It seems like indie comics are influencing the Big Two more and more as time goes on. Just pop open the latest Hawkeye comic and you’ll see some ambitious storytelling techniques at work. It used to be a six panel page was enough, but now we’re seeing art, story and even color used in different ways when it comes to superhero comics. Which is why it’s no surprise we’re given a comic about Spider-Man villains with a quirky angle, but is it good?
The Superior Foes of Spider-Man #1 (Marvel Comics)
There should be a disclaimer on this book that reads, “Spider-Man, in any and all likenesses, does not appear in this book aside from a single panel flashback.” It’s really criminal the name is even on the cover, but that isn’t to say this book is bad. Far from it, and in fact it’s a bit of a fun little ride. The only thing is, you better have no expectations, because this is quite the different read.
That’s pretty funny.
Writer Nick Spencer deserves a standing ovation for what he’s done in this issue. He’s not only incorporated a wry sense of humor within its pages, but also made Boomerang an interesting and realistic villain. I’m no Boomerang historian, but his backstory seems to be new here, and it’s quite the interesting piece. I won’t spoil it for you, but let’s just say his story is actually relatable. If you’ve ever had any regrets and felt a fool for it, you’ll commiserate with this character.
Our villain…I mean protagonist!
It’s not necessarily a comedic book, but more of a good caper or heist flick with a couple of laughs. Think of this as Oceans 11 and you’ll get the idea. Boomerang is getting Shocker and a few other villains together to do a big score, but there’s the small issue of him being in jail. The bumbling nature of these second class villains is on display, but you don’t get the sense that they’re stupid for the sake of being stupid, but living, realistic people. Shocker is a coward and Speed Demon is a bit of a buffoon, but both are strengthened by strong dialogue and great expressions from artist Steve Lieber.
Lieber’s composition is pretty impressive with pages taking on up to 11 panels, but in such a way to pace the reader. It reminds me of what David Aja is doing on Hawkeye, where the use of four smaller panels conveys motion or speed. The comparison doesn’t go farther than that, as Lieber’s pencils aren’t the most detailed or always captivating, but the composition is so strong you won’t even notice.
Another good laugh.
- Strong composition
- Funny moments and good character development
- Great dialogue
- The plot is a bit fuzzy
The reader is supposed to be in the dark when it comes to Boomerang’s plan, but it’s told in such a way to almost make the reader confused. That’s really the only fault I can find with this comic. Most readers are going to pass this one up which is too bad. One flip through will make anyone expecting Spider-Man to throw it down in disgust. Don’t do that. Give it a few pages to sink in. It’s then when you’ll realize there’s some damn fine crime style comics taking place in between its front and back covers.
Is It Good?
Yes. A surprise on the shelf everyone should give a try.
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