*** (three of five stars)
Tempest is on the phone with her mother, agreeing to go to her doctor's appointment the next day but assuring her that her diagnosis is going to be the same. Tempest's mom tells her that miracles happen, but Tempest retorts that they don't happen to her. She wishes her mother a goodnight and then wonders why her mother can't accept that she's dying. She falls to sleep observing that her mother never cared about her growing up and wondering if she was now trying to make up for it. Creepily, Spidey is poised over Tempest's bed, and thinks to himself that her mother is probably trying to do exactly that. He contemplates that he's spent the last few years trying to make amends for how poorly he treated people for most of his life, even though he constantly wonders where it's worth it. Turning to the matter at hand, he wishes that he could tell Tempest that he has a cure for her cancer, but knows that she wouldn't believe him, since she assumes the worst. He lowers himself on his Web-Line and then sprays her with the concoction that those Alchemax technicians created when he in 2099 autopsying Daemos. He manages to finish spraying her just as she awakens, startled. She asks if he's stalking her and then pulls out the gun in her nightstand. Spidey webs up the barrel, telling her that he's in the wrong apartment. She screams for him to leave, and he does, but not before remarking that it's why she doesn't have any friends. On his way to his apartment, he contemplates that the experience was a wash: he saved her life, but terrified her at the same time. (I'd actually argue saving her life probably outweighs some momentary fear, but I digress.)
Later, he heads to work, contemplating that he has to figure out the program that Alchemax develops in the first half of the 21st century that creates the Maestro's version of 2099. But, he realizes how hard that task is, since it's not like he's going to know what it's going to be when he sees it. He thinks that he should keep a low profile, since the big difference between his 2099 and the Maestro's 2099 is that he's in 2015. But, just then, Liz Allan opens a door and grabs him, showing him the designs for the prison that Miguel suggested that they create. We learn that some guy named Jason "Rudy" Rubinstein created it, and Liz has Mac Gargan on hand to evaluate it since, in Mac's words, "if you want a good prison, you need advice from a guy who's been in one." Mac tells Miguel that there's "something" about him, and Miguel remarks that it must be his clean living. (Oh, Miguel. Ever the kidder.) Liz tells Miguel that they plan on building it on an abandoned area along the East River; it'll be smaller than Rykers, but with a "specialized" population. Rudy then tells him that a power dampener will make sure that no one can escape. Miguel is impressed, and asks if the city is going to buy it. Liz says that they have some competition from Peter Parker.
Meanwhile, Peter is fighting a really fucked up looking Spot (seriously, he has arms growing from his eyes and mouth) at a museum. Spidey observes that the Spot doesn't normally steal valuable fossils and that he made the trail to find him pretty obvious; he asks if the Spot was hunting him. However, Miguel manages to grab the Spot with some Webbing, and Peter delivers the coup de grâce. Peter expresses surprise that he's there, since he thought that he returned to 2099. After they put the Spot on ice, they retire to the Chrysler Building, where Miguel fills in Peter on his problem. Peter asks if Miguel thinks that the prison is the problem, and Miguel says that he doesn't know for sure. He notes that Alchemax didn't originally have him in the mix, so he wonders if he develops the program that changes the future. But, Peter observes that it could be a time paradox, where he had been there all along. Miguel encourages Peter to win the competition and, somewhat uncharacteristically, Peter says that he's not worried about Liz as a competitor. As Peter leaves, Miguel tells himself that he's worried exactly for that reason, since he should be.
At home, Miguel checks to see how Tempest is doing, finding her drunk. Tempest is drunk on red wine, saying that she just returned from dinner with her mother. She falls, and Miguel catches her; she observes that he's strong, he says that he works out. He gets her to the couch, and she tells him that she's celebrating. She makes him ask why, and she asks if he believes in God. He says that he doesn't, and she says that she doesn't either. But, she says that she just had a miracle, that she's healed. ("I am healed! Say Hallelujah!") Miguel asks if she means of the cancer, and she confirms it, saying that her doctor also couldn't believe it. She asks why he always wears his sunglasses, and he says that he already told her that he's light-sensitive. She insists on seeing his eyes and pulls off his glasses, discovering that they're red. She tells him that they're beautiful, "like staring into a sunset at the end of the best day of your life and realizing all the possibilities waiting for you." She says that Spider-Man cured her after he told him about her, and then she drinks some more. She tells him that Spidey was in her room and then the next day she was healed. She notes that he saved her even after she yelled at him when they first met, and Miguel tells her that superheroes are funny that way. She tells Miguel that he's funny, and he tells her that he needs to get her to bed. She says that it's a great idea and kisses him. He returns the kiss, telling himself that it's been "sooo long," but then decided to stop it. But, she then bites him. She apologizes, telling him that she feels weird, and he tells her that he's felt that way a lot, and that she should go to bed. Then, she grabs her stomach and her head and screams. Miguel tries to help, but she throws him across the room. She mutters that she's so hungry and needs to eat, and Miguel orders Lyla to drop the clothing hologram. Lyla asks if he's going to be in a fight, and then sees that he will be, as a moth-looking Tempest looms over him, muttering, "Hungry..for you..."
Well, I didn't see that coming! I'm still disappointed that Miguel isn't in 2099, but this issue was pretty solid, so it's hard to complain. Let's get to it.
1) Leave it to Peter David to be possibly the only author in comic books to get the problems inherent with time travel. Miguel tells Peter about his experiences in 2099 with the Maestro and (reasonably) concludes that he's the different variable in the past that changes the previous future; in other words, it's his presence in 2015 that didn't previously exist, so it's likely something that he does in 2015 that creates the 2099 where the Maestro is in charge. He thinks that it may be Alchemax's prison, since it was his idea. But, he's of course not sure, since he just knows that it's something that Alchemax does in the first half of the century. I mean, it's not exactly a specific time-frame. But, Peter notes that Miguel's 2099 might already have accounted for the paradox of Miguel returning to the past, so it could be something else entirely. In other words, it's a mess. But, David acknowledges that it's a mess, so I'm a happy camper.
2) I love the consequence of Miguel trying to heal Tempest. After he did it, my first thought was that it actually seemed unfair. Most people in 2015 don't have a tights-wearing fairy godfather appear in their bedroom and spray them with a concoction from the future to cure their cancer. David seemed to be going down a dangerous road where Miguel got to use his superior technological knowledge to play god whenever he wanted to do so. But, David provides Miguel with a stark reminder about the danger of unexpected consequences here. I totally didn't see it coming, and it was exciting when it happened. Plus, it's not like he can just pop into his 2099 and ask the Alchemax technicians why the cure turned Tempest into a moth (or whatever she is). They're not there anymore. He's really going to have to live with these consequences. New arch-enemy? One can only hope.
1) At some point I'll stop commenting on how this new series meshes with Miguel's past, but I'll note here that he refers to his costumed career as something that happened over a period of years, whereas the original series probably only took place over a year or so.
2) Jesus, what the hell happened to the Spot? We never get an answer to Peter's question, but it seems like he tried to get him to the museum to ask for help, not because he was hunting Spidey. I would, if I had an arm emerging from my eye.