I had some errands to run in town last week, so I swung by and got books. It's almost too bad, I'm pretty sure he would have mailed them this week, and the first issue of the next Atomic Robo mini-series is due this week.
Superior Foes of Spider-Man #10 & 11, by James Ausmus (writer #10), Tom Peyer & Elliot Kalan (writers, #11), Carmen Canero, Gerardo Sandoval, Nuno Plati, Siya Oum, Pepe Larraz, Wil Sliney (artists), Terry Pallot (inker), Chris Sotomayor, John Rauch, Andres Mossa (colorists), Clayton Cowles (letterer) - I am not going to the trouble of listing who worked on what issues. There's a lot overlap, anyway. Leave it to Octavius Spidey to have crooked, uneven web designs on his costume. That's the lack of attention to order I'd expect from a villain playing hero. Not to mention a guy who wore a green-and-orange spandex outfit that made him look like a billiard ball.
I figured since I made mention on Friday of these issues being disappointing, I might as well start here. Just in case one of you had been thinking about picking this title up based on my glowing reviews of the previous 4 issues. I have, I will admit, softened somewhat since Friday, but not much. Both issues are a bunch of vignettes. Issue 10 is the 3 remaining members of the Sinister Six swapping stories about their greatest victories. It's as sad as you might expect. The Beetle claims victory over Daredevil because she beat Matt Murdock in court once. By hiring the Looter to attack the courthouse so Murdock would bail on the trial and go save the day as Daredevil. Issue 11 was about a super-villain support group we were introduced to earlier in the series. It doesn't involve the main characters at all, as it's more about how the Grizzly and the Looter have both been traumatized by the new, "superior" Spider-Man.
Look, any appearance of that Spider-Man is going to bring a frown to my face, so that issue was swimming upstream from the start. The annoyance here was that issue 9 ended on a really good cliffhanger, and I wanted to find out what had happened. These issues did not tell me that. They were filler, and issue 10 wasn't even full-size filler. 18 pages. That's right, 18 pages for a $4 book. And while we learned some stuff about the cast in #10, it wasn't anything we couldn't have learned in the course of actual, plot-relevant developments.
I mean, yes, Overdrive is probably a bigger coward than Shocker, and is his own biggest hurdle to success, just due to the limits he places on his powers. Yes, Speed Demon is an idiot with the same attention span as Impulse. And yes, Beetle is the only one with any brains, but she's probably too aware of all the pitfalls of super-villainy to be good at it. She's trying so hard not to get tripped up on something like a parole violation, she only keeps weapons available when she thinks she needs them. Which ignores the fact she's in costume, so she's probably always going to need them. Because you don't know when Hercules is going to strolling into the bar you're robbing/patronizing.
Let's discuss a positive. The idea of Grizzly being reduced to robbing drunks for pizza money, and using kid's music to lure them in, is hilarious, even if he's doing it because he's too scared of Spidey to try anything more high-profile. Nuno Plati's artwork is nice. He goes heavy on the black, but it works for him, especially on the Looter's story of woe. The way the Looter returns to New York, and leaps off a ledge to start his daring heist, fully illuminated. Then you turn the page and here's Asshole Spider-Octavius, showing up to not only shatter his bones, but his sense of self-worth. The panels get shorter, closing in, crushing Looter, and the shadows close in as well, bringing all focus on his humiliating defeat.
I'm a little sad to see Will o' Wisp among the villains Looter approached about working for him. I recall when Spider-Man had convinced him to be a good guy, like he did for Sandman, Rocket Racer, and the Prowler. I think Prowler might be the only one of those guys still doing the hero thing, though I haven't seen him since Carol Danvers beat him up and threw him in jail while she was busy being Stark's Pro-Registration lackey.
If you were thinking about picking up Superior Foes, well, honestly there's only 4 issues left, so maybe buy the trade of the first 6 issues, and wait for the next trade to come out once the series wraps up. But if you, like me, are too impatient for that, go ahead and give these issues a pass. I guess there's always a chance the Six' flight from Hercules will be relevant, but right now, it doesn't seem like these were essential issues.