Comics : The Superior Foes of Spider-Man #5

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This review was first published on: Nov 2013.

Background...

In Superior Foes #4, Boomerang rescued the members of his old Sinister Six, reuniting the team. But Fred has a dilemma he secretly needs their help with: the Chameleon is gave him one day to retrieve Silvermane's head from the crime boss, the Owl. If the identity-changing supervillain doesn't have Silvermane's head, he will have Fred's. Since the Shocker is the only one who knows of Fred's conspiracy...so Fred pushed him into a river I the trunk of his car! (Y'know, how normal people deal with their problems.)

In Detail...

The Superior Foes of Spider-Man #5
Jan 2014 : SM Spin-Off
Summary: Sinister Six invade Owl's base!
Editor:  Tom Brennan
Writer:  Nick Spencer
Artist:  Steve Lieber
Lettering:  VC's Joe Caramagna
Colorist:  Rachelle Rosenberg
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Issue
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Articles: Owl, The Shocker, Silvermane, Speed Demon

In someplace awful, a man waits in an undesirable room tied to a chair +with a tube full of rats looming above him. Soon, a door guarded by goons opens and the Owl walks in, saying, “The owl eats rats.” The Owl explains to his captive that the rats are always reproducing and have teeth that grow half-a-foot every year. After the usual super villain introduction prattling, he gets to the point that the man took money from him and he wants it back “with a little return on investment.” The man is obviously nervous and explains that he doesn’t have the money. The Owl is unsurprised that he is broke, knowing that he was “partying all over town with it.”

The man divulges that, although he is penniless, he can show the Owl how he stole his money for so long without his knowledge; he can expose to him the weak spots and he can apply it to his own clients. This reminds the Owl of a story from “back in the old days.” When the Owl started his operations, he needed the best safecracker, Willie Valentine. He had offered him a fair percentage, but his wife refused he accepted it. So, Owl sent the Man-Bull to Willie’s house, videotaping him. The Man-Bull seduced Willie’s wife and the Owl later showed Willie the tape, calling it a “bull-ride.” This provided the Owl some leverage, but he says, “I learned if you want to get a man to do something for you, best not to show him a tape of a bull #### his wife.”

Then, the grating that held the rats in the tube above the man’s head snaps. Quickly, tons of rats cover the poor guy. Owl leaves the room, telling his goon to grab a few rats when they’re done because he’s starving. While the Owl is eating a rat, Fred says, “This guy, right? Let’s go rob him.”

Outside the Owl’s base, Boomerang, Speed Demon, Overdrive and Beetle are monitoring the guard shift. While there are half as many guards on site, Boomerang says, “So we gotta move…fast.” Fred looks at Speed Demon and is disappointed that he didn’t catch his cue. Speed Demon displays that his injured foot is in roller-skate which is covered in duct tape.

Then, Beetle passes out matching binders which contains an organized, color-coded job plan. Overdrive finds it helpful but Fred chucks them off the roof, telling her that he gives orders. Beetle hostilely responds, “Maybe if you gave the slightest indication you knew what you were doing, I wouldn’t have a problem following them!” After he tries to intimidate her with his exploding boomerangs, Beetle asks where Shocker is.

Boomerang explains that Shocker was too much of a coward and he chickened out. He explains that everybody has special skills anyways, but comes to a snag over Beetle’s skills in the group. “Well, maybe you should just go down there and annoy the hell out of those guys, too. Maybe give ‘em some paperwork to look over,” he says. Beetle’s annoyed and pictures Fred being eaten by piranhas.

Soon, Fred tells Speed Demon that they “gotta move fast.” He catches his cue this time and rapidly sprints to the Owl’s base. Speed Demon dashes by the guards by crashing into the wall. Boomerang explains that Overdrive’s next and he takes out a remote control helicopter. When he touches it, the innocent toy turns into a high-artillery assault helicopter. The helicopter fires missiles at Owl’s base and the Sinister Six leave their safe rooftop lookout.

On the ground, the villain team assumes that the first wave of guards will arrive soon. Speed Demon begins to lose control of his roller skate and Fred is ashamed. When he deliberates about where to go, Fred is confused. Beetle swoops down with a binder, which contains a layout of the base, and Fred says, “This’ll be a piece of cake, gang!”

The layout of Owl’s base, despite Fred’s excitement, is anything but a piece of cake. There is a group of goons in the entrance of the complex, who are followed by two armed men in the next room. Down a set of stairs, there is a musher (or something), then a pack of man-wolves, then giant scorpions, then ninjas, then a gym, then giant flowers, then bathrooms, then a…bear (?) with massive eyes. Finally, Silvermane’s head is in the lowest, farthest room, surrounded by moneybags. Also, there is an out of service elevator and Owl’s office.

When the Sinister Six enter the building, they confront the group of goons. While his team battles, Fred figures that this is his “last shot at the big time.” Boomerang orders his team to continue without him while he is pinned down by a goon. While his team resumes to the masher room, Fred defeats his restrainer and discovers that the out of service elevator actually works. Fred rides down in the elevator thinking about how great his team is while they fight man-wolves and giant tarantulas.

When the Owl notices Boomerang in the elevator on his monitors, he takes it personally. Angrily, Owl orders Duncan to prepare his Prius. When he enters the prissy…I mean revolutionary vehicle, he orders for Duncan to call his friend in Denver for a job he suspects he will enjoy. While driving away in his Prius, Owl is impressed at how he can barely hear the engine.

Meanwhile, Fred reaches the final destination. At first, he relishing this as a group accomplishment, but then gives them credit. Of course, he is the only one who has actually reached this point. Boomerang thankfully finds the most valuable and sought after piece of art on Earth, “The True Face of Victor Von Doom.” Apparently, Silvermane’s head wasn’t even real. (Also, Fred’s hand covers Doom’s face with his hand.)

Meanwhile, a tow truck carries a jalopy to a junkyard. The drivers decide there is “nuthin in there worth digging for” and leave. Then, the Shocker boosts his way out of the jalopy and falls to the dirty floor. A boy greets him and Shocker tells him to stay in school. The kid asks if he needs help and Shocker spots a miniature car appearing behind a dumpster. The car reveals itself to be controlled by…Silvermane’s head! The rumor Fred explained in Superior Foes of Spider-Man #3 in true!

Quickly, Shocker snatches Silvermane’s head and darts away from the appalled little boy.

In General...

This is it, folks! This is the issue everybody has been waiting for since the second issue! It’s taken us a while (too long), but we finally get to watch the Sinister Six invade the Owl’s base! I must admit that this is one great issue and is exactly what I was anticipating after I read the first issue. It shows the misadventures of the sucky Sinister Six and their attack on Owl’s base is truly ridiculous. I mean, where else do you find that the leader traveling in an elevator while his teammates must battle their way down? Where else do you find a crime boss base with flowers, ninjas and giant bears with massive eyes? Where else do you find super villains obsessing with organized binders and Priuses? I’m happy to say Superior Foes of Spider-Man.

The dialogue in this issue is also hilarious. Fred’s depiction is tremendously amusing and he is beginning to remind me more and more of Michael Scott from the Office. He’s constantly screwing his employees self-absorbingly and is totally ignorant of it. The dialogue of this issue captures the team dynamic well since every member gets a part in the story. In the beginning, the Owl’s ranting is adequately diabolical while remaining comical.

I’m also content with how eventful this issue is. The past few issues have been big on dialogue and humor…but nothing happened. Thankfully, enough happens here to satisfy me. The plot is engaging and fun; it’s obviously well configured and executed. The two twists are nice: Fred was after the painting of Doom’s face the whole time and Shocker finds Silvermane’s head. They’re both outrageous turns of events and leave me waiting to see what happens.

Lastly, Steve Lieber’s art is wonderful. Lieber captures the humor is the action and the action in the dialogue. The Sinister Six’s combat, like last issue, is very unique in the way that it portrays clashing with great silliness, which fits the tone of the issue well. Even though the characters all wear masks, the emotions in the dialogue are portrayed well and the body language is skillful. My only issue with the art is that the line work lacks a bit of consistency.

Overall Rating...

This is a very fun and humorous story with great plot twists. Great art, also. This is the type of story I want from this series.