Comics : Deadly Foes of Spider-Man #2
This story is part of a Lookback Series: Worst of the Worst
This review was first published on: 2003.
The four-part limited series, "Deadly Foes of Spider-Man" re-unites Boomerang, Beetle, Speed Demon, Rhino, and Hydro-Man. The Kingpin has brought them together under the leadership of the Beetle, but it's not yet clear what his true goals are. Similarly, Boomerang's new girlfriend, Leila Davis, also seems to have her own plans.
Deadly Foes of Spider-Man #2
Jun 1991 : SM Title
Summary: Sinister Syndicate
|Reprinted In: Deadly Foes of Spider-Man (TPB)|
|Articles: The Beetle, Boomerang, Hydro-Man, Kingpin, Rhino, The Shocker, Speed Demon|
"FWAMM!" But nope, it's not the end of Spidey. Leila Davis reaches over and shoves the sonic cannon aside, sending the shot wild. She reminds Beetle that they promised Rhino not to kill Spidey. But Beetle points out that with Rhino not around, he won't be culpable, so there's no problem killing Spidey. But either way, "Code: Blue" has turned up... New York's lame-o super-cops. If I recall correctly, Code: Blue were a Kavanagh invention? They're certainly trite enough to be from the Kavanagh stable of stale ideas.
But the bad guys drop a tear gas bomb, and scarper. Beetle berates himself for having tried to kill Spidey. "I almost let my hatred of that arachnid jeopardize our freedom!" Huh? I thought these were supposed to be BAD guys. Looks like bad ain't as bad as it used to be. And how can killing Spidey jeopardize their freedom. Leaving him alive is far more likely to jeopardize their freedom than wasting him! Nuts.
But anyhow, Leila offers words of consolation: "S'Okay Abner, you let your emotions carry you away, could happen to anyone." But we get our first glimpse of her real intentions, as she thinks to herself... "But it won't happen to me, Abner. I won't let my hate for you get out of control. When I destroy you... it will be at the most humiliating and painful moment possible." Hmmm, what'ja reckon that's all about? Guess we'll find out soon.
So what about that stray shot Leila diverted from Spidey? Looks like it took out the wall of Herman Schultz's cell! This leaves Spidey rather suspicious, believing that perhaps the Shocker was lined up as a member-to-be of the Beetle's outfit. Herman protests his innocence, and the wall crawler swings off, making a mental note that the Beetle's sonic cannon looked like a Tinkerer special.
Cut to Fred Myers, sitting in a cell, reading a newspaper special giving the history of his downfall, for the benefit of any readers who didn't know of his past career in baseball. As he contemplates how he could use the newspaper as a weapon to escape his specialised high-tech cell, the assistant D.A. turns up, with Fred's lawyer. Looks like the state is prepared to offer a deal... if Fred turns state's evidence, they could give him a new identity and a clean start. Fred is sorely tempted...
But what of his friends? Speed Demon is still trying to put his speedy moves onto Leila, while the others are letting their mistrust of the Beetle get on their nerves. As for the Beetle, well, Jenkins himself is contemplating planting evidence to set Boomerang up big-time, but he's not quite sure if that's the right way to go. So he puts that aside, as they all pile in Leila's van and head to intercept a gold shipment heading to Fort Knox... and nail the loot without a hitch. Score one for the bad guys!
Two days later, after the team has sold the loot for cash, Speed Demon is also getting keen on the idea of selling out Boomerang, as part of his plan to get down and sweaty with Boomy's girlfriend, Leila. The Rhino, meanwhile, is packing... he has his cash, and he's moving out. But Jenkins persuades him to stay on for one more job. In prison, Fred decides that he's a team player, and he's not gonna accept the offer to turn in his mates. Meanwhile, his mates are coming to the same conclusion, that they're gonna stand by Myers, and do their bit to rescue him. So, it's all for one, and one for all! How touching to see such unusual solidarity among the super-powered crooks of this world! Well... all except for Leila! She's off to see Kingpin, in person, and it's not hard to see that spells no good for her "team-mates".
Back at base, Leila is getting close with Speed Demon, just in case Boomerang gets stuck in prison, and she needs a new stooge to help her with her... "plan", whatever that turns out to be. Leila then visits Boomerang in prison, to tell him that both Kingpin and the Syndicate are still backing him. Hmm... seems like Leila actually has a real soft spot for Fred. Hope it doesn't get in the way of her scheme for vengeance! I hate to see a good scheme go bad.
Nope! Looks like Leila hasn't let her positive sentiments get in the way of her destructive negative emotions! She has Fred's lawyer, Mr. Partridge, put forward a half-arsed defense, and three days later, Fred is found guilty of all charges! Ooops. Looks like Leila has swapped over to plan B, using Speed Demon as her stooge. But hey, what's this? "WHABOOOOOOOM!" Court is adjourned, as the Sinister Syndicate arrive in force! Beetle's "Electro-Bites" seize up the powered armour of the "Code Blue" guys. Oh no! Who can save us now? Well, Spidey slings in, and certainly has a go at levelling the odds.
A right-royal scrap ensues... leaving Fred all webbed up, and the rest of the Syndicate feeling somewhat battered. They scarper, leaving Boomerang still in the hands of the law. Spidey manages to tag Rhino with a tracer as they depart. But one big question remains... who back-stabbed who? Who was it who had Partridge put up the lousy defense?
Well, it turns out that the Kingpin was the guy who wanted to see Boomerang get sent down. Seems Kingpin was punishing Boomerang for some past infraction. I'm not entirely sure what Boomerang had done recently to upset Kingpin. Perhaps some helpful reader can fill me in here! But anyhow, it is revealed that in fact Leila had pleaded (in vain, it now seems) with Kingpin to help rescue Fred. Hmm... is Leila going soft?
Well... all this plotting and counter-plotting is hurting my head. Let's get back to some good old-fashioned action! Mr. Danny Fingeroth is happy to oblige on that front. Spidey finally tracks down the tracer he planted on Rhino. But he doesn't find what he expected! Instead, he finds D.A. Guillermo, strapped to a giant bomb. When Spidey entered, he set off the timer, leaving him 10 seconds before everything goes Boom! Fingeroth assures us that Spidey doesn't die... but somebody does next issue!
Wow, already you really need the proverbial scorecard to keep up with the play. The major problem with this whole tale so far is that it's just one big scramble with little to show for the whole exercise.
Two webs for a story that perhaps is just trying a little too hard.