Spider-Man 2099 (Vol. 3) #22 Review

“You’d be free, Lyla. For the first time in your life…”

The last temptation of Lyla!

WRITER: Peter David

ARTIST: Will Sliney

COLOR ARTIST: Rachelle Rosenberg

LETTERER: VC’s Cory Petit

COVER ARTIST: Francesco Mattina

EDITOR: Charles Beacham

STORY: Spider-Man 2099 has captured Electro 2099 and is interrogating him in Miguel’s private lab at Parker Industries. Electro refuses to give any information, causing Miguel to leave and search for another option. Lyla appears before Electro and he convinces her to run away with him. Miguel asks Sonny for help modifying the time machine so he can jump to a point in 2019 to stop The Fist once he gets the exact date. Lyla deactivates Electro’s restraints and he flees, but not before murdering Sonny. Spidey gives chase, but Electro throws him off. Electro then relays to Lyla the exact date of the attack, prompting her to end the simulation that had been fed into his brain, revealing that Sonny is not dead and Electro is still imprisoned. Miguel takes off to save the day and Electro is shut down.

THOUGHTS: Mattina is a great artist. This cover though isn’t my favorite. It’s not that it’s “bad” because it isn’t. It just has nothing to do with the issue outside of featuring two characters that are in it, one of whom who doesn’t don his suit of armor this issue. Had I been the editor, I would have asked for something more inspired by the issue’s events, something that prominently featured Lyla. I’d love to see his rendition of her, especially as he’s yet to depict her. Can you picture her face on the cover, Electro creeping behind her, his hands on her shoulders, trying to tempt her to the dark side?

Sliney sells his characters’ body language well. His portrayal of Lyla in particular captures her inner turmoil brought about by the temptation that Electro offers. Without it, the story wouldn’t be as effective in believing that she might want more out of “life” than to be at Miguel’s beck and call. Sonny’s demise is rendered in horrific detail as his charred body stares vacantly at the ceiling, mouth agape.

Right from the start, I had a feeling that Lyla was playing Electro in a ruse devised by Miguel. However, when Sonny does get fried to a crisp, I began to doubt it. Was his death an acceptable loss to Miguel, something that would never come to pass once he changes the timeline to its proper state? Would he join Father Jennifer in being resurrected once the Future is saved? I know Miguel can come off as callous and jaded, but underneath that crusty exterior, I do believe he cares for those around him and Sonny’s death would never be part of the plan.

Electro has certainly been through the ringer, leading to his fledgling idea of becoming Skynet and/or starting the Matrix. Malevolent monster though he may be, he has some interesting observations about humanity, particularly that one’s wealth may decide how your sanity is viewed. I’ve heard it said elsewhere that if you’re poor and a bit off, you’re crazy, but if you’re rich you’re just eccentric. It seems Electro agrees, but he’s going to enslave humanity anyways, so the playing field will be equal. 

The problem with Electro’s revolution (beyond humanity being servants to machines, of course) is that it’s all in his head. Literally. I sighed with relief when it was revealed to be an elaborate hoax of a simulation. David and Sliney combined forces really well to cast doubt upon Lyla and making the reader question her intentions. Her concern for Miguel not to be hurt helped sell the con.

As we inch further to the S-Man (thanks for having Electro refer to him again as such, Mr. David) having a final confrontation with The Fist, David and Sliney provide a brisk, yet entertaining tale that brings a long time 2099 supporting character to the forefront. It was nice to see Lyla get such a focus and show off her acting chops, simulated though they may be. Things are definitely starting to ramp up on this title. Will Spidey make a jump to the future next issue?


JAVI’S HUH?: Miguel makes a Sam Beckett reference! I was wondering if he was streaming Quantum Leap in his downtime in 2017 in-between leads, but realized he does make mention in the first issue of his premiere series that he based the transformation chamber that gives him his powers off an old holo of The Fly. Perhaps he was a Leaper back in the future!

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