Superior Foes of Spider-Man #1: Bad Guy Time


Nick Spencer is quicly becoming one of my favorite writers at Marvel right now.  I’ve been really into his build-up of A.I.M. as a legitimate threat over in Secret Avengers, and his kickoff of “Superior Spider-Month” is just as promising. The Superior Foes of Spider-Man #1 follows the group of low-rent supervillains who tried to become the new Sinister Six, only to earn the violent ire of Superior Spider-Man, aka O.G. Sin-Sixer Dr. Octopus in Peter Parker’s body.  Taken on its own, it’s a great piece of wrong-side-of-the-tracks storytelling with engaging, deeply flawed bastard characters going about their day-to-day lives outside of their costumed chicanery. Where it fits in with Superior Spider-Man or Avenging Spider-Man or even Thunderbolts is unclear, but we’ll assume Spencer will find a way to tie it in eventually.

That confusion comes from the fact that SFoSM #1’s central character is Boomerang, who is currently cybernetically-enhanced by the Spider-Slayer and trying to murder people over in Superior Spider-Man, and he was recently bouncing around through time with Jeff Parker’s Thunderbolts, and there’s no mention of either of those things here (aside from a mention that he’d “fell in with a few crews”). We also get an appearance from Chameleon in this issue, who is currently locked in a glass tube with a bunch of other Sinister Sixers over in Avenging Spider-Man after Octo-Spidey sprung him from a SHIELD prison. Yet, her, he’s back in regular prison. So its connections are confusing.

However, it stands up fantastically on its own if you don’t worry about those connections. We get the history of Fred Myers, the former pro pitcher busted for bribery who turned to a life of crime when approached by funky dudes in red suits – Marvel trivia fans will know them as the Secret Empire, but Fred doesn’t even call them by name, claiming he ratted them out and resented the fact that they forced the Boomerang gimmick on him just because he was Australian. Of course, he’s kept it anyway, and now he’s running with his current crew – including Overdrive, the pretty boy driver, Beetle, the pretty girl, Speed Demon, the pain in the butt, and Shocker, the coward. Yes, there are only five members of this new Sinister Six, and yes, they’re continuing with that name regardless.

Anyway, Fred’s in prison, and he’s getting James Sanders (Speed Demon) and Herman Schultz (Shocker) to buy birdseed for his pets while he’s incarcerated. As Speedy and Shocky go about that job, we see what a dick Speedy is, mouthing off to a little girl in a pet store, and then stealing her intended dog when she sasses back. Then, it turns out the bird seed run was actually a jewel delivery for Hammerhead that leaves the Shocker laid up in the hospital. However, Fred sweet talks them into overlooking the doublecross in anticipation of a new gig – which leaves Beetle robbing a comic shop for bail money, giving Spencer the chance for a little snide commentary on the collector’s market. However, in a fun swerve, it turns out that Hammerhead was actually Chameleon, who can apparently slip in and out of prison whenever he needs to, and he’s got hooks into Fred somehow in ways that will likely turn the rest of the Six against him.

Spencer’s dialogue between jerk-face felons is amusingly anti-social and illustrates just how little trust there should be among thieves, even if these Sixers seem to be offering more of it than they should to Fred, who’s basically using them to get out of jail. While it’s way too early to say so just yet, but this may help fill the void left by the absence of Gail Simone’s Secret Six as far as a fun, twisted book about broken people in a super-world goes. Steve Lieber’s artwork is pretty solid, too – all his faces look significantly different and interestingly expressive, and he’s also got room to be fun with things like covering up a middle finger with a ‘Comics Code Authority’ seal of approval.

Overall, The Superior Foes of Spider-Man #1 kicks a new, fun series off to a bent-in-the-head sort of start. Given Spencer’s talent for intrigue and skullduggery, this could pan out into something stellar.