I wonder if this post will suffice as some semblance of an apology/mea culpa from me to Peter David. For those who don’t know what I’m talking about, around the time Spider-Man 2099 #9 came out, I voiced some frustrations with the fact that David’s initial narrative/plot from the first few issues of this series had seemingly been abandoned in favor of tie-in books to “Spider-Verse” and then Secret Wars. I was certain to emphasize that I actually enjoyed Spider-Man 2099 #9, but if the series is indeed ending in a few months, I did want to see some of the book’s first storylines resolved.
David was kind enough to leave a comment on the review and assured me that these resolutions would be coming. I wanted to take his word on it, but considering Spider-Man 2099 #10 was a continuation of the “Hulk: Future Imperfect” arc (which I’m assuming feeds into Secret Wars) I was still trying to figure out how David could effectively connect past, present and future with only a few issues left before this series either goes away completely or gets a Secret Wars-driven hiatus.
But in Spider-Man 2099 #11, David accomplishes just that – he uses the events from the issue prior to create a reasonable scenario that brings Miguel O’Hara back into the present day, and then delivers a storyline that keeps the “Future Imperfect” stuff in the foreground while also dealing with the world Miguel left behind during “Spider-Verse.”
I know I shouldn’t be surprised when a writer as accomplished as David manages to pull off a narrative two-step like what Spider-Man 2099 #11 offers, but it doesn’t make me any less impressed. What could have been an incredibly awkward or ham-fisted transition is accomplished rather seamlessly in large part because David is so confident and assertive in the story he’s telling. He doesn’t get stuck in the weeds trying to address too many things in rapid succession. “Spider-Verse” and “Future Imperfect” are treated as interludes with consequences – especially the latter storyline. A plot development that I found particularly effective is how Miguel is now working from the present day to prevent the dark future timeline he witnessed while also dealing with some of the fallout from the events of the first four or so issues of this series.
Due to certain circumstances (i.e., “Spider-Verse”), Tempest hasn’t been given a particular amount of room to grow as a character, but David continues to do his best with her by trying to make the audience care about her situation. I had almost forgotten about the character’s cancer reveal a few months ago, but David mixes in the right amount of exposition to remind his readers, while also moving that plot forward by showing the lengths Miguel is willing to go to help a woman he clearly has developed feelings for. In an ideal world, we all would have been given more than a smattering of issues to get to know Tempest and thereby be mournful of the crappy hand she’s been dealt in life with her illness. But by depicting the complexity of Miguel’s feelings for her, I can at least forgive some of this thread’s narrative shortcomings and accept the character interaction has something that has meaning and consequence.
The bottom line is we can’t expunge 2099’s “Spider-Verse” hiatus from the record, nor can we avoid the assumed editorial edict to bring Maestro/Future Imperfect back into the foreground for Secret Wars. All that fans of 2099 can do is hope David does his best to honor the information he first started giving us last summer, and by all accounts, Spider-Man 2099 #11 does just that.
David even manages to do some of the heavy-lifting for Dan Slot/Christos Gage’s current narrative in Amazing Spider-Man. While I’ve derided the current “Parker Industries” arc in ASM as fluffy filler, David hints at some potentially catastrophic consequences if Peter fails at his plan to build a prison. Spidey’s dismissal of Liz Allan and Alchemax is the kind of short-sighted cockiness that character was once known for – not this buffoonish savant who can’t seemingly tie his own shoelaces without Silk, Anna Maria or Sajani saving the day (or sabotage him when it comes to the latter).
I’m curious to see if Slott and Gage will even acknowledge 2099’s existence as they wrap up their arc in ASM next month, but I do like the idea of how Peter’s overconfidence in his company and his people could backfire with dire results – namely setting off a chain of events that ends with the Future Imperfect timeline. It’s an infinitely more interesting idea than what Slott and Gage seem to be setting up: how Peter’s newfound “confidence” post-“Spider-Verse” was all for naught because his company has been destroyed.
As 2099 #11 ends, David gives the readers a few more surprises regarding his supporting cast. And he doesn’t even touch on what Maestro might be cooking up, which keeps that reveal on the back burner until the time is right. So, once more, sorry, PAD. I won’t doubt you again!