Will Spidey 2099’s Game Succeed Where Comics Failed?

For the first time in nearly a decade, Spider-Man 2099 might actually be written in character.  Why isn't it in a comic book instead of a video game?

Andy Hunsakerby Andy Hunsaker

You've likely caught the announcement that Activision is following up their popular video game Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions with Spider-Man: Edge of Time, a new title which will strip away a couple of those dimensions and puts the focus on the dystopian future of 2099.  That's fine and dandy, but what's actually really interesting about it is that game studio Beenox is bringing in Spider-Man 2099 creator Peter David to handle the story duties.  This is intriguing, because it marks the first time that Miguel O'Hara may actually be written in character in almost a decade.

When you bring up the whole Marvel 2099 experiment in general to people, oftimes you'll get an eye roll and an 'ugh, the 90s' grunt of some sort.  Truth be told, some of those stories deserve that reaction, thanks to all those 'virtual reality' tales that are hilarious considering what the internet has actually become.  However, most people will admit the high points of the whole concept were David's Spider-Man 2099 run and Warren Ellis' Doom 2099 awesome sauce (and we can only hope President Doom shows his steely face somewhere in this video game as well).

David's O'Hara was definitely not a charming and devil-may-care Peter Parker type.  They share a quick wit, but the future S-Man's sharp tongue was always a lot more acidic.  Growing up with an abusive father and a deranged mother, he was initially a bitter, arrogant and condescendingly snarky misanthrope who had cheated on his girlfriend with his brother's girlfriend, and who had so ruthlessly berated the corporate stooge he worked with that the guy sabotaged one of his experiments to try and murder our hero.  Of course, as is the case in comic books, it just gave him super powers instead.  Sure, it turned out there was a good egg under that prickly exterior, but a lot of times he had to be dragged kicking and screaming towards that whole 'with great power comes great responsibility' thing.  It's what really made him interesting. 

 

Miguel and Gabriel O'Hara from

However, if you've read anything featuring Miggy since his cameo stint in David's Captain Marvel run back in 2002, you'd never know any of that.  When he popped up in Exiles, he was little more than 'blandly upbeat science guy in a neat costume.'  When they relaunched 2099 with the whole Timestorm series a couple years ago, he became a teenager forced into that bullied Parker mold.  And while it was fun to have Dan Gilvezan around for vocal duties in Shattered Dimensions, O'Hara just isn't quite an Amazing Friends kind of character.

 

Miguel O'Hara in

So here's hoping that when David revisits the character he created with artist Rick Leonardi, he'll bring back some of that original 2099 flavor – the oppressive and omnipresent corporate oligarchy motif could really resonate with today's union-busting, politician-buying political landscape, and a nasty CEO like O'Hara's nemesis (and secret real father!) Tyler Stone would make a very compelling villain.  Even appearances from Miggy's bubbly Marilyn Monroe-styled holo-agent Lyla or the rough and tumble cowboy cyborg bounty hunter Venture would make us happy.

Oh, who are we kidding?  It's a video game.  He's probably just going to jump around and punch Venom a lot.  But what would it take to get someone writing a real Spider-Man 2099 book again?  If Spider-Girl could last as long as it did in its own little elseworld, so could this.

 

UPDATE:  Some plot details of the game were revealed at Wondercon.  An Alchemax scientist from 2099 goes back in time to kill Peter Parker, and O'Hara has to try and stop him.  Could it be Thanatos, the reality-traversing menace that David eventually revealed to be an evil alternate version of Rick Jones in that Captain Marvel arc?  Might it be Jordan Boone, O'Hara's smug professional rival, or Aaron Delgado, the stooge who tried to kill him?  Should be fun to find out.