Miguel O’Hara is Spider-Man 2099. Much like Peter Parker he got his spider-powers from a lab accident (although his origin is slightly more complicated). He works for a mega-corp called Alchemax, and hates his boss Tyler Stone. He is constantly being harassed by the neo-fascist police for of the 21st century known as the Public Eye.
We open this story with Spider-Man in combat with a Private Eye warship. It seems he was running late for a business meeting and decided to make up time by swinging his way through the city. Why he does this when he knows he’s a wanted fugitive and sure to be harassed is beyond me. (I guess the writer just wanted to start things off with Miguel in his costume.)
Anyway, he extricates himself out that mess and meets up with his friend Anna (last scene in 2099 Unlimited #1) and a Ms. Benoit who is the project leader at Helix (yet another subsidiary of Alchemax). Miguel is there for a routine tour of the facilities, as well as to check out their latest invention - a portable, high speed DNA scanner.
Did someone say DNA? Mutagen, our self-designated genetic crusader as also heard rumors about the device and wants it for himself. You see, he’s decided that walking around hospitals and randomly accosting patients is too time consuming. Now he wants to be able to scan people right out on the street for any potentially fatal genetic anomalies.
The funny thing is, he’s already hacked into Helix’s computers so I’m reasonably sure a smart man like himself could just get a copy of the plans and make a scanner for himself. But no, he decides to break in and steal the device… which leads to the inevitable confrontation with his archenemy.
Meanwhile, Miguel and Anna are taken on a tour of the lab. In one room they see a cryogenics lab used to test ultra conductors. In another, they see a giant glowing globe that is powered by ambient solar energy. Pay attention, this will be important later…
So our group finally makes it to the medical lab just as Mutagen strikes. He busts through a wall and the blast immediately kills Ms. Benoit (it was fun knowing her). Mutagen sees Anna and recognizes her from when they met previously at the hospital and gets sidetracked from his main mission again (this guy just really likes murdering people).
Miguel has no choice but to out his secret identity by dodging a blow from Mutagen and clinging to the ceiling. He tells Anna to run while he grapples with Mutagen. During the process Miguel dons his spider-suit somehow (I guess during the fight his outer clothes got shredded).
First, Spider-Man knocks Mutagen into the next door cryogenics lab. While Mutagen can adapt easily to the cold, the freezing temperature slows Spider-man down. Then, Spider-Man knocks his foe into the energy chamber with that big glowing sphere. The sudden heat differential knocks Mutagen out. And once again the lab explodes while Spider-Man barely escapes with Anna in tow.
As an epilogue we see Anna in the hospital where she tells Miguel that because of her concussion she can’t remember what happened down in the labs. Miguel breathes a sigh of relief knowing his secret identity is safe once again.
The plot for the first three stories in this series have followed the same basic formula - Spider-Man fights some guy, there’s an explosion, and the problem is solved. Now it may be just me, but that doesn’t seem very heroic.
While Mutagen is a cool villain, this is practically the same story as the one in 2099 Unlimited #1. For a dude with super-adaptation as his super power he sure doesn’t change his technique much.
Since Mutagen can take the shape of any number of animals, I was really hoping we would see a Dr. Octopus-esque shot of the villain. Half a web is detracted because of that lost opportunity.
Elsewhere in this issue the Hulk helps some refugees break into California (which in 2099 is an island, natch) and has to fight some creep called the Water God. We are also introduced to Kid Current, a cyberspace associate of Duke Stratosphere (who first debuted in Doom 2099 #6). It’s a psychedelic romp through cyberspace this is unintentionally funny because of all the hip internet lingo it uses that makes it nigh unintelligible today.