Superior Foes of Spider-Man #1

The introductory paragraph for the recap page in "The Superior Foes of Spider-Man" #1 sets the tone of the series quite clearly. This is a book about liars, cheaters and thieves. With that directive, Nick Spencer and Steve Lieber have their work cut out for them to entertain -- which is exactly what this comic book does. Continuity be damned, Spencer, Lieber, Rosenberg and Caramagna just pour a bunch of fun into these characters, add in a heist and spin it with some humor and visual gags.

Spencer delivers this first issue from the point of view of Fred Myers (a.k.a. Boomerang). With an obscure character like that, I imagine a handful of people closed the book and moved on to something else -- and those people are now missing out on a fun story with open-ended possibilities. Boomerang says it himself, "Spider-Man's the only one anybody ever talks about." Spencer not only talks about Boomerang, Shocker, Overdrive, Speed Demon and Beetle, he imbues them with humanity and makes them readable. Not likable, mind you, but entertaining. As for the math on this equation, yes, there are five foes, hence the title "The Superior Foes of Spider-Man." After all, it's not called "Sinister Six," although jokes are made about that and the crew does stick together.

On the art side of things, Steve Lieber, Rachelle Rosenberg and Joe Caramagna deliver everything a comic fan could want: strong, clear storytelling and distinct characters. Caramagna has some fun with the lettering for Hammerhead's appearance and gives Boomerang a distinct voice unlike any other comic character. The artistic trio combines for some funny pictograms in lieu of dialog on more than one occasion, giving this story humor and depth along the way. Lieber's visuals are street level awesomeness, selling these hard-luck characters as real people with real worries beyond simply beating Spider-Man. The artist strongly delivers a nice, wide range of people and personalities that move throughout the panels, regardless of costumes or circumstance. Editors Tom Brennan and Steve Wacker are to be commended for their ability to pull together the perfect team for the perfect heist: pulling money out of comic fans' wallets.

This is a fun comic with characters that don't normally lend themselves to the concept of "fun" and a wonderful way to kick off Superior Spider-Month. Given that "Superior Spider-Man" has been commandeered by one of the webslinger's greatest foes, it only makes sense that some of the lesser lights should have a chance to shine. Spencer and Lieber compose a character study of some of the lamest characters to fight Spider-Man, but they do so with enough humanity and humor to make this book summertime treat.

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