Spider-Man 2099 #8
Written by Peter David
Art by Will Sliney
Cover by Francesco Mattina
Spider-Man...Spider-Man... does what half a spider can...
What the? Sorry, I'm not trying to mess with your childhood, I'm simply setting the premise for Spider-Man 2099.
For the uninitiated, our future web-slinger, Miguel O'Hara, is the result of a scientific experiment that went astray (gasp!) ... or at least will go astray in 2099. Ok, so there's a Whovian timey-wimey mechanic at play, but you'll pick it up pretty quickly. The upshot of all this scientific malarkey is that O'hara gained 50% Spider-Powers before being stranded in present-day New York. So, if I crack a joke about Miguel being half the man that Peter Parker is, you'll know where I'm coming from.
I'm a big fan of classic Spider-Man, so 2099 is a brave new world for me. Thankfully, there's a biblical text sequence on the opening-page which back-fills events that have I've missed in the previous seven issues. Although a little awkwardly delivered, it's an excellent mechanism for bringing the reader up to speed; it's kind of like the two-minute recap that you get when your favourite TV show starts.
The opening phase introduces us to the hospitalised Jasmine, victim of her former girlfriend Rhonda who, despite the best efforts of our futuristic web-head, has morphed into the Inhuman villainess Glorianna. This sets the scene for an interesting confrontation that presents Miguel as a much darker character than ol’ Peter Parker. The difference is palpable and is played-to through some clever dialogue such as, “What's the matter web-head, where's your usual string of stupid jokes?” Spidey 2099 feels a little ‘Darth Vader’ to me; he’s a bit yin-yang and there’s a counterpoint between dark and light.
Francesco Mattina's cover art got my spider-sense tingling and his Spider-Man is spectacular (pun intended). The detail is excellent and Francesco is at the top of his game. Look for subtleties in the clothing textures and the way that Miguel’s shirt fabric pulls.
Inside the covers, Wil Sliney's illustration is also top-notch. The action and perspective views of the characters are particularly well executed – checkout the sequences on pages 8-9 and 13-14 – Kapow! He has a real knack for creating a tangible sense of depth and is a master of perspective. Rosenberg's ink and colouring are well-done, but I’m not a real fan. They
feel a little heavy-handed, a little tradesman-ish. Don’t get me wrong, they’re not bad, but I just feel that he’s taken some shortcuts and has overused black and flat colours, where there were some opportunities for subtlety.
Thankfully, Peter David’s writing is not quite as dark as the inks, and there are some lighter moments and gags sprinkled throughout the comic, some coming from unexpected sources.
The closing sequence has a neat interaction which sets us up for issue nine. However, what it also does is raise an interesting question: How did I not notice that Spider-Man 2099’s mask looks like it’s been ripped off the face of a Mexican wrestler? Now, that’s clever - I love a good allusion. What I also like is a progressive attitude, and that’s exactly the vibe that I’m picking up.
Spider-Man...Spider-Man... does what half a spider can...even at 50% strength, it’s a BUY from me!