Will Sliney – Spider-Man 2099 #1

Will Sliney‘s graphic novel, Celtic Warrior: The Legend of Cú Chulainn, has been on the Irish Times bestseller list. He also worked for Boom! Studios between 2009 and 2011 for the series Farscape. Now he’s drawing for the Marvel editions, and is a specialist of Earth 928, best-known as the year 2099. Besides Fearless Defenders (2013-2014), he worked on the first relaunch of Spider-Man 2099 (2014-2015), where Miguel O’Hara was stuck in our time, then on Secret Wars 2099, an other Secret Wars tie-in. Will Sliney is now back on Spider-Man 2099 with the same author who worked on the previous volume, Peter David. Once again Miguel O’Hara is stuck in our Earth, with apparently no hope to ever going back to his own time.

Wearing a Parker Industries tank-top, Miguel O’Hara is a candidate of Ninja USA, a reality-show in which the contestants have to run, jump and punch a series of obstacles before reaching out the warped wall and the finish line. Keeping his secret identity as Spider-Man hidden, Miguel O’Hara amazes the audience and the two hosts. His indisputable and spectacular victory gives him the rights of a standing ovation. The cutting of the page, with four quadrangles instead of rectangles – and the progressive reconciliation of Miguel closer to the foreground and the spectators – strengthens the dynamism and the actions of the page. He even exceeded the limits of the panel by sumersaulted. With his counterpart on the fourth panel, Miguel O’Hara on the third panel produces a perfect visual loop, which end the race. Judging by the beginning, we could think Miguel O’hara’s life on Earth is amazing and easy.

Will Sliney - Spider-Man 2099 #1 p.7
Will Sliney – Spider-Man 2099 #1 p.7 © Will Sliney / Marvel

The truth is, Miguel O’Hara has put behind him is days as Spider-Man. With nearly four Spider-Men and Woman in the world, maybe Spider-Man from 2099 is not needed, despite what Peter Parker is trying to do. He had integrated his own design into Miguel’s costume, giving it a more actual look (this new costumes has been designed by Kris Anka). Furthermore, by doing so, Peter is making a statement : every one of the Spider-men’s costumes looks alike – graphically at least – and can be identified as a part of a Spider army. Is it what Peter’s trying to do ? Recruiting Miguel as a member of his Spider army, for which he would be the general ? I guess we’ll have to wait for the Web Warriors series to find out if Peter is really building up an army. I’m a big fan of the four costumes behind Peter, which are the new Spider-Man 2099’s costume, the Spidey Stealth Suit, the Iron Spider Amor and the Future Foundation Suit.

Will Sliney - Spider-Man 2099 #1 p.8
Will Sliney – Spider-Man 2099 #1 p.8 © Will Sliney / Marvel

In fact, Miguel O’Hara is not really trapped in our time – he can go back in 2099 – but his world is not the same. It’s not the world as he had known it anymore. It has changed, and it’s been eight months. It’s also been eight months that Battleworld has ended and the world has been back. So what happened to the Earth 928 ? Is it a consequence of the Incursions or of the godlike manipulations of Doom ? The Earth 928 is ravaged, but no uninhabited as witness the two warriors running towards Miguel with their spears. The theatrical pose Miguel’s adopting reveals how shocking this view can be, even after eight months. Despite all his efforts on Earth 616, it seems nothing can change the face of Earth 928. Maybe Peter Parker was right, and he doesn’t have a choice but to put back on his Spider-Man suit ?

Will Sliney - Spider-Man 2099 #1 p.13
Will Sliney – Spider-Man 2099 #1 p.13 © Will Sliney / Marvel

Miguel O’Hara is not the only character of Earth 928 who’s been transported on Earth 616. Roberta Mendez, an other version of Captain America, is too in our universe. She’s been created by Peter David and Will Sliney for the needs of Secret Wars 2099 – the title on wich was previously working Will Sliney. Unlike most of the majority of the heroes, Roberta Mendez is unaware of her powers and her secret identity as a hero. She was working back on Earth 928 as a receptionist at Alchemax corporation, he’s now working for Parker Industries with Miguel O’Hara. The two of them, despite the fact the worked together in the same team in Secret Wars 2099, don’t seem to recognize each other. By putting our world more or less back like it was before – even if Earth 1610 doesn’t exist anymore – Doom might have casted a memory spell on everyone. That’s bring us back on our page, on which Roberta Mendez gets home and hugs her daughters and her husband. The difference of the colors troubles me : why does that mean ? Why Roberta Mendez is colorful while her family is greyish ? Is it because of the memory-loss ? Does her counterpart as a hero does remember Battleworld and her family back there, but she doesn’t ? This would explain why the woman in a Captain America suit is just as greyish as the rest of the family. Therefore we might have on one side Roberta Mendez, who thinks she’s just a secretary at Parker Industries, and on the other side Captain America, who remembers her adventures and family back on Battleworld.

Will Sliney - Spider-Man 2099 #1 p.17
Will Sliney – Spider-Man 2099 #1 p.17 © Will Sliney / Marvel

During these last eight months, Miguel O’Hara hasn’t been alone. He met Tempest, the pink-haired girl we saw on page 7. They’re eating in a restaurant, having a pretty interesting chat about their future. He like how Will Sliney drew this very intimate page. On the first tier, he represents the characters on shot and reverse shot as we follow the one who’s speaking. But it’s what happen after that I enjoy the most : in order to concentrate the intensity, Will Sliney only uses close-ups, more and more closer to end with an extreme close-up on Miguel’s and Tempest’ mouths.

Will Sliney - Spider-Man 2099 #1 p.19
Will Sliney – Spider-Man 2099 #1 p.19 © Will Sliney / Marvel

This is unexpected that for the first issue of Spider-Man 2099, Miguel O’Hara doesn’t wear the Spider-suit at all. Rather that tell  story about Spider-Man’s adventures, Will Sliney and Peter David chose to focus on Miguel’s life on our Earth, to explain what he has been trying to do the past eight months. Unfortunately for him, the end of this first issue might push him to be Spider-Man again. Maybe it’s the common lot of all the Spider-men : they can’t forget about their duty as a Spider-Man, or something bad will happen to the love-ones.

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