In the early 1990s, Stan Lee announced that he was collaborating with John Byrne, the artist responsible for X-Men: Days of Future Past, on a new project called Marvel World of Tomorrow. The project didn't go as planned; Byrne took his initial concepts and artwork and used it as the basis for his series with Dark Horse Publishing entitled Next Men. Lee's work evolved into what we know today as Marvel 2099, a timeline that depicted Marvel characters in the future. Some characters have intimate connections to their late 20th century counterparts, others were new takes on familiar characters. It was a bold experiment that would eventually be classified under Earth-928 (with regular continuity being Earth-616). The imprint ended in March 1998, but which characters resonate with readers decades later?
In 2099, readers were given a world with familiar heroes such as the Hulk, Spider-Man and even Deadpool, but these "new" characters were reflections of their time period. In 2099, governments don't matter as much as corporations do, and services like the Police are now amenities that you have to pay for. Heroes are not only fighting villains, they're also fighting the standard of living in 2099, in which the divide between the rich and poor have gotten to an all-time high. How else has the Marvel Universe changed in the future? Why is Moon Knight actually on the Moon? What was the Watcher's role in the return of the Fantastic Four? What character did Stan Lee create for the Marvel 2099 universe? Who is the Sorcerer Supreme of 2099? These questions answered and more as we take a trip down memory lane by looking at the year 2099!
There is a lot of great science fiction depicting robots rebelling against their masters. The 1980s classic film Short Circuit, for example, featured a robot that didn't want to fight for the army. Move over, Johnny 5, here comes Hazzard!
Hap Hazzard wasn't a person, he was a virtual reality character that became self-aware and spoke out against corporations. He survived attempts at his deletion and rallied people against the mega-corporations of 2099. Think about that the next time you play a video game and send your character off to die!
It was a radioactive spider bite that transformed Peter Parker into Spider-Man, and although nothing bit Matt Murdock, it was radiation that robbed him of his eyesight, but modified his remaining senses to superhuman degrees. Murdock became Daredevil and fought such criminals as Bullseye and the Kingpin.
Speaking of Kingpin, the 2099 version of Daredevil is actually Samuel Fisk, the grandson of the Kingpin. Sam becomes Daredevil to atone for his family's sins. He doesn't have the any superpowers, and his abilities are derived from a high tech battlesuit that he wears, increasing his strength and speeding up his reflexes.
A guy with a skull on his chest, holding blazing guns in both arms. That's the Punisher, all right, but is that Frank Castle? The man behind the skull is actually Jake Gallows. Similar to Frank, Jake lost his family due to violence. Jake finds Punisher's old war journal, and becomes inspired to take on his mantle.
We got it: the Punisher removes criminals, but what's different in the year 2099? Eventually Dr. Doom gains control of the United States, and Gallows is made the head of the Ministry of Punishment. Needless to say, the laws he enforces are draconian and he serves as judge, jury and executioner.
In the 1988 cult classic movie They Live, it's revealed that the rich are removed from the lower classes because they are legit aliens. That makes for a good conspiracy theory: the rich are actually extra terrestrials that are stealing the Earth's resources. Those fears play out with Avatarr.
Alchemax was a giant uber-corporation whose CEO was Anderthorp Henton, but the real leader was Avatarr, an unknown creature from an unknown alien race. He tried to create fake Asgardians to control the world but failed and was eventually taken out by Doctor Doom himself.
At first glance, Darryl Smith King looks like the guy at the thrift store that will give you a sweet hook up on vintage coats, but in 2099 he goes by the name Fearmaster. King was head of the Cyber-Nostra, who were cybernetically enhanced mobsters.
Alien modifications enabled King to transmute matter with his right hand. He replaces Ravage as the CEO of the company ECO but still had no problem doing dirty work, such as turning Punisher 2099's girlfriend into a metal statue.
In 2099, it's hard to decide who is worse: the host or the symbiote? The host this time is Kron Stone, who not only is the half-brother of Spider-Man 2099 Miguel O'Hara, but he's also the man responsible for ordering a hit on the family of Jake Gallows (who later becomes Punisher 2099).
Kron finds the symbiote in a sewer after being mortally wounded by Punisher. The symbiote in 2099 has evolved, and future Venom has additional powers, including the ability to spit acid. Spider-Man 2099 is able to rid Kron's body of the symbiote, who winds up merging with the future Sub-Mariner.
19 TIGER WYLDE
What do you do after sitting on the Board of Directors of Alchemax, one of the most powerful companies in the world of 2099? You become dictator of Latveria, of course! That's what Tyger Wylde did. When Doom returned after decades of being missing, he took on Wylde on Doom's own home turf... and lost!
Tiger Wylde had orange striped skin and wore protective armor. Wylde didn't put Doom out of his misery after they first fought, and must have regretted doing so, because eventually Doom got his revenge by beating Wylde and reclaiming his homeland!
We're not sure why more people didn't freak out about this! Ravage was a character that was created by Stan Lee! You know, the guy that created the Fantastic Four, Spider-Man and Doctor Strange, to name a few? No radioactive animals were involved, but there was radioactivity!
Paul-Phillip Ravage was on top of the world as a CEO of a company called ECO, but had to go on the run with his secretary when he was framed for a crime he didn't commit. Exposure to radiation gave him the ability to mutate into a ferocious man-beast.
17 CAPTAIN AMERICA
When Captain America first appeared on the scene, he was an impostor that was a political pawn used to help remove Doom from being leader of the United States. This version of Cap was sadistic, mean and met a gruesome demise, courtesy of nanites deployed by Doom.
The "real" Captain America returned after being frozen (again) in a state of suspended animation. This time, he's wielding Thor's hammer, helps create a new Avengers team and repels an alien attack on Earth. He is revived (yet again) in the year 3099 by Miguel O'Hara, who returns Mjolnir to him.
16 HALLOWEEN JACK/LOKI
As the saying goes: better false Gods than no Gods! Cults formed in 2099 by people awaiting the return of the Asgardians to Earth. Alchemax decided not to wait and in through the Aesir Program people were modified to resemble Asgardians like Thor and Sif.
Jordan Boone underwent the procedure and became Alchemax's version of Loki, the God of Mischief. He had the ability to shape shift just like Loki, but eventually he ditched his Asgardian roots and took the name Halloween Jack, looking a lot like Jim Carrey from The Mask.
15 THE GOLDEN ONE
The Golden One is reminiscent of Adam Warlock and the High Evolutionary. Warlock was an attempt at creating the perfect being, and the High Evolutionary had the ability to evolve and de-evolve lifeforms. However, none of them wear an outfit quite like The Golden One.
The Golden One wears a costume that looks like something that He-Man would wear to Mardi Gras. And yet, despite his poor fashion sense, he genetically created servants and armies to act on his behalf. He even made a creature he deemed the Anti-Hulk. Someone get smartypants some actual pants.
Miguel O'Hara was a geneticist working for a company trying to replicate the powers of Spider-Man. Due to an accident at the lab, he received the very powers he was trying to copy. O'Hara's sarcasm and wit was something he had long before his transformation.
Spider-Man 2099 had similar powers to Peter Parker; however, he had no Spider-Sense and his web shooters were organic in nature. The character was so popular Marvel found a way to bring Miguel to Earth-616! At one point, Miguel dropped his Spidey identity when he became worthy enough to lift Mjolnir!
Wade Wilson will probably be alive 100 years from now, but the Deadpool running around Marvel in the year 2099 is actually his daughter, a woman named Warda! Her mother is Shiklah, former Queen of the Undead, so she has Wade's regenerative powers and possibly vampiric powers as well.
She's not a big fan of her dad and spends a good deal of time torturing him while he's chained to a chair. She doesn't have his gift for gab but did inherit her dad's scarred appearance. She's driven to find out the location of her mom and tries to avoid fights with her half-sister, Ellie Camacho.
Cerebro is one of the more famous devices in the Marvel Universe. It is a piece of equipment that enhances the abilities of Charles Xavier to enable him to detect mutants all across the globe. Shakti Haddad named herself Cerebra, after her ability to detect the location of other mutants.
Although she helped create the 2099 version of the X-Men, she allied herself with Doctor Doom when he asked her help to locate the new mutant messiah. During a battle with the alien race Phalanx, she was paralyzed from the waist down and also lost her mutant abilities.
11 MOON KNIGHT
Although originally criticized for being a Batman knock-off, Moon Knight has evolved into complex character that grapples with mental illness as well as being the avatar of vengeance to the Egyptian God named Khonshu. The 2099 version does something new for Moon Knight: the character actually goes to the moon!
In 2099, Attilan, a city on the Moon, is home to Inhumans as well as people from Earth. The protector of this city is Moon Knight, who is no longer Marc Spector but now an unnamed woman. She helps convince the Watcher to let the Fantastic Four stay in 2099!
Raise your hand if you remember Shadowrun, a role-playing game that was cyberpunk meets Lord of the Rings. Players could be magic-wielding orks, cyber-hacking elves and more. John Flamel, also known as Metalscream, was a technomancer, a user of both magic and science.
Although Mademoiselle Strange was the Sorceress Supreme, Metalscream seemed to have more magic items and gear, including the Bone Machine. Using a cyberlink, he could interface with the Machine, which had 3,000 years worth of magic information. S.H.I.E.L.D. technology is eventually used to negate his magic.
9 SORCERESS SUPREME
The Guardians of the Galaxy comic, which took place in the 31st century, depicted the Ancient One as Stephen Strange, who was thousands of years old thanks to magic and a keto diet (we're guessing on the last one). In 2099, the good Doctor is not present.
The Sorcerer Supreme of 2099 is a woman that goes by the name of Strange and is powerful enough to evoke Lovecraftian monsters and ancient spirits. She doesn't have a Cloak of Levitation or the Eye of Agamotto, but Mademoiselle Strange was very helpful in X-Nation's battle against Exodus.
The emergence of mutant super-powers have been compared to youngsters going through puberty. Both situations are awkward and unpredictable. For Timothy Fitzgerald, the emergence of his power was not only awkward, it resulted in the death of his girlfriend, Reiko.
Timothy had the ability to absorb and redirect the energy around him. Later on, a vision of Reiko reveals that he's actually a being made of pure energy. Tim also glowed green after absorbing energy from the powerplants at Halo City.
7 BRIMSTONE LOVE
He may look like he's smiling for a high school photo, have a neck that goes on for days and a name that implies he has an affection for sulfur. However, all should have profound fear for Brimstone Love. Part mutant, part demon, he is the founder and leader of the Theatre of Pain.
The Theatre is a place of profound suffering and puts the Pinhead from Hellraiser to shame. To join the Theatre, you must pass a series of tests, one of which is being buried alive! He partners with La Lunatica, a mutant woman that triggers painful memories in others.
There is a future in which all humans have perished and the Earth is a barren planet. King Thor, old and weathered from battle, decides to re-create life. The first new humans are aptly named Jane and Steve. So if Thor is alive millions of years into the future, where is he in 2099?
The megacorporation Alchemax launched project Aesir, in which Asgardians were recreated through technology. Cecil McAdam is modified to become Thor, and his allegiances are with the company Alchemax, resulting with him fighting against the X-Men and Doom.
5 FANTASTIC FOUR
Whoa, the Fantastic Four are in 2099? Is it a newly formed team taking on the FF mantle, or is it four really old heroes? When the first issue launched in 1996, the Fantastic Four were equally as surprised as readers were when the appeared in the year 2099.
The heroes renewed their battle with Doom, but the biggest challenge was helping humanity after massive flooding occurred all across the planet. It's later revealed that the FF are in fact copies of the original, created by the Watcher!
4 GHOST RIDER
Ghost Rider has always been a powerful, supernatural force in Marvel Comics. He is the unrelenting Spirit of Vengeance, and the demon Zarathos uses his human hosts to avenge those that lost their lives to evil. In the year 2099, vengeance is much more high tech.
Instead of a demon possessing a man, Ghost Rider 2099 is the mind of computer hacker Kenshiro "Zero" Cochrane in the body of a Terminator-like robot. The Cybertek 101 robot had hands that could transform into weapons and instead of a penance stare had deadly eye-beams.
What made 2099 fun was the futuristic take on some of our favorite heroes. Even the Fantastic Four in 2099 were revealed to be impostors. However, when the mutant known as Exodus, who virtually has no equal, came to the pages of X-Nation, it was the real deal.
Bennet du Paris was born in the 1300s and had been transformed by Apocalypse into the mutant Exodus. Similar to Apocalypse, he felt that mutants should be in control of the Earth. He brought that ethos with him to 2099, as well as his almost unmatched mutant ability of telepathy, teleportation and resurrection.
Surprised to see Hulk at the top of the list? Could 2099 Hulk beat his modern day counterpart? Perhaps... but probably not. Hulk 2099 is John Eisenhart, a movie studio executive who is caught in a gamma explosion and is transformed into his time period's Hulk.
Future Hulk has a higher base strength than our Huk, being able to lift 150 tons. Not only did his strength increase with rage, but he also had claws and teeth that could rip through steel. Eisenhart also retained his normal intelligence. Hulk 2099, unlike modern day Hulk, was not immortal, and met his end thanks to S.H.I.E.L.D.
1 DOCTOR DOOM
When Victor Von Doom appeared in Doom 2099 #1, he was a stranger in a strange land. After being missing for decades, Latveria was under the control of a man named Tiger Wylde, who beat him in combat. Doom refused defeat, and after upgrading his armor and his body with nanites, reclaimed his homeland as well as the United States!
Although there was some initial debate, Doom was not a copy or a clone. His impact was so profound that after becoming ruler over all of the 2099 titles, they each had AD (Anno Doom) added to the cover. Dr. Doom is awesome in any and every reality or time period!