I remember decades ago when superhero comic book collecting was exciting with trends of comic creators unleashing their newest owned projects and comic book publishers publishing new comic books expanding their existing universe.
In 1992, Marvel Comics announced the launch of the 2099 universe which highlights a far, futuristic possible universe of their comic book universe laced with visual inspiration from Blade Runner and an emphasis of what the future would be like had private corporations had more control over people and society.
What kicked off interest with the 2099 imprint was the announcement of Spider-Man 2099 which is obviously a far future counterpart of the famous Peter Parker Spider-Man people knew.
Here is my look back at the comic book Spider-Man 2099 #1.
Released in late-1992 by Marvel Comics, Spider-Man 2099 #1 came with a hard cover laced with red foil and in the middle was art of the superhero chased by flying police officers. The image easily reminded me of Peter Parker Spider-Man escaping from police officers who thought he committed crime.
With its story written by the legendary Peter David and drawn by Rick Leonardi (who drew some Spider-Man comics previously), the comic book introduced readers to Miguel O’Hara who is a very talented geneticist working for Alchemax with an interest on the original Spider-Man (Peter Parker). As head of the company’s genetics project (working under Aaron Delgado who answers to R&D Vice President Tyler Stone), the Latino O’Hara planned to create new and powerful beings called “corporate raiders” (which reflects Alchemax’s planned control over them).
O’Hara intends to create a new being with abilities and specialties similar to that of the classic Spider-Man and it is clear in the story that he has vested interest with him having existing records from the past.
Even with very high-tech equipment and resources, a genetic experiment using a living person went horribly wrong which brought way down O’Hara’s morale and spirit. Discouraged and filled with guilt he visits Stone’s office to express his desire to resign. Seeking to calm O’Hara down, Tyler offers him a drink and at this point of the story things really start taking twists leading to how O’Hara becomes Spider-Man of his era. You’ll just have to read the comic book.
From a visual standpoint, Rick Leonardi did a nice job bringing 2099’s society to life with those high-tech machines, floating vehicles, buildings with very futuristic designs, nice looking action, etc. On pages 2 and 3 you’ll see Spider-Man 2099’s first-ever appearance literally coming straight at you which is to say the least memorable. Oh yes, the late Al Williamson inked the art.
Storytelling was nicely paced. The chase and action scenes in the start were pretty fast and clearly Peter David took his time controlling the pace when it came down to emphasizing characters and telling the back story. He really defined Miguel O’Hara’s personality and within a few minutes any reader will realize that the protagonist is not the “typical and likable” hero some would expect.
In fact Miguel O’Hara is somewhat arrogant and even had the guts to stand up to Tyler Stone. He’s a lonely guy as well and spends a lot of time interacting and depending on Lyla, a holographic aid with artificial intelligence.
With regard to the presentation of genetics, Peter David was clearly influenced by the 1986 movie The Fly directed by David Cronenberg. Even that movie’s title was mentioned in the comic book. That being said the story shed light on the risks and possible unethical approach to scientific experiments that involved the manipulation of human genetics. Along the way it clearly dramatizes the complete power and freedom (and abuse perhaps) Alchemax enjoys with its operations and that nothing could stop them.
Overall Spider-Man 2099 #1 is worth looking for and collecting even though it is decades old. Sure it has that 1990s vibe in terms of visuals but it is indeed refreshing to read especially after reading many of today’s “modern” art in comics (especially with the recent Spider-Man 2099 comics). As far as importance is concerned, Spider-Man of 2099 is truly valued by Marvel and clearly the character truly defines the 2099 imprint. It is no surprise that Spider-Man 2099 was brought back when Marvel launched a new line of 2099 comic books back in 2015.
Even until now Spider-Man 2099 #1 is still one of the very best 2099 comic books ever released. It is a classic in its own right. I suggest visiting your local comic book store to find an existing copy of it.
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Author’s Note: This article was originally published at my old Geeks and Villagers blog. What you read on this website was an updated and expanded version. In other words, this newest version you just read is the most definitive version.