When the first volume of the re-launched Spider-Man 2099 was being released, readers would’ve praised an entire issue devoted to nothing but a super-powered slug fest. That’s exactly what we get in the latest issue, but there’s little to cause excitement, outside of some great artwork. Spider-Man 2099 #19 continues to tell the slowest and most unsatisfying story in the Spider-Universe.
Will Sliney carries this issue by depicting two kinetic battle scenes: Miguel’s fight at the convention hall against the reptile-zombies, and Jasmine’s encounter at the hospital. Whether Miguel is using his super-strength to save Liz from Tiberius, or a powerless hospital orderly is trying to stop a reptilian Raul, the poses are strong and portray significant momentum.
Sliney and Rachelle Rosenberg do a great job with paneling and colors to keep the issue bright. The convention center battle takes place indoors and features a horde a similar-looking zombies. The pages could have easily become too dark and crowded, but the art team breaks up the darkness with panels that have no background, except for the white of the page.
Sliney once again plays to his strengths and gets in some great facial expressions, particularly Liz Allan’s fearful scream as she’s being rescued by Miguel, and Tiberius’ state of shock when he realizes he’s webbed to the wall. Other art highlights include a very symmetric page showing Elektra and Madea in battle, and a full-page spread of Captain America 2099 defending Elektra from Medea’s energy blasts.
It’s hard to expect any character development from such an action-packed issue, but we get an interesting monologue from Madea that gives us another glimpse into The Fist. She basically lectures Americans for taking their liberties for granted. We saw a similar monologue last issue, and I wonder if Peter David shares just a little bit of his own philosophies and opinions into this soliloquy. Unfortunately, just as suddenly as she was introduced last issue, Madea makes her exit, possibly for good. It’s too bad, because she’s been the only character in this series to give The Fist any depth. With Madea, The Fist was operating under a twisted sense of Karma, that they were going to deliver what America finally deserved. If she’s permanently out of the picture, The Fist seems to be left with a gang of villains recruited from 2099, who haven’t shown any signs of any political motivations behind their chaos.
This series feels like it has the momentum of a quiet stream: it appears to have forward motion, but not in any tangible sense. There seems to be nothing at stake anymore, especially since this book, at its core, has been little more than Miguel’s revenge quest against an intangible opponent. Despite the appearance of both Tiberius and Tyler Stone in this issue, there’s nothing to suggest a return to the book’s original premise of an out-of-time hero, trying to save the future. Each month, I expect an announcement that this book has been cancelled, but instead we continue to get solicitations for issues that seem to be more of the same nothingness.