Six months ago, a new series debuted out of the Spidey office called ‘The Superior Foes Of Spider-Man’ and it managed to take a handful of bumbling villains that no one cared about and make them the talk of the comic shop. Similar to Matt Fraction’s ‘Hawkeye’, Nick Spencer took a street level approach with the new Sinister Six (which happens to only have five members). It has been some time since we’ve discussed the series here at ScienceFiction.com, but don’t take that to mean that the book is not good. In fact, it’s one of my favorite books to pick up on my pull list, so now is as good of a time as any to reenter the conversation.
When we last left the crew in ‘Superior Foes’, Boomerang and his team finally accomplished their goal of infiltrating the Owl’s stronghold in order to retrieve the head of Silvermane. However, Fred escaped with the real target, a portrait of the true face of Victor Von Doom, and left his remaining teammates in the clutches of the ruthless crime boss. However, the resourceful Beetle had one more ace up her sleeve: Her father, the notorious villain Tombstone.
This issue took a look back at Beetle’s origin story. We got to see her young life unfold from her very first heist at a very young age to her post-collegiate career where she continued to be fascinated by the family business of crime and her introduction into the costumed world of crime.
Spencer delivered a really fun twist on father-daughter relationship that you’d see in the movies. Every one of those fathers talks about how they want something better for their kids, but in this case, Tombstone wants his daughter Janice to be a whole different kind of evil. While she keeps pushing to become a crime boss like him, he encourages her to become a lawyer so she could “steal more than [he] could ever dream up” and never end up in jail for it. Seriously, I was cracking up at all these little tweaks to this typical tale as old as time.
This story also made me appreciate Janice more. From the beginning of this series, she has always been the intellectual one surrounded by idiots. She always had a plan and a back up plan, plus sass to retort anything that came out of Boomerang’s mouth.
There was one thing that bothered me about this issue though and it was the layout of the panels on some pages. Up until the splash page that showed Janice’s planner, it was really easy to find the line through the layout to follow the dialogue. Then, once it got to the meeting with Fixer and Baron Zemo, things got a little harder to follow. The pages that followed that scene that were discussing Bucky/The Winter Soldier had to be reread a couple of times in order to get the full meaning of what was going on.
However, I do have to mention that the layout of that planner scene was very well done. Big props to Rich Ellis for squeezing all that hilarious action into these two pages. Not only did Spencer find an interesting way to show us a day in the life of Tombstone’s daughter, but Ellis depicted it in an efficient and memorable way. I also love the shoutout to Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson with #teambringit. Wrestling references are always welcome in my book.
This issue of ‘Superior Foes’ was definitely a satisfying read. I can say with confidence that this was the most entertaining comic that I picked up this week. While this book may slip to the wayside in favor of reviewing other books most weeks, I would still recommend it to those looking for superhero books off the beaten path. And yes, I use the term “hero” loosely, but every main character is the hero in their own story, even the bumbling villains.
THE SUPERIOR FOES OF SPIDER-MAN #7
Written by Nick Spencer
Art by Rich Ellis & Lee Loughridge
Cover by In-Hyuk Lee