I mentioned in my review of "Inferno" #1 that Dennis Hopeless really used the premise of "Secret Wars" to the best of its potential. Peter David not surprisingly seems to be doing the same here.
One of the challenges that I've had with the new "Spider-Man 2099" is that it obviously discards some of the existing continuity, but it's hard to tell what parts exactly. I've tried placing the current story in a certain period of time in the original run, but it's been difficult to do that, for a variety of reasons. However, David is essentially freed from caring about continuity in this mini-series, since we've already established that some of the domains in Battleworld come from alternate histories.
As a result, David uses that freedom to explore a history that we actually saw get its start, but that he's disregarded in the current run of "Spider-Man 2099," namely Miguel serving as CEO of Alchemax. Presently, it appears that Tyler Stone has always been CEO; however, in the previous run, Miguel eventually took on that role. David explores that reality here by postulating that Miguel uses his position to create a new Avengers team. (It's unclear if he's still Spider-Man at this point.) Rather than a fake resurrected Steve Rogers (as we saw in the original run), Captain America is now an administrative assistant at Alchemax, though it appears that she's unaware of her alter ego. (In a twist, Miguel seems aware of it, and it raises all sorts of ethical flags if Roberta, the assistant, is truly unaware that she's Captain America.) David also throws in the Black Widow, Hawkeye, Hercules, Iron Man, and Vision to the mix, though we learn little about them here.
(Actually, we do get a fairly odd sequence with Hercules, where we learn that he's been drinking to excess because it's the anniversary of him killing Megara. This behavior becomes a problem when he sexually harasses a woman because he can't believe that she's refusing his advances. But, honestly, this entire sequence of Hercules being drunk fees odd. It seems to be there to show Miguel shrugging off his oafish behavior. Combined with the Roberta situation, David might just be using it to confirm that Miguel is an evil asshole in this world.)
In other words, it's an interesting story in and of itself. Like other tie-in issues, it doesn't resolve some of the questions that I still have about "Secret Wars," but I increasingly care less and less about those answers, since these stories are good on their own. I just hope Marvel can keep this string of hits going.
*** (three of five stars)