Time for me to admit a big failing here, and that failing is that I’ve actually never read any Spider-Man 2099 stories. I mean, I know who the character is and his basic back-story, as well as reading one or two stories when he was a member of the Exiles, but I’ve never read an actual Miguel O’Hara story.
But that said, it’s still awesome to see this Spider-Man come face to face with the current version, and the way Dan Slott is doing it is very clever, and you can tell a lot of thought has gone into this particular time-travel story.
Pretty much the entire first half of the comic is focused on Spider-Man 2099, as Slott sets up who the character is and gives neophytes like myself all the information we need about him, about the evil ‘Alchemax Corporation’ and his origins, like Miguel being the son of Alchemax head, Tyler Stone. In the year 2099, time-stuff is being fucked up, with Dinosaurs popping up randomly, at first, it seems like this is yet another after-effect of Age Of Ultron, but there’s more to it than that, as something seems to be wiping Tyler Stone out of existence, and Spider-Man 2099 needs to save his dad to save himself. I loved the explanation of why Spider-Man had to go back in time, it was because he had already done it! Man, time-travel is complicated. From following him on Twitter, I know that Dan Slott is a big fan of Doctor Who, and it’s clear he’s having a blast using time-travel clichés.
So, Spider-Man 2099 travels to the present, and I just love the way Dan Slott has connected ongoing subplots into the possible future. How Tiberius Stone, the ex-Horizon Labs scientist turned Kingpin lackey is the father of Tyler Stone, and hence Spider-Man 2099’s granddad. It’s also very cool how Stone’s attempted takeover of Horizon as an advisor to ‘Allan Chemical’ AKA Al Chem is what will lead to the creation of the evil Alchemax corporation (Al Chem + Max Modell = Alchemax, which is very clever). I wonder if Slott had all of this planned in advance or if it’s reverse-engineered? Either way, it’s cleverly done and is a great use of continuity, and more importantly a brilliant impetus for this story and a clever reason for the two Spider-Men to fight each other. SpOck needs to stop Stone from taking over Horizon to keep his job, but if he does so, he wipes out Miguel O’Hara from existence!
I also like how Slott brought back Grady Scraps’ time-door from that one story, the rest of the Horizon employees have been less prominent in the Superior Era, so it was cool to have them back again. It was also great to see Liz Allan and little Normie Osborn show up again, I like those characters, although it’s sad to see Normie go down a dark path.
Speaking of Osborns (although, Green Goblin may not even be an Osborn), we get a brief glimpse into the Goblin Underground here, and see the seeds of a new plan brewing, this is a slow-burner, but it will be worth it in the end. We also see some of the fall-out of the Hobgoblin stuff at the Bugle, with Robbie being very cautious about what footage he runs. It’s great that Slott still makes time for subplots like this in amongst the time-travel crossover fun.
But really, the main thing here is the awesome conflict that’s set to come between Superior Spider-Man and Spider-Man 2099, those last few pages are awesome, and I can’t wait to see them fight in earnest next issue. I would probably enjoy this issue more if I was a 2099 fan from back in the day, but Slott does an excellent job of bringing me up to speed, and the way he ties both timelines together works amazingly, even if we don’t use that adjective around here anymore.
It’s also great to have Ryan Stegman back on board with this issue, his take on Spider-Man 2099’s costume is excellent. If you’re still a Superior hater, try this issue out, it has a heroic Spider-Man you do like in it alongside the brilliance that is SpOck, the best of both worlds!