The character of Miguel O’Hara—the Spider-Man of 2099—debuted over 30 years ago, kicking off Marvel’s entire 2099 comic line. After a series of mishaps in attempting to recreate the original Spider-Man’s abilities, O’Hara uses his newly-acquired spider-powers to combat the oppressive world of the far-flung future. Since his first appearance, the wall-crawler has become a fan favorite, most recently appearing in a new miniseries and set to appear in the animated film Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse – Part 1, opening this summer.
Miguel’s time in the spotlight continues with Spider-Man 2099: Dark Genesis, written by Steve Orlando (who is currently writing the excellent Scarlet Witch series for Marvel—check out our interview!), who has previously worked with the character in Spider-Man 2099: Exodus. Dark Genesis builds on the work Orlando did in Exodus, with the emergence of the Carnage of 2099 to plague Miguel’s world. How will Miguel contend with the maximum carnage this new wildcard will unleash on the world of 2099? And will anyone come to Spider-Man’s aid?
I spoke with the always kind Steve Orlando recently about the idea behind Spider-Man 2099: Dark Genesis, the old and new(!) 2099 characters we’ll meet in the book, what Spider-Man 2099 means to him, and possible hints to future Marvel 2099 tales. Mr. Orlando obviously has a deep love and respect for any character he tackles, which is always evident, both when talks about the characters and in his work.
FreakSugar: Before we delve into this book, what can you tell us about your history—both as a fan and as a writer—with Spider-Man 2099?
Steve Orlando: I was born in 1985, my friend! Which means 2099 hit right at the time when it might as well have been made in a lab to be cool for me. And Miguel was, and is, the coolest of the cool (in tight competition with the X-Men 2099, but I digress). So I’ve been with Spider-Man 2099 from the beginning, in comics, action figures, the whole bit. And of course, then as a creator 30 years later, I got to be the one to celebrate three decades of Spider-Man 2099 and 2099 in general! A dream come true.
FS: Where do we find Miguel at the beginning of Spider-Man 2099: Dark Genesis #1?
SO: As the series opens, the events of Spider-Man 2099: Exodus, have just wrapped. Spider-Man has taken the richest, most powerful sociopaths in the world, the CABAL, who were above the law and could hurt anyone without consequence…and left them penniless and powerless. Spider-Man’s put the power back in the hands of the people, and the people are angry. They’ve got a right to be! But Carnage is right around the corner to turn that anger into something that’s anything but righteous.
FS: I’m sure you can’t spoil anything, but what can you tell us about the new version of Carnage Miguel will encounter in the miniseries? What was this Carnage’s genesis?
SO: Carnage 2099 is born of the same program that gave us Venom 2099, an Alchemax medical initiative looking to create healing technology from symbiotes. Unfortunately, Carnage was too unstable, consuming not just its targeted cells in the bloodstream but all blood cells. He’s a murder engine that runs on blood like a car runs on gasoline. Carnage 2099 legitimately, literally, needs to kill to survive.
FS: Do you build on your previous work with the 2099 universe in Spider-Man 2099: Exodus in this new miniseries? What other 2099 characters will we encounter?
SO: We do! But we also build on the past 30 years of 2099 as well as, of course, looking to the future. We’ll have the first Daredevil 2099, who appears decades ago and is now out of retirement. We’ll have Punisher 2099, we’ll have Spider-Woman 2099 who just debuted in Exodus, and we’ll have Moon Knight 2099 who built off past 2099 mini events, too. Plus, we’ve got debuts! Blade 2099 most of all, who I’m super shocking excited about.
FS: When trying to dig into his character when writing him, who is Miguel to you? What is the hook for you?
SO: Spider-Man’s always been the hero of the people, but that doesn’t look the same for every person under the mask. For Peter Parker, that’s one thing. For Miguel O’Hara, it’s something else. Miguel has always had an edge, going all the way back to his debut. He’s by no means cruel or cold, but his humor is more jaded, more cynical, even more morbid. And after how often he’s been shocked around by corporations, not to mention the timeline, he’s even more driven than before. Miguel was the victim of corporate experimentation, he was treated like a product. So nothing pisses him off more than seeing someone be dehumanized. That’s when the claws come out. He’d do anything for the little guy-because as he says in the series…under that mask, he’s Nueva York’s neighbor. The citizens have seen his face a thousand times, they just didn’t know it. He’s just like them…and he’ll fight for them too.
FS: Spider-Man 2099 is having a moment this year, with this book and his upcoming appearance in Across the Spider-Verse. What do you the appeal of the character is, both in writing him and as a fan?
SO: First things first—we can’t discount that Miguel has one of the greatest looks in the business. Spider-Man as a concept is incredibly lucky in that there are no less than three perfect costume designs in the lore (and that’s not even counting the original Scarlet Spider design, which Danny Khazem and I can confirm is also perfect). But it’s not just that. Spider-Man 2099’s longevity comes from his character. He’s much more than a look. He’s an unyielding ally that’ll fight for you until the bone is raw. And he’s a victim of the system, very different from Peter Parker, a victim of circumstance. The deck was and is stacked against Miguel, but he never gives up. And to me—that’s one of the most human things of all.
FS: Following up on that, this isn’t the only time the 2099-universe has popped up of late, as it recently featured in Exodus and in Savage Avengers. Do you have any more 2099 tales or characters you’d want to tackle?
SO: 100%, or more! I’ll visit 2099 for as long as I can, there’s no question it’s one of my favorite corners of the Marvel Universe. I’d love to dig back in with X-Men 2099, and I am really into what we built for Blade 2099 so I would be incredibly happy to work with that character again. And that’s not even getting into a chance to work solo with Spider-Man and the devilish ideas we’ve been cooking up for the future.
FS: You’re teaming up with Justin Mason for this project, who co-created the wildly popular Spider-Punk, also appearing in Spider-Verse. What’s the collaborative process been like with Justin and the creative team?
SO: Justin is beyond an asset–this series wouldn’t be anything near what it is without him. Those hands should be insured! Dark Genesis is a story with so many moving parts, it’s a big job and a challenging one, but when he could’ve blinked, Justin blew it out of the water. His designs for our new characters are killers, and his Spider-Man 2099’s iconic! I’ve been very, very, lucky. And it’s been wonderful setting Justin up for images that are, if I might humbly say, all-timers when it comes to 2099.
FS: If you one final pitch for the book, what would it be?
SO: That’s an easy one! Welcome to MAXIMUM CARNAGE 2099, folks—get on board now, and avoid the cutting board later!
Spider-Man 2099: Dark Genesis #1 comes out this week, Wednesday, May 3rd, 2023, from Marvel Comics.
From the official issue description:
FROM THE SHADOW OF EXODUS… COMES THE DARK GENESIS! MIGUEL O’HARA, THE FUTURISTIC SPIDER-MAN OF 2099, MUST FACE A SINISTER CARNAGE LIKE NEVER BEFORE!
As society begins to crumble, SPIDER-MAN 2099 will need all the help he can get – but does the public even want his help? Or do they all just want to watch this world burn? STEVE ORLANDO (SCARLET WITCH, SPIDER-MAN 2099: EXODUS) continues his journey through the future world of 2099, this time paired with bombastic artist JUSTIN MASON (SPIDER-PUNK) – get ready for the debut of the NEW HEROES and VILLAINS that populate the future!