Spider-Man 2099 returns in May and brings Marvels alt-future timeline with him

Just as Peter Parker turns 60 in 2022, Spider-Man 2099 celebrates his own 30th anniversary, with the Spider-Man of the future returning to prominence along with the whole world-setting he inspired with Spider-Man: Exodus, a five-issue limited series that kicks off with the Spider-Man 2099: Exodus – Alpha #1 special, followed by five issues of the main series Spider-Man 2099: Exodus, which we guess makes it a six-issue series. 

The entire story is written by Steve Orlando, with help from artists Paul Fry, David Wachter, Marco Castiello, Ze Carlos, Alessandro Miracola, and Kim Jacinto that will introduce some old 2099 favorites along with new 2099 characters like Winter Soldier 2099.

Newsarama recently got a chance to ask Orlando questions like what sets Miguel O’Hara, the Spider-Man of 2099, apart from Peter Parker? And how Exodus will lead to a revival of the 2099 setting and characters. 

Along with Orlando’s insight into the return of Spider-Man 2099, we’ve got some brand new interior pages from Spider-Man: Exodus – Alpha #1 by artist Paul Fry to whet your appetite before its May 4 release.

Spider-Man 2099: Exodus - Alpha #1

(Image credit: Marvel Comics)

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Newsarama: Steve, Spider-Man 2099 has been hanging around for the last several years, including in the present-day Marvel Universe. But Exodus feels like a full-on re-embrace of not only the character but the whole 2099 concept, including the larger universe. Would that be a fair assumption?

Steve Orlando: It would certainly be fair! We aim to not just celebrate Spider-Man 2099, celebrate Miguel O’Hara…but to celebrate all the great ideas and creations that 2099 gave birth to. And in the tradition of the initial launch, and celebrations since, we want to push the line into the future. 

This is a new era for 2099, and by the end of the series, the world’s entire power structure has been changed, all thanks to one little spider. We’re lauding what came before, and launching what comes next.

So, here we go! In the words of a good and saintly friend of mine…Boom.

Nrama: Speaking of what comes next, while you seem to be embracing the existing 2009 concept, Exodus appears like it’ll be introducing a lot of new 2099 concepts rather than the original characters and teams outside of Miguel. Would that also be on the money? If so, will familiar 2099 characters be returning as well?

Orlando: To me, it’s not 2099 if it’s not looking ahead, if it’s not new. And yes! There’ll be a lot of that. But that’s not all we’re doing. You’ll see a lot of familiar 2099 faces, from nearly every version of this future timeline we’ve seen before. We’re doing our best to give love to every creators’ take in the past 30 years. Provided they haven’t had, like, an on-panel death, most folks will be appearing in some way or form, and those that don’t? Well, there’s always the future…

But the short answer is – a lot of new! And a lot of classic…all in the same package! Or in the case of the X-Men, all in the same roster!

Spider-Man 2099: Exodus - Alpha #1

(Image credit: Marvel Comics)

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Nrama: What’s the draw for you here, is it the nostalgia of the old concept, or just the fun of familiar-but futuristic takes on established Marvel characters? 

Orlando: It would be a lie to say nostalgia didn’t play a role – after all, X-Men 2099 and Spider-Man 2099 are both things I collected in singles and action figures! But nostalgia’s not a story, and it’s not a way forward. So for me, the real appeal is the core concept of what 2099 was then and is now: a neon-soaked cyberpunk vision of what tomorrow might be like, based on our today. The real appeal for me was to return to this world, one that was shockingly ahead of its time 30 years ago and set it up for new heights. 

And as a fun story – in 2001, when I was already trying to break into comics, Grant Morrison was leading their reinvention of the X-Men in New X-Men, along with artists like Frank Quitely, the late JP Leon, Phil Jimenez, Igor Kordey and more. And at the time, I thought that the only way I might get to pitch X-Men while Grant was on, was to pitch a new take on a whole different era…2099! Now, more than 20 years after that perhaps foolish high school dream…here I am, folks! 

Nrama: While ahead of its time, 2099 is a 30-year old concept, and somewhat dubious in popularity in its own time. For those possible newbies, what can you do to explain the larger concept to readers and prime them for Exodus: Alpha #1? 

Orlando: For folks coming in for their first visit to the future, this is, to me, the preeminent cyberpunk vision of the Marvel Universe. This is Marvel by way of Blade Runner and Blade Runner 2049. And that’s an apt description, as we have similar goals to the sequel: welcome readers of the original line, tell a story that also welcomes folks who are just coming in. And in the end, make something resonant for both. 

Spider-Man 2099: Exodus - Alpha #1

(Image credit: Marvel Comics)

The Spider-Man of a dark neon tomorrow, the X-Men of a dark neon tomorrow, and so much more. Faces new and old, in new roles. Names new and old, with new faces behind them…and some brand new folks you’ve never met before in any way. 

Nrama: Switching gears a little bit, when a character like Miguel is about to be widely introduced to mainstream audiences, in this case the Oscar Isaac-voiced animated version in Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse later this year, does that filter down into your approach or what Marvel asks you to do? Or do you and your editors have freehand just to tell a story to coincide with the character getting the spotlight?

Orlando: We’re here to celebrate Miguel, just like Across the Spider-Verse will! And I’ve got no question the film will do an amazing job. And we’ve got to do the same, but we’ve got to do the same by taking advantage of all the unique things you can do in a comic. We’ve got to create an incredible comic celebration for Miguel, and the world of 2099. And the movie’s going to be doing the same with everything that makes animation great.

And with that in mind, we’ve got to tell the best story possible, always. The spotlights will coincide, but we’ll all do our best work by staying true to Miguel and his world, as they work best in our own mediums. And in the case of the comics, you’re all getting something truly special. The artists working on this series are doing the work of their careers, across the board. I’ve never seen such unique takes on 2099’s tomorrow. Some of the issues are almost like a 2000 AD takeover of Marvel – I can’t wait for you all to see them!

Nrama: Who or what in addition to Miguel are you having the most fun writing? Is there a character you particularly think readers will gravitate to? 

I don’t think it’s a secret that I’m out of this world hyped for everyone to meet and re-meet the X-Men of 2099. The X-Men focused issue is just mind-blowing for me to watch come to life under Kim Jacinto. And it would be hard to pick a fave! But since you asked, I’ve become pretty enamored with the Cyclops, Phoenix, and Northstar of 2099.

And that’s not even getting into the incredible world Ze Carlos visualized for Moon Knight 2099…

Spider-Man 2099: Exodus - Alpha #1

(Image credit: Marvel Comics)

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Nrama: Sticking with Miguel for a moment, Marvel now has a fully-populated world of Spider characters including two (or three) Spider-Man at any one given time. Why is Miguel worth readers’ time and attention?

Orlando: Miguel, like any of the other Spider-Men or Spider-Characters, has his own unique point of view – he’s not just a badass in a lit costume! I think in a lot of ways, Miguel is the premier champion of the little guy, the everyday people on the street, as far as Spider-Men go. 

Of course, if you’re wearing a spider, you’re protecting people on the street. But Miguel’s origin as an unwitting test subject and victim of corporate greed might just make him the most vibrant and vigilant of all the friendly Spider-Men patrolling the neighborhoods. Miguel knows what it’s like to be used and held down by those in power, and while he’s got a sense of humor, of course, I think he’s even more dedicated to putting a fear of spiders into those that hold us down. 

Miguel passionately fights for those who have less, he’s one of us, and he’ll put his life on the line for any of us.

But if you’re one of the hands punching down on people and their pursuit of happiness…Miguel might be the scariest mothershocker you’ll ever meet.

Nrama: Okay, last shot Steve. Readers should give Spider-Man 2099: Exodus – Alpha #1 a look in May because..?

Orlando: The Spider-Man of tomorrow comes face to face with one of the greatest Spider-Villains of any era! And to beat the unbeatable, he and the future’s most amazing friends will have to attack and unseat the deities of 2099 on the way. But when the people of Nueva York are in danger, when the people of the world are held down, Miguel and an army of the future’s greatest heroes are going to prove even gods should be afraid of spiders.

Spider-Man 2099 ranks among the best Spider-Mans in the entire Marvel Multiverse.

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