WRITER Peter David
ART Will Sliney
COLOR Antonio Fabela
LETTERER VC’s Joe Caramagna
EDITOR Devin Lewis & Ellie Pyle
With the Spider-Verse intrusion finally over, Miguel finds his way back to 2099 – or so he thinks. What be believes is Nueva York has been utterly destroyed, along with the rest of the 2099 world (Earth-928). Who will he find while sifting through the rubble?
SUMMARY: In Amazing Spider-Man #15 Miggy got sent home to the 2099 timeline. Well that was the plan, anyway. Something apparently went awry, and Miggy winds up in a devastated shadow of his home timeline, with Nueva York in ruins. While pondering who, what, when where and how he is ambushed by two survivor-scavengers, Ash and Sonner. Miggy feigns unconsciousness to draw his attackers in and turn the table on them, threatening them with death unless they take him to the camp where other survivors are operating from.
Upon arrival, Miggy and the others discover that the camp has been emptied of survivors. As they put the pieces together, they’re attacked by some sort of assault squad. Miggy does well enough against them until a thundershock knocks him to the ground. Looking up, he sees the Maestro – the Future Imperfect Hulk. Side note: some of you may be wondering how Spider-Man 2099 recognized Maestro. Maestro and Miguel both appeared (and fought against one another) in the pages of Peter David’s first Captain Marvel title. If you want to check out Peter David writing Miggy and Genis teaming up against Maestro, check out Captain Marvel #29 and #30 from 2002.
Maestro surmises that Spider-Man 2099 has been time traveling and requests that Miguel take him along when he leaves. Miguel agrees in order to stall for time, but the Maestro is smart enough to recognize the ruse. He quickly attacks and hands Miguel one of the worst, one-sided beatings he’s ever taken in his life.
With Miggy subdued, the Maestro ties him down to a mutated pack animal and they, along with the Maestro’s assault team, head back to Dystopia (the Maestro’s futuristic castle-palace). While they travel, the Maestro reveals to Spider-Man that an Alechemax project eventually lead to a global nuclear war, which is why his timeline is currently in such a sorry state. Along the way, Ash and Sonner behold the fate of their fellow survivors: Maestro murdered them and tied their bodies to a Hollywood-esque sign near Dystopia. While staring on in horror, Maestro crushes their heads and presumably adds their bodies to his grisly monument.
After arriving at Dystopia, the Maestro has Miguel thrown into his dungeon, where he runs into a familiar soul – Strange, the Sorceress Supreme of 2099. She’s imprisoned in Maestro’s dungeon as well, held by chains and what appears to be some sort of ritual trap on the floor.
ANALYSIS: Right off the bat I’ll say that after having had her around for awhile I miss Lady Spider. We presume she survived the events of ASM #14, in which the culmination of her and Miguel’s efforts was “Leopardon grabs a guy.” Following that, we don’t see her in ASM #15. But that happens in bloated events; characters get forgotten back in the main story. Anyhoo, we’ll miss you, Lady Spider!
Something else I am left wondering about is the cure that Miguel got the Alchemax lab to develop back when he and Lady Spider were being attacked by Daemos clones. The cure was (again, presumably) for Tempest, Miguel’s building superintendent back in 616. We’ll have to wait longer to find out because even though we’ve managed to get Miguel out of a bloated event, we’ve now segued into setting up the upcoming Marvel Secret Wars reboot. Time to set-up Maestro’s reappearance, since he’ll have a whole Battle World battle zone under his control which, if I recall correctly, Miguel will be tied to once this title ends and is rebooted in ‘Secret Wars 2099.’ But then who knows. I’m already starting to lose track and check out on this Secret Wars reboot jazz.
And because Marvel is setting up yet another bloated event, this issue does very much feel like yet another set-up issue. Because it is. But with 2099 and Peter David, it’s at least an interesting and engaging one. Here, David isn’t being forced to deal with the sandbox fallout from Dan Slott’s toy-breaking; instead, he’s getting to revisit things he himself brought to the Marvel Universe. 2099? Peter David! Maestro? Peter David! 2099’s Strange? Peter David! So in that sense, it’s a good thing. Because Peter David!
Maestro kicks the living crap out of Miguel over four pages in this issue, and Will Sliney has a lot of fun with it. As enjoyable as this was to look at, it’s even more of a blast when you read Miguel’s reactions while getting pounded.
It’ll be interesting to see how Strange, the Sorceress Supreme, plays into all this. She first appeared in Spider-Man 2099 #32 & #33, where she and Miguel fought a legion of undead. I’m equally interested to find out how Alchemax and its role in the nuclear catastrophe plays out alongside the Maestro’s return.
We leave a bloated event and enter into a Secret Wars set-up – but this time it’s on familiar ground! Yet at the same time I feel like we’re losing the potential of this book’s starting premise, which was Miguel back in 616, dealing with Alchemax, his grandfather, his building superintendent and a suddenly very interesting Liz. With Secret Wars coming up soon, I’m wondering if we’ll have time left for any of that now. I trust in Peter David but Marvel’s addiction to unending events has certainly hit this title with a monkey wrench.