ARANA AND SPIDER-MAN 2099: DARK TOMORROW by Alex Segura
Credit: Disney Publishing Worldwide, Marvel Press
Welcome to a very special edition of Parlay Points, the comic book review blog to the ODPH Podcast on Nerd Initiative!
For this entry, we are checking out a brand new novel from Disney Publishing Worldwide and Marvel Press that fans of a few notable characters in the Spider-Man mythos are featured in. The timing couldn’t be more perfect with the new “Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse” gearing up to hit theatres on June 2nd with one of these characters is featured prominently in the animated film. ARAÑA AND SPIDER-MAN 2099: DARK TOMORROW by Alex Segura, who fans know from such great stories as The Black Ghost, Blood Oath, Poe Dameron: Free Fall, and the Anthony Award–winning Secret Identity just to name a few. Dark Tomorrow features Anya Corazon who fans know as Araña and Miguel O’Hara aka Spider-Man 2099 on an adventure that stretches throughout the timestream.
Both of these characters have been around the Marvel COMICS Universe for a while now and have built up a very solid fan base. Araña made her debut in the pages of Amazing Fantasy #1 in 2004. From there, she has impacted a few Spider-Man events and even assumed the mantle of Spider-Girl for her own solo series. Miguel O’Hara led the charge in 1992 of welcoming comic fans to the 2099 universe as “Spider-Man 2099”. Since then, he has been a fixture in the comics scene by popping back in from time to time into the present day timeline. Pairing them together for the first time has fans waiting to see how they work together while facing more challenges than just the rogues of Spider-Man.
DARK TOMORROW is scheduled to drop on May 2nd. I was honored to receive an advance copy so here is my SPOILER FREE review of the unlikely pairing of two popular characters in the Spider-Verse.
*** SPOILER FREE WARNING ***
The story kicks off with a great introduction into Araña as she handles a lesser-tier threat. Readers get a great introduction in how she deals with the threat. From here, Anya Corazon’s life and relationships come front and center all while trying to juggle life at Milton Summer High School located in Fort Greene, Brooklyn. Segura paints a vivid picture of how Anya is coping with school and seeing how others react to her other life in her role as a super hero. A great aspect of the story is her interactions with Gilberto, her caring father. He looks out for the best interest of his daughter but doesn’t know about her superhero life. This expands further when fate brings her into contact with a very special figure named Miguel Legar who opens her world to secrets that have a big impact on her life. It sends the story into a new phase as the focus dives in on the young hero growing in her role with guidance until tragedy strikes.
A major threat arrives on the scene (that Spider-Man fans should definitely know) and is amplified even more when Anya must deal with losing someone who has become a mentor to her. Being unprepared for what’s coming is an overwhelming feeling of doubt that Segura challenges Anya with in the writing. It is an easy connection to readers who have witnessed Anya’s beginning as a hero. Can she find a win where she is adrift on what to do next. All the while, the looming presence of a dangerous Spider-Man foe is haunting Anya. The theme shifts to can Anya triumph over tragedy or is she now destined to fail?
Anya doesn’t have time to process as an event happens involving an object known as El Obelisco. The object becomes the catalyst for an even bigger mystery with Anya is in the middle. Where it leads is to a place she would never expect: Nueva York and home to someone that might be able to help Anya in her time of need: Miguel O’Hara!
Readers are given a great backstory on Miguel’s current state. Segura brings out many emotions from Miguel that bear some similarities with Anya. The experience factor doesn’t matter here. The challenge is what makes the hero move forward when they feel they can’t. Elements of the past follow Anya to this new era. It adds into the weight of the desperation of the heroes’ feelings, especially when a connection is made that shakes both heroes.
Heading into the final act, Segura brings all the major themes to a head. Anya and Miguel’s stories depicted here has been grounded with the themes of life after loss respectively. It brings out the best in both as they rediscover what it means to be a hero. There is also a great surprise presence that fans will be excited to see added to the mix. The conflict resolution plays out perfectly to reflect why the overall challenges felt so grave. It lives up to the motto made famous by Ben Parker way back when: “With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility.” The fallout concludes a fantastic story bringing into focus what Segura drives home with this tale. Readers will be very excited to pick this book up.
BREAKDOWN: Segura crafts an excellent take on this unique pairing of heroes and delivers on a tale for the ages. Both main heroes are given an ample amount of time to have their individual stories explained to new readers who may not be familiar with each. The structure flows smoothly, moving things right along without taking anything away from the overall picture. Heroes are defined by their actions. In this world they live in, there are losses and set-backs. Resilience is key to the blueprint of a hero. Both main characters go through this with loss and both find strength in others (and each other) to overcome.
One of the highlights of this book is the personal conversations that the heroes display with their supporting cast. Anya’s with Gilberto and Miguel’s banter with Lyla (his virtual assistant) spotlight their awareness that they are both still searching to conquer their losses and become stronger from them. Segura hits the marks featuring this in many parts of the story. They add another layer to each lead. It plays in even deeper when the main antagonist is revealed, adding to the threat of their actions. Knowing what this individual is capable of, the heroes need to find that extra drive to fight back. Luckily, they have each other to lean on.
The dynamic between Anya and Miguel (Spidey 2099) has many instances of bringing out the best in each other to face the threat at hand. Segura portrays different roles for both, even switching who is the seasoned veteran and novice rookie at times which pays off later in the novel. There is a moment involving a letter that captures that element superbly. It shows the effect of their partnership and is a moment that readers will have a strong positive reaction reading. By the time that its’ concluded, readers have no doubt that two heroes were forged thru this and are stronger coming out of conflict.
FINAL POINT: ARAÑA AND SPIDER-MAN 2099: DARK TOMORROW by Alex Segura brings out the best of what defines being a hero with two popular characters of the Spider-Verse leading the charge. The story is filled with great surprises along with superhero themes lead by Segura’s phenomenal writing. Readers see first-hand how insurmountable odds and personal setbacks are tackled head-on showcasing what is a fantastic read that shouldn’t be missed.
Hit me up on ODPH social media and let me know what you thought of ARAÑA AND SPIDER-MAN 2099: DARK TOMORROW. Thanks for reading Parlay Points on Nerd Initiative.