The Marvel Universe is meant to be “the world outside your window.” Its heroes confront more than super villains — they also wrestle with many of the problems readers deal with on a daily basis. More and more this includes terrorism, a life-shattering violent phenomenon that kills innocent people and has sadly become all too common an occurrence in recent years. In the All-New, All-Different debut issue of “Spider-Man 2099,” writer Peter David and artist Will Sliney forced their protagonist, Miguel O’Hara, to confront the brutal and ugly reality of terrorism after he was caught in an explosion he believes claimed the life of Tempest, the woman he loved.
This event positions O’Hara to use his super powers, scientific acumen and the resources afforded to him by his position at Parker industries to root out and bring down the perpetrators of the bombing. Where will his hunt take him? And what role will Roberta Mendez, the Captain America from David and Sliney’s recent “Secret Wars 2099” series, play in Miguel’s hunt? For the answers to those questions and more CBR News spoke with David about tackling the topic of terrorism, the villains in Miguel and Roberta’s future and continuing his collaboration with Sliney.
CBR News: Peter, the initial arc of this new volume of “Spider-Man 2099” felt very much like a techno thriller in which Miguel and his supporting cast were impacted by terrorism. Was that your intention, and will that tone continue to be part of the book moving forward?
Peter David: It certainly was my intention. Terrorism has become such a part of everyday life, and I try to write stories that have at least some grounding in the real world. I figure that helps to make them more real to the readers. The concept of being impacted by terrorism is something that every reader should be able to relate to. Whether it’s the terrorists who killed hundreds of people in Paris or the home grown terrorist who shot up a Planned Parenthood — and let’s face it, that was an act of terrorism — the threat these bastards pose is something that’s on everyone’s mind. So I felt it would add verisimilitude to the series to introduce a terrorist organization into Miguel’s life. If nothing else, I thought it was interesting to have him be victimized by an attack that wasn’t aimed at him specifically.
Refresh my memory — was terrorism still a big problem in the future world of 2099 Miguel originally hails from?
Not to my knowledge, no. When we first did 2099, terrorism wasn’t the everyday subject it has become, so it didn’t really impact on the series. If anything, it’s something new for Miguel to have to deal with since it didn’t effectively exist in 2099.
In these first three issues you reintroduced Roberta Mendez, the Captain America of 2099, back into Miguel’s life. They knew each other in the Battleworld reality of “Secret Wars 2099,” but she seems to be a figure currently shrouded in mystery. What kind of role will Roberta have in the book moving forward? And will we get answers to the mysteries surrounding her soon or will that be more of a slow burn?
We’re going to be getting some big answers for her in issues #4 and #5. And I can guarantee you they’re nothing that anyone is expecting. There will still be some things left mysterious about how she wound up in our world, but that’s something to be investigated down the line.
Roberta isn’t the only superhero in Miguel’s life — he’s having regular chats with his boss, Peter Parker. How worried is he about Miguel and his state of mind going into “Spider-Man 2099” #4?
He’s very concerned, but he’s also confident that Miguel is going to be able to deal with the situation.
Where is Miguel at mentally when we pick up with him in “Spider-Man 2099” #4? Is there a big gap of time between #3 and #4?
Not much time. About a week at most. At this point, he is determined to try and track down the terrorist organization responsible for (he believes) Tempest’s death. Unfortunately for him, other things are going to happen that are going to distract him a bit.
One of those distractions appears to be the mysterious futuristic character who is battling Captain America 2099 and Miguel on the covers to issues #4 and #5. Any chance you can tell us who this is? Is this a new character you and Will created?
Yes and no. He’s a new character but also an old character. You’ll just have to read #4 to find out more.
What’s it like watching Will bring to life all the new characters you’ve introduced into Miguel’s life in these first few issues? It seems like you two have really built up a great collaboration in your work on the initial volume of this series and the “Secret Wars 2099” mini.
Will is great. First, he’s an enthusiastic fan of Spidey 2099. Second, he’s a fantastically talented artist who just improves from issue to issue. I’m always excited to see how he’ll visually interpret what I’ve written.
Finally, I get the sense from these first few issues that you and Will have some long term and exciting plans for “Spider-Man 2099.” What can you hint at to leave us excited for your series moving into 2016 with Miguel and Co.?
He’s going to wind up going head to head with a new Inhuman, have a smack down with Man Mountain Marko and a new Sinister Six and, most interestingly, have a confrontation with Tempest’s mother that doesn’t end the way he thinks it will.
“Spider-Man 2099” #4 goes on sale December
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