In Marvel Comics’ Amazing Spider-Man #33, (on sale November 6), writer Nick Spencer builds the intricate foundation for Marvel 2099. He keeps the event shrouded in mystery but it’s only a matter of time before the story hits the next level.
Amazing Spider-Man #33
Writer: Nick Spencer
Artist: Patrick Gleason
Colorist: Matthew Wilson
Letterer: VC’s Joe Caramagna
Each and every part of Amazing Spider-Man #33 organically connects to the next. There’s no wasted space. Early on, it’s hard to see how the Foreigner’s schemes are related to the big picture. But by the end, the various moving parts combine to set the stage for a layered thriller. What’s not to like? There’s political drama, villainous planning and Peter Parker’s continual struggle to get anywhere on time. Spidey takes a backseat because the narrative focuses on the action surrounding him.
Because we’re gearing up for Marvel 2099, it’s fair to wonder how Spencer kicks off Marvel’s return to the future. Like last issue, we see Miguel O’Hara again. His displacement in time has left Miguel confused about his mission in the present. But Miguel is certain about two things: the world he comes from is in danger and he needs Spider-Man’s help to save it. You’d think the progression of the event’s story would be primarily tied to Miguel. Instead, the future is most evident during a presentation at Empire State University.
Here, Peter’s mysterious new classmate, Jamie, reveals his science project, one that the ever-tardy Peter supposedly worked on. It’s called the Clairvoyant and it allows the user to look into the future to calculate the statistical probability of any given outcome. While the device itself could have ramifications on the story, it’s Jamie’s dialogue that’s particularly telling.
Jamie echoes Miguel’s question in the previous issue: “What has yesterday done to tomorrow?” Through Jamie, Spencer digs deeper. As the student presents his project, he ponders the “unintended consequences of today’s innovations on the world of tomorrow.” Spencer continues to subtly include the realistic questioning of our present impact on the future. More than anything else, this exploration could be the most rewarding element of Marvel 2099 because Spencer has the opportunity to make a statement.
Spencer’s strong script is complemented by some fresh stylistic choices by the art team. Early on, while Miguel tries to get his bearings in the present, his view of the world is juxtaposed with his memories. When he’s surrounded by a crowd, he flashes back to the destruction of the world. Artist Patrick Gleason shifts to a sketchy, distorted style that looks like the multiverse dissonance in Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse. Colorist Matthew Wilson utilizes electric blues and greens to convey the impending destruction.
Gleason also showcases chronal confusion when a woman in the crowd reminds Miguel of a lost love. Gleason juxtaposes the two women in adjacent panels to produce a tangible sense of Miguel’s disorientation. In a story about time travel, the art can be crucial in conveying its numerous possibilities and the art team nails it here.
“The future just got a lot less scary,” Jamie says at the end of his science presentation. We’ve all read enough comics to know better: messing with time travel always leads to disastrous results. While we’re still not sure where the story is going, Spencer continues to build a strong structure for the impending heart of the story.
What’d you think of Amazing Spider-Man #33? Are you glad Marvel is going back to 2099?