Comics : Superior Spider-Man #17
This review was first published on: Sep 2013.
Peter’s dead. Doc Ock’s got his body. No one knows. Otto’s out to prove he’s Superior to his predecessor.
To end the Age of Ultron, the Avengers abused time travel, and now there’s rifts in space-time all over the place. Bad mojo.
Superior Spider-Man #17
Nov 2013 : SM Title
Summary: Spider-Man 2099
Arc: Part 1 of "Necessary Evil"
|Articles: Green Goblin I (Norman Osborn), Elizabeth (Allan) Osborn|
In the dystopian world of 2099 New York - or Nueva York, as the locals call it - there’s doin’s a’transpirin’ at the evil Alchemax corporation. These attract the attention of Miguel ‘Spider-Man 2099’ O’Hara. As future Spidey web-swings in to investigate, he’s forced to tangle with dinosaurs and World-War-One-era biplanes. Declining to kill them, because he’s a bona fide superhero and not an “evil, mindless megacorp” (nor, for that matter, a ‘superior’ Spider-Man), Miguel restrains his time-displaced foes, who promptly fade back into their proper eras. Knowing he’s got to shut this problem down at the source, our hero invades Alchemax central, where he confronts the corporation’s boss, ruthless businessman Tyler Stone.
To Miguel’s surprise, Stone isn’t responsible for the time disruptions. To the contrary, he’s a victim of them: he’s slowly being erased from time, just like Marty McFly was in the first Back to the Future film. This is a problem, because although Stone doesn’t know it, he’s Miguel O’Hara’s biological father, so if Stone disappears, so will Miguel. To save both of their lives, the two bitter rivals - or so I assume, never having read any of the 2099 books - team up to fix the timestream, which will involve travel back to the source of the problem, namely the year 2013. Looking through Alchemax’s time viewer to that era, Stone and Spider-Man 2099 see Miguel in action, meaning that - no matter how he feels about it - the web-slinger will have to travel to the past, or else create a paradox.
Speaking of 2013, in that era, Otto is playing in the annual Horizon Labs softball match. It’s spiders vs. lizards, depending on what the individual was turned into earlier in the year: check ASM #670 and ASM #690 for the deets. You’d think an event like this would be beneath Otto’s notice, but no: now that he’s got Peter’s superlative physique, Otto is determined to show off for his girlfriend, as well as avenge his younger self, who was always terrible at sports.
It’s bad enough that Otto easily knocks the pitch out of the park, but Otto further blackens Peter’s rep with his co-workers by doing an obnoxious monologue as he rounds the bases. Thankfully his display is cut short by the arrival of federal agents - by helicopter, no less! - who arrive to arrest Max Modell for numerous crimes, mostly having to do with the storage of hazardous chemicals. We readers know that this is the work of Tiberius Stone, who has been out to sabotage Horizon Labs since ASM #692, when Max refused to elevate Stone to the rank of Golden Boy, which Otto, Grady, Sajani, and the rest of our supporting cast enjoy.
Speaking of the supporting cast, let’s do a quick tour and establish who they are and what they’re doing. Robbie Robertson and the rest of the Daily Bugle staff (minus Norah, who was fired last issue), are following the Horizon Labs story closely. Phil ‘Goblin Knight’ Urich, the cause of that firing, is moping around the Goblin underground, eager to go topside and battle Spider-Man, but the new Green Goblin is having none of that.
Back at Horizon, the Golden Boys and Girls are muttering about the charges Max is labouring under, most of which are actually the Goldens’ own fault: Sajani’s vibranium substitute, Grady’s time door, the Alpha experiment, and so forth. They are surprised by the arrival of Liz Allan, the new majority shareholder of Horizon Labs, who was able to pick up the stock cheap on news of Max’s arrest. She’s installed Tiberius Stone as the new supervisor, who gleefully informs the rest of the staff that as of now, anything worked on at Horizon is the intellectual property of Allan Chemical, including all of Otto’s tech, down to the formula for Spider-Man’s web fluid.
“Stone”, Otto manages, “...you shall rue this day”. Very super-villainy.
“Was that a threat, Mr. Parker?” asks some flunky.
“Let it go, Mason. Peter is an old friend. He gets a pass… this once.” Yikes! I thought Liz and Peter were on better terms than that. They used to date, for crying out loud.
The group splits up, each with its own plan. The Horizon Gang are going to use Grady’s time door to find evidence of Tiberius Stone’s past misdeeds, the better to put the kibosh on him in the present. Liz and Stone are off to their next appointment. And Otto is off to change into mufti and deal with the threat that Stone poses, in an expeditious manner as possible.
The story deals with the former thread first. The Horizon Gang wants to use Grady’s time door, which he claims he’s fixed since the last time… the last time being the one where he almost destroyed New York. The group is divided over the merits of this plan, but before they can reach a consensus, the door turns itself on, and it spits out Spider-Man 2099!
“I’ve moved in time, but not in space,” he says. “This lab… is this Alchemax?”
“What?” asks Sajani. “You mean ‘Al Chem’? Not yet, thank God. We’re still Horizon!”
Alchemax, Allan Chemical. We see what you did there, Slott. Very clever!
Off goes Miguel to find what he refers to as “the Stone anomaly” and fix it, leaving a puzzled Horizon Gang in his wake. Miguel web-swings to Stone’s limousine, where he interrupts Otto, who has stopped the vehicle. After a little smack talk from Stone - and from little Normie, too, which makes Otto’s spider-sense tingle - Otto is about to pound Stone into paste, but Miguel intervenes.
“Hang on tight, Spidey-fans!” says the overly-breathless Next Issue text. “The Battle You’ll Be Waiting 86 Years for is Finally Here! Spidey Now! vs. Spidey Later!”
There’s a lot going on in this issue. We get to see just how wretchedly Otto treats his co-workers at Horizon Labs, for one thing. Once I worried that Peter’s carelessness would make him That Guy at the office, but I needn’t have been concerned: Otto’s high-functioning sociopathy has made him ten times the That Guy that Peter would ever have been. I think a reckoning is nigh, assuming that Horizon Labs finds a way to stay in business. We’ve also got a villain we love to hate in Tiberius Stone: a rat who, because he couldn’t serve in Heaven, chooses to reign in Hell, and treads over his former colleagues to get there. Seeing him get his comeuppance will be sweet, I’m sure… though he may not get it, if the 2099 timeline connections are to be believed. It seems Horizon will one day be Alchemax, and Stone’s heirs will rule the roost there.
And we’ve got Spidey 2099 on hand to make sure that unfolds without any interference.
There’s comparatively little superhero action in this one - just a couple pages of Spidey 2099 tangling with time-displaced foes. That’s all right in my book: less brawling leaves more time for plot developments, of which this issue has plenty. We’ve got Max arrested, Horizon bought out, Liz Allan back in the book, little Normie acting creepy, past-Stone being evil, future-Stone being bossy, Otto beginning to feel the pressure, and Miguel trying to save his whole world. And the Horizon Gang are messing around with time travel, again. There’s a lot going on!
For all of that, it’s the first part of an arc, so this issue is all about promises being made, not kept; I’ll going with three webs. But I like where this is going; if the rest of the arc delivers, the arc as a whole may get a higher rating.
So all I know of Spidey 2099 is that he joined the Exiles, went dimension-hopping, and ended up taking a lover and becoming a short-order cook at a beachfront diner in some dimension far away from his home. Is this that same Miguel O’Hara, and if so, how did he get back? If anyone knows, please drop me a line, care of the site, and fill me in.
UPDATE: So apparently while this is the Miguel O'Hara who traveled back to the present-day Marvel Universe on a previous occasion, he is not the Miguel O'Hara who went dimension-hopping with the Exiles, nor yet the Miguel O'Hara who was involved in the Timestorm. This Miguel is the one from the main Spider-Man 2099 book at a mid-point in its run, at some point after Miguel learned that Tiberius Stone was his father, but before Doom 2099 took over the United States. Thanks to miryclay and biffboffkev for writing in to update me on this.