Dan Slott (Writer), Ryan Stegman, Livesay (Artists), Edgar Delgado (Colorist)
The Story: Miguel O’Hara needs to go back in time to stop something from happening in 2013, which may be connected to something Spider-Ock might do.
The Review: Sometimes, a writer may throw around an idea that is simply appealing. A concept that is perhaps simple, yet one that does raise the curiosity and interest of readers enough that they really want to see a situation like this occur. It is something that has occurred many times with close to every company, yet it is an efficacious tactic that always help raise the profile of a book when needed.
The latest use of such a stratagem can be seen in this issue as Slott, being playing with the expectations of readers, teased that he might do a Spider-Man 2099 story. What started as perhaps a bit of a jape went on to become a real thing, as this issue tells the story of such an encounter, or at least try to.
I say try, as any story with such a ludicrous concept cannot simply be simply be shown without at least contextualization as to the various explanation of why and how this is happening. Here, Slott builds up his story before letting the magic of his ideas go wild, which has its share of weaknesses and strengths.
The best about this issue would be the parts dealing with Miguel O’Hara himself, the Spider-Man of the future. Here, Slott brings out some of the most memorable aspects of the Peter David run on Spider-Man 2099, with the bizarre slang used, the strange tech, Alchemax and the general personality of its main character. All of those elements are handled well-enough in order to provide both those who knew the characters and those that didn’t enough of a feel to the character to know more about him.
The basis for the story is also sound as well, as there is something that will happen in 2013 that will bring down chaos in 2099, which may cause the death of Miguel O’Hara along with more destruction to the time stream. Connecting the various elements of what happened in other titles and in Age of Ultron, Slott use continuity to his advantage in a way that does not feel forced, allowing the story to flow naturally from these events in a way that is simple enough to grasp. It is a fun use of previously established materials.
What’s a bit less fun would be the parts dealing with Otto himself, as the character himself doesn’t do much in this issue except participate in a baseball match and then try to lash out at his problem next. While there is some humor to be found in his lack of knowledge in sports, the arrogance and lack of social graces that are usually entertaining fall a little flat this time around. The character feel instrumental to what is supposed to happen, yet never really connect in a way that is interesting to the general plot and to what is happening in 2099.
The pacing is also a bit off as some of the scenes receive either far too little screen time or too much, as the events in Horizon Labs feels a bit boring considering the lack of panels and pages the company has received since the switch in titles and protagonists. There is also yet one more Goblin King scene that teases readers once more toward what will eventually happen without doing much beside that, which breaks the narrative flow a bit. It’s a bit of a shame really.
What’s also a bit weaker than usual would be the art of Ryan Stegman. While his characters are impressively expressive with their faces and their poses and his backgrounds are generally well-detailed, there are some issues in this issue that brings the issue down a bit visually. There are several instances where either the pages or some panels are simply charged with too much details, making them look a bit confusing or simply too full for the readers to properly appreciate what’s important in them. The first scenes with Miguel O’Hara are especially guilty of this, with the big holes in times floating everywhere as does the scene featuring Miguel arriving in 2013, bringing the holes with him.
The colorization has pretty much the same problems, as the over-encumbrance of such details wash some of the finer details, with the holes bringing in an overlap of yellow and white that destroy much of everything else in these panels. The rest of the pages, though, looks very fine as the use of lighting and shadows is quite apt, with his palette going to the extremes in terms of warmth and coldness in order to bring out some major contrasts in some scenes.
The Conclusion: While there are some points that are definitely strong here, like the use of Miguel O’Hara and some of the ideas, the general pacing and some minor stumbling in the art and colorization brings the issue down a bit, diminishing what could be a great issue into something that is simply acceptable.
-Hugo Robberts Larivière