In the Necessary Evil arc in Superior Spider-Man, Miguel O' Hara traveled to the year of 2014 to prevent Otto Octavius from killing his future grandfather, Tiberius Stone. Sadly, he has been trapped in the past and has no way to get back to 2099. He has decided to take a job as Stone's executive assistant at Alchemax, a fledgling corporation in 2014 that evolves to tyrannically control the world in 2099. Miguel figures that he can use the opportunity to prevent Alchemax from becoming so evil. Also, Liz Allen is the company's CEO, and she's become a bit more corrupt than she was depicted in the 80's.
Our story begins at night with a trucker delivering Serval Industries supplies. He’s driving on the Southern State freeway, although it’s illegal. The trucker’s phone call is interrupted when a flash blinds him and a figure materializes before his vehicle. The truck smashes into the robotic character and it completely destroyed. A concerned man pulls over to see if the machinelike person is intact, and it states, “Subject never marries or sires children. Is irrelevant to future life.” Therefore, it snaps his neck and steals his car.
In the morning, Miguel O’ Hara is inspecting an apartment to reside in (which is ironically room number 2099). The room is obviously crappy, with paint flaking off the walls and stains on the bed. O’Hara, obviously being optimistic, says, “This doesn’t look bad.” He’s concerned about what seems to be a blood stain on the floor, but the real estate agent explains that it’s monochrome and calls somebody to clean it up. Miguel objects to inconveniencing somebody for him, but the agent persists. Soon, Lyla, incarnated in Miguel’s watch, examines the stain to find it is, in fact, blood. O’Hara still takes the apartment.
The real estate agent explains that Miguel will need to pay for the first and last month’s rent with a security deposit. He mentions that it won’t be a problem because he recently gained lots of money by winning the lottery. “A futuristic hologram pulled up a newspaper in advance and told me the winning numbers,” he jokes to the agent, although it’s likely what actually occurred.
A pink-haired lady named Tempest arrives to clean up the paint and Miguel is startled to find it’s the ungrateful lady he saved from muggers in Amazing Spider-Man (Vol. 3) #1 (Story 5). Miguel introduces himself to her, but she ignores him. The agent leaves the apartment to process the paperwork and get the keys for the apartment. Miguel tells Tempest that she doesn’t need to clean the stain, but she mutters, “It’s my job, so I do it. You okay with that?” Tempest rejects O’Hara’s attempts at small talk. Soon she finishes and he thanks her. She rejects his appreciation, and he says, “Okay, well…Up yours.” She smiles and replies, “Heh. You’re welcome. Happy?” He smirks, “Ecstatic.”
Soon, Miguel is garbed in his Spider-Man 2099 costume and glides above the city, pondering. He wonders why Tempest is so ungrateful and angry. He figures that she may be depressed because “she’s got a dead-end job in a lousy part of the city.” Miguel questions if he should do anything about it, but decides that his business is strictly with Alchemax. When working there, he hides under the name “Mike O’Mara” and thinks of it as his “home away from home.”
At the reception desk at Alchemax, the robotic person from the beginning scene tells two security officers that he’s come for Spider-Man. They don’t know what it’s talking about him so it clarifies, “I seek the Spider-Man native to the year 2099. I’m here to destroy him. It is nothing personal. Simply an adjustment that needs to be done.” Creeped out, the guards ask it to leave or they’ll alert the police. The mechanical figure explains, “I have analyzed you. You pose no major contribution to the future. Help me or be erased.” The officer objects and, consequentially, is disintegrated.
Addressing the remaining officer, the villain reveals, “Your twins have not been spawned yet. One is run over by a car and killed, but the other performs serious cancer research. Killing you would be detrimental to humanity, but you can be wounded with impunity.” The guard yells that Spider-Man’s on the eighteenth floor and the robotic man leaves, apologizing in advance for his child’s death. Once he’s left, the guard calls the police, informing, “Some nut came in here looking for Spider-Man! I sent him up to the executive level ‘cause they don’t pay me enough! Hurry!”
On the executive level, Miguel is angry to discover that his boss, Tiberius Stone, is selling the spider-slayers from Goblin Nation to Trans-Sabal, a tyrannical dictatorship, simply to gain more money. Stone explains, “I’m sorry you feel that way, Mike. Especially since you’re heading there with me.” Miguel is about to complain when they hear the internal alarm go off. Luckily, Stone has a safe room with “a solid foot of titanium walls” that “a tank full of bore couldn’t get through.” Sadly, there is only room for one, and he isn’t allowing Miguel in.
The robotic person smashes through the wall and identifies Miguel as Spider-Man, although he isn’t wearing a costume. It introduces himself as “an adjuster from T.O.T.E.M., Temporal Oversight Team Eliminating Mistakes. He is from 2211 and begins his attempt to kill Miguel. He tries to zap him, but Miguel dodges it. Miguel commands Lyla to drop his clothing hologram, but she decides, rather, to clothe him in a tuxedo. The villain compliments, “Actually it looks good on you.”
While he’s in a midair leap, Lyla dresses Miguel in his costume yet again and the battle continues. Our hero asks why the T.O.T.E.M. agent doesn’t simply transport him to his regular time. “That would be illegal. By 2211, time travel is limited only to those who are agents of T.O.T.E.M. such as me,” it explains. The agent realizes it’s a stupid law, but doesn’t argue with it. He’s aggravated that Miguel is prolonging his doom, but our hero begins to make a comeback.
Sadly, a S.W.A.T. team arrives on the scene and begins to fire and Spider-Man 2099 and the T.O.T.E.M. agent. Miguel escapes into the ventilation to avoid the bullets, and the robotic villain easily kills the officers. As he’s crawling above, Miguel is startled to find the villain is attempting to blast him. To evade the attacks, Miguel lowers himself into Liz Allen’s office. Furious, Liz asks what Spider-Man’s gotten her company into now, and he responds that he’s not sure himself. Miguel orders, “Just duck behind your desk and keep your mouth shut and you should be fine.” She disregards him, and inquires who he is; he “sounds older” than the Spider-Man she knows and he’s not cracking jokes. To appease her, he jokes, “A priest, a nun and a rabbi walk into a bar. You’d think one of them would have seen it.”
Suddenly, the T.O.T.E.M. agent bursts though the wall and attacks Spider-Man 2099. The robotic villain is about to finish off Miguel when he recognizes Liz Allen and stops, making an offer, “She’s already has her son, correct? Well…One of the main reasons you need to be removed from this time and place involves things you do with her. It’s bending the law slightly, but if you allow me to destroy her, then I can make the case to leave you be.” To Liz’s surprise, Miguel agrees, reasoning, “I don’t have any attachment to her.” The agent prepares to disintegrate Liz, reassuring her that it won’t hurt. When the disintegrater is fully charged, Miguel uses a webline to turn it against its user. The villain cannot stop it from firing, and it is erased from existence.
Quickly, Spider-Man departs through the ventilation, simply telling the bewildered Liz Allen that he’s “S-Man.” An Alchemax employee asks Liz if she’s okay, and she asks if any windows are broken. He doesn’t believe so, and she requests a full list of their employee records. Liz figures that, if Spider-Man didn’t arrive though a window, he must have already been in the building, meaning he works at Alchemax. The employee suggests he could have been a visitor, so she asks for visitor records, even though she believes that it would be too much of a coincidence. She reasons, “I think I have a super hero on my payroll. And if that’s the case…then I’m going to make sure he winds up superheroing for me.”
As far as first issues go, this one was pretty solid, which is totally expected from the masterful Peter David. David successfully introduces the main characters of the series (Miguel, Liz, Tiberius, Tempest) in a quick but fulfilling plot. He seems to have a firm hold on these characters, as Miguel is as witty and sarcastic as ever, Liz is deceiving and more than meets the eye, Tiberius is a jerk, and Tempest is completely puzzling. The dialogue is quick-witted and rapid-paced, and the T.O.T.E.M. agent’s inspection of people’s importance in the future is particularly clever.
I’ve heard people complain about how this series is pointless since Miguel is no longer in 2099, but I completely disagree. Miguel’s still the same character that we all love, and, although he isn’t in the 2099, he continues in his mission of the first series of halting corporate corruption. Anyways, the original 2099 universe may be a bit dated, since it was the future as seen in the 90’s.
One of the good aspects of this issue is how good of an attitude Peter David has about using Dan Slott’s brilliant set-up for his character. Some writers (I’m looking at Hickman and Starlin) get angry when others interfere with their creations, but David embraces the changes to Miguel’s character very well. He remains just as passionate and interested in the character as when he left him in the original series. David’s also a good sport writing characters like Tiberius and Liz.
Otherwise, I have a few problems with this series, although they’re very minor. Firstly, why can’t Miguel find a time machine and go back to 2099 on his own? I mean, time traveling is a common sport in modern comics, so all he’d have to do is go to Latveria or the Baxter Building and he’d find a time machine. Secondly, if Miguel won the lottery as he suggests, why is he renting such a terrible apartment? Third, in post-911 America, how did he get employed for a major corporation under a false identity?
Lastly, Will Sliney’s art is a bit strange, but it works for the book. Sliney isn’t a very dynamic artist, since his characters are a bit stiff, and his chunky shading somewhat flattens his figures. Still, he is excellent at panel layout and overall succeeds at showing what David hopes to convey in the story Additionally, Sliney seems to use a digital format, which adds some great detail to the story but doesn’t look to great in far panels.
Although I had a few minor problems with it, this is a solid introduction to the new series with great character work and witty dialogue.