October 1, 2022

Gabbing Geek

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Noteworthy Issues: Superior Foes Of Spider-Man #1 (July, 2013)

Boomerang has to pull some of Spider-Man's lesser-known enemies together for a job that doesn't exist.

It’s a little daunting sometimes to try and pick out a book to follow when I have, like, thousands upon thousands of issues to choose from.  Case in point:  at one point I thought I would work my way through the second volume of What If?, a series I greatly enjoyed when it was new in the 90s, but Marvel Unlimited only has a sporadic batch of issues of that particular series.  It’s a bit frustrating when I want to revisit something and either Marvel Unlimited or DC Infinite doesn’t have all of those issues on the service for one reason or another.

But then I remembered I had heard a lot about The Superior Foes of Spider-Man, so I had somewhere else to go.

Issue:  The Superior Foes of Spider-Man #1, July 2013.

Writer:  Nick Spencer

Artist:  Steve Leiber

The Plot:  C-list (at best) Spider-Man foe Boomerang has to get the Sinister Six together for a job…if he has one.

Commentary:  I knew from the current Amazing Spider-Man series that writer Nick Spencer had previously worked on this series as evidenced by how much exposure Boomerang was getting over there.  In that series, as far as I have currently read, Boomerang is the disreputable roommate of Peter Parker.  Everyone seems to know what kind of guy he is.  He’s a bit of a jerk, everyone says they hate him when his name comes up for the first time, and he has somehow endeared himself to Peter all the same with the occasional good deed or reasonable explanation.  I haven’t finished Spencer’s run yet, so I’ll be a bit surprised if the series somehow rehabilitates Boomerang.  I don’t see that happening so much as making Boomerang seem more like a regular human being and not just some lesser opponent for Spidey to have to beat up every so often when some writer remembers he exists.

However, I didn’t know that other Spencer regulars, namely the female Beetle and the getaway driver Overdrive, were also regulars in this series, so I have more to look forward to.

Anyway, the issue, as narrated by Boomerang, is about the reformation of the Sinister Six during the “Superior Spider-Man” era when Doc Ock was secretly Spider-Man due to a mind transfer or something.  It doesn’t matter.  It’s just comics, and the idea that one of Spidey’s greatest enemies would try to prove himself a better Spider-Man by itself is intriguing.  But when there’s no Doc Ock, what Spider-Man foe fills the gap created by his absence?  Dr. Octopus is greatly associated with the Sinister Six in most of its incarnations.  What villain of his caliber would even dare?  Many of Spider-Man’s better known enemies are either more the loner type (Kraven), weird (Mysterio), or basically just muscle (Rhino or Electro).  I suppose the Vulture would be the best bet, but then there’s what this issue does and has basically a nobody do it.

Yes, Boomerang says he runs with the Sinister Six, in this case being himself, Speed Demon, Shocker, Beetle, and Overdrive.  And yes, he is quick to admit there are only five of them.  As first issues go, seeing the world through Boomerang’s eyes is rather neat.  He’s something of a loser, and he somewhat knows it.  The closest he has to friends to come visit him in prison are Speed Demon and Shocker in their civilian identities, and Boomerang doesn’t think too much of them.  He sets the pair of them up for a fake smuggling operation where the two end up robbing a pet store, even stealing a mouthy kid’s puppy, only to find themselves face-to-face with a nastier foe who isn’t who he appears to be, and Boomerang knew a lot of that was going to happen, all in an attempt to get the other four to pull some money together enough to bail him out of prison.  Shocker gets beat up, Speed Demon tends to run away from trouble, and Beetle is told how hot she is when she has the “brilliant” idea to rob a comic book store for collectables.  Overdrive seems to be a bit more aloof than the others, but this is only the first issue, and he and Beetle might have a thing going on.

The plot, such as it is, is set around Boomerang bringing the gang together to pull a job, but there might not be an actual job to pull.  Boomerang doesn’t appear to be all that smart, but neither are the rest of this group, and his flying-by-the-seat-of-his-pants style of always looking for a big score that may just happen along, making things up as he goes along to stay one step ahead of much more potent crime lords and criminals, to say nothing of the more “superior” Spider-Man, could lead to a lot of fun, and this book does look rather funny to boot.  How long Boomerang can string these also-rans along sounds like a real treat, particularly given the title is clearly meant ironically.  If anything, I like it a hell of a lot more than Spencer’s Amazing Spider-Man run.  Yeah, I will go back to this series again soon.

Grade:  A

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