The Superior Foes of Spider-Man #17

Background

Let me fill you in on exactly what's been going down in the world of the new Sinister Six. First off, Boomerang got together a team so that he could obtain the head of the crime boss Silvio Silvermane. It turns out that Boomerang was actually after the priceless painting of Victor von Doom's face though. After lots of backstabbing, hijinks and plenty of laughs, we've ended up in an odd position. All of the gangs in New York are in an epic battle with each other and Boomerang is pitching in a Major League Baseball game. This, my friends, is the final issue of Superior Foes of Spider-Man.

Story 'Goodbye, Farewell and Good Riddance'

  The Superior Foes of Spider-Man #17
Summary: Series Finale
Arc: Part 3 of 'Gang War' (1-2-3)
Editor: Lauren Sankovitch
Assistant Editor: Jon Moisan
Writer: Nick Spencer
Artist: Steve Lieber
Lettering: Clayton Cowles
Colorist: Rachelle Rosenberg

Fred Myers will be our narrator for the closing events of his greatest exploits. He fills in the gap that was left last issue when he used Chameleon's shape shifting serum to become a famous baseball pitcher. We find that it was the witless Abner Jenkins that unwittingly took a beatdown in a dark alley that was meant for Boomerang.

We also find that the priceless painting that's changed hands so many times is indeed still in Fred's possession. Remember when he pointed out that the one that Overdrive stole was a fake? Well it seems that with the help of the guileless Mirage, Fred was actually able to obtain the portrait. That is until Fred's bartender and ex-girlfriend (who was actually the Black Cat in disguise), stole it for herself.

These last 16 issues haven't all been about Fred though. To wrap things up, we find that Speed Demon successfully sued Iron Fist for beating him up back in Superior Foes #4. Back in that dark alley, Abner is saved from his epic beatdown by his idol Iron man. Elsewhere, Overdrive and Beetle are running for their lives from the gang battle with their (fake) painting in tow when they run into the actual Dr. Doom.

The most interesting side story may be Herman Shultz's though. Shocker's story of redemption is finally completed when he takes out the Punisher while riding his awesome Shocker-Mobile. If you didn't know, this fantastic reference is from the infamous Spidey Super Stories #15. After defeating the Punisher, Shocker is named don of the gangs of New York by Silvermane himself.

We never really find out whether or not Boomerang broke the strikeout record. The Owl tried to dissuade Myers from throwing one last strikeout but whether he did or didn't is left a mystery. We do find out that Fred's story, the whole unreliable narrative, is being told to a mysterious bar patron named Peter. "Yes, sir" says Fred after Pete had just bought him another round "You and me, we could be good--"

General Comments

Well that's the end of the book that on multiple occasions I've proclaimed to be Marvel's best title. This last issue only puts more weight behind that lofty statement. Unlike other titles that hastily try to tie together loose ends after given their cancellation notice, Superior Foes was able to wrap up basically all of its dangling plot threads in a definitive and satisfactory fashion.

It's a shame to see this series go and I for one am going to sorely miss it. I had little familiarity with the creative team that gave us this memorable book when it was first introduced but I gave it a chance based on both curiosity and strong recommendations. Boy am I glad that I did. Nick Spencer and Steve Lieber both knew exactly the tone and feel that they wanted with this book from the beginning. Each issue that they worked on together was an absolute joy to read, brimming with humor and intrigue. Sure it was a comical book, but these C-List villains were given so much personality that it just became natural to care and root from them, no matter how rotten they were. Not only that, but the situations that Spencer wrote out for each character made the book must read material each month. What's Boomerang's master plan? Will Shocker get his revenge? What smartass remark will Silvermane make this time? The whole series, all 14 issues that featured both Spencer and Lieber anyway, was crucial to the whole of the story.

Spencer's plots may be what kept the book intriguing each month, but Steve Lieber's art and colorist Rachele Rosenberg's mood setting palette is what made the book such a deep read and kept it from being superficial (which it very well could have been in a less talented artist's hands). There are so many little things that Lieber adds to the artwork that you may not catch the first time through. Hell, after some of the big reveals in this issue I went back to look over some of the previous installments and found a number of easter eggs and small details in the art that I had missed the first time through.

I said in past reviews that I hate to see this great team-up between these two talented creators come to and end and it appears that it actually won't. The same day that this issue was released, it was announced that Nick Spencer and Steve Lieber will be working together on an Image series titled The Fix. Since Superior Foes of Spider-Man was undoubtedly my favorite new comic series to come out in years, I will certainly be giving this new book a read. Hopefully you will too.

Overall Rating

The book about a bunch of misfit villains who blunder their way into one mishap after another was pure comic book gold. Nick Spencer and Steve Lieber showed that they are a masterful creative duo that hopefully continue to make comics together for years to come. Goodbye, Superior Foes of Spider-Man. You were awesome!