Warning: Minor SPOILERS for Amazing Spider-Man #34
To celebrate the 80th year of Marvel Comics, the comic book publisher is thinking about the future -- another 80 years down the road, to a time when Marvel 2099 will actually become 'the world outside your window.' The event has officially begun now that Spider-Man 2099 Miguel O'Hara has traveled back to present day Marvel. But he's not on a vacation: he's come for help in saving the future from total chaos... and confirmed the identity of the future Captain America, too.
As much as fans may hate to picture it, there will come a time when even the super-soldier serum won't be able to prevent Steve Rogers' death. Fans of the Avengers movies watched that very scene play out in Endgame, where the most obvious question was posed to movie audiences: who will become Captain America AFTER Steve? The MCU may not have answered that riddle, but in the comic people have been pondering the question far longer -- and come up with several answers. The future Marvel 2099 universe had its own answer, but now that Spider-Man 2099 has started the event, the future identity of Captain America has changed in one crucial way. No longer is Roberta Mendez the Captain America of a future, but the one bound to take the role in the future of Marvel's main universe.
The reasons that Miguel O’Hara has returned from the future for help in protecting it aren't totally clear (and that's the story likely to be unraveled in the coming weeks). But in Marvel's official preview, a new vision of Miguel's future is offered. Granted, it's beginning to grow fuzzier and fuzzier the longer he stays in our present day. But the vision of Captain America is clear enough for anyone to make out. Take a look:
The woman in the Captain America 2099 suit is Roberta Mendez, who has been established as the successor to Steve Rogers in the possible 2099 future. But things are different now, thanks to Amazing Spider-Man editor Nick Lowe. As part of the official launch trailer for Marvel 2099, Lowe emphasized the meaning of this event's return by stating Miguel's reality is more than just a "possible" future:
The story is huge! And like a Spider-Man story should be, also really small, and about Peter Parker and his life, and everything that's going on.This isn’t an alternate timeline! This isn’t a What 'If?'…! This is the future of the Marvel Universe!
There's really only one way to take Lowe's comments, since using the term "the Marvel Universe" in this context would refer to Marvel's main, '616' Universe. Longtime fans know that in a different timeline -- Earth-15061 -- Danielle Cage becomes the future Captain America, and prior to this story the 2099 future was designated as Earth-23291. It's unclear if that will be altered to follow the spirit, if not the literal words of Lowe's comment. But fans now know: Robert isn't just a possible Captain America, but the heroine in the role in "the future of the Marvel Universe!"
Amazing Spider-Man #34 will be available at your local comic book shop on November 20th, 2019.