Review: The Superior Foes of Spider-Man #1

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The-Superior-Foes-of-Spider-Man_1Gail Simone’s Secret Six was one of the best books on the stand when it was around. The market has been sorely lacking a book like that. Marvel has answered my prayers to the comic gods, and given us The Superior Foes of Spider-Man.

The C-lister team is a rag tag group of Spider-Man foes, and Nick Spencer spends the entire issue building the relationships that this series is going to be based on.  While it will be fun to see them try to rob banks and fail, it’s going to be more entertaining to see them down on their luck.  Spencer’s penchant for wit is there, as a page doesn’t go by without having some sort of joke crack the reader up.  I like that Spencer included the aspect of them going to jail. Too often in super hero comic books, the villains get away scott free so they can appear again to terrorize the hero.  Here, we see most of the team trying to bust Boomerang out of jail so he can join the Sinister Six again (even though there are only five of them).

While I liked most about Superior Foes of Spider-Man, is how Spencer makes us root for villains.  This group is people who are down on their luck and had to resort to crime.  If they hadn’t made one or two bad choices, they’d be heroes instead.  It’s a fine line that Spencer walks, as outright assholes wouldn’t be interesting.  In an age where a new book has to have Avengers or Justice League in the title to see, it’s refreshing to see a title that has no big stars.  Spider-Man is the catalyst for this series, but he seems almost incidental to what is going on.  If Spider-Man was never brought up in this series, it would be fine.  I’ve seen a few people compare this to Hawkeye.  It’s got a simple premise that involves people outside their costumes (for the most part), and can’t go a page without making the reader laugh.  Fair comparison by me.

Steve Lieber’s artwork is well suited for this book.  While there are plenty of spandex, the majority of the issue is filled with normal people.  When the spandex do show up, they seem out of place with what is going on, drawing more attention to the people wearing them.  But this ends up being a great sight gag, as seeing Shocker wear a trench coat and hat while in costume is just plain funny.  Yeah, like it’s hiding anything.  Lieber’s facial cues are superb. Comedic comic writing is only as good as the artist who sells the jokes.

My one major complaint is the title. It’s not as catchy as Secret Six, or even that simple. Seems slightly wordy to me.

I recently purged my pull list, as it was becoming bloated with titles.  But it looks like I’m going to add another title.

The Superior Foes of Spider-Man #1 gets 4.5/5.


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