Writer: Peter David
Art: Rick Leonardi and Al Williamson
New York City, the year is 2099. A group of youngsters soar through the skies in their car on a joy ride when suddenly they stumble upon Public Eye flyers in pursuit of a man gliding through the air, not Spider-Man 2099...but the original Spider-Man. Despite their advanced weaponry, Spider-Man manages to take one of the flyboys and extract from him the year, 2099. Spider-Man then escapes into Downtown. Meanwhile, in the distant past, Miguel awakens in bed beside Mary Jane. He leaves the Parker apartment and is shocked to find himself in the past. He quickly makes his way to the Daily Bugle. As a news source, he hopes he can research how he arrived. However J. Jonah Jameson believes that he's the same old Spider-Man dressed in a different costume. S-Man quickly webs and dispatches of Jameson, this elicits a bunch of volunteers to help him. Meanwhile, back in 2099, Hikaru-Sama warns Tyler Stone that they are detecting odd energy readings. Tyler denies that he is conducting any dangerous experiments. While Spider-Man explores downtown, he runs into the Vulture, spiderites, and ultimately Gabe O' Hara. Gabe mistakes Spider-Man for his brother, but Spider-Man quickly agrees to keep his brother's identity secret if he will help him. Back in the past, Miguel learns that he's been sent back to the exact day marking the beginning of the end of the Age of Heroes. It all begins with a Fujiwaka Industries experiment gone wrong. In 2099, Gabe takes Peter to Miguel's apartment where Lyla confirms that there's no record of him. Officially he doesn't exist. Peter's spider-sense goes off and he heads to Alchemex to find out what's the cause.
Elsewhere, a mysterious group observe events in both time zones as they unfold. Suddenly a figure on a glider breaks into their chamber and announces that he has his own agents. Back in the past, Miguel heads for the Fujiwaka building but runs afoul of Venom. In the future, Spider-Man breaks into the Alchemex lab and finds their experiment going awry. Miguel likewise makes it into the Fujiwaka lab and is pulled into a time wave by Spider-Man. The two exit into some unknown time and come face to face with the Hobgoblin of 2211. The Hobgoblin lunges cyber-organic Ret-Con Bombs to erase the Spider-Men from existence, but they are saved by the intervention of Spider-Man 2211. This future Spider-Man flings the bombs into the time vortex. As an explosion separates the 20th century Spider-man from Spider-Man 2099, he asks his predecessor why he became Spider-Man. "Because I had to," he answers. Spider-Man 2099 responds that he also had no choice. Back in their respective times, Miguel checks the history records and sees that as a result of what's happened, the date in which the Heroic Age began to end is no longer known.
Placing this story is tricky. Peter David's reading chronology on his official page places this after Spider-Man 2099 #10. This fits given Miguel's comment about having just fought the Vulture and the fact that he doesn't seem to have a moment to go to bed at least until after the events of #10. However....this is kind of ruined by the fact that by the end of the story its quite clear that Gabe already knows that Miguel is Spider-Man. He doesn't reveal this until the end of Spider-Man 2099 #20. To add further confusion, Vulture makes reference to encountering Spider-Man after his supposedly fatal fall in #8. Unless my memory is failing me, we never see this encounter.
Far be it for me to dispute the actual author of these stories, but let me explain why I place this story after #22 on my issue guide. To be more specific, my theory is that this story takes place during #22. The events of this story takes place in and around the the events of #22. Here how I see events happening:
I admit, this theory isn't perfect either. The fact that Lyla is operational and that Gabe is arriving at Miggy's at the end of #22 make this a rough fit as well. But I think its easier to let that slide than the fact that Miguel is talking to Gabe sans his mask a full 12 issues before Gabe's revealed that he knows Miggy's secret.
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