On Tuesday, July 15, 2014 Marvel Comics released their SOLICITATIONS storylines of comic book titles, which contuined a re-boot of the Spider-man 2099. Many of the popular characters share in these storylines, including famous wall-crawler Spider-Man. In addition to their top titles The Amazing Spider-Man and Ultimate Spider-Man, Marvel has also released issues No. 4 and 5 of re-booted series Spider-Man 2099, a futuristic take on the classic character which originally took off twenty-one years ago.
In March of 1993, while in the midst of celebrating Spider-Man’s thirtieth anniversary, readers were treated to issue No. 114 of Marvel Age. It was in this issue that readers got to open their eyes to New York in the year 2099. Introduced here is genetics scientist Miguel O’Hara, head of the genetics department at the Alchemax Corporation, a futuristic homage to the Oscorp Industries company of the present day Spider-Man reality. O’Hara’s specialty was in genetic coding and splicing, the merging of human and animal DNA, and had been pondering over the idea of recreating the spider-like powers of the original wall-crawler.
Unbeknownst to him, his boss, Alchemax CEO Tyler Stone had been secretly making O’Hara addicted to the drug known as “Rapture.” This was a method Stone used in order to keep control over his employees. When O’Hara learned of what Stone had done, he took action to genetically cure him of the Rapture drug. Using a sample of his own DNA, he made an attempt to rewrite his genetic code. He was not aware that a competitive colleague named Aaron Delgato added a random code to Miguel’s experiment, hoping to kill him. Instead of dying, Miguel was cured but was also given the powers of Spider-Man. That said random code was actually the code containing the powers. Feeling frustrated, Delgato tried to shoot him but ended up falling from the Alchemax building.
Tyler Stone learned of what had happened to Miguel and sent his bounty hunter called Venture to capture him. O’Hara managed to escape from Venture, found a Day of the Dead celebration costume with a spider symbol on the front, and then faced Venture once again and defeated him. Miguel came to realize that Spider-Man was needed once again and so he took on the duty, with Stone becoming his sworn enemy.
Fast forward to the current retelling of Spider-Man 2099. During another confrontation, Stone has traveled back in time to the present in order to correct mistakes that his father had made. Of course in typical superhero fashion, O’Hara traveled back as well in order to stop Stone from causing any havoc that could alter their reality. In Issue No. 4, Spider-Man faces off against the Scorpion and the Spider Slayers, two of the many mainstay villains of the Spidey universe. And in Issue No.5, he is being hunted by antagonist Morlun, who apparently has a deep hatred for anything spider related.
This is not the first time that Marvel Comics has done the crossovers of both realities. In the mid-90s the 2099 series was selling well and fans were greeted to Miguel O’Hara meeting and fighting alongside the present day Spider-Man, who also goes by the name of Peter Parker. One famous storyline created prior to the 2014 SOLICITATIONS re-boot had Marvel Comics’ character Spider-Man 2099 going toe-to-toe with fan favorite villain Venom, while Parker continued to fight against the 2099 incarnation of Vulture, another mainstay villain.
In this current story readers get to learn more about O’Hara’s personality, which has been altered from the original comic book. Of course, he is every bit of a superhero as readers would expect. But that is only when he is Spider-Man. As Miguel, he is not quite so friendly or nerdy like his predecessor Peter Parker. While this is not a new concept for the comic book industry, it has been noticed that having an unlikable protagonist can be a challenge to keep readers interested. Especially when it involves characters that have been loved for decades.
Returning to the new series is original 2099 writer and co-creator Peter David. Along with him, the artwork of the series is helmed by Will Sliney. However, for Issue No.5, the artwork and cover was done by original artist and co-creator Rick Leonardi.
Since his debut in 1963, Spider-Man has become Marvel Comics’ golden boy and one of comic book legend Stan Lee’s most treasured creations. 2014 has already shown that so far this has been his year. With the comic books still selling well, a recent animated series on the Disney XD channel, and also of course the release of Sony Pictures’ The Amazing Spider-Man 2, which had grossed over $200 million in the US alone. Throughout his over fifty year history there has been numerous incarnations, aside from the 2099 series. Some have done well and others have fallen off the spider web. There will always be new ways of presenting him to new readers and action lovers. So far there has been great fan response to the 2014 announcement of the Spider-Man 2099 re-boot, and if it continues and if Marvel Comics’ SOLICITATIONS stories sell well, it is certain that Miguel O’Hara will stay with us, whether in the present or future, for a good long while.
By Andrew Cerecedes