I had been planning to journey back to the boonies for the start of another year on Saturday. So naturally it's going to snow the next two days. Sunday it is then.
Superior Foes of Spider-Man #6 & 7, by Nick Spencer & Steve Lieber (storytellers), Rich Ellis (artist, #7), Rachelle Rosenberg (color art, #6), Lee Loughridge (color art, #7), Joe Caramagna (letterer) - Yes, a new book for the pull list! With all the books that ended earlier this winter, plus the ones I've dropped or am dropping soon, there was plenty of room.
I hadn't actually order issue 6, because it'll be included in the first trade, and I plan to buy that when it comes out. But I'm not going to fault my comic guy for being conscientious. The series, near as I can tell, is a group of five second or third-tier Spidey foes have formed a new Sinister Six (yeah, they can't count) to pull of heists. #6 is dealing with some of the fallout of their first attempt. Seems team leader Boomerang told everyone they were breaking into the compound of the Owl to steal the cyborg head of former crime boss Silvermane. That was ruse, and Boomerang just used them to steal a one of a kind painting of Dr. Doom, without his mask. The rest of the team was left behind, where they're about to be tortured by the Owl, until the Beetle places a call, and we learn she's Tombstone's daughter.
Issue 7 is Janice's (that's the Beetle) origin, where we see her as Daddy's Little Girl, apple of his eye. Bringing a new dog as a present for a another young girl's birthday, then using the dog as a distraction so she can steal all the other presents. Then calling the dog back to her as they ride off in her's dad car. I want to be outraged, but I can't help smiling at the audaciousness of that. She makes it through law school, gets a good job at a firm, but that's not what she wants. She wants to be a super-villain, but her father is opposed. As he points out, she can make more money as a crooked lawyer, businesswoman, or politician than he could ever dream of stealing or extorting. And she won't get punched in the face by Spider-Man this way. But Janice is undeterred, and when Baron Zemo needs some one to dose Bucky with some nanites the Fixer whipped up, Janice takes the opportunity. While also working out an arrangement between the two villains so Fixer feels properly compensated for his creations, but Zemo doesn't feel he's getting ripped off.
It's a little weird to have just these two issues, because 6 ends on kind of a cliffhanger, and then 7 is a flashback issue, so I'm still left hanging. But it isn't uninteresting to be sure. This group, regardless of what they call themselves, are the Sinister Syndicate reborn, because the Syndicate, unlike the Sinister Six, wasn't about killing Spider-Man. It was the second-rate guys trying to work together to make scores they never could alone, and that's clearly what this team thought they were up to. Now it turns out Boomerang used them, but back-stabbing in a Syndicate tradition as well. Still, it's nice to see super-villains that are just out for the money, rather than taking over the world, getting revenge on heroes, or trying to destroy the universe.
Plus, it's already apparent there's a lot of scheming and such among the group. Boomerang hoodwinked them, and assuming he survives the Chameleon's visit, that'll probably come back to haunt him. Boomerang says there is no Silvermane head, but Shocker certainly seems to have one with him. Boomerang was probably the leader, but then you have to factor in Beetle's desire to be a boss, as she told her father, and how that's going to play out. Which is good. Boomerang and the Beetle historically jockeyed for control, so in a sense, she's carrying on the tradition of her title. That was actually the one thing I found odd, that Abner Jenkins (formerly the Beetle, now Mach-5? 19? I don't know) apparently sponsored Boomerang's parole or something. Those dudes hated each other. I guess Abner's big on second chances now that he's a good guy and all.
The last time I saw Lieber's artwork, it was the Hurricane Sandy issue of Hawkeye, and I thought it looked a bit like Aja's, in how draws people, if not page layouts. I wouldn't say that's the case here, so maybe it was a matter of Hollingsworth's coloring, or Lieber purposefully altered his style to more closely resemble Aja's. His work as it stands here is fine, Boomerang's a real ham, so he gives Lieber the opportunity to draw some comic overacting, and he nails it. I mean, it's hard for me to believe Boomerang could possibly think that act he put on for Abner would fool anyone, but I can see someone trying it, and it's hilarious, which is more important.
I might actually like Ellis' art on issue 7, more though. The slightly exasperated/irritated/bored look Janice has as Zemo and Fixer bicker on page 15. Her cartoonish imaginings of the bickering are pretty funny, too. Especially pimp Zemo (though Deadpool still looks better as a pimp). Also, the wicked little smile she gets on the last panel of page 19. She's excited, but with her, that's kind of a scary prospect.
I don't know quite where this story is gonna go next, which is nice. I don't have any real expectations, except that I'll enjoy it, because it seems like kind of a funny book about awful people trying to work together and stab each other in the back at the same time. It's kind of like Secret Six, except I don't think these villains like each other anywhere near that much.