Man, I am just loving this book, you all need to read it, now. I’m normally pretty sanguine when a comic is cancelled, but if this ends before Spencer can tell all of his planned stories, I will rage against those of you who didn’t read it with the fire of a billion exploding suns. This issue was full of all the usual good stuff you’ve come to expect from Superior Foes, great character work, a lot of funny shit, leavened with some darkness, a surprising new take on the idea of super-villainy and plenty of twists. Oh boy, those twists.
Nick Spencer kicks things off with the villain of the story, even though this story is all about villains. Look, I mean he starts off with the guy Boomerang and the rest of the Sinister Six are ripping off, The Owl. This is a villain who, for a long time was incredibly lame, but Bendis managed to actually make him work during his run on Daredevil, and Spencer continues that here, making him truly menacing, and clearly one step above our goofball heroes. Owl is interrogating a member of his organisation who has been stealing from him, and he has him tied to a chair with a net full of hungry rats hanging over him. Owl’s man tries to worm his way out of being eaten alive, and he offers to help him steal money from other people. Owl tells a long, rambling, funny as heck story about how he and Man-Bull once tried to coerce a fellow criminal into helping him by threatening his wife, but the wife ended up just fucking Man-Bull of her own free will. I’m not sure if this story really links up with the lesson Owl is trying to teach, but it was entertaining as heck, and another example of this book’s skewed take on the world of super-crime. In the end, Owl unloads the bag of rats, who proceed to eat the guy, and then Owl eats one of the rats. This whole scene was basically saying… this is not a guy you want to fuck with.
So of course, Boomerang fucks with him, assaulting his compound to steal the head of Silvermane. At this point, Spencer has the banter between the 4 members of the Sinister Six down to a fine art, and the scenes of them talking before and during the attack are just perfect. I love Speed Demon in a roller-skate and not paying attention, and Beetle’s organisational dossiers were genius, especially when Boomerang actually did have to use them. But of course, it’s not just funny banter for the sake of it, as Boomerang needs to worm his way out of why Shocker isn’t there without revealing that he was tied up in the boot of a car and thrown into the river. There is a serious side to all this, and that’s also shown by Overdrive actually getting to use his powers to cause some serious damage.
Steve Lieber is the perfect artist for this series, and he showcases that here with a fantastic double-page spread showing the layout of Owl’s base in a diagram kind of style. It’s this kind of stuff that makes me love this book, and it’s great to see other titles take a cue from Hawkeye and get a bit more experimental, and have it be in service of the story, and not just for the sake of it.
It was great seeing the Secret Six fight through the obstacles, especially since the elevator actually did work and Boomerang used it to go straight down to get Silvermane’s head. Only… it’s not Silvermane’s head, the real target is… a portrait of Doctor Doom that shows his real face, which is, in the Marvel Universe, the most valuable painting in the world. I love this idea, it makes sense, but it does beg the question, why the Silvermane ruse, and where is his head? Well, do you remember that bullshit, Iron Giant story about a kid who worked in a junkyard found his head? It turns out that it’s actually true, and who should wind up in that junkyard but The Shocker, who has somehow survived. Shocker grabs the head, and runs for it.
So now Boomerang has even more problems, he’s got the Chameleon, the Shocker, and The Owl (who puts in a call to a ‘friend in Denver’) after him. Oh man, it’s going to be awesome to see how badly this all blows back.
This is just a fantastic comic, if you’re not reading it, you’re a blight on the comics industry, worse than sexism, worse than creator’s rights, worse than Before Watchmen, worse than JMS even! You need to be reading Superior Foes, it is the shit.