Rating: 4/5 – Good Bye, So Long, and Thanks For Being So Quirky.
by ComicSpectrum reviewer Gabe Bustamantez.
Superior Foes of Spider-Man #17 marks the final issue of one of the most underrated and under-appreciated comic series on the market. But I’m not sad, upset, angry or even the slightest bit conflicted about it being cancelled. In fact I’m happy that a unique series about low-rank, unlikable, d-list Spider-Man villains was able to sustain itself for 17 issues, especially since Spider-Man didn’t really appear in the series. In fact the series was originally planned as 12 issues and was expanded due to the positive feedback from readers. That goes to show how well crafted this tongue in cheek series about the 5 member Sinister Six team was.
Even though it’s the finale of the series, it was written as if Nick Spencer wanted new readers to jump on and enjoy this issue. Spencer gives the issue a How I Met Your Mother theme, meaning– the issue is one long narrative by Boomerang, which allowed a new reader to catch up on all the previous storylines, so if this was your first time reading this series you’d find that Boomerang is both interesting and horribly self destructive. Even long time readers are able to see loose ends tied up and you’re rewarded with a surprise or two from this farewell issue. Unfortunately, the entire issue is too focused on the Boomerang character and all the other members of the Sinister Six are treated as supporting cast members and we are only given a quick update on their current whereabouts.
It’s very fitting that the series regular artist Steve Lieber was able to bring the series to a close. With the exception of a few issues, the series was drawn by Lieber which provided a great feel of consistency to the series– which was great, considering a lot of this issue touched back on moments from earlier issues, even using the same panels from the first issue to retell Boomerang’s origin. Many short-lived series struggle with keeping a regular artist aboard but this one established a consistent look and feel thanks to Lieber. The backbone of this book were the character moments and the humor; changes in the character’s facial expressions and sight gags drives home the jokes more so than the dialogue, and a lot of the series is about the Sinister Six members sitting around and quietly hating one another. All of which is very hard to draw well enough for the the reader to catch, but Steve Lieber has a great artist ability to capture all of that physical humor, and drama in each of the character’s body language. That said, the backgrounds in this issue are almost non-existent and makes the comic look as if the scenes were filmed on an empty movie sound-stage. All the backgrounds in this issue are colored patterns that look as if they were dropped into the art during the coloring process by colorist Rachelle Rosenbern.
I’m impressed and proud that Nick Spencer and Steve Lieber were able to bring The Superior Foes of Spider-Man all the way to the finish line. Too many series land flat on their faces or have their storylines abandoned once the cancellation notice are given, but Spencer and Lieber were able to give us an ending to the series that provided closure and felt genuine. I highly recommend that you give this series a chance in collected edition or as back-issue bin acquisitions. It was short-lived but was still able to provided a great overarching storyline that lived on the sidelines of the Marvel U, and didn’t get sidetracked during the big Marvel events. It satisfies the “something new and different” itch that many of us are looking to scratch these days. And if you became a fan of the Nick Spencer / Steven Lieber creative team you’ll be able to follow them over to their new Image Comics series called “The Fix” that is starting in 2015.
Reviewed by: Gabe Bustamantez
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