One of the main reasons that “The Superior Foes of Spider-Man” #9 — and the series as a whole — works so well is Nick Spencer and Steve Lieber’s ability to showcase a life of crime with a personal life for all of the characters in this comic. More often than not, a book focusing on a villain zooms in entirely on one side of that character’s life. Here, as the two halves intermingle, we get to watch how each part affects the other, and in doing so end up with a strong and enjoyable comic.
Boomerang’s date going completely haywire thanks to an assassination attempt by Bullseye is a perfect example. It’s an incident that connects to both his attempts to start dating the beautiful bartender over whom he’s been obsessing, and to the painting of Doctor Doom that everyone’s trying to snag. Either one on their own would have been good, but having them feed off of each other does two things. First, it makes the book as a whole feel more entertaining because it doesn’t feel like everything’s happening in a void. But second, and more importantly, every decision that Boomerang and company makes has consequences. Boomerang constantly bemoans his poor position in life, but if there’s one thing readers learn in “The Superior Foes of Spider-Man” it’s that Boomerang has ultimately dug his own grave, even if he hasn’t realized that’s just what he’s doing with that shovel-shaped-boomerang.
While Boomerang is the main character of the title, I like that the creative team still touches base with the other characters. Shocker, Hydro-Man and the head of Silvermane is one of the funniest elements of the comic, even as it continues to zoom off in directions that make you wonder just what the heck is going to happen next. As for the rest of the crew, well, this issue also reminds us that they’re around with a bizarre lead-in to the next installment that promises to be fun. It’s a silly and funny script, and it makes me laugh with each new issue.
It doesn’t hurt that the book looks great, too. Lieber’s art (with some assists from Rich Ellis, whose past work on the title was good enough that I felt he would be a welcome returning sub, so it’s nice to see that happen) tells a story well from start to finish, with a good progression of images from one panel to the next. The scene where Boomerang tries to sell out his date in order to survive wouldn’t be half as funny if it wasn’t for the shifting positions of the two of them, the exasperated look on Bullseye’s face, or the way that she elbows Boomerang in the crotch causing his body to crumble. The art is strong and with a great ink line, giving just the right amount of heft to each character’s body. It’s not flashy but it doesn’t need to be; it’s a handsome looking comic and I wouldn’t change this artistic line up given the opportunity.
“The Superior Foes of Spider-Man” #9 is another piece of a strange little series that deserves more attention than it gets. It’s clever, it’s funny, it’s good looking and it rewards the reader. What more can you ask for?