ADVANCED REVIEW: ‘Spider-Man 2099: Exodus,’ Issue #1

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Spider-Man 2099: Exodus #1

Spider-Man 2099: Exodus #1 is published by Marvel Comics, written by Steve Orlando, with art by Dave Watcher, colors by Carlos Lopez, and letters by Clayton Cowles. In his continuing efforts to keep the newly created Celestial Garden out of the hands of Norman Osborn’s Cabal, Spider-Man has acquired the help of the last Winter Soldier. But before the job can be completed, the Winter Soldier has some unfinished business to clean up.

One of the biggest draws to alternate timeline/universe stories is getting to see new spins on our favorite characters. It’s getting to see what a creative person does with a familiar concept in an entirely new space and time. To this end, Spider-Man 2099: Exodus #1 delivers in spades as it introduces readers to the 2099 version of the Winter Soldier. In regards to the larger narrative that the “Exodus” storyline is setting up, that’s a little less substantial. Let’s get into it.

With only brief cameos by Spider-Man and Ghost Rider, this book is purely about the Winter Soldier. This new bearer of the title originally worn by Bucky Barnes is everything I look for in an alternate version of a character. She carries all the general mood and weight of the original, an origin story in line with her forbearer, and yet has a personality all her own. She isn’t just Bucky 2.0. Armed with her Winter’s Song, this version of the character has spent her life searching for what she has lost while also getting back at those who betrayed her. Orlando does a fantastic job of bringing a lot of personality and development to this new character. There is, however, a cost.

Spider-Man 2099: Exodus #1 has virtually nothing to do with the larger Celestial Garden storyline. To get the Winter Soldier’s help, Ghost Rider gives information pertaining to her past. The vast majority of this issue follows the Winter Soldier as she pursues that information and what it ultimately yields for the character. Only once all this has been sorted out, in the last couple pages, does the book quickly address the issue the Winter Soldier was hired for.

It feels like the story of Spider-Man 2099: Exodus #1 should’ve been a far more significant look at the events that are hastily laid out in the final pages, with the book’s prime story put in a side story one-shot. That way, readers interested in the character could get the information rather than having it be focused on at the expense of the larger narrative.

The visuals throughout this book deliver the world of 2099 wonderfully. I love how Watcher crafts the future versions of Winter Soldier and another new/familiar face. The action is done well, and the setting vibes perfectly with the characters that inhabit them. The colors further the energy and tone of the book beautifully. This is especially true for the backgrounds. Some of the key moments in this story forego whatever would normally be going on in the background of the panels for splash colors. These colors work beautifully to boost the emotion and energy of the moments they are highlighting.

Lastly, we have the lettering. While I love big sound effects that add pop to the events of the panels, there is a rule they need to follow. They should always augment the art. There are art styles where huge, comic-style lettering splashing a panel feels right at home. Artists like Chris Bachalo or Humberto Ramos have more over-the-top approachs to comic art, allowing for such lettering effects to blend in comfortably with the book. Unfortunately, I don’t think Watcher’s art style is one of them. While I appreciate what Cowles attempts to bring to the story with the vibrant and noticeable sound effects design, it clashes too much with the panels for me.

Where the dialogue is concerned, however, Cowles is his usual flawless self. The dialogue is placed perfectly to allow the reader to follow the narrative easily.

When all is said and done, Spider-Man 2099: Exodus #1 delivers a great new character to the 2099 ‘verse, even if it does little for the larger narrative of the series. From what Orlando writes here, I would be interested to see this version of The Winter Soldier back again.

Spider-Man 2099: Exodus #1 is available May 25th wherever comics are sold.


Spider-Man 2099: Exodus #1
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TL;DR

When all is said and done, Spider-Man 2099: Exodus #1 delivers a great new character to the 2099 ‘verse, even if it does little for the larger narrative of the series. From what Orlando writes here, I would be interested to see this version of The Winter Soldier back again.