Writer: Nick Spencer
Artist: Oscar Bazaldua
Colors: Steve Firchow
Letterer: VC’s Joe Caramagna
Release date December 18 2019
Review by D. Brown (WolfCypher)
After experiencing a series of what if hypotheticals where Spider-Man tries to beat Dr. Doom (all of which he can see inside the Clairvoyant), Spider-Man learns his best chances of beating Doom is by simply telling him the truth about why his assassination was staged in the first place…of course, only after the two slug it out first. Doom does call off the attack on the people of New York, still afterwards his Doombots begin attacking various buildings and monuments, as if Doom was taking one final parting shot before leaving.
Turns out, Countess Karkov knew Doctor Doom would use a Doombot in his place when he first arrived to New York (as he almost always does), so the bullet her hired hitman, Hit-Man, used to shoot Doom was never meant to kill the real Doom, but to hack his Doombot double, which she uses to take over all of the Doombots at the end to attack the buildings of New York even after Spidey convinces Doom to call of his attack, guaranteeing some measure of war on Latveria. I wil admit, I did like that bit in the book.
I am happy to say that this arc, Nick Spencer’s Spider-Man 2099/Doctor Doom/Chameleon story arc, mercifully comes to its end. This may have been an up issue for me, after how down I’ve felt reading the prior chapters, but it’s far from enough to outweigh the sloughfest I felt this whole arc was. This five issue arc should have been told in less issues, and it only tries to justify its length by being a prelude and build-up towards the next Marvel 2099 initiative, which it does miserably at doing. The 2099 books are centering on their Doctor Doom and Spider-Man, so lets prelude things with an 616 Spider-Man/Doctor Doom story that drags on…There’s really nothing here that sells you on having or wanting to read the new 2099 books that the actual Marvel 2099 one-shots that are being released couldn’t have done, and honestly, without any of the displaced Spidey 2099 B-story that was forced into the whole Chameleon/Doom plot, this could have read better…more importantly, and I cannot stress this enough, this all could have wrapped up sooner.
The biggest thing that stood out to me was Miguel O’Hara/Spider-Man 2099’s appearance near the end, where he unexpectedly runs into Tempest Monroe, his lover from a past Spider-Man 2099 title. I’m confused here. If the Miguel O’Hara/Spider-Man 2099 here isn’t the same as any of the previous Spidey 2099 from all the previous times Spidey showed up, including all of Peter David’s stories using the character…if this Miguel is yet another alternate take on the character with none of the life-experiences any of the other Miguels had, then how does this Miguel remember Tempest Monroe? Why is he smiling and happy to see her? Spencer has already laid out the fact that this is yet another alternative version of Miguel, so Spencer’s Miguel should have no history with Tempest. That would be David’s Miguel, and David’s Miguel isn’t Spencer’s Miguel.
Still, to try to end on a positive, like I said earlier, this may have been better than most of the issues prior this arc, simply because we actually get a Spider-Man vs. Doctor Doom fight before everything wraps up, and I like how Karkov’s scheme succeeds in the end. I also enjoyed the montage of simulations showing all the ways Spidey could try to stop Doom, all of them ending up in failure (though I raised an eyebrow when one such possibility where Spidey somehow gathers the Infinity Gauntlet is stated to also be a failure…really?). This issue may not have saved the arc for me, but at least it ended on a fun note. Also, at least it ended.
One of the better issues in the whole Doom/2099 arc, but it doesn’t save the arc as a whole. This whole arc became an exhaustive read for me, and I’m honestly glad it’s over. At least with this issue I found myself enjoying it a little bit more than some of the last chapters.