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Party like it’s 2099 – Spider-Man 2099 #25

May 12, 2011

Remember the 2099 line? Begun the early ’90s boom, it brought us far-future derivative titles like Doom 2099, Punisher 2099, Ghost Rider 2099, and less-derivative works like Ravage 2099. It was as if the Marvel braintrust was tossing around ideas one day and came to the collective conclusion that the New Universe experiment failed because there was no connection to the mainstream lines, and thus decided to go with the most tenuous of all bonds to link the old with the new, i.e. names. The endeavor didn’t fall like a lead balloon, and (to my everlasting surprise) some of the titles actually sold. A number of the series lived to see their 40th issues, but most fizzled out by 1996. There were subsequent weak attempts to keep the line going, none of which went anywhere at all.

I can’t say that I read very much of the 2099 stuff. I can recall picking up an issue or two at the newsstand and deciding within seconds that the art was terrible, that the cross-title leitmotif of blahblahblahevilcorprorationsblahblahblah was lame, and that they therefore wouldn’t get my precious lawn-mowing money. I might have been hasty with my dismissal, but I doubt I missed much. Spider-Man 2099 is the only part of that half-assed pantheon that I can even clearly remember. The brief intro story that they crammed into to the 30th anniversary issue #365 of The Amazing Spider-Man (a good idea) made for a prime launching pad, but despite that I remained decidedly blase about the whole thing. I will grant this: I do like the costume design (conjured by character co-creator Rick Leonardi) for Miguel O’Hara’s alter ego. It had an actual arachnid feel to it, which can’t be said for Peter Parker’s normal red and blue togs. And at least future-Spidey lasted long enough to get the nifty anniversary issue that we’re dealing with here (didn’t quite make it to 365), complete with a cover boasting heavy card-stock, reflective foil and raised artwork. You know, the rims and gold teeth of ’90s comics.

I didn’t scan much from this. The villain that SM2099 scraps with in this Peter David-scripted affair (he’s the other co-creator) is unknown to me, and the stakes of their fight are a mystery. I’m admittedly way out of my element. I can, however, offer this two-page action spread, which proves that the more things change, the more they (especially action poses) stay the same:

This comic really made me wallow in my ignorance. I honestly had no idea what was going on. Take this scene for instance, where our eavesdropping hero learns something (I guess) of significance (I suppose) about his origin (maybe):

I’ll take your word for it.

You can tell that the 2099 titles were floundering a bit, because over half of this book is devoted to other characters with nary a mention of future-Spidey. Both Hulk 2099 and Ravage 2099 get chunks of story advertising. It’s kind of rough when you get shunted aside on your big metaphorical day.

Future-Spidey lived to see issue #46, has subsequently met our current incarnation, and he’s made a few appearances here and there in more recent times (most notably in the big-tent Exiles). The “future” he lived (lives? will live?) in, once the “actual” future of the Marvel U., has since been retconned to be an alternative Earth. And by “alternative” I mean “one that no one gives a crap about.”

Still, I offer my belated congratulations to the Spider-Man of the future for making it to the #25 milestone. It’s a point I never would have imagined he’d get to when I was first exposed to that world, and it’s a marker that many titles never have a chance to reach.

Mazel mazel. Good things.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. February 8, 2015 1:57 pm

    Why don’t you like the 2099 Universe? Sure, in the vein of the 90s you could see it as utter garbage, but I prefer to see them as an interesting take on the future, with widely-varied attitudes to boot: Doom 2099 is an epic series in the vein of medieval legends, Punisher 2099 is like a self-aware action movie, Ravage 2099 is like an odyssey of sorts, and GR 2099 is like an anarchistic cyber-Spawn.

    Spider-man 2099 was my least favorite, just because…he doesn’t stick out that much, but you ought to at least check out the other series.

    • February 8, 2015 4:09 pm

      To me they always felt a bit slapdash, both story- and art-wise. The way you describe them doesn’t re-entice me, either, but to each their own. If you enjoy them more power to you, as there are certainly enough things out there that I love that no one else can stand the sight of.

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