Thursday, March 3, 2016

Spider-Man 2099 #4 (HERE BE SPOILERS!)

Captain America!  Venture!  Oh, my!

David starts to reveal more about the future (heh) of the 2099 Universe, but, as with all good stories, these answers only raise more questions.  First, he reveals that Roberta's life -- with a novelist husband and two children -- is a figment of her imagination.  When she leaves her apartment for work, her family disappears.  Conversely, Captain America is fully aware of the fact that she's (they're?) trapped in the present, but she can only influence Roberta when she really sets her mind to it.  But, she's desperate enough to try it here, managing to get Roberta to enter Miguel's secret workshop in the basement of Parker Industries.  (Miguel has conveniently programmed the touch pad that opens his lab to work for anyone from 2099.  Seriously, I'm docking a full star from the issue for that.  Apparently, Miguel did it in case he was cloned, but that explanation makes no sense, since said clone would still have his fingerprints.  Why would it need to be set for anyone from 2099?)

Cap has Roberta open the portal to 2099, but, unfortunately for her, a hunter called Kweeg is waiting on the other side, since he had heard reports of the portal opening up there the previous day.  He attacks Roberta through the portal, and she becomes Cap.  (I'm still not clear how the switch works.  Why can Cap take over Roberta's body when she's in danger, but not under normal circumstances?  Does the adrenaline rush activate the Super-Solider Serum?)  Lyla alerts Miguel to the fight in his lab, and he arrives to find Kweeg ready to finish off Cap.  (Previously, he had assigned Raul to tracking down the Fist and Jasmine to learning more about Alchemax's new prison project, even though we're not told how he knows about Alchemax's plans.)  He recognizes Kweeg as Venture, but Venture doesn't recognize that name.  He manages to escape, so Miguel doesn't have time to get more information about or from Cap, since they have to go stop Kweeg.

As you can probably tell, it's a fast-paced issue.  Cap does a little too much expositing as we see her ghost appear alongside Roberta, but, otherwise, everything flows pretty smoothly.  I'm intrigued to learn how Roberta found herself in our present after "Secret Wars," since it seems that it might lead Miguel to the answer that he's trying to find.  The fact that she has her own memories of 2099 (and that Venture is a different guy than the one that we remember) certainly raises all sorts of questions about how many different 2099s are out there.  Given Marvel's desire to reduce the number of alternate timelines, is this series going to create a unified 2099 timeline?  I guess we'll see.

Regardless of how much I enjoyed this issue, I'm still giving it "only" two stars for the uncharacteristically convenient developments that advance the plot (i.e., the touch pad keyed to people from 2099, Miguel knowing about Alchemax's prison, etc.).  I expect better from David, even if it's unfair that I do.

** (two of five stars)

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