Writer: Nick Spencer
Artist: Patrick Gleason
Colors: Matthew Wilson
Letterer: VC’s Joe Caramagna
Release date October 23, 2019
Review by D. Brown (WolfCypher)
All right! Did you guys enjoy our brief detour into Absolute Carnage? Well, if there were any of you waiting to get back some proper Nick Spencer, non-tie-in stories, we are back on track! Back to the stuff t–
–Oh, wait, is that a 2099 tie-in I smell?
Yep, this issue is one part lead-up into Marvel’s initiative to revive their 2099 brand, and two parts a traditional Spidey romp. But that’s not to say I didn’t enjoy this one. Okay, quick rundown.
We begin with Spider-Man 2099 waking up strapped onto a table in a crazy looking high tech lab. Three executive-type men from Roxxon stand over him, discussing how to go about using him to advance their company, as they assure themselves no one else is even aware he’s here.
Cut to Peter having a bit of study group at Empire State. One of the students to join them, a guy named Jamie, is wearing a piece of Webware (this was a piece of tech created by Parker Industries, the now-defunct company Peter was once CEO). I’m sure that’s going to be brought up again. Anyway, the fire alarms go off and the school has to evacuate. Peter, though, is pulled away by his sister Teresa, in disguise, using the fire alarm as a distraction. She has some work for them to do, superspy to superhero.
We then see Spider-Man and Teresa staking out a meeting between the Chameleon and the Foreigner. The last time we saw the Chameleon, he murdered Teresa’s partner to get his hands on whatever SHIELD intel he could sell. Chameleon is about to make an exchange when the Parker siblings break things up. Teresa fights off the Foreigner’s hired henchmen (all dresses as Jack-O-Lanterns) while Spider-Man fights the Foreigner himself until Silver Sable shows up and blindsides Spidey.
Back at the undisclosed Roxxon lab, Spidey 2099 makes an escape attempt, only to realize none of his powers work. He tries to cling to the side of a building, but falls to the streets below, landing on top of a taxi cab.
That rundown could have been quicker.
So Nick Spencer looks to be tying up at least one of his loose threads from stories past. ASM #29 was where the Chameleon showed back up (who had also appeared at the very end of Spencer’s Hunted story), and thankfully we aren’t forced to wait quite as long as we usually have to for us to get back to that thread. The Foreigner is one foe I haven’t seen in a very long time, and I’m not sure I say I miss him, but he’s used here to good effect. Usually when the Chameleon is involved, expect all sorts of covert, foreign affairs, and spy drama, so it’s not so surprising to see all the players that show up during the A-plot.
Meanwhile, as far as the B-plot goes, even the secondary story is used to resurface a previous thread. Spencer’s ASM #25 saw the unexpected arrival of Spider-Man 2099 into the current 616 timelines, and we get a tease of things in store from the brief pages involving him. Had I not already known that Marvel has big plans for returning a number of 2099 comics and characters into the mainstream, I would have only suspected Spencer to have plans for Spidey 2099 (or the S-Man as he’s been nicknamed in his time) in his book alone. Spencer is already bouncing between so many stories within ASM, and I have no idea if the S-Man’s inclusion is more along the long-term here, or if he’ll serve his purposes here and head over to his recently announced ongoing. Is his appearance here only to spin-off the rest of the 2099 books?
Spencer and Gleason is a pair I can get behind. Together, they crafted an enjoyable issue. Spencer has the right voice for Peter, in and out of costume. As Spidey, he gets the character’s patented quips and banter down spot on. Meanwhile, Gleason’s art is just rewarding to look at. I rarely give credit to the colors, but Matthew Wilson is due his credit. The standout scenes visually were the 2099 scenes that bookend the comic. Spidey’s escape from the labs is a quick sequence of visual bliss that is over too quickly. I would not be upset if this art/color team were to tackle the actual upcoming Spider-Man 2099 book.
This may be a backdoor tie-in to the 2099 initiative Marvel has on the way, but there’s plenty of proper Amazing Spider-Man here for those who’ve been readily invested in Spencer’s run. We’re steadily getting back to some stories left unresolved from previous issues while throwing new angles to keep up with…a manner that Spencer is far too accustomed to. Still, fun writing plus great art makes this issue a nice return to the book post-Absolute Carnage.