Spider-Man 2099 is becoming more relevant as time goes on. And I don’t mean the comics – I mean the character himself.
A lot of people don’t seem to be aware of Marvel 2099, and that’s a shame.
Most casual moviegoers don’t even know that they’ve seen a character from the Marvel 2099: Spiderman 2099 is the Spider-man that appears at the end credits of Spiderman: Into The Spiderverse.
He’s also appeared in quite a few video games, often as a playable character and sometimes as an unlockable costume for other Spider-Mans. Spider-Men? Spider-Mans.
Spider-Man 2099 is a very interesting character who a lot of people could relate to, so it’s a shame he isn’t used more outside of the comics.
Let’s discuss him, shall we?
Spider-Man 2099: The Introduction
In 1992, Marvel Comics introduced a new line of comics, which took place in the future – specifically, the year 2099 (unsurprisingly).
To cut a long story VERY short (because comics are weird), it’s (currently) canon – it’s the official future for the Marvel comics universe.
Marvel launched 4 new titles for Marvel 2099, the majority of them based on existing characters: Doom 2099, Spider-Man 2099, Punisher 2099 and (the only original character) Ravage 2099.
Doom 2099 was interesting because it had a ‘Is he the same Doom from the past or not?’ storyline, which was a good way to explore the character and the world of 2099 at the same time.
Punisher 2099 (Jake Gallows) was basically a cop inspired by The Punisher. This is, of course, completely ridiculous. I’m sure we’d all agree that’s a very unrealistic thing that could never ever happen and most certainly wouldn’t need to be addressed by Marvel directly in the pages of The Punisher. Gee whiz, comics sure are weird!
Ravage 2099 was a decent enough character/series. To grossly oversimplify the character: He was kind of like Hulk crossed with Wolverine, and the comic had a strong environmentalist theme.
Hey that’s great and all but is there anything about Spider-Man 2099 in this Spider-Man 2099 article?
See, the thing about Marvel 2099 is that there was a lot of world-building used across all of the series, so they ended up telling different sides of the same story. This is similar to how the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) operates, because – say what you like about Marvel – but one thing they definitely understand is world-building.
Spider-Man 2099 was a fellow named Miguel O’Hara and frankly that was a big deal back then. Why is that?
Miguel O’Hara is a pretty cheesy name, but it also tells you a lot about his heritage: He’s Mexican/Irish, which is a rare mix. This matters because representation matters, but sadly it also means that Miles Morales wasn’t the first latinx Spiderman.
However, because it was in 1992 and not, say, 2020, we can be fairly certain that it wasn’t done as an act of corporate pandering.
Spider-Man 2099: Spider-Man As An Adult
Whenever Peter Parker (the original Spider-Man) ages beyond his early-20s, I tune out. See, the whole point of Peter Parker is that he’s a stupid young kid in all the right ways, which is why he’s so idealistic.
One of the great things about the Spidey 2099 character is that Miguel is already well into adulthood when we first meet him, so when he deals with themes of adult responsibility (as opposed to Peter’s fantasy-heroics responsibility) it doesn’t conflict with his character (as it does with Peter).
This is important, because Spider-Man 2099 deals with a lot of mature content. Not in the ‘blood and sex’ way, but in the ‘I hate what my life has become’ kind of way.
Take his origin story, for instance.
Spider-Man 2099: His Origin Story
In the dystopian world of Marvel 2099, giant corporations are the government, which sounds horrible and makes me glad that we don’t all have to live in a world anything like that. One of these companies is called Alchemax. Alchemax runs a genetics program with their labs so they can study (and hopefully create) superpowers.
The head of the genetics program is, you guessed it, our man Miguel O’Hara.
Miguel was trying to replicate the abilities of Spider-Man by studying spiders. A jealous work colleague sabotages his experiment, which results in Miguel getting – wait for this, you won’t see it coming – spider-related powers.
You know how in one of the Spider-Man cinematic universes, Peter’s webbing was organic and he shot it out of his fore-arms? That’s actually from Spiderman 2099.
Beyond that, he basically has the same superpowers as the original Spider-Man, but with one exception: Instead of having a Spider-Sense, he has enhanced vision and hearing.
As a result of his enhanced vision and hearing, he has become sensitive to brightness and loud noises. That’s what I meant by ‘mature themes’ earlier on: Sure, he’s got these superpowers but they also come with massive drawbacks as well. If that doesn’t exemplify being an adult, I don’t know what does.
After his forced mutation, Miguel keeps his new powers secret (much like Peter at first), and uses Alchemax’s equipment to try to work out how to reverse the procedure.
Spider-Man 2099: Fight The System
While Miguel is working out how to return his body to its former genetic state, some time passes and some other stuff happens and he eventually realises two things:
– He has somehow accidentally become a superhero, and
– He has somehow become a symbol of freedom for the oppressed public
At first he’s like ‘Superheroes are lame, I don’t want to be a superhero’ (seriously, that’s accurate) but over time he realises that there are valid reasons why certain people are protesting about the way that society is structured. He realises that he doesn’t even have a good reason for not noticing it before now, he was just self-centred and didn’t even realise it and that’s why he was blind to how society really operates.
He realises that people need hope, and that – now that he understands all of this – it’s his responsibility to give them that hope, because he was literally the only one that could.
Just – WOW.
I cannot overstate enough how much of an impact those few pages of Spider-Man 2099 had on me in my youth. And I think it’s more valid than ever today.
Extraordinary abilities aren’t what makes someone a hero – empathy and caring are.
AND THAT’S WHY SPIDER-MAN 2099 WEARS A MASK – BE COVID AWARE AND STAY SAFE, EVERYONE!
It’s not really why he wears a mask, but it makes you think, doesn’t it? No? Okay never mind, forget I said anything about it then.