Monday, August 8, 2011

Spider-Man 2099 "Vol. 1"

Spider-Man 2099 Vol.1 is a trade paperback collection of issues #1-10 of this title that is tied into Marvel Comics' Marvel 2099 series that began in 1992, which explores a possible future of the fictional Marvel comic book universe where several characters a re-imagined therin. Set in New York, 2099 A.D., geneticist Miguel O'Hara accidentally rewrites half his DNA in the genetic code of an arachnid in attempt to recreate the powers of the original Spider-Man in his test subjects.

The powers of Spider-Man 2099 have similarities and differences than those of the Peter Parker Spider-Man. While they both have the proportionate strength, speed, and agility of a spider, Miguel O'Hara has no spider-sense to alert him to impending threat, relying instead on enhanced vision and hearing, as well as ability to see in complete darkness, to circumvent danger. Miguel clings to surfaces with his hands and feet due to talons protruding from his fingers & toes, and possesses natural spinnerets within his forearms that shoot webbing, more like a real spider. Additionally, venom glands and pronounced canine teeth developed in his mouth, and when Miguel bites a foe, a toxin is released that temporarily paralyzes. Due to his metabolism, Miguel's powers give him increased vitality, resistance to injury, and allow him to heal much faster than a normal human. (Wikipedia)

The dystopia of New York at the turn of 22nd centry finds large corporations governing society, and the divide in the social classes a matter of economics. Upon realizing his role in the death of a human test subject, employee O'Hara realizes his position as head of the genetics program at megacorporation Alchemex cannot be left, having been tricked into taking a terminally addictive drug that only Alchemex can legally distribute. Hence, Vice President Tyler Stone has O'Hara essentially blackmailed into continuing research for Alchemex in continued work on the new corporation-controlled super-powered soldiers. A jealous coworker's sabotage of the machines used in altering genetic code turn O'Hara into a "spider-man" when he sneaks into the lab to experiment on himself.

The employee Vs. Evil corporation theme is most pertinent today in a country where our ecomony depends on the health of several, perhaps too large companies, the divide between the wealth & the poor grows every year, and our legislative system is controlled & corrupted by commerce at the very footsteps of Capitol Hill. Like Orwell's 1984Spider-Man 2099 is not a new idea, still it's frightening today how real a possibility this could soon be. I'ts possible we need the hero that Miguel O'Hara forgets his former, elitist self to become now more than ever.

While Miguel has a lot of the brainy spunk of Peter Parker, it's a fun romp with a different Spider-Man and an inventive idea. It suffers little from the age it was created, and the pencil work of Rick Leonardi is pretty good. Having largely ignored comics from the last twenty years, I was completely unaware of this other version of Spider-Man. My return to reading when I began this blog not even a year ago has been a lot of fun as there is so much to catch up on, and I'm glad I discovered this title. Better late than never!

*See my earlier post on the Hasbro Marvel Universe Spider-Man 2099 figure pictured above, and my post of him with my other two Marvel Universe Spider-Man figures!

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