Retro Review: Spider-Man 2099 (1992) #1 by Peter David & Rick Leonardi

Spider-Man 2099 (1992) #1

Written by: Peter David
Pencilled by: Rick Leonardi
Inked by: Al Williamson
Cover by: Rick Leonardi
Colored by: Steve Buccellati
Lettered by: Rick Parker
Published by: Marvel
Cover Price: $1.75 ($1.99 on Comixology)

Note: This is a review of the digital version which can be found on Comixology.

Warning! This review contains quite a few spoilers!

I had pretty much just started reading Marvel comics just a few months before the 2099 line started way back in 1992.  It was a simple enough idea, a line of books set in the far future of the Marvel universe.

I was already a huge Spider-Man fan, and was really excited about this book (if I recall correctly, there was a preview in one of the 30th Anniversary issues of Spider-Man).  With the relaunch of Spider-Man 2099 (set in the Marvel modern universe) a few weeks ago, I decided to dust off my box of 2099 comics and give them a second look.

Summary (contains spoilers): Spider-Man 2099 starts with the future Spider-Man on the run from the police (called the Public Eye).

Spidey immediately shows the reader how he’s different from the Spider-Man of our time. He has claws on his finger tips, and is able to glide far more effectively than Peter Parker ever could. He manages to evade the police, ducking into a crowded shopping mall.

Spider-Man manages to make it back to his apartment. He find out that his name is Miguel O’Hara. His personal hologram Lyla catches him up on messages he missed, giving us some quick insight into who this new Spider-Man is:

Lyla reminds him that he hasn’t made an entry into is personal journal for five days. He starts to fill in his back story:

O’Hara was a hotshot scientist for a powerful corporation named Alchemax. He was working on genetic enhancements for military applications. His work was inspired by a hero from the Heroic Age named Spider-Man.

Alchemax’s owner, Tyler Stone, demands Miguel conduct a test on a human volunteer. The test goes horribly wrong, mutating and killing the man. Miguel decides to quit Alchemax, and Stone ends up slipping him a horribly addictive drug that he can only get from Alchemax to try and force him to stay.

Miguel runs off and is freaking out on the drug. He ends up even attacking his own girlfriend. He is determined to get out of Alchemax’s control, so he sneaks back into his lab in order to try and “reset” his genetic code to break the addiction.

A rival sabotages the attempt, mixing Miguel’s genetics with those of a spider.

The issue ends with Miguel showing off his fangs and claws.

Review: One thing I have always thought was brilliant about this book is that it create an entirely new Spider-Man.  Marvel didn’t take the easy way out and make this Peter Parker’s ancestor or knock off. They don’t give him the exact same origin. They don’t give him a “with great power comes great responsibility” moment.  He’s got different powers, he’s much older, already a successful scientist, and has a much darker sense of humor.

I actually think that’s why Spider-Man 2099 is still around while so many other 2099 characters were never heard from again. He’s got his own distinct character and charm to him.

In just one issue, Marvel, Peter David, and Rick Leonardi did a great job setting up the whole line. We get a distinctive look at the technology of the future and some hints at the mega-corporations that have risen up.  I also loved the scene where Miguel checks his messages.  It was a quick and clever way to set up the supporting cast and give us a ton of information about who Miguel is.

I have been a fan of Peter David’s writing for a long time now. He creates terrific characters and always slips in these hilarious one-liners. Sometimes they do threaten to throw off the flow of the book, but they just about always make me laugh. I especially liked these two panels:

I also found to be pretty prescient since this was about 20 years before the Citizens United ruling.

Rick Leonardi’s art was great for the action sequences, but I did think some of the more introspective moments in this comic (and there were a lot of them) were not his strong suit. Just look at the panel I just posted. Weird expressions and a real lack of detail. This is a far way off from the awesome art in the opening sequence.

My only other gripe about this comic was that the action sequence to start the comic probably should have been spread through the issue. All the action is front-loaded, and after that things kind of screech to a halt. The more character moments are great, but at times, it sort of feels unbalanced…I really wanted to see more Spider-Man in action!

Even 20 years later, I still hold this comic in high regards. It holds up really well, and I am glad the character finally has his own title again (also written by Peter David. ). The digital version of this classic issue is 2 bucks, but I am pretty sure you can find it much cheaper in print without much effort.


Title: Spider-Man 2099 (1992) #1
Written By: Peter David
Art By: Rick Leonardi and Al Williamson
Company: Marvel
Price: $1.99
Pros:
  • Great action to start the issue on the right foot
  • Terrific dark sense of humor and deep characterization.
  • A great book to launch a comic line with.
Cons:
  • Art is kind of weak in the quieter moments.
  • Would have been better to spread the action over the issue.
Is it worth your $1.99? 8.0/10 – Definitely worth the two bucks, but there is a pretty good chance if you look, you can find the print copy cheaper. I rebuilt my 2099 collection for just about nothing just a few years ago. There are LOTS of copies of this comic out there.

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