We’ve already seen creators Peter David and Will Sliney utilize a lot of different characters from both the 90’s 2099 universe and their more recent Secret Wars 2099 arc as cameos throughout their latest series, so it should be no surprise to see an even larger cast appear at the end of this new arc. In Spider-Man 2099 #16, Peter David and Will Sliney shatter those expectations, letting loose the entire toy box to create one of the best issues of this volume.
If you’re a fan of J. Jonah Jameson, then this is a bucket list issue. Sliney, the artist behind some of the most memorable facial expressions in comics, has a new sneer or jowl for Jameson in every panel where he appears. Additionally, colorist Rachelle Rosenberg deserves praise for the blue, neon glow of Miguel and Jameson’s final encounter, giving the scene the feeling of a video game big boss battle.
At the story’s conclusion, Peter David conjures up an excellent, and kooky, explain as to why Jameson, who should be dead, is still alive and running things in 2099. The story features multiple twists that make equal sense, setting up the somewhat frightening idea that Peter Parker’s actions from some point in the past would still have ramifications in 2099. It’s a great way to use a classic Parker trope to propel a story.
Sliney executes a kinetic Avengers battle by having closeups burst through panel lines intermixed with wide shots showing the scope and scale of the battle field. He also delivers an impressive full-page image of Miguel and the Avengers surrendering to government forces while Captain America 2099 is hanging on a crucifix. “Finally!” one might exclaim, “a realization of Ulysses’ vision, tying this story back to issue #13 and the larger “Civil War II” crossover!” Not exactly, but it’s a cool visual to kick off the issue.
David adds an additional twist involving Skrulls, and it gives the story an entirely new dimension. It shows one may be doing the devil’s work, despite whatever good intentions they have. We may not even be aware that our actions are fueled by ulterior motives. It’s a great analogy for this Civil War 2099 between the government and capes. Critics may complain that the same plot device was used in Secret Wars: Civil War, but it still feels fresh here.
This issue feels like the end of an arc, although its ends with “to be continued.” That may be standard operating procedure for every issue, but there are still some loose ends that haven’t been tied up, not only in this timeline, but also the present. What happened to the 2099 Sinister Six? Are they in the present as implied in past cliffhangers? What does The Hand plan to do with their time gate and team of super powered people? Will Peter Parker have to step in at some point to help straighten out all of Miguel’s blunders? Will Tempest and Miguel ever reunite?