Fred Myers, Boomerang, has been put on parole with Mach VII, the original Beetle, as his parole officer. Fred is obviously unhappy with this, since they were both part of the Sinister Syndicate in Deadly Foes of Spider-Man and things didn't turn out well.
Also, the Sinister Six agreed to carry out Fred's mission to retrieve Silvermane's head. Of course, little do they know that Fred is doing it for the Chameleon for helping get him out of jail. Actually, Shocker knows all about it, but is too much of a coward to tell the team.
|Cover Art:||Michael Del Mundo|
|Lettering:||VC's Joe Caramagna|
Our story commences like the first two: Fred is narrating a flashback. First, he reflects on how Silvermane was killed in an unfortunate garbage compactor accident in a gang war against the Owl. While this was all everyone knows for certainty, Fred continues about the rumors of how Silvermane’s head fell out of the compactor and fell to the floor. Because of his life support system, Silvermane’s head would still be alive and breathing. This would be valuable because his head would still control the Maggia if it was found.
Now there are many rumors of what may have happened to the head. One of the stories is how the head befriended a boy and learned how to live a life where he was loved, not feared. But Fred dismisses this idea as being made by the stupid people he works with. Instead, he knows that the rumors are true that the head is intact because he has seen it. The Owl and his men had found it and have been keeping it in a secret location that Fred had found when he worked for Owl.
But Fred reveals that Silvermane wasn’t some great, magnanimous don. “He was a mean, demented old geriatric who’s put a hit out on the wrong guy because he couldn’t keep names straight anymore. Also, weirdly racist,” Fred narrates. So everybody hated him until the second he was dead.
Now, back to current continuity, Fred is at a diner talking to Abner Jenkins, Mach VII. Abner wants them to be friends and the past behind them. Fred isn’t as enthusiastic. “State of New York better be paying for these pancakes,” Fred tells him. Abner explains how he only became part of the parole program because he heard his first defendant was him. Fred asks if he needs to take a urine test in the middle of the Beetle’s speech, but after if, he is obviously upset. (He starts pouring so much syrup on his pancakes that it flows off the dish!)
Fred reflects on Abner Jenkins’ journey from criminal to a “traitorous, backstabbing turncoat.” Fred also exclaims that Mach VII’s costume looks like “something your wife says she doesn’t own. When Fred and Abner exit the diner, Abner tells Fred that he doesn’t have much a retirement plan and wants him to meet some people. While taking a photograph of Abner with two girls, Fred asks if they’re the Avengers. “Oh, right. You didn’t make the cut for the Avengers,” Fred insults him. (Abner may be the only Marvel character that isn’t in the Avengers.)
Abner explains that the meeting is an “informal get-together with some people who might understand what you’re going through.” Abner gives him his number and expresses how he thinks Fred can be a hero as he flies away. Fred, while strolling away, remembers how he was part of the Thunderbolts for a time because it was a way to get out of prison. He decides that he will go to the meeting Abner suggested because they may understand what he’s been through and will stick with him.
Later at the base of the Sinister Six, the current Beetle tells Fred that he’s cut. Sadly, his teammates agree to let him go too, since he’s “ghosted by an Avenger.” Fred explains how Abner isn’t an Avenger, Thunderbolt, or Defender. Then, he tells them that they cannot be the Sinister Six if they only have four members. Speed Demon suggests that Fred could become a henchman again and he becomes outraged.
When Fred begins ranting about how he brought them all together, Shocker has a hard time keeping his secret about how Fred made a deal with Chameleon. Beetle tells Fred that everyone respects him and they will be carrying out his job to get Silvermane’s head since he gave them all the information. Soon, Fred is sitting at a bar alone, bitter about his betrayal.
Even later, Fred is walking with Mach VII to the meeting he suggested. Abner is surprised that he called him, but Fred says, “Hey, come on, Ab--You bought me pancakes. That totally makes up for all the times you tried to have me killed.” When Fred walks into the building of the meeting, Abner welcomes him to Super Villain Anonymous, a group of F-lister super villains trying to go straight. Fred decides that he’s been walked straight into Hell. He grabs a coffee cup from a man/hippo hybrid and fills it with alcohol. This is certainly not what he was expecting.
When the session begins, Mirage (Desmond) emotionally opens up to the other villains first. He reflects on how Iron Man ruined his relationship with his girlfriend and he became a super villain because of it. Then, Desmond evokes how he has been killed and brought back twice. “But here’s the thing…I realized—second chance, third chance, it doesn’t even matter. I mean, come on-- Nobody even knows I’m still alive,” Mirage cries.
After Mirage’s emotional outburst, all of the villains gather in a group hug. At first, Fred stands out of it, but he hippo man convinces him to join them. He embraces Fred and Fred looks absolutely tormented.
Afterwards, Fred and Abner sit atop a bridge, talking. Apparently, Fred didn’t speak at the session and Fred lies that he has made progress. But, Fred says he hasn’t been entirely honest with Abner. He tells him about his old group and Abner says he could fly over and deal with them. Fred stops him and explains that they know he is his parole officer and he doesn’t want them to know he snitched. Instead, Fred wants him to sic the Avengers on them.
Abner states that he might have some guys. Soon in the Sinister Six’s base, Luke Cage and Iron Fist bust though the wall in the middle of a team meeting.
This was a disappointing issue. Very disappointing. After the fantastic first issue, I thought this series would go somewhere. While the characters of this story are all rich, the art is solid, and the humor is great, the plot lacks substance. And by lacks substance, I mean it is nearly nonexistent. We are three issues into the series and the Sinister Six haven’t fought anybody and they have basically just made jokes among themselves.
Of course, how can the plot progress when half of the story is taken up by backstory? Seriously, there is so much backstory here that it is ridiculous. Why would Spencer need to waste so much time explaining the whole backstory of the Beetle, Mirage, and Silvermane? I mean, none of the backstory is even essential to the progression of the story.
Like every other story of this series, the humor is sharp and witty. Fred’s experience at Super Villains Anonymous is classic and his wry banter with Abner is splendid. But…how far does a writer go for the sake of a few laughs? The plot is secondary to the humor and that is nonsensical.
Yeah, this was a short review. What do you expect from a book with only ten pages of story progression?