Written by: Nick Spencer
Art by: Viktor Bogdanovic, Marte Garcia, and VC’s Joe Caramagna
Cover Price: $4.99
Release Date: November 20, 2019
I am jumping into this as a new reader that wants to learn. Won’t you just let me learn?!?!? Yea, that’s a bit dramatic, but that’s me, dammit. You see, what I am doing here is the classic stall to fill up the intro word quota of 50 words so…Bingo! On with the review!
The issue opens with a cute little kid in a not so cute place (The Ravage) with so many classic Marvel-isms floating around. It’s a confusing cold open that gets some cool points, especially seeing a certain hammer, but doesn’t go far beyond that before ending. By the way, the certain hammer I spoke of was not MC Hammer, just so you know. If it was MC Hammer, I would have told you right away!
We then head off to Brooklyn and get a second cold open, and I only say that because I still have no clue what is going on. As far as the mood and art go, however, I am digging it. I just need some story I can get my footing on and that there is the biggest problem I have with this beginning and unfortunately, the entire issue. Spider-Man 2099 fans do get some of that footing as we shift to Neuva York and Alchemex in particular and see Tyler Stone and Miguel O’Hara arguing about their “Spider-Man” research.
We then continue with a badass Doom 2099 that again is cool but not really doing much but posturing, and it became obvious that this issue is just going to be a rollcall of sorts and we will have to wait until later to try to make sense of the overall puzzle. I really had a hard time with this type of thing with Hickman’s X-Books and that had Hickman and the X-Men going for it. I really needed something to keep me reading this besides frustration and that’s what I got through most of this.
We see some familiar faces as we near the ending and while it’s up in the air what has changed and what hasn’t, I did like seeing HERBIE (always do) and I really liked the new Venture. And then it all ends with some ominous pages of Doom and the kick in the balls of seeing all the book you are going to have to read to keep up with all of this.
For an issue that is supposed to get you running to buy everything else 2099, this did not do it for me. I actually got a lot of the references and easter eggs thrown in here, but none (except maybe Venture) had me even a little excited. I don’t know if you’ve realized this, but Marvel puts out a ton of books each week so you need to get people excited when you give them a #1, but Nick Spencer seems to think clever trumps that and for me, it never does! Get the customers in the door before you start getting clever on their asses!
I did like the art a lot, but I am a long-time fan of Viktor Bogdanovic going back to his digital-first video game tie-in days. I think he is even better suited over at Marvel than he is at DC. Big props also go to Marte Garcia for some really awesome colorwork throughout the issue!
Instead of setting something up to get readers onboard and excited, Nick Spencer plays the Devil’s Hand of mysterious, clever and confusing. I’m sure most of it will make more sense down the line, but with all the choices on the shelves nowadays, you need to come out swinging. I loved the art in this issue, but not much else for now.