Almost two decades after appearing in his own ongoing Miguel O’Hara slips back into the webs in present day Marvel! But will a time travel oversight agency bring an end to his new beginning?
WRITER Peter David
ART Will Sliney
COLOR Antonio Fabela
LETTERER VC’s Joe Caramagna
EDITOR Ellie Pyle
SENIOR EDITOR Nick Lowe
Peter David back on a Spider-Title? It’s like Christmas in July. There are few writers and editors working for Marvel these days that actually *get* the Marvel stable of characters. Most who did have long since moved on. What’s left is an ever-increasing number of writers and editors who’d rather shoe-horn their own view or take onto decades-old, established characters. It’s usually jarring. Thankfully Peter David’s still working with Marvel and now Spider-Fans get to reap the benefits.
At my age (I just turned 42 last week) I don’t like to think about how long it’s been since Peter David wrote the first Spider-Man 2099 title. But just for giggles I’ll tell you I was a 20 year old college man when the character first appeared. Peter David & Rick Leonardi’s Spider-Man 2099 was amazing fun back in those days, even if I felt the rest of the 2099 line wasn’t nearly as strong. Spider-Mantle titles that are consistently good always wind up becoming fan favorites. ‘Mayday’ Parker, for example, is still very popular today despite Marvel’s clear dislike for the Parker baby. The same popularity applies Spider-Man 2099. Over two decades after his first run, Spider-Fans have still kept a place in their heart for Miguel O’Hara.
So ‘Welcome Back,’ Peter David & Miguel O’Hara!
SUMMARY: Miguel’s displacement in time from 2099 to the present has caught the attention of T.O.T.E.M. (Temporal Oversight Team Eliminating Mistakes) and they have dispatched an agent to deal with the threat via elimination. The T.O.T.E.M. ‘Adjustor’ dispenses varying degrees violence (depending in their importance to the future) to anyone that causes even a slight delay in his mission. While Miguel O’Hara (now using the pseudonym Miguel O’Mara) finds a new place to call home while in our timeline, the Adjustor makes his way to Alchemax, culminating in a surprise proposition and a big brawl in Liz Allan’s office. After the fight, Liz starts putting two and two together to come to some potentially dangerous conclusions.
ANALYSIS: Miguel is a very different breed of animal than our beloved Peter Parker. Whereas Peter would feel guilty using knowledge from the future for personal gain, Miguel O’Hara has no such misgivings. The revelation that his holographic personal assistant, Lyla, provided him with a winning lottery number was a neat twist. The situation could not be more perilous for Miguel right now. He’s out of his timeline and thrust into events that could dramatically alter his own future. Survival is key for Miguel. Finding a way to provide himself a comfortable resource cushion via the lottery makes sense for the character given his current situation.
I want to also mention that I am thrilled beyond words that Lyla is going to be around. Peter David really did some interesting work with her in the original title, and despite being a hologram she is a supporting character with many layers. In the past, she’s even fallen in love with Miguel. Here, she provides him with information from the future to help him navigate the past, i.e. our present. She also maintains his holographic clothing over his Spider-Man costume. I can’t describe how giddy I am to know that she’s along for the ride in this book!
We’re introduced to what might be a potential love interest for Miguel, who winds up being a woman he previously saved from muggers and the superintendent in Miguel’s new apartment building. The purple-haired gal with a grudge on her shoulder is named Tempest, and knowing Peter David it’s a mistake to just assume she’s the new romantic foil. I honestly wouldn’t be surprised if he falls for her (he’s clearly attracted to her) but in a ‘Back to the Future’ type twist she winds up actually being his grandmother.
It’s easy to feel bad for Miguel’s current situation. Not only is he a fish out of water here but he also has to keep a watchful eye on his own grandfather, Tiberius Stone, who is prone to all manner of douchery. When the Adjustor hits Alchemax, Stone flees for his panic room and leaves Miguel to fend for himself. So Miguel must fight for his life as well as find a way to protect (and presumably stop) his own grandfather. Christmas must be a real drag for these folks! I really like that aspect of Miguel’s current situation.
I’m really looking forward to seeing what Peter David does with Liz Allan in this book. For the last several years Marvel’s been incapable of finding anything good to do with Liz. When they decided to magically bring Harry Osborn back from the dead, they nixed Liz and Harry’s marriage in favor of pairing Harry up with the laughably bad Menace. Despite this, Liz still hasn’t been able to escape being lumped in with Goblin-stuff. Hopefully editorial will sit back and just let Peter David guide Liz into something much more interesting. In this first title she shows shades, just shades, of moving towards something akin to Lex Luthor. Not in a villain-sense, but in more of a driven business type who starts to care less about morals and more about bottom lines and manipulating things in her favor. At the same time she’s still very human and is clearly horrified when she thinks Spider-Man 2099 seriously accepts the Adjustor’s idea of letting him kill Liz to let him live.
The introduction here of yet another time travel police group makes me wonder if much is meant to be done with T.O.T.E.M. later on. Given the redundancy (Marvel already has a Time Variance Authority) and the tongue-in-cheek manner in which the Adjustor is presented at times makes me think they won’t be a recurring roadblock for Miguel in the book. Then again, maybe so! We’ll see.
Will Sliney’s art on the book is strong. He shows a terrific understanding of how a Spider-Hero should move and fight. Sliney also does great work with faces and conveying emotion. He’s a worthy successor to Rick Leonardi’s work for this character, though I will always wish we could’ve had Leonardi come back as well. That’s not taking anything away from Sliney’s great work so much as just me being a nostalgic Spider-Man 2099 fanboy. Heh.
Sometimes old standards are revisited with a thud. Here, it’s with a colossal, confident “AWW HELL YEAH, BABY!” As a Spider-Fan, I couldn’t be happier. Peter David’s back with Miguel, Lyla’s back, Liz is interesting… this book has some great potential!
I want to wrap up again with stating my appreciation of Peter David’s writing style. Unlike many others he doesn’t force things or try to inject humor where it shouldn’t be. Many of Marvel’s current writers tend to wedge humor in with the finesse of a claw hammer to the base of the skull. Peter David’s work is always far better and much stronger. When opportunities for humor arise, he knows when and where to present them. He’s not someone who goes for the low hanging fruit. No Spider-Man-In-A-Diaper here, True Believers! ‘Nuff Said!