“It’ll sound stupid…I can’t even believe I’m saying it out loud…but it’s something that some Inhuman kid from back in 2016 told me…”
Back in 2099, Spidey meets half the Marvel Futureverse as he’s hunted by the Public Eye!
WRITER: Peter David
ARTIST: Will Sliney
COLOR ARTIST: Rachelle Rosenberg
LETTERER: VC’s Cory Petit
COVER ARTIST: Francesco Mattina
EDITOR: Charles Beacham
STORY: Spidey wakes up in the clutches of Public Eye Officer Gallows, but is quickly rescued by the Ghost Rider of 2099. After an encounter with Iron Fist, Ravage takes Cap to Hawkeye, who drops them off with other heroes to team up. Gallows reports to the head of Alchemax. Ghost Rider drops Spidey off downtown to rendezvous with Strange, Moon Knight, and Daredevil. The mysterious head of Alchemax dispatches Power Pack to take care of the heroes.
THOUGHTS: Mattina kicks things off with another one of his beautiful trademark covers. However, my print copy is much, much darker than the digital version. Much of the detail is lost in blackness on the physical version, which is a shame. I’m not sure how many copies were affected and would love to hear in the comments below if you had an issue, too. Even though Gallows isn’t the Punisher in this altered 2099, I was happy to see him grace the cover in his old, futuristic costume. It hits the ol’ nostalgia button! I may have to dig around and see if I still have that old Marvel foil trading card!
Somewhere above Nueva York, Miguel awakens, a captive of Public Eye Officer Jake Gallows. Sliney pays tribute to John Romita Sr.’s cover for Amazing Spider-Man (vol. 1) #39. I’m a sucker for that image as I’m a big fan of that issue, even owning a very dog-eared copy of it! The art in this scene focuses in on the characters, leaving the cityscape in the blurry background, a very nice effect as the characters go whizzing by high above. The last time Spidey was here, the Sinister Six were in charge, but Gallows informs him that they’ve vanished, with the C.E.O. back in control. One can presume from this that Venture was successful in his recruitment and that the SS has gone back in time with their mind wiped to fight on behalf of The Fist.
The Ghost Rider of 2099 makes his entrance in an energetic splash page. To be honest, I don’t remember this version of the character well, but I’m still glad to see him make an appearance. He winds up being one of many 2099 characters popping up this issue. Even with the timeline altered from Miguel’s perspective, it was nice to see other characters refer to him by his old nickname, “S-Man”. Ghost Rider brings a sense of tension as Miguel is concerned his savior may turn on him at any second. However, David quickly dismisses that feeling by Miguel’s enjoyment of Ghost Rider’s cycle, giving the scene a comedic bent before quickly turning back to action.
Elsewhere, Peter David takes a moment to indulge in some political commentary as Ravage informs Captain America of the current landscape. In 2099 businesses are the real power behind the throne, a feeling that stretches back all the way to the original series. At the bar is Randy, the Iron Fist of 2099. I tried to do some googling and I believe this is his first appearance. As depicted by Sliney, he literally seems to have iron fists!
As Cap and Ravage escape from the Public Eye at the bar, they are scooped up by Hawkeye. Now, when volume 2 of this title was replaced by Secret Wars 2099, I have to admit I jumped ship. No Spidey? Even with the same creative team, I thought I’d hang on to my $3.99, a feeling that continued when I picked up the first issue of the current volume and didn’t see Miguel in costume. I figured I’d trade wait until Gentleman George Berryman convinced me otherwise (thanks, George!). So, cut to last week at my local library, where I saw the trade for Secret Wars 2099 on the shelf. I picked it up and devoured it in one sitting and I’m so glad I did! It provided a lot of context for when characters like the Hulk, Hercules, Black Widow, etc. made their appearances this issue. I had been aware of the Hulk 2099 from before, but a lot of the other characters were new to me. It was a very fortuitous bit of timing that let me appreciate the issue a tiny bit more.
Cutting over to Alchemax, Gallows reports to a shadowy, Blofeld-esque (minus the white cat) character. My first instinct is to assume this is Tyler Stone, but if so, why the big secret? Gallows seems to know who he’s reporting to and David has already established that Stone is back, albeit in 2016. It’s not that much of a stretch to imagine he’s time hopping, too. He also mentions that he’s lost Alchemax once, which also fits the bill for Tyler Stone, assuming the Sinister Six took it away from him.
Continuing old home week in 2099, Ghost Rider drops Spidey off at the Sanctum Sanctorum of Dr. Strange. Given that Dr. Strange creeps him out, he cuts and runs, a little touch that sets up what Miguel is about to find inside. Not only do we get the welcome return of Strange 2099, but new additions Daredevil and Moon Knight. Daredevil seems anything but his namesake when he cringes under some falling glass as Moon Knight casts the demon half out of Jeannie, the now revealed first name of Strange. Flat out my favorite moment of the issue came when Strange recognizes that Spidey has a new costume and he asks if she likes it. She replies in the negative, a view I see shared with quite a few readers, to which Spidey replies, “I don’t care.” She retorts with, “Then why did you ask?” and is met with silence. I literally laughed out loud at the exchange!
We finally reach the crossover portion of the issue as Ulysses gets name dropped. David keeps the crossover talk at minimum as Strange knows what’s in our future as it’s her past, but she doesn’t divulge it, only offering that it’s divisive, that bad things happened, and the S-Man should just stay away. Spidey and Strange make a deal to help each other with their respective problems, a deal that seems like it will lead them to the future Ulysses foresaw.
David closes things out with the secretive head of Alchemax. Once again, they are shrouded in darkness, but what should be a mystery just feels confusing. Given their familiarity with Spider-Man and Alchemax, how is it not Tyler Stone? Or maybe David is pulling a fast one and it’s Norman Osborn! THAT would be a shock! Regardless of their identity, the CEO brings in Power Pack 2099 to take care of business. That’s the second mention of them I’ve seen in a Spider-Title in the last month! As always, the classic Spidey 2099 mask lets us know the story is to be continued…
Spidey may have set aside his vendetta against The Fist to save his Cap, but this issue offered a lot of fun for fans of the 2099 world, be they old or new. The art was clean and crisp, the dialogue fun, and the story expanded on this alternate 2099 universe.
MY GRADE: A
JAVI’S HUH?: How does the Hulk even remotely fit inside an RV?