off cold and detached.
I really did not care for that. It’s one of those things where the response the issue is trying to achieve is “Hey, it’s Liz! But UH OH she’s absorbed Horizon and is looking to screw things up for our hero!” where my response is “Wait, why is Liz acting like this?” The last time she appeared she was thrown into the baby-mama stereotype to give drama towards Harry Osborn, which I utterly loathed. I like the return of the corporate Liz, but this lends itself to a lame stereotype that serves the plot over the character. And since when did Liz own a company called “Allan Chemical” in the first place? Spiderfan.org says that she regained control of Oscorp and renamed it Allan Chemical, but when was this? Wouldn’t Harry have something to do with that? It’s not a big deal in the grand scheme of things, but Slott’s relying too much on contrivances for his plot.
Other than how Liz was portrayed, this was a decent issue. It serves as little more than setting up the next arc, but it does that well in providing interest in it and Spider-Man 2099 again. I don’t think for a moment that Miguel will learn or even suspect of what/who Superior Spidey really is because no one can, but nevertheless it’s fun to see him come back and to have another ally of Peter fight SpOcktopus. More than anything, this issue provided a lot of interest into what’s coming next.