Many corners of the All-New, All-Different Spider-Man universe haven’t even debuted yet, but the world of Miguel O’Hara is already three issues deep. After an issue of world-building and an issue of character-development, the costumed action finally gets started. While Spider-Man 2099 #3 gives us the first in-depth look at Miguel’s new suit, the issue is almost the opposite of the series debut. Instead of a fast-paced issue that crams lots of essential information as efficiently as possible, this is centered around one battle scene that may be a few pages too long.
Exactly seventeen pages are dedicated to Miguel’s battle with the deadly and dangerous Doctor Cronos, who the editors describe as “a genius robotics expert who has transferred his consciousness into one of his own deadly creations.” Miggy’s quest to find the person behind issue #1‘s restaurant explosion (and by extension his girlfriend’s killer) leads him to Cronos’ hideout. There’s a bit of a conversation between Miguel and Cronos which is both quirky and humorous. It shows Cronos is a bit of an eccentric, not your typical doing-it-for-the-cash/domination villain. In fact, the first half of the issue is devoted to developing Cronos as a character. We find out how his body armor works, what his powers are, and his strengths and weaknesses. That could pay off big dividends down the road if Cronos becomes a regular rogue for Miguel, but in the context of this issue alone, it seems like a bit of wasted space for a one-and-done antagonist. One would think that a villain with a name so close to the word “chronos” would have a time-traveling element, so he could appear again. On the other hand, it could just be a red herring (time travel has been hinted in this series, but it’s not really a focal point), or a reference to the ancient Greek figure Cronus, the father of Zeus.
Peter David continues to ride Miguel’s wave of anger from Spider-Man 2099 #2. On two occasions, Miguel shows that he’s willing to cross an ethical line that puts him more in tune with characters like Wolverine and less like Peter Parker. This is not a significant change for this character and as far as Peter knows Miguel did cross that line. It will be interesting to see what the consequences are, since Peter will likely not tolerate murderous behavior from anyone representing Parker Industries. The creators also give us the first glimpses of some of the added features of Miguel’s new suit. In addition to his rocket boots, he also has explosive spider-tracers and a thicker, stronger webline (an interesting accessory for someone who doesn’t websling).
When the battle moves to the streets of Queens, not only do the stakes rise, the artwork also excels. Will Sliney gets to showcase his great New York cityscapes and give some better representations of Cronos’ size and scale. The coloring also improves once we leave the drab Cronos warehouse. This issue features a new colorist, Rachelle Rosenberg. The opening scene is full of browns and grays and doesn’t give her much chance to show off her palate. Once the fight moves outside, she gives the city a great blue-green glow and breaks it up with big, bright explosions.
In the bigger picture, Spider-Man 2099 #3 may turn out to be an integral part of the story. This could be the first chapter of an important and exciting new villain. However, as a stand alone issue, the creators seemed to do the minimum to move the plot forward and chose to spend a lot of time on a character who may never be seen again. I’m still invested in this series, but it’s a little ironic that the most action-packed issue yet seemed to have the least amount of things happen.