Three pages in, I could tell that this wasn’t a good comic and I really wish the ensuing 19 would have proved me wrong but, no, “Timestorm 2009/2099” #1 isn’t a good comic. Or maybe it is a good comic with a convoluted yet mysterious plot, banal and clichéd characterization, fill-in-issue quality art, and a general feeling of ‘who cares?’ makes for a good comic. Somehow, I doubt it.
The Marvel 2099 line of books launched in 1992 as a futuristic take on Marvel’s heroes with titles like “Spider-Man 2099” and “Punisher 2099.” The line grew over the years, went through various changes like Doom becoming president of the United States before eventually dying a quiet death in 1998 with “2099: Manifest Destiny.” However, the line remains a bit of a cult favorite for some and Marvel has once again decided to revisit the characters and concepts.
Except, no, they haven’t, as the 2099 world depicted here isn’t the 2099 world from the original line. Actually, this 2099 seems more like ‘Ultimate 2099’ with Miguel O’Hara (Spider-Man in the original comics) not the adult he once was but a teenage dork. Basic concepts like the Church of Thor and Alechemax carry over, but there’s a good chance that fans of the original line of books will be turned off by this close-but-not-right future.
So much of the issue is devoted to establishing elements of this future that the plot barely has any chance to develop. Jake Gallows (the Punisher) is sent back to 2009 to kill superheroes by what he thinks is Thor, but is really Alchemax’s Chief Executive Stone, who wants to alter the past for reasons unknown. However, the heroes shot by Gallows are sent to the year 2099 instead of being killed, again for reasons unknown. It’s an interesting hook, but so little of this plot is explored in favor of focusing on Miguel O’Hara and his friends’ trip to an ultimate combat match where nothing really happens beyond establishing that Miguel is a bit naïve, dorky and not that well-liked -— which is all shoved down the readers’ throats with gusto and not the slightest bit of subtlety.
Eric Battle’s art is serviceable, but has numerous problems with anatomy, facial expressions and basic storytelling. It acts as a great throwback to some of the horrible art that much of the 2099 books were saddled with in the ‘90s, though I doubt that was the intent. His design work for the future is stronger than his actual art as his 2099 New York looks like an updated version of the current city, building on what’s there instead of opting for a complete and drastic redesign.
With a story that revolves around altering the past to change the year 2099’s present, maybe this series will end with a 2099 fans of the Marvel line will recognize, but, if not, I’m not sure what the point of using that hook is — beyond possibly tricking readers into buying something that doesn’t deliver what’s promised.
(Eric Battle’s art fails to impress on numerous levels, but check out CBR’s preview and see for yourself!)