Amazing Spider-Man #34 Creates A Wall-Crawling International Incident

by James Ferguson

Miguel O’Hara, the Spider-Man from the year 2099 is in our present searching for Peter Parker, the Spider-Man of 2019. The fate of the future is at stake, so what does this have to do with Dr. Doom? The Latverian tyrant has just been shot at the United Nations so what better place for these plot threads to come together?

Amazing Spider-Man #34 continues to expand the 2099 event that sort of started in the previous issue. I have to say, as much as I enjoy Spider-Man 2099, this isn’t quite coming together. It feels shoehorned into this series where it could have read just as easily as a separate stand-alone story. Why does it have to get into Amazing Spider-Man, detracting from all the narratives writer Nick Spencer has been seeding along the way?

The answer to that might be in Peter’s classmate Jamie’s invention that can look into the multiverse for possible answers from the future. This currently small and harmless device could spiral out of control and destroy time itself. We saw a similar idea in Amazing Spider-Man once before, but it was a door that could look into tomorrow. That ended badly too.

I understand Doom’s potential involvement in the 2099 event, but he feels rather out of place in Amazing Spider-Man. Of all the heroes and law enforcement in New York City, why is Spider-Man the only one to show up to the United Nations when a politician is shot? Doesn’t that seem a little weird? Plus, he just jumps right into it to check things out.

In any case, artist Patrick Gleason proves that he’s a natural Spider-Man artist with some absolutely brilliant work in this issue. I love how expressive he makes the eyes in the costume. This is something that I feel was used a lot years ago and went away somewhere along the line so I’m glad to see it return. They don’t squint into slits or anything. It’s more about how large they already are and they get bigger in moments of surprise.

Contrast this with Miguel’s costume, which is sleeker and just plain cool. The two move effortlessly through the air with…well…spider-like agility. There’s a great effect when Miguel sort of phases out of our timeline. His body starts to shimmer, like he’s seen through water.

Colorists Matthew Wilson, Dee Cunniffe, and Chris O’Halloran all contributed work to Amazing Spider-Man #34, but I don’t know who did what pages as the comic isn’t credited that way. I can say that each scene has a unique palette. The 2099 pages are darker and far more grim than those set in the present day. The scenes at the United Nations are more serious, with flashing lights that create an added intensity.

Speaking of intensity, when the action heats up at the UN, letterer Joe Caramagna matches up to it with bigger fonts that underscore the severity of the situation. You don’t hop on a tyrant’s dead body without a few people screaming and yelling.

From the looks of things, the 2099 event is just getting started. It will spin out into some one-shot tie-ins exploring the future of the Marvel Universe. What this all has to do with Peter Parker is still a question mark. I think my frustration over this arc has to do with the awesome threads that were really heating up, like Kindred, who is presumably still lurking in the shadows waiting for his time to strike. I’m anxious to get back to that storyline so this feels more like a distraction than anything else.

Amazing Spider-Man #34 from Marvel Comics is currently available at your local comic shop and digitally through ComiXology and Amazon Kindle.

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