Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Spider-Man 2099 #35: " Blood from a Stone"

**** (four of five stars)

Favorite Quote #1:  "Have you ever considered changing your name to something other than 'Doom?'  It's so...threatening."  "I'll take it under advisement."  -- Dana and Doom, having a moment.

Favortie Quote #2:  "Hello!  Coffee?  Tea?  Lubricant?" -- Lyla to Doom, as he enters Miguel's apartment

In Washington, DC, Dana manages to escape her bonds and flee the bedroom, only to discover Tyler's body in the foyer.  She calls the paramedics, who stabilize him and rush him off somewhere (presumably a hospital).  In New York, Spidey is stopped by two S.H.I.E.L.D. flyboys.  He tells him that he's not in the mood to fight and they tell him that they're not there to do so, informing him that Doom has been ordered that he be left alone for 72 hours while he considers Doom's offer of a Cabinet post.  Spidey asks what happens if he turns down the offer and the flyboy menacingly remarks, "Turn it down and find out."  In Washington, DC, a police officer (possibly a Watchdog) is interrogating Dana, telling her that her story of not knowing who bound her or shot Tyler is a bit convenient.  She's saved, however, when Doom himself arrives and tells the officer that he believes Dana.  The officer leaves and Doom informs Dana that Tyler has been flown to New York, because he finds local facilities "inadequate."  He tells Dana that he's arranged for her to join him, which prompts her to hug him (and the "Favorite Quote" #1 exchange).

In Downtown, New York, our old friend Bloodhammer (now Bloodmace) hears from a fellow Fendris that Tyler has been shot and is at St. Teresa's.  Bloodmace ponders whether it's time for the Fenris to strike now that Alchemax is leaderless.  The other Fenris tells Bloodmace that no one listens to him now that he's not Bloodhammer, sending Bloodmace into a rage, telling his friend never again to call him Bloodhammer.  Suddenly, some weird gunk emerges from a sewer grate, eventually taking a humanoid form and demanding details about Tyler.  Affronted by the way that he addressed him, Bloodmace attacks, only for the entity to wrap him and his mace in his gunk, leaving behind only a dripping skeleton.  The other Fenris, horrified, pledges to tell the now fully formed Venom what he wants to know.

Miguel arrives home and tells Lyla to call Xina, since a clone of her exists on Xina's dashboard.  Xina's relieved to hear from Miguel; however, she's distracted when she looks at his holographic image and he has the body of a woman.  Miguel tells Xina to stay where she is (she's in her car, presumably still on the way home from Mexico) and then chastises Lyla, who informs him that she's been learning about humor after Miguel told her to amuse herself when he last left.  Their conversation is interrupted when Doom appears, pressing Miguel to take up the Alchemax position given Tyler's grave condition.  Miguel asks Doom what happened and Doom realizes that Miguel didn't know about Tyler.  In Crystal City (outside Washington, D.C.), Conchata drops the gun she used to shoot Tyler in a recycling compacter.  In Downtown, Gabe explains to Kasey that he only pretended to be Spider-Man because she wanted to believe it so much.  However, Kasey is having none of it and breaks off their relationship.

At St. Teresa's, Miguel runs into Dana in Tyler's hospital room while Venom appears elsewhere in the hospital through a bathroom sink.  Miguel tells Dana that he learned from Doom that they were together and can't believe that she would try to get revenge on him by moving-in with Tyler.  Dana tells him that not everything is about Miguel and asks him to pray with her.  (Miguel wryly remarks to himself that the Lord would've rethought the "honor thy mother and father" business if he had known Miguel would've learned that Tyler was his father.)  Before they can pray, Venom arrives, expressing joy that Miguel and Tyler are in the same room so that he can kill them at the same time.  Miguel confronts him but then flees, leaving Venom to remark, "How about that...not Mr. Brave anymore..."  Dana threatens Venom while trying to protect Tyler but he knocks her from Tyler, telling her that she's not his concern.  Saying, "Good-bye...old man..." Venom is poised to kill Tyler when Spidey arrives to stop him.  Telling Spidey that he knows him from back when they were both "another," he attacks, calling himself Venom for the first time.

The Review
Wow.  Let's just dive right into it, shall we?

The Really Good
David doesn't really go through all that much effort to hide the fact that Venom is Kron, Tyler's son (and, I guess, Miguel's half-brother).  It's so brilliant, so Peter David.  It pulls together so many storylines, from Tyler flushing Kron's ashes down the toilet in "Spider-Man 2099" #10 to the "Young Miguel O'Hara" back-up stories detailing Kron and Miguel's animosity for each other.  One of the more lively debates in the letters sections of the various 2099 titles is whether we should be seeing more new villains unique to the 2099 Universe or re-imaginings of 1990s villains.  Even the people who advocate for the latter agree that these characters should feel organic to the 2099 Universe and David really nails that exhortation by making Kron into Venom.  As we've seen in the "Young Miguel O'Hara" stories, Kron was already on track to become a brutal killer when he was a child; it makes sense that the symbiote would chose him as its host, particularly given his existing hatred of Miguel (and, thus, Spider-Man).

The Good
1) RIP, Bloodhammer/mace.  You were always kind of an idiot, so, truthfully, it's not really a surprise that your life ended the way it did.  But, I have to say, David did shock me with your death, clearly his way of showing us how much more of a threat Venom was than you were.

2) Ugh, Dana is the Deb Whitman of this series.  I'm  hoping that all these developments with Tyler means that we'll see less of her.  I only have 11 issues left and I'd rather see Miguel spend them with Xina.  (That said, I came close to putting this part in "The Bad" section, because I still don't really buy how quickly she got with Tyler.  But, if it means that she'll leave the series all the earlier, then I'm all for it.)

The Bad
1) For the most part, I've been glad that I didn't go about buying all the various issues of 2099 series that depict Doom taking control of the U.S.  It's allowed me to experience the events through Miguel's eyes, since he's been just as confused as I've been.  However, this issue is the first one where I felt like a little more information would've been useful, in part because Miguel has apparently started adjusting to changes that are happening in other titles (so now only I'm confused).  For example, it seems like S.H.I.E.L.D. has replaced the Public Eye, which I think happened in "Punisher 2099" based on information that I've gleaned from the "More of Marvel 2099 A.D." boxes.  Similarly, I think that Doom killed Avatarr based on information from those boxes, which seems to be confirmed by Bloodmace when he mentions that Alchemax is leaderless.  Some sort of "check out ish #xx" probably would be helpful at this point.

2) In the letters section, Joey somewhat surprisingly says that Tyler is more clueless than we are about Spidey's identity.  First, I was surprised by the definitiveness of that answer, given that nearly every one of Tyler's appearances has in some way hinted at him knowing that Miguel was Spidey (or at least raising the possibility that he did).  It seems weird that the editor would answer that question, not the author.  Moreover, it reminded me that we still didn't have an answer to that question in-book and I have to wonder if we'll ever get it, given Tyler's current situation.

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