It's time to party like it's 2099 - Marvel Comics' November event will relaunch the Marvel 2099 universe. In 1992, Stan Lee and John Byrne attempted to collaborate on a new comic book called Ravage 2099, exploring the future of the Marvel Universe. The project fell through, but Lee was still enthusiastic about the idea, and Marvel's editors agreed.
The Marvel 2099 range was set in a high-tech dystopian future bereft of superheroes, and it allowed veteran comic book writers to create a new world populated by distorted versions of classic characters. The star of the show was Miguel O'Hara, aka Spider-Man 2099, who was created and written by Peter David. Although it's been years since Marvel really focused on the 2099 timeline, Miguel has remained important, and he even briefly appeared in animated form in Sony's Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse.
Marvel's November solicitations (via CBR) reveal that they're essentially relaunching the 2099 universe, placing it at the center of an epic event that will kick off in Amazing Spider-Man #33. Spider-Man 2099 has settled down in the present day, but somehow his decisions are changing the future, risking the entire timeline. The covers and solicits tease a lot of key returns, including Doom 2099, Ghost Rider 2099, the X-Men 2099, and Hulk 2099. According to Marvel, the story will be told running through the following issues:
- Amazing Spider-Man #33
- 2099 Alpha #1
- Amazing Spider-Man #34
- Amazing Spider-Man #35
- 2099 Omega #1
The event is set to launch a number of new series, including - but not necessarily limited to - Fantastic Four 2099, Punisher 2099, a new Spider-Man 2099, Ghost Rider 2099, Doom 2099, and Venom 2099. Official covers feature a number of characters who aren't mentioned in the solicits, including Hulk 2099, Thor 2099, and members of classic incarnations of the X-Men 2099. These may just be teaser covers to appeal to nostalgia, but it's also quite possible more books will be launched in future.
It looks as though Doctor Doom will stand at the center of the new "2099" event. He was actually one of the heroes of Marvel 2099, a would-be benevolent dictator who was attempting to save the Earth. According to the solicits, Doom now seems to be working to preserve the entire timeline - and Spider-Man 2099 may well be an obstacle to that goal.
The original Marvel 2099 range was relatively short-lived, falling apart when Marvel Comics fired editor Joey Cavalieri and a number of writers quit in protest. For all that's the case, though, comic book readers have always remembered Marvel 2099 with fondness. Marvel's current strategy appears to be to capitalize on nostalgia, and as a result it makes sense for the publisher to return to an idea that still has a lot of fans.