A Clunky Detour Comes To An End In Amazing Spider-Man #36

by James Ferguson

Spider-Man is in over his head as Doctor Doom has taken over New York City, searching for the man who tried to assassinate him. Fortunately, Spidey is armed with the Clairvoyant, a device made by a classmate that scans the Multiverse to predict the future. What do you do when every option could lead to certain death? Well, I guess he has to roll the dice.
The 2099 event sort of comes to a close in Amazing Spider-Man #36, although it’s not clear how

all this really ties into the future aside from the Clairvoyant angle. While there’s a decent enough story in here, it feels like a distraction that ultimately didn’t go anywhere. There’s some political intrigue between Symkaria and Latveria, but that feels rather out of place in this book. How this will affect Spider-Man in the future or Miguel O’Hara, the Spider-Man of the future, isn’t really clear just yet. All in all, for something that was billed as a 2099 event, it was very light on the 2099.
In any case, we do see Spider-Man doing some of his best thinking work. Earlier in this arc I commented how Peter Parker seemed to be three steps behind everyone else. Now he’s literally ahead of everyone since he can see the future. He has to weigh every option searching for the best possible outcome, even if that comes at great personal risk to himself. Once again, he proves what it means to be a hero by doing what is the best thing for everyone, not himself.

This is encapsulated well when he comes face-to-face with Doom. Letterer Joe Caramagna brings out the pain and desperation in Parker’s voice with some roughly shaped word balloons. It’s hard to speak when you have an iron gauntlet wrapped around your throat, but the wall-crawler pushes the words out because of what’s on the line.
There’s a lot of doom and gloom in Amazing Spider-Man #36. Colorist Steve Firchow casts a foreboding tone over the whole issue that works well with the menacing Doombots holding the city hostage. The sky is often shown in reds and oranges, like it’s on fire. When Doom finally relents, the city can rest so we return to the cool blues of the evening.

Speaking of Doom relenting, writer Nick Spencer plays with the man’s pride. Although he can’t be openly manipulated, his enemies can use this to their advantage. This is a very interesting tactic in the whole political thriller angle of this arc. It forces Doom to make a choice of either admitting that he’s been had or be seen as the villain. Which option do you think he went with?
Artist Oscar Bazaldua’s work doesn’t quite match up to the level of intensity the story brings. It often feels sketch-like or unfinished with some basic forms covered, but light on the details. Limbs are shown in odd angles or shrink down to spaghetti-like lines by the fingers and toes. There’s not a lot in the way of texture, which makes many of the characters look flat.

Now that this 2099 tie-in is over, I’m hoping we can get back to Kindred and some of the other plot threads that Spencer has had dangling out there in the pages of Amazing Spider-Man. This arc was a clunky detour that took away a lot of momentum so I’m eager to see it built back up as we head into the new year.
Amazing Spider-Man #36 from Marvel Comics is currently available at your local comic shop and digitally through ComiXology and Amazon Kindle.

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