REVIEW: Spider-Man 2099: Exodus – Alpha #1

When the future of Earth-928 started to decay due to Doctor Doom's recklessness in the prime Marvel Comics universe of Earth-616, Miguel O'Hara jumped into action, traveling once more to the past to contact Spider-Man. Unfortunately, it was too late, and the future starts to alter in subtle ways, prompting him to stay behind until the day comes when his younger self needs the extra push to take up the mantle of Spider-Man 2099, rectifying the future of the timeline. Now, Spider-Man 2099 is back in his element, web-slinging through the cyberpunk city of Nueva York and taking down bad guys for breakfast. Written by Steve Orlando with artwork from Paul Fry and Neeraj Menon and lettering by VC's Joe Caramagna, Spider-Man 2099: Exodus - Alpha #1 takes Miguel on a collision course with the mysterious organization, Cabal, who wants to set the world ablaze.

Spider-Man 2099: Exodus - Alpha #1 opens in the streets of Nueva York, where crime and violence have become rampant ever since the Cabal has taken over the city. They cause chaos with impunity, with law enforcement too scared to take care of their minions. Not Spider-Man 2099, however. He wants the head of the leader of Cabal on a platter, and the vigilante superhero will employ extreme interrogation tactics if the need arises. The story takes a sudden turn when the Cabal initiates a cataclysmic meteor shower of cosmic nature on the American wastelands that transforms the irradiated terrain into the garden of Eden. With new elements and powers sprouting out at any moment, the Cabal will have more power than imaginable -- but only if Miguel lets them.

If all the blinding neons and hard-light constructs are put aside for a second, Spider-Man 2099: Exodus - Alpha #1, at its core, is a classic Spider-Man story, where one man fights against corrupt institutions and power structures still prevalent in society, even in the future. Spider-Man has always been a people's hero, and while Miguel's tactics are darker than his past counterpart, Spider-Man 2099 still fights for the same reasons. Steve Orlando places enough cyber-speak jargon to make the world more vibrant and futuristic. However, the breakneck pace of the narrative and sheer amount of speech balloons distract from the action at hand and make reading through the issue a cumbersome affair. That said, Spider-Man 2099: Exodus - Alpha #1 is a plot-driven tale that wastes little time on exposition and focuses more on the rising action with its well-structured storytelling and raising stakes. The issue keeps the reader entertained till the last page.

Paul Fry and Neeraj Menon have designed the urban landscape of Neuva York to give off the vibe of a state-of-the-art, high-tech city littered with big neon boards and tall, futuristic skyscrapers, elevating the enormity of the scale. While Menon's colors evoke the cyberpunk feeling, as bright, flashy lights inundate the panels, the exquisite linework of Fry captures the frame of Spider-Man 2099 perfectly. From the tattered web cape to the spiky gauntlets, even the curled up toes and retractable claws accompanied by the glaze of the overall color scheme, everything screams of the original '90s design, bringing back a certain degree of nostalgia to the character. The colorful artwork and depiction of augmented reality in wide panels bring out the hectic energy in the story.

Spider-Man 2099: Exodus - Alpha #1 is a high-octane, action-packed ride full of adrenaline rush that throws some curveballs along the way, engaging the narrative in suspense. The combined duet of artwork and storytelling helps the book soar to near heights as Miguel finds himself in a jam that will take more than just brute force to swing open. This issue is a huge milestone in the history of Marvel Comics and Spider-Man 2099, celebrating the 30th anniversary of the first appearance of the fan-favorite wall-crawler. With the story bringing back the thrill of the past while pushing forward into the future, Spider-Man 2099: Exodus - Alpha #1 ends on an unsuspecting cliffhanger that changes everything for the future of 2099.

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