Nobody said running a super-villain team would be easy, but Fred Myers — AKA Boomerang — must have assumed it was true since no one said it wasn’t. That’s a sentence of compound structure and recursive negatives; labyrinthian to indulge my own interests, much like Myers’ behavior throughout the run of “Superior Foes of Spider-Man.” He’s a man who spends more time rationalizing his behavior in order to serve his own self-interests than he would spend if he was just honest with those around him. Hubris is tremendous gift to comedy, a gift that Nick Spencer and Steve Lieber gleefully wield to punish the series’ protagonist.Â
Spencer uses the comedown after last issue’s big heist to show Boomerang after a heist gone right: the king on his throne, surveying his empire of Craigslisted furniture and Katherine Heigl posters. Spencer has a pistol grip on Meyers’ personality in this series and has no qualms showing him as the heel with a heart of lead. The trick is giving the reader just enough of a character to garner sympathy, which we get as we watch him fall in love on a date. Even smitten he is still the weasel we know him to be. We all know a guy that sneaks beers into a stadium thinking he’s doing everyone else a favor, never considering that someone would not want a warm beer that’s been stuffed near another’s butt parts for too long.
The humor outweighs the gravitas in this installment. Everyone has at least one fun moment, from Boomerang’s Citi Field disguise to Mach V’s failed dramatic exit to Speed Demon’s Speed Demon-yness. Good comedy writing doesn’t come at the expense of story and Spencer knows this. Everything is character-based so it resonates more than the typical “Family Guy”-style cutaway gag. Maybe hearing Doom say, “I want you to draw Doom…like one of your French Girls” doesn’t fall in that category, but he was drunk so I’ll give benefit of the doubt.
Lieber continues to sharpen his linework, losing a lot of the rougher edges from previous issues. The storytelling is still on point, and he finds new ways to insert his own visual gags throughout the story, like Doom’s boxer shorts or Speed Demon thinking of his pup right before the remaining Sinister Six are tortured by the Owl. His design work is reminiscent of Alex Toth, especially in the last few pages.
This book is no longer a pleasant surprise but a solid performer every month. Spencer and Lieber are hitting a storytelling groove that continues to pay dividends. Last month’s cliffhanger is gone this month but not forgotten. We get another big reveal in this issue, finally discovering the identity of The Beetle. The swag she has displayed up to this point is completely understood once we find out who is her father.
I didn’t care about any of these characters and doubted the idea of an ongoing with them before I picked up this book. Don’t be that person. Get in with the Sinister Six now before they find a sixth member and don’t have room for you.