Kasey's been taken down by Alechemax. Gabe's been beaten up by the Flyboy cops. Spidey just took down the cyborg Risque, only to face Venture yet again. Spidey's not too happy...
First, note that this issue sports a shiny metallic embossed cover! Don't you miss the 90's?
The story begins with Gabriel getting first-aid from his mother, Conchata, after the beating he received from Tyler Stone's Flyboys. Once her son was mended, she leaves vowing to make things right.
Meanwhile, Spider-Man and Venture are in a vicious brawl, following the defeat of Venture's sister, Risque. Venture notes the increased intensity in Spider- Man since their last battle, but still remains an overconfident cyborg. Spider- Man remained on the offensive, promising no mercy. Pushing Venture onto a Maglev track, Spidey stuck his opponent's metallic body to the magnetic track. As a train ran over Venture, Spider-Man watched, shocked at what he had just done. Even more surprising was Venture's survival. Fed-up, Spidey grabbed Venture's energy staff, and gave him a repeat performance of his last battle, jamming it into his guts. This time, however, Venture was ready for such a move, and, playing possum launched his hands onto Spider-Man's wrists.
Back at the apartment, Xina was still working on Lyla's repairs. Dana surprised her, and the jealous verbal jabs began.
Finally there is a quite moment between Spider-Man and Venture, as Spider-Man laid pinned to the floor by Ventures hands. Venture tells him that had Spider- Man just responded calmly, he would've known that Venture was obliged to him for taking down his sister! Now, next time he sees him, he'll have to kill him. Spidey takes off, while Venture takes a few easy shots at his helpless sister who was still woozy from Spider-Man's venom.
Though his battle with Venture was over, Spider-Man's night was not. Still driven with a burning intensity, he had another score to settle - with Tyler Stone. He found Tyler leaving Alchemax in a luxury vehicle forbidden in the inner city. Attached underneath the craft, Spider-Man hitched a ride back to Tyler's home, determined to make him feel fear and break him, once and for all, for all his manipulations in his life and to everyone he cares about. He stealthily evaded the security, and discovered Tyler with, of all people, his mother. Conchata threatend Tyler to let Kasey go, and leave Gabriel alone. Her leverage: she could tell Tyler's ex-father-in-law that he was involved with the death of his ex-wife. And, if anything were to happen to her, the knowledge was set to be released. Tyler kissed Conchata, impressed that she's the only woman to be a match for him. He promised to release Kasey within the hour unharmed.
Tyler then shocked Spider-Man beyond belief. He shares that the rapture that Miguel thought he was addicted to back in issue #1) was a simulation that would last three days at most. Miguel never had to experiment upon himself, the accident never had to happen....he never had to become Spider-Man. Tyler admitted he could never hurt Miguel. Conchata then delivered the final shocker - she told Tyler that she sees Miguel's father more and more in his face - not George O'Hara, but Tyler Stone!
Bonus: Hulk 2099 Prequel: "For the Little People"
Writer: Gerard Jones Penciler: Malcolm Davis Inker: Chris Ivy Editor: Joey Cavalieri Editor in Chief: Tom DeFalco
In the midst of a strike in LA in 2099, the rich and powerful send in droid troops to put a bloody end to the labor dispute at a metalloid synth-plant. A huge green monster breaks in an interferes with the assult. The tide is turned, and the workers are saved. The beast leaps away, satisfied that his work is done.
Elsewhere, a cyborg named Draco plays chess with a droid. His game is interrupted to learn that his offensive against the laborers was ruined by a monster. Draco is not happy.
The Hulk leaps over the city, yearning for the desert - the place of origin of his monstrous side. He transforms back to a human - a blonde-haired man named John. John returns home in the Hills, where his girlfriend, Quirk, and a boy, Gawain, wait for him. Quirk is happy to see him. Gawain, however, blames him for his injuries that have him stuck in the house, and calls John a murderer.
Outside with Quirk, John admits that he cannot blame Gawain for hating him. When he was a studio executive, he was responsible for the slaughter of Gawain's cult in the desert. John tells Quirk he's going to leave her and live in the desert like the beast he really is. Quirk smacks him across the face, saying she's leaving him first. John barks at her to force her to go - pretending her really doesn't care for her sake.
Bonus: A Net Prophet story: "Net Loss"
Writer: Peter David Penciler: Tom Grindberg Inker: Don Hudson Editor: Joey Cavalieri Editor in Chief: Tom DeFalco
In the "Holy Row" section of cyberspace, the Net Prophet sees a beautiful but sad woman named Sintilla being harassed by an armored man named Roger. The local SYSOP tries to protect her, but is "flamed" by Roger. Another SYSOP is taken down. The Net Prophet stands before Roger. Despite all of Roger's conventional attacks, nothing harms him. Roger grabs Sintilla hostage, threatening her with a Surge program. The Net Prophet fires beams from his eyes, severing off Roger's arms, then his legs. He explains that he is above the rules of cyberspace since he is not virtual but real. He tells Roger that in the real world, his limbs have also been removed. Back in the real world, Roger disconnects from his VR session to realize his limbs are gone. However, it was an illusion the Net Prophet generated. Sintilla leaves the Prophet with a kiss. He realizes that there is something special about her - that she holds a key to his past. She exits, returning back to the real world.
The Prophet tries to follow, but is somehow blocked. He asserts that he must find her again.
The silver anniversary of Spidey 2099 was packed with a healthy dose of adrenaline. The opening act with Spider-Man unleashed against Venture was thrilling - Spidey has really come of age as a fighter. It's clear he's no longer the new kid on the block, and he's tired of the abuse. It was a nice twist that Venture really wasn't out for blood this time. As good a fight scene as it was...I'm still finding the Spidey's battles somewhat monotonous. It's difficult to pinpoint my discontent. The future world of 2099 shouldn't be more limiting than a traditional Spider-Man story taking place today. Yet, the villains and the battles seem to lack the distinctive flair of a Peter Parker story. One strong factor: these cyborgs or henchmen or whatever the villain du joir is, don't have much of an origin or backstory. They pop up out of nowhere with claws extended. Venture has a motive at least, since he was once a background-less badly beaten by Mig. Secondly, whether it's Venture's staff, or Vulture's talons, or the Specialist's sword - they're all basically "warrior with weapon". There's not the richness of the bizarre powers of the Sandman, the untapped power of Electro, the warped intellect of the Goblin, the alien danger of Venom.
Also, Spidey needs to get out of the skyscrapers and streets. There's so little interaction with the public in his battles, that there's less drama, and less consequence to 2 superpowered guys slugging it out.
Then there are this issue's revelations. "I AM YOUR FATHER" - well, Tyler, we've heard this one before. Does it work? Does it make sense. Sure, I didn't see it coming. It seems a bit far-fetched, but I'll go with it. That Tyler didn't really addict Miggy to the Rapture? That was a nice spin!
As for the Hulk and Net Prophet, I could take it or leave it. The Hulk of 2099, though certainly having a tough time in his life, lacked any reason to care for his character.
The Net Prophet story played like a spaghetti western, and failed to intrigue me. He had the power to do whatever he wanted in cyberspace - the Superman complex doesn't always serve a story well. Like Hulk, I failed to care about the character.
Overall, my complaints are more about the whole series than this particular issue. For a milestone issue with action, twists, and solid art, I give it a 3.5/5 webs. Hulk and Net Prophet both get 2.5/5 webs.