It seems since the dawn of time, people have been looking towards to the future. Be it for salvation, doomsday, or just a really cool jetpack. In comics, the future has been used to show fast-forwarded visions of superhero worlds that, remarkably, have incarnations of many of the same heroes. Chris Claremont and John Byrne’s “Days of Future Past” storyline in Uncanny X-Men started it off, and we’ve seen future visions pop up numerous times at DC, Marvel and elsewhere. But paramount to them all in most any fanboys is Marvel’s 2099.
Launched in 1992, this line of titles showed the House of Ideas looking 107 years into the future and imagining futuristic incarnations of Spider-Man, the Punisher, the X-Men, Doctor Doom and many of Marvel’s key heroes. The world they inhabited was a dark, futuristic cyberpunk kind of world with corrupt corporations and people clinging to the stories of heroes from the 20th century. The line lasted for six years before it was shuttered due to low sales, but it’s continued to pop up in limited engagements in various comics and video games.
With DC reviving its Batman Beyond series and even doing spinoffs, maybe it’s time for Marvel to do the same. Pretty soon we’re getting “Marvel NOW!”… this could be “Marvel NEXT!”
Instead of risking the farm and reviving the 2099 universe as a whole line of right out of the gate, I’d instead minimize the risk and maximize the potential by putting it all under the roof of one title: Marvel 2099. Undoubtedly there will be detractors wanting more, but I’d rather pin their hopes and dreams (and purchases) on one title than a line of books that wouldn’t all be able to succeed.
In terms of story, I would task the lucky writer and artist to re-imagine the Marvel Universe in the year 2099. You can use characters like Miguel O’Hara, but instead of sticking close to his previous origin for nostalgia’s sake I’d give the creators full latitude to keep what they want, make new what they like and lose the rest. In terms of a conflict, in the original stories it seemed evil corporations like Alchemax and Doom were the big bads, and those could be looked at again — or possible there could be a new threat, from Kang to perhaps a modern hero gone bad in this speculative future.
And to ground this series into the here and now, I’d do something new and have the entire series (at least in the beginning) seen through the eyes of one of our current heroes, swept away into the year 2099. Similar to the way Flash was taken into the Flashpoint universe, this new Marvel 2099 series could show a modern character, say Captain America, to stand with the readers as they gaze into this uncertain future. Man out of time, redux. Sure it’d be a hard thing to take Captain America from his current title and the Avengers world , and even if you did the readers would easily know its not a permanent thing. Maybe this is a no-go, but perhaps a well-paid writer, artist and editor could figure out a way to make it work.. Or just drop my silly idea.
The Writer – Brian Wood: Since leaving DC, Brian Wood has been a useful writer to have around for Marvel, simultaneously writing two X-Men titles with some more rumored to be in the works. Although he hasn’t been penciled in for any of the Marvel NOW! books as of yet, Wood would seem like an ideal choice to be given a far-flung future and re-imagining Marvel’s heroes. George Lucas has trusted him to do an alternate reality version of Star Wars, and Wood has written the future in stories like DMZ, Supermarket and The Massive, so Marvel 2099 could be that on a much, much bigger scale.
The Artist – Michael Broussard: I had this guy pegged years ago to be a big star in comics, and although he dashed my hopes and is currently working outside of comics on a Castlevania video game, I don’t deter easily. Through his work on Top Cow’s The Darkness, Broussard has shown himself to be a classic illustrator in the John Buscema mold but with all the tricks and trends of modern comic artists. Broussard could readily envision a dark future with high stakes and low morals, and would be a surprisingly good combination with Wood.
The Cover Artist – Mike Del Mundo: Broussard is a Grade A cover artist, but this book needs something special and iconic. Mike Del Mundo has quietly been building up a portfolio of good work since I first saw his work with Marvel: The 198. The above X-Men Legacy cover really shows off his ability to find a simple, memorable design with storytelling innuendo. Giving Del Mundo the job of painting the portrait of Marvel 2099 could reap some awesome rewards.