“What did you do, Parker?! You did a deal with a demon, didn’t you?”
The Civil War caused by a Secret Invasion in the year 2099 rages on as Spidey confronts J. Jonah Jameson for the life of Captain America!
WRITER: Peter David
ARTIST: Will Sliney
COLOR ARTIST: Rachelle Rosenberg
LETTERER: VC’s Cory Petit
COVER ARTIST: Francesco Mattina
EDITOR: Charles Beacham
STORY: A very old J. Jonah Jameson brags of his plans to Fury. Cap talks to her husband as she is held captive in Asgard. Spidey assembles a plan and his forces attack Alchemax. Power Pack and JJJ stand revealed and Jameson lets Spidey return back to 2016 with Cap. Deadpool comes to assassinate JJJ.
THOUGHTS: Another beautiful, but darker in print, cover provided by Mattina. He actually makes the action feel more warlike than the art within. While the heroes do fight against a clone strike force and Power Pack, we certainly don’t see Ghost Rider or The Punisher join the fray for a rematch.
The first page of actual story shows us a rendition of Ulysses’ prophecy come true, dramatically rendered by Sliney, who happens to be a much better artist than Ulysses himself. As it turns out, this is just an image mocked up by Jonah for the next day’s edition of the Bugle. Given Hawkeye’s confusion later on over what a newspaper is, I’m assuming this is a digital edition…or maybe in Jonah’s head. Regardless, the vision Ulysses has does not actually happen in this issue, calling into question for the reader if he truly saw the event happen and Spidey averted it, or if his prophetic dream brought him an image of this mock up.
As Jonah further rants and raves over his plan and the orders he is bestowing on Fury, she in turn bristles over his insane ideas. Jonah obviously looks like a much older version of himself, but his clothing seems to denote a more early 21st Century style than a latter. Whether this is a clue as to his appearance in this time, well, I’ll leave that up to you. Sliney does a great job making Jonah look familiar, but as Fury turns to question his orders, Sliney depicts her in a supermodel-esque pose that just didn’t fit the scene.
During a moment when Cap is being held captive as her husband studies her, he expresses his doubts over the validity of her identity. It seems logical, given that he witnessed her death in the experiment that was to turn her into Cap, but Roberta counters with who else could she be? As it turns out, there was a war a few years ago and some Skrulls may have hidden themselves in the aftermath. David subtly starts to lay some groundwork here. As the scene closes, Cap lays down some bravado about Spidey gathering troops to come rescue her as they speak. Recalling the moment from Indiana Jones and The Last Crusade when Indy is held captive by Nazis and brags that Brody has probably found the Grail already, we transition next to see that Spidey’s attempts to mount a rescue are pretty far away from the picture that Captain America painted!
With Strange’s help, who pulls an image of the CEO from Gallows’ mind, Spidey does eventually gather his forces and mount a rescue, complete with Hercules making a super-hero landing for an entrance! Defending Alchemax once again are the X-Men, Power Pack, and a S.H.I.E.L.D. clone strike force…consisting of one man. However, when the Hulk strikes him, multiple versions of himself pop up! Perhaps he’s got ties to Multiple Man, whom David wrote for during his X-Factor days?
All this is a distraction that the S-Man uses to sneak in behind Jonah, who is watching from the safety of his office, and get some answers, particularly how he is still alive. Jonah goes into his typical bluster mode and unsurprisingly, David captures his voice well, even utilizing his trope of seeing sanctioned heroes as paragons of virtue, whilst others like Spidey are vile villains.
Jonah mistakes Miguel for Peter under the mask, claiming he knows Peter’s identity after he pulled the mask off his dead body! In what I took as a nod to One More Day, JJJ than accuses “Peter” of making a deal with a demon! To make a dramatic point, Miguel unmasks in front of Jonah so maybe he’ll bury the Spider-Hatchet and let Cap go. Being as obstinate as ever, he seems to refuse, sparking Miggy’s rage. More importantly, David gives us insight into our hero’s thoughts and Miguel is very self-aware of the seething anger he has been feeling ever since Tempest was injured at the current volume’s start exactly a year ago. Speaking of, props to the team for getting 16 issues out during that time! A rare feat these days, for sure! Anyways, I appreciate David having Miguel acknowledge this as it makes it feel like this story is building to something, even when it has to tie in to the latest Marvel event. Miguel’s pummeling of Man Mountain Marko and constantly snapping at Peter and his own staff is part of a larger whole.
Miguel’s frustration gets interrupted when a member of Power Pack gets impaled and it’s revealed that they are one of the missing Skrulls! I thought it was a big twist when the C.E.O. was revealed to be Jameson and I was just as surprised to see that Power Pack and JJJ were never really their true selves, even with the mention of escaped Skrulls earlier. Well played, Peter David! Once Jonah is exposed, Miguel’s sympathy totally goes out the window, what little he had left, anyways. He’s pretty jaded, equating humans and Skrulls alike to slime. He just wants to finally grab Cap and go home, but at this point, where does he consider home? 2016 or the original 2099 timeline? Where does Tempest fit in with all this?
Regardless of where Miguel does feel his true home is, he and Cap do make the jump back to 2016, but not before Strange once again warns him to steer clear of all the Civil War II shenanigans. Sound advice. I’ll be happy to see Miguel pick up his fight with The Fist again, as much as I did enjoy seeing some of the old 2099 characters in this story. Miguel fires a parting shot at the JJJ Skrull by somehow unleashing the Deadpool of 2099 upon him. “Jameson”‘s fate is left ambiguous as the issue closes. Could this Skrull that now has a reason to hate Spidey be the one to show up as him in the old costume?
All in all, this was a pretty satisfying issue. David kept things moving and provided the requisite twists and turns. Sliney had some heroic and spidery poses for Miguel and I enjoyed the story overall a lot, despite the fact that it was a tie in to this year’s big event and derailed Miguel’s ongoing storyline a bit.
MY GRADE: A
JAVI’S HUH?: “Jonah” says that he married Liz Allan. Was it the Skrull version remembering what happened to the actual Jonah or did the Skrull marry her? Was it the real Liz? To nitpick, the issue spelled her last name as “Allen” and as I’ve been listening to some old Amazing Spider-Man Classics episodes recently, they point out that the Official Marvel Handbook denotes her last name is spelled “A-L-L-A-N”. In true No-Prize fashion, one could construe this as a clue that Jonah is a Skrull!