Spider-Man 2099 (Vol. 1) #31

 Posted: 2004
 Staff: Mike Fichera (E-Mail)


Spidey is heading home from his disasterous trip to Nightshade where his former headmaster, Angela Daskalakis, was killed.

Story 'Route 666'

The story begins with Spider-Man clinging to the top of a truck. The trucker, Dash, has struck a deal with Spidey, offering him a ride in exchange for protection against an approaching gang of bikers.

Flashback to how it all began. Miguel was walking home from Nightshade through the desert. A car stops, and a woman offers him a ride. As he gets in the car, the woman sprays his eyes, takes his bag, and in a paranoid rage screams that she got him before he got her! Miguel is left shivering on the desert floor until nightfall.

A huge truck pulls up. The driver know Miguel - it's Dash. His truck has a sign saying "VeloCity or bust!" Seems Dash used to be cabbie from Miguel's past. He responds rather cagey about his delivery's destination, VeloCity. Miguel hears voices in the back - when he takes a look in the cargo area, there are dozens of people seated and being waited on. Dash says they're not "exactly" people. One of the waitresses turns and knows Miguel - it's Angela!

Miguel gets nervous and demands to be let out. Up ahead, Dash sees a roadblock. He crashes through the pile of cars, and detoured onto a bumpy road - a road paved with "good intentions" Dash says.

Dash asks Miguel to change into Spider-Man to protect him from the bats. Mig has no idea how Dash knows his secret.

The story continues where it began. A gang of demon-bikers with large bat-like wings approach. Miguel knocks one off his bike with his webbing. The demons close in and begin to board the truck's roof. Miguel rakes the eyes of a demon with his claws. Another comes from behind, noting that Miguel is more free with his talons than in his early days. A massive armored demons with a glowing spiked mace for one hand and a whip for the other. The clash, and Spider-Man is left hanging off the back of the truck. A demon closes, but Spidey's foot-talons pop the tire. The armored demon breaks into the cab, but is stopped by Spidey's webbing before he can smite Dash. While the huge demon threatens that up to now, it's been basic training, Spidey lands a solid kick, and knocks him away. Another demon tosses Angela off the truck, but Spidey saves her with his webbing.

The armored demon returns, on a motorbike. It catches Angela's leg with his whip, while Spidey webs the demon on top of the truck. With his talons, Spidey cuts the armored demon's hand-whip in half, freeing Angela, and sending the Armored demon away. Meanwhile, the demon on top of the truck thinks Spidey is bluffing when he says "look behind you!" - and smacks into an oncoming tunnel entrance.

Miguel wakes up, and in Angela's place is Xina. Mig had been passed out in the desert ever since the paranoid driver maced his eyes. He thinks he sees the demon's severed whip - but it's only a dry piece of cactus. Xina went out in the desert to find him - and Miguel's pretty lucky she did!

General Comments

Overall, not a bad story. Seemed like a bit of a Twilight Zone tale - though it lacked that little twist at the end to make you think it was all real. I guess that's the real twist - you expect the twist, but the double-twist is that it was REALLY all in his head. Now, it's up to you, the reader, to play psychoanalyst and figure out what it all symbolizes. An easy bet is that the armored demon is his daddy, Tyler, who's waiting for him when he eventually arrives home. Mig's mind gets some relief in a second chance to save Angela. The bottom line is - Miguel realizes that things seemed tough before, but he's avoiding the truth that things have just gotten harder now that he knows Tyler's his real father - and he can't avoid coming home forever.

Overall Rating

First off, looks like Young Miguel O'Hara got a break this month - hurray! This was an offbeat story. Rather refreshing to get Miguel mixed up in something outside of Alchemax and corrupt corporate manipulations. I'm not sure what to conclude by the end of the story, but it looks like that lady who sprayed him should make his top 10 list of villains, whoever she was!

The artwork of Roger Robinson was average, although I thought the cover was exceptional. Perhaps it's Jimmy Palmiotti's heavy inking that made the pencils seem crude at times? I'm not sure.

 Posted: 2004
 Staff: Mike Fichera (E-Mail)