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Welcome back, superhero enthusiasts, 1990s culture enthusiasts and comic book collectors! Today we revisit the world of 2099 within the universe of Marvel Comics back in the 1990s, specifically through the Spider-Man 2099 monthly series.
In this retro review, the Venom 2099 storyline continues (for my previous reviews, click here, here, here and here). Since my previous review, the futuristic Venom has been captured by Spider-Man and is now in the custody of Alchemax where Miguel O’Hara (Spider-Man of 2099) holds considerable power and authority. As seen in issue #38, Miguel’s rage was clearly affecting him and pushed him to the point of wanting revenge (by means of death, no less) over the death of Dana.
With those details laid down, here is a look back at Spider-Man 2099 #39, published in 1995 by Marvel Comics with a story written by Peter David and drawn by Andrew Wildman.
The story begins with Miguel O’Hara, still impacted by Dana’s death and what he personally discovered about Venom, walking through the offices of an Alchemax building where several employees greet him formally which he does not seem to enjoy. He walks into a laboratory where he sees the two that compose Venom – Kron Stone and the symbiote (living costume) – contained separately with hard glass containers.
Kron Stone, who is related to the powerful Kron Stone and was responsible for the death of the family of Jake Gallows/Punisher 2099, was declared dead which puzzles Miguel. As the two exchange words, it turns out Kron and Miguel knew each other from long ago. Upon the orders of Miguel, the scientists left the laboratory which gave their boss more privacy to exchange words with the trapped Kron who called him gutless.
Miguel then releases Kron from containment (but still separated from the symbiote), declares terms for their private fist fight (which Kron accepts), and begins to fight him…
Not surprisingly, the high level of quality and engagement of the writing here is successfully maintained by Peter David and it is very clear to me that he had planned to dramatically shift the direction of the Spider-Man 2099 series and impact the key characters as the story of Venom 2099 went on.
That being said, Peter David went on to not only show Miguel literally burning with rage but also dramatized his move towards the extreme. Not only do we get to see Miguel really abusing his Alchemax authority, he also gets violent with Kron Stone who was powerless without the symbiote. These scenes clearly show that the border that separates good and evil got blurred which showed a very dark side of Miguel O’Hara struggling with his rage, emotions and whatever sanity he still has left.
To be clear, the story here was not purely about Miguel and Kron. There is also the scene in which a cooled down Miguel spends time with Xina who made clear to him her reaction over Dana’s death. Peter David also took the opportunity to not only show more of the return Vulture 2099 but also brought in the 2099 version of Green Goblin simply called Goblin who clearly has an agenda against Spider-Man which adds to the suspense and the overall narrative of the series. The appearance of Goblin also sheds light on the nature of vigilantism and elements of chaos within the 2099 universe.
I can say that Spider-Man 2099 #39 (1995) is a very solid read. Not only did the Venom 2099 storyline reflect the serious changes on the characters, it is also led to a bold new direction for the monthly series. Carrying on the dramatic stuff from the previous issues, this comic book also serves as a character examination on Miguel O’Hara which will compel not only the fans but also comic book readers to reflect about what they knew about Spider-Man of the far future and speculate as to how he will turn out and how he would impact the people around him.
If you are seriously planning to buy an existing hard copy of Spider-Man 2099 #39 (1995) be aware that as of this writing, MileHighComics.com shows that the near-mint copy of the regular edition costs $80 while the near-mint copy of the newsstand edition costs $240.
Overall, Spider-Man 2099 #39 (1995) is highly recommended.
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