Amazing Spider-Friends is a twice-monthly column, written by contributor Tyler Barlass, that highlights the rich and complex relationships that Spider-Man has built with just about every character in the Marvel Universe through the years.
18 years after his title was cancelled, the wall-crawler of tomorrow, Spider-Man 2099 made an intriguing (though not necessarily surprising) return to the Marvel Universe in last year’s Superior Spider-Man #17. You might have noticed during your reading of that particular issue, that Spider-Man 2099 alluded to the fact that this wasn’t the first time that the present day Spider-Man met up with the Spider-Man of the future. Way back in 1995, Peter Parker and Miguel O’Hara met for the first time in the aptly titled Spider-Man 2099 Meets Spider-Man. With Spidey 2099 seemingly about to play a big role in the upcoming end game of the Superior Spider-Man saga, I figured this would be as good a time as any to take a look at how O’Hara and the original web-head’s fates have intertwined throughout the years.
First introduced in 1993, Spider-Man 2099 was a creation of artist Rick Leonardi and writer Peter David. Between Leonardi’s impressive penciling and stylish costume design and David’s witty and intelligent writing, this was a book that stood out amongst the hordes of other gimmicky concepts that came out of the ‘90s (the 1990’s that is). Miguel O’Hara is introduced as a smart, yet intensely private scientist working for the mega-corporation known as Alchemax. After being blackmailed by Alchemax president Tyler Stone, who tricked him into taking an illegal habit forming drug, Miguel decided to use a genetic altering invention on himself so that he could be free of his new addiction. One of O’Hara’s rivals sabotaged the procedure though by splicing Miguel’s DNA with that of a spider. Much like Peter Parker’s encounter with a radioactive Spider a century prior, Miguel’s gene altering procedure gave him all the powers of an arachnid. Eventually, Miguel used his new powers to take on the greed and corruption that permeated throughout the dystopian future that the Marvel Universe had become.
In the midst of David and Leonardi’s run on Spider-Man 2099, the first ever meeting between the Spider-Man of the regular time line and the Spider-Man of the future took place in a one-shot that came out in 1995. Having mysteriously swapped places, Parker and O’Hara each set out to search for clues while transplanted in time. It’s eventually discovered that Alchemax and another corporation based in modern time were both testing experiments that not only caused the two heroes to travel through time, but it was also poised to wipe out all of the heroes of the heroic age and set into motion the events that would cause the world to resemble that in which O’Hara inherits in 2099. After meeting in a place between time and space, Spider-Man 2099 and regular old Spider-Man travel farther into the future and eventually team-up for the first time when a Hobgoblin from 2211 attacks both heroes. After threatening to erase both Spider-Men from the annals of time with a “ret-con bomb,” this future Hobgoblin is stopped by the Spider-Man of 2211 and somehow both Peter and Miguel are transported back to their original times.
After 46 issues, a change in the editorial and creative teams led to the cancellation of Spider-Man 2099. Though some loose threads would be wrapped up in future stories and Miguel would make some cameo appearances in various Marvel books through the years, the true return of Spider-Man 2099 would not occur until Miguel was again transported into the future to save the life of Tiberius Stone (who turns out to be Miguel O’Hara’s grandfather). Unlike their previous meeting, the pompous Doc Ock, who was now wearing the webs, instigated a fight with his future counterpart. The fight came to an end when Stone used his spider sense jammer to throw Ock off his game (nearly killing little Normie Osborn in the fracas). Eventually though, after realizing that Horizon Labs is destined to be destroyed by the meddling of Stone, Ock and O’Hara put their differences aside to try and save Horizon and the lives of everyone in it. After Ock was unable to stop the impending explosion, O’Hara made a tough decision to save his grandfather (who of course would go on to father Tyler Stone whom heralded in the beginning of the dystopian mega-corp future). Immediately after saving Tiberus, Tyler destroyed the time traveling machine that sent Miguel in to the past, ultimately stranding Spider-Man 2099 in the year 2013.
Leading up to “Goblin Nation” (the current Superior Spider-Man arc that features yet another team-up between Octavius and O’Hara), Miguel has settled into his new life of being stuck in the past. In an effort to watch over his scheming grandfather, Miguel has joined the staff at Alchemax under the alias Michael O’Mara. There are even rumors floating around that Spider-Man 2099 may be getting his own book as well. For a character that spent the better half of the last couple decades in limbo, Spider-Man 2099’s future as a player in the mainstream Marvel Universe is as bright as ever.