When Spider-Man and the X-Men put on costumes and started fighting crime, they proved they were heroes not due to just their amazing powers, but because they choose to act when most of us do not. Spider-Man's conscience motivated him to use his super abilities for good, while the X-Men showed they could use their mutant powers to fit into and protect a world that fears and hates them. And while these Marvel Comics heroes may have known they were taking steps to battle immediate evil, none of them realized what they were doing was establishing a legacy that would live on ninety years into the future.
In the June one-shots "Timestorm 2009-2099: Spider-Man" (featuring art by "Guardians of the Galaxy's" Wesley Craig) and "Timestorm 2009-2099: X-Men" (featuring art by "Silent War's" Frazier Irving), Spider-Man and Wolverine are transported to the future to witness firsthand the actions of heroes who continue the fight for justice in their names. CBR News spoke with writer Brian Reed about the books.
While they weren't publicly revealed when the main "Timestorm 2009-2099" miniseries was announced, Reed's new one-shots were always part of the writer's plans. "We're revamping the whole Marvel 2099 Universe and we've got four issues to do it in. So the idea was that we would take a moment and kind of go, 'Okay we're still in the story and moving the story forward, but let's look at it from Spider-Man's and Wolverine's more relatable point of view, and then we'll go back into the big, crazy event," Reed told CBR News.
In "Timestorm" #1, in stores now, Spider-Man mysteriously found himself thrown forward in time to a new version of Marvel's dystopian 2099 world. The web-slinger was creeped out and bewildered by what he found. "He sees that everything around him is an advertisement that has Marvel heroes in it and they're all for things that don't seem entirely kosher," Reed explained. "He discovers that he's the spokesperson for a thing called The Honesty Web, which reports what you're doing to everyone on Earth. It's everything from 'I went to the grocery store' to 'Now I'm in the bathroom.' It's presented as being a way that we all know to trust each other because we now know what everyone else is doing.
"We also see that there's a hologram service called Edu Net, which is using Reed Richards's likeness as a teacher for children. So there's this strange phenomenon going on where the corporations of the future have totally appropriated the heroes of the past and in the case of Spider-Man it's not always for good use. So there's some really sketchy things going on."
In "Timestorm" #1, readers met Miguel O'Hara, the teen destined to become the Spider-Man of 2099, and they'll learn more about him in the new one-shot. "He's a teenager with the nerdy streak that I feel all Spider-Men need, and he's going to be learning that there's this name Spider-Man and it means something and the companies have taken it and twisted it," Reed explained. "The big thing is when we see him go, 'Hey! No, this doesn't belong to you!'"
O'Hara will get a chance to really experience what it means to be Spider-Man when he and Peter Parker meet face-to-face in "Timestorm: Spider-Man." "There is a future version of another Marvel character that makes their debut in this one-shot," the writer hinted.
Instead of being greeted by the same high-tech cityscape that unnerved Spider-Man, Wolverine found himself in a bleak post apocalyptic wasteland of a future, overrun by emerald monsters. "The really cool thing with Wolverine is that he's the guy who's seen everything. He's already over a hundred years old so he's really kind of unphased by progress at this point," Reed said. "And to suddenly throw him into the wastelands of Washington D.C. that are overrun with the 2099 versions of the Hulk is actually something that phases him!
"We're also giving him a chance to see that something does come out of the mutant race; where they're at right now in life isn't the end," Reed continued. "It's like the ultimate cynic getting the chance to see this possible sliver of hope. Even though the rest of the future really sucks, at least this good thing is coming out of it...maybe."
Exploring the legacy of the X-Men also means exploring the ruins of what was once the United States' capital. "It's not explained but in 'Timestorm' #1 we see that it's overrun with Hulks. That's Hulks plural and there are hundreds," Reed said. "And as the story goes on we get bits and pieces told to us about what happened there and how the wastelands came to be. When Wolverine gets there he finds the X-Men, or what's going to become the X-Men, are situated just north of Washington D.C. and doing their best to keep the Hulks contained in D.C. and keep them from coming north into Baltimore, which is just starting to get resettled after the 'Dark Ages' happened. And of course they want to keep them from going further North into New York. Nobody knows that this group is out there keeping everyone safe."
The original "X-Men: 2099" title from the '90s featured a lineup of different mutant characters. A new version of Cerebra made her debut in "Timestorm" #1 and Reed revealed that several more updated cast members from the original series will make their debut in "Timestorm: X-Men."
Though both written by Brian Reed, "Timestorm: Spider-Man" and "Timestorm: X-Men" are two distinctly different books. "The Spider-Man story takes place entirely in New York and is paced and written like a Spider-Man story with quirky humor and big action moments," Reed said. "The Wolverine story with the X-Men is out in the wastelands of Maryland and it's about facing this Hulk army and trying to save people's lives even though you're the freaks that scare everyone at the same time."
Wesley Craig and Frazier Irving bring the one-shots to life, and Brian Reed's a big fan of their work. "Wes brings some amazing things to his book," Reed remarked. "He sent me the layouts for the first few pages of the Spider-Man book and I'd never been so excited over a layout. For his first splash page he picked this incredible camera angle and this great way to lay out the credits.
"Frazier is doing a wonderful job breathing life into the updated X-Men 2099 crew. We get to see the X-Men fighting Hulks in the wastelands of Baltimore, and Frazier is doing that thing great artists do -- drawing the scene better than I imagined it."
While "Timestorm 2009/2099: Spider-Man" and "Timestorm 2009/2099: X-Men" are part of the larger "Timestorm" saga, Brian Reed knows there are some readers who are just interested in the individual one-shots and is doing his best to make them as accessible as possible. "There is a lot of stuff that's trailing in, like the Spider-Man book is really where we see Miguel O'Hara come into being Spider-Man. We introduce him in the 'Timestorm' miniseries and that's where we show him get his powers but this is the moment where he's putting on the costume," Reed explained. "So yeah you're going to be able to read the one-shots and enjoy them on their own but you'll get so much more out of them if you're reading the 'Timestorm' miniseries."
"Timestorm 2009-2099" #1 on sale now. "Timestorm 2009-2099: Spider-Man" and "Timestorm 2009-2099: X-Men" one-shots go on sale in June from Marvel Comics.