In Marvel Comics’ Amazing Spider-Man #35, Doctor Doom rules New York City with an iron fist and writer Nick Spencer plunges Spidey deeper into Marvel 2099.
Amazing Spider-Man #35
Writer: Nick Spencer
Artist: Oscar Bazaldua
Colorist: Steve Firchow
Letterer: VC’s Joe Caramagna
Last issue, Spencer took Marvel 2099 to the next level; it went from a slow burn story about time travel to a heart-pounding thriller. After a failed assassination attempt, Doctor Doom vowed vengeance and shut down Manhattan’s power. Meanwhile, Miguel O’Hara finally founded Spider-Man and warned him of the looming crisis. The narrative becomes even more compelling in Amazing Spider-Man #35.
Hell hath no fury like a Doctor Doom scorned. Thanks to the art team, the villain is especially terrifying during his conquest of the Big Apple.With bold lettering and red outlines for Doom’s anger-infused speech bubbles, letterer Joe Caramagna gives the dictator a booming voice. Artist Oscar Bazaldua shows Doom towering over the city like a giant; he looks like the menacing figure of the Spectre. Sure, colorist Steve Firchow’s usage of the threatening gray skies and lightning might be clichéd. But it augments the memorable image of the Latverian monarch looming over New York.
Spencer’s script demonstrates that Doom’s power extends beyond this physical appearance. Through Spider-Man’s narration, we learn that Doom has launched a full-fledged subjugation of New York. Using an army of Doombots, Doom blocks all exits from the city, shuts down public transportation and drags Manhattan into mass panic. Plus, he dominates all airwaves with his demand: hand over his would-be assassin. With this plan, Doom has thought of everything and he has New York City firmly under his thumb.
Naturally, we’d expect New York’s collection of heroes to stop Doom. But the villain’s swarm of Doombots severely outnumber the Big Apple’s resident defenders. Bazaldua shows Luke Cage, Iron Fist, the Champions and even Doctor Strange struggling to fend off the legion of robots. As Spider-Man points out, “it’s actually a nightmare” because the Avengers and the Fantastic Four are busy with their own problems. (Involving these teams could turn Marvel 2099 into a company-wide event and, after the conclusion of Absolute Carnage, we could use a break from such a wide-ranging story.) Needless to say, the odds are stacked against our heroes.
At first, it seemed like Marvel 2099 was a story that would feature the usual time travel shenanigans. While that’s still somewhat true, Spencer shifts gears and expands the mystery underlying Miguel’s quest to save the future (and the present.) Between the attempted assassination, Countess Karkov’s devious schemes to start a war between Latveria and Symkaria and the Chameleon’s deceptions, there are a lot of moving parts here. Spidey represents the reader because, since he’s new to the spy game, he struggles to connect the dots. Thankfully, his sister, Teresa Parker, is well-versed in espionage, so she helps him keep up.
Spidey realizes that only Teresa inherited the “spycraft” in their family. Needless to say, this knowledge makes her a vital piece of the puzzle in the Webhead’s mission to stop the dire future Miguel hopes to prevent. Of course, like any realistic sibling, Teresa takes a little too much pleasure in this advantage. She’s a few steps ahead of Peter and, with a sly smirk on her face, tells him, “I already know where [the Chameleon] is.” Shout out to Bazaldua for the lifelike facial expression.
By the end of the issue, the situation for Spider-Man looks even more grim. A callback to “Days of Future Past” makes it clear that, at this juncture, Marvel 2099 is racing toward one of the most dismal futures fans have ever seen.
What’d you think of Amazing Spider-Man #35? Where do you hope to see Marvel 2099 go from here?