On sale now, the first issue of the new Spider-Man 2099 series by writer Peter David, artist Will Sliney and colorist Antonio Fabela is the very definition of a light comic. It's loaded with jokes and goofy asides -- most of them pretty funny. There's a throwaway villain. The colors are bright and appealing. It's mostly a really enjoyable read.

Until the one moment that bothered the hell out of me. Expect some spoilers below.

The villain in this comic is an adjuster from the Temporal Oversight Team Eliminating Mistakes, or TOTEM, which is one of those great superhero comics acronyms. He's a character you see a lot in science fiction, the time cop who has to fix problems with a timeline. It's never really clear whether he's a robot or a human in a mechanical suit -- all we know is that he's from a further future than even Spider-Man 2099 Miguel O'Hara is -- but it's made pretty clear that he's a sentient being that can make decisions for himself and determine whether someone looks good in a tuxedo. He's also got a moral code. A weird one that depends on whether people have or will have children that will impact human life -- otherwise he kills them -- but a code nonetheless.

And Spider-Man just kills him. Not in a "I don't have to save you" way either. Spider-Man ensures the guy dies, with purpose.

Now look, I know Spider-Man 2099 is not Peter Parker. In past comics starring the character, he has killed, or at least allowed characters to die. And I'm not doubting that Peter David is fully aware of the morality of a character he co-created back in 1992. And it's absolutely a situation that seems to be a kill-or-be-killed thing. But superheroes get out of those jams all the time, and the moment where Spider-Man kills the TOTEM adjuster just brings the fun, light story the book is telling to a grinding halt. It never recovers.

It's a shame, too, because, like I said, it's a fun read up to that point. Fabela's colors really pop and Sliney's art, while it can feel a bit static and posed at times, particularly in the backgrounds, is mostly very expressive, dynamic and clean. It's a nice approach to a futuristic character living in the current day. It feels like a futuristic present, if that makes sense.

 

 

And in some ways it's refreshing to read a first issue that doesn't seem to be concerned with coming out of the gate with a huge mission statement. This issue is more or less a self-contained story, with a few ties to previous Spider-Man 2099 appearances in Amazing Spider-Man and Superior Spider-Man and a little cliffhanger that teases what Miguel O'Hara's life may become. That's all it is. No massive start to a 12-part story, no "everything will change" sensationalism. Just a sometimes-silly yarn in which a future cop chases a future Spider-Man around an office building.

If it hadn't been for that one thing, Spider-Man 2099 #1 would have been a complete winner.