Spider-Man 2099 (Vol. 2) #5

Background

Last issue, Miguel O'Hara and his boss, Tiberius Stone, went to Trans-Sabal for a weapons dealing, but it fell through. Also, Stone employed Mac Gargan, the Scorpion, for the job. (Look at my reviews for the past two issues if you're that interested. I don't feel like describing it again, and it doesn't really matter in this issue anyways.)

Meanwhile in the Spider-Verse, Morlun and his family, the Inheritors, have been traveling across the Multiverse consuming the life forces of Spider-People!

Story Details

  Spider-Man 2099 (Vol. 2) #5
Summary: Spider-Man 2099 Appears
Editor: Ellie Pyle
Writer: Peter David
Pencils: Rick Leonardi
Inker: Livesay
Cover Art: Francesco Mattina
Lettering: VC's Joe Caramagna
Colorist: Antonio Fabela

This story opens up in the Avengers Tower of Earth-98120. Spider-Man 2099 is explaining to his fellow Avengers Captain America, Captain Marvel (from the Avengers Forever miniseries), and Wolverine that he feels like he’s being “stalked.” Marvel wonders if Miguel is using some kind of cosmic awareness, and Cap A reassures him that the Avengers will protect him if anybody is hunting him. The patriotic leader’s promise is put into action when the alarm begins ringing and the wall explodes. Wolverine says the villain will be getting more than he bargained for fighting him. Little does he know that the villain is the unstoppable Morlun! Morlun easily dodges Captain Marvel’s blast, but Logan manages to stab him through the chest. The claws don’t seem to bother the villain and he easily throws Wolverine to the side, and then sucking Captain Marvel’s life force. Morlun is disappointed that Marvel tastes “ancient” and “recycled.” “The main feast,” Spider-Man 2099, is soon consumed by the baddie.

Meanwhile on Earth-616, Spider-Man is following a helicopter of bank robbers when he suffers a sudden pain that feels like somebody is “driving an ice pick through [his] skull!” He begins to fall, but regains his senses and webs onto the robbers’ copter. Miguel thinks, “Gotta admit, robbing a bank with a helicopter is an efficient means of getting away.” A thug prepares to cut Miguel’s webline with a knife, but he is soon webbed in the face. Spidey smashes two goons’ heads together and punches the copter driver, taking over to land it on a nearby rooftop. Compared to the year 2099, the helicopter is “primitive technology” so Miguel is fully capable of steering it. Reflecting on the pain from before, Miguel decides it felt like, instead of whistling on his grave, somebody “played an entire concerto” on his. Yet, he’s fine. Once the helicopter is safely rested, he wonders, “So what the hell caused me to feel like that?”

Back on Earth-98120, Morlun thanks the withered body of Spider-Man 2099 for the “contribution.” With his meal over, Morlun is surprised to find that a “future Spider-Man [2099] in exhile” has been observing him through a portal. The alternate Miguel quickly cuts the feed, but Morlun has already seen him and plans on going to his dimension. Abruptly, Wolverine and Captain America order Morlun to halt, and he finds them “charming” and flies away. The heroes realize that Spider-Man 2099 is dead but believe they can salvage Captain Marvel. Cap A suggests that they can track down Morlun, but Wolverine has the feeling they’ll never meet him again. “I hate to admit it,” Cap mentions, “but I’m almost glad.”

On Earth-6375, Miguel O’Hara of that dimension is worried that, by observing Morlun, he has led him to his location. He explains to his girlfriend, Mary Jane, that he’s afraid of Morlun, but she doesn’t see why since he’s “beat tons of villains.” He explains that he discovered Morlun while traveling with the Exiles and has been using Exile technology to watch other Spider-Men. Miguel is convinced he must leave to find others like him and strengthen in numbers. Mary Jane is horrified when he explains that Morlun has been killing others like him and he doesn’t know why. The universe Miguel plans on visiting is Earth-616 because that is the only place Morlun is afraid of since he died there. Mary Jane decides that she’ll be accompanying him and, as she says, “if you tell me it’s too dangerous, I’ll slap you.”

In the Alchemax building of Earth-616, Miguel asks Tiberius Stone if he has employed any other past criminals like Scorpion. He avoids the question and Miguel explains, “We can’t be using our influence to spring criminals from jail!” Stone replies, “I can assure you the places that they’re jailed are happy to cooperate with us on work release programs.” Miguel quips that they might as well build a jail, and that interests his boss, Liz Allen, who appears in the doorway of the office. He rationalizes that building a jail could help out the community and cast Alchemax in a positive light. “Considering Parker Industries just failed attempting this very thing, I have to admit it’s an attractive notion,” Liz explains. Stone and she seem interested in creating a committee to look into building a jail, and they commend Miguel for his idea. Suddenly, Miguel’s neck snaps to the side!

On Earth-96099, an alternate version of Miguel O’Hara’s father is terrified to watch his son murdered and eaten by Morlun before his very eyes. He pulls out a gun, attempts to shoot the villain, but soon finds himself dead too. Back on Earth-6375, the alternate Miguel feels Miguel 96099’s death and, carrying a bag of technology, he opens up the portal to the 616 Universe. He explains to Mary Jane that the portal will take about five minutes to get fully powered up and it may cause a “black out the entirety of Las Vegas.” When asked if she’s ready, MJ reveals that she is fully committed to follow her boyfriend to the 616 Universe.

In the Alchemax Building of the 616 Universe, Liz instructs Miguel to go immediately to the doctor on the 21st floor. He gets in the elevator and asks Lyla to do a “bio-scan” to find what’s wrong with him. She explains that he is displaying “extreme levels of stress” and his liver isn’t in good shape, but none of that would affect his head. Miguel decides it must be a “spider-related” problem because that’s what it always seems to be when his “life goes to hell.” Figuring no doctor can help him, Miguel directs the elevator to the building roof.

On the roof, Miguel dons his costume and is surprised when a portal appears before him. The Spider-Man 2099 of Earth-6375 appears in the vortex, and he is happy to see him. Suddenly, Morlun appears behind Miguel 6375 and sucks his life force in front of Miguel 616 and Mary Jane 6375. Miguel 616 is horrified, surprised that Morlun is alive, and feels an overwhelming pain. He realizes that every time he feels the pain, another version of himself is killed. Morlun drops Miguel 6375 into Miguel 616’s arms, and he challenges the enemy to a fight. Morlun, out of fear, leaves the scene, and the portal dissipates. Our prime hero is left with the corpse of an alternate version of himself. He thinks to himself, “I’ve got to stash this somewhere, and then … I’ve gotta find Peter Parker.”

To be continued in Amazing Spider-Man (Vol. 3) #9

General Comments

As far as tie-ins go, this one is pretty typical. In the Spider-Verse prelude tie-ins, it has been common for the Inheritors to kill alternate universe Spider-Men. Here, David doesn’t kill beloved any Spider-People (like Dan Slott) but decides to create alternate versions of Miguel O’Hara to waste instead. David spends a lot of page room on the alternate Miguels before he kills them, and it’s frustrating how he doesn’t develop them well. He fails in making any thought-provoking parallels between Miguel 616 and the alternate Miguels. I would understand a lack of characterization if David was to have spent one page on each Miguel, but he spends seven pages on Miguel 98120 alone.

The major plot hole of this issue is how Miguel feels pain when other versions of himself die but Peter doesn’t. How are Miguel’s senses any different from Peter’s? Is Miguel connected to the Web of Life differently than Peter? Plus, the Inheritors have been around since AT LEAST J. Michael Straczynski was on Amazing Spider-Man (Vol. 2) and we’re supposed to believe that they haven’t killed another version of Miguel O’Hara until now? I’m going to bring down the issue’s for these inconsistencies, but if David explains them later (which I don’t think he will), I’ll come back and raise up this issue’s grade.

Usually I like to spend a paragraph or two more discussing the story, but there isn’t really anything else to say so I might as well go to the art. Rick Leonardi, as avid 2099 fans knows, drew the original Spider-Man 2099 series, and it’s nice to see him return to the character with the original writer. Overall, Leonardi’s art is serviceable. His style has developed to become rougher and sketchier than his work in the 90’s. This may simply be because he’s a loose penciller and the inker, Livesay, had more room to work with the pencils. The art isn’t perfect, though, as there is about one “off” panel for every five “on” panels. The biggest detractor from the art is Antonio Fabela’s colors, which don’t mix well with Leonardi’s somewhat old-fashioned line work.

Overall Rating

A boring tie-in that fails to contain any interesting characterization and has a major plot hole. Leonardi's art is good, but a bit inconsistent. Hopefully, things pick up next issue.