Marvel Universe: 2001 Millennial Visions


Late in 2001, I'm figuring that Marvel suddenly realized they hadn't got around to doing anything particularly important for the Millennium. The real millennium that is, the one that began in 2001, not 2000 which technically was still the twentieth century. Except that the 2001 millennium had already happened quite a while back. But better late than never, hey?

And so, with cover date February 2002, Marvel finally produced this one-shot issue "2001 Millennial Visions". Actually, there's 24 visions, not 2001. Each with text and art by a single "visionary" with one page of text and an accompanying single one-page piece of artwork. Spider-Man is the first up, and also appears in several other character's visions.

Story Details

Most of the visions are presented from a "creative" angle. For example, Spider-Man by Ian Churchill is written as an Osborn Industry staff memorandum. The memo strongly condemns and denies that rumours that (a) the "Green Goblin" technology has driven anybody insane (specifically not Norman, the author of the memo).

It also denies that the experimental Osborn octopus arms are permanently bonded to Osborn's personal secretary, Miss Gwen Stacy. That's merely a minor problem with the locking mechanism. The company takes safety very seriously, especially after the unfortunate accident causing the paralysis of Flash Thompson while test piloting the Osborn Vulture flying equipment.

Hmm... Gwen and Norman? Flash paralyzed? All this is perhaps a little prophetic... Flash would be paralyzed only six months later in real time, while it would take another couple of years for the horrible Sins Past story to connect Gwen and Norman in an inappropriate way.

The artwork features bold contrast in a night scene with Spider-Man fighting the goblin. Spidey is in a striking dark-blue costume with an nifty red spider motif.

Steve Uy also runs a take on on Spider-Man. "What if Spider-Man were a mutant." It's written as a (fake) retrospective on the successful Spidey story line where Peter lost his classic Spidey powers, allowing his underlying mutant abilities to finally manifest themselves - leaving him a dark and grotesquely twisted character.

The associated art features a subterranean Spider, taught twisted muscles in the shadow, clad in a webbing loincloth with glowing night-eyes. Nice art, but the idea is a little unpleasant to contemplate. Spidey a mutant? Let's not even joke about that.

The Tom Derenick take on the Avengers is also strangely prophetic. The regular Avengers (in this imaginary future) have allied themselves alongside the Skrulls in battle against the Dark Ones. So while the classic Avengers are in space, the UN gets the Thunderbolts to take their place. However, the Black Panther isn't happy about this, and he forms his own "new Avengers".

The line-up sees Spidey as one of the New Avengers, with Black Panther, Black Cat, Iron Man and the Hulk. Of course, Spidey did indeed join the New Avengers three years later. The artwork is fairly regular, featuring all five characters in their standard costumes.

Finally, Kilian Plunket imagines the Sinister Six becoming the Noxious Nine. I guess the Ephemeral Eight didn't have much of a ring to it. The nine are Sandman, Mysterio, Electro, Vulture, Ock, Lizard, Rhino, Scorpion, Carnage Symbiote, and... well, it's not clear either in the artwork or the text exactly who the other members might be.

According to the story, the first three of the Nine died in a nuclear explosion, and the remainder were increasingly mutated until their inevitable deaths. Spider-Man himself appears to have died, though the video footage was lost and no trace of his body was ever found.

The art features the latter six in the list of Nine members, all in a state of advanced mutation with their costumes bonded to their bodies. Spider-Man is unconscious beneath them, though his final fate in this fictional vignette is unclear.

General Comments

Well, as a millennium attraction, in terms of sheer spectacular impact this one-shot rates somewhere between the Seattle Millennium Underground Milk Storage Facility and the New Mexico Millennium Sewage Treatment Station.

Still, it's all perfectly harmless fun. The "Steve Uy" concept doesn't quite feel particularly authentic, and the Tom Derenick art is a little uninteresting. But overall, it's an amusing idea executed pretty well.

Overall Rating

This could have been much worse, I'm gonna give it a slightly better-than-expected three and a half webs.