Writers Tom Peyer and Elliott Kalan step in to tell a tale of villains wallowing in self-doubt compounded by fear of the “superior” and uncharacteristically violent Spider-Man. This issue is a bit off the mark from the usual fare for this series as Beetle, Boomerang, Overdrive, Shocker and Speed Demon retreat from the spotlight while Grizzly and the Looter step into it.
With Tom Peyer penning the tale of Grizzly and Elliott Kalan delivering the misdeeds of the Looter, “Superior Foes of Spider-Man” #11 is still goofs on the notion of supervillainy, but lacks the soul of the regular cast and crew. This issue pops in to a Super Villains Anonymous meeting — yup, just like Bad Anon from Disney’s “Wreck It Ralph.” The concept of Super Villains Anonymous in and of itself is intentionally ludicrous, given that the congregation includes unmistakably recognizable losers like Doctor Bong and Hippo. The story of Grizzly’s fall from mediocrity has spots of humor and buoys up the issue, but the Looter’s story fails to hit the same mark. That said, I wouldn’t be at all surprised to see either one of these characters reappear in this series soon.
Carmen Carnero’s art for Grizzly’s story has more high points and low points — like the fussy nature of Grizzly’s costume — but does a solid job with storytelling throughout the adventure. Carnero’s choice of camera angle adds suspense to the tale of a goofy guy in a weird suit feeling kind of lonely. Terry Pallot goes into the Looter story paying tribute to Ditko, a darn nice sentiment. In this part of “Superior Foes of Spider-Man” #11, the line work from Pallot and Nuno Plati gets scratchy and makes the artwork murky, handicapping the lightheartedness of the series significantly. Kalan and Pallot throw in appearances by other Spidey foes Will O’ the Wisp, Basilisk and Delilah, showcasing the potential for continued examination of Spider-Man’s lesser luminaries.
To say that “Superior Foes of Spider-Man” #11 is a disappointment would be a gross overstatement, but the quality of this issue relative to the series takes a dip while the cost took a hike. This is, quite simply, a decent fill-in issue, but ultimately forgettable, just as Grizzly and Looter were largely forgotten prior to their appearance here. That’s not to say that fill-in issues with not-so-superior foes taking a spin in the spotlight couldn’t work, it’s just a lot to overcome at one time. Had the price increase come with the standard team of Spencer and Lieber in place and the usual roster of miscreants between the covers, it might not have been as troublesome. I’m looking forward to a return to the norm for this title next issue, price increase or no.