I was surprised that another issue of Superior Foes came out this week, as #9 only came out last week, but it turns out it’s a fill-in issue without Spencer and Lieber, so it actually does make sense. Even without the regular creative team, this was still a very fun comic, as James Asmus teams up with a bunch of artists to tell some shorter stories about Overdrive, Beetle and Speed Demon. The focus on these characters is really welcome as, for better or for worse (mostly better), Superior Foes has always been the Boomerang show, with Shocker starting to get a bit more focus in the last few issues. Apart from Beetle’s origin issue, the other 3 members of the Sinister Six have mainly been background players, good for a laugh and a lot of fun, but we didn’t know much about them. Thanks to Asmus, now we do. This issue isn’t quite as good as the previous 9, but it keeps the same humorous tone and style, and is well worth it.
The framing story here is that the 3 lovable losers have robbed a bar in Brooklyn, but the safe is on a timer, so rather than try and bust it open, they decide to sit and wait. To pass the time, they tell stories about their biggest successes as supervillains, the biggest superhero they every actually defeated.
Overdrive is up first, and his big win was actually Hercules, but it wasn’t much of a win. This was his first crime, and he did it without a mask, Hercules got in the way, and Overdrive ran away. He stole a motorcycle helmet, and with it on, Hercules didn’t recognise him, and he was able to escape. Not only was this a funny story, but it was a cool bit of back-story for the least well-know Superior Foe. It also set up what could be a funny recurring gag, as Overdrive is still, to this day, afraid that Hercules will come and beat him up.
Beetle’s big victory was also a rather unconventional one. It was against Daredevil, but it wasn’t in battle, it was in court. She was representing a sociopathic criminal in court, with Matt Murdock trying to convict the guy. Beetle tried to ‘out’ Daredevil’s secret, but when she was unsuccessful, she just used her criminal contacts to get The Looter to attack the Courthouse. Matt sensed this, and, as Daredevil, went out to stop Looter. He did, but in the meantime, Beetle won the case.
Speed Demon’s story is basically a bunch of jokes about him bragging about beating heroes that he never actually did, but it does end with a truly great Superior Foes moment, as Speed Demon describes how he beat Overdrive’s arch-enemy Hercules by giving him an STD. Well, not him personally, he gave a supervillain groupie he knew to have the clap Herc’s location and let that take it’s course. That is just so small-time it’s perfect, and of course, given that Hercules is a God, he probably can’t get STDs anyway. These characters are such Z-listers that even when they win… they actually lose.
The issue ends when who else but Hercules walks into the bar looking for a drink, and giving the Sinister 3 the gift of battle. I’m a massive Hercules fan, so it was a lot of fun to have him play such an unexpected role here.
There were 4 or so artists in this issue, so it was a mixed bag, I liked Nuno Piati and Pepe Larraz’s segments the best, but overall, it was solid. This issue did look a lot more conventional than what Steve Lieber gives us, but it was by no means bad, and was in fact preferable to a sub-Lieber copycat. James Asmus did a good job here at stepping into considerable shoes. It’s not ideal to have fill-ins, but when they are good, it doesn’t matter, this issue stacks up well with Spencer.