So where were we? Oh yeah, the new Sinister Six (minus Shocker, which actually makes only four) finally built up the gumption to attack the Owl’s base. As the new Beetle, Overdrive and Speed Demon all fought their way through hoards of thugs and monsters; Fred simply took the elevator and found what he was after – a painting of Dr. Doom’s face. Meanwhile Shocker, whom Fred pushed into the ocean, resurfaced and found the true head of Silvermane. Oh and Fred left the rest of his team behind to be killed by the Owl. Such a loveable loser, that Boomerang guy is.
The location is Citi Field, home of the New York Mets, and Fred is enjoying a date with the bartender he met back in Superior Foes of Spider-Man #4. The date between the former pitcher (now banned from baseball for life) and the long-time fan of the game isn’t going so well though. The bartender is deflecting all of Fred’s not-so-subtle advances. Things change however when the two find out that they both share a mutual distaste for a popular relief pitcher. Suddenly images of marriage, children birthed out of infidelity and cute cupidized versions of Shocker and Overdrive flood Fred’s mind. He’s in love.
Feeling as if his date went well, Fred waltzes home where the stolen Victor Von Doom painting hangs crookedly on his wall. As it turns out, all of Fred’s dealings with the new Sinister Six and the Chameleon were all lies just so that he could get his hands on this priceless painting and become insanely rich.
Meanwhile at the Owl’s base, the three captured members of the Sinister Six are being interrogated by Leland Owlsley himself. While both Overdrive and Speed Demon are cowering in fear, the Beetle is surprisingly confident. Over and over, she continues to tell the Owl that his best move is to let them all go. As a curious Owl ponders what exactly the Beetle thinks is going to save them, our villainous heroine secretly dials a number from behind her back.
Back at Fred’s apartment, a daydreaming Boomerang is awoken by his parole officer (former Beetle, Abner Jenkins). Abner has heard reports that a man dressed in a Boomerang outfit recently freed the captured members of the Sinister Six. Weaseling his way out of the accusation, Fred blames it on a Boomerang imposter. After finally getting rid of his pesky former partner, Fred is again bothered by a knock at the door. This time it’s the Chameleon who has almost certainly deduced the fact that he has been double crossed.
Back at Owl’s hideout, the cat and mouse game between the Owl and the Beetle comes to an explosive conclusion. Just as the Owl reveals that it is a painting and not the head of Silvermane that was stolen from his layer, a huge explosion rocks Owl’s compound. Appearing from the giant hole in the wall is a towering albino gangster with a flattop haircut.
”Who wants to tell what the hell’s going on here?!” shouts Tombstone.
”I can explain everything,” says the Beetle as she takes off her mask. “Hi, daddy.”
So the Beetle's dad is Tombstone, eh? I didn't see that one coming.
I do love the fact that Tombstone gets thrown into the fray here, but what I love more is that Nick Spencer is finally fleshing out the new Beetle’s character. She was the one member of the new Sinister Six that we knew next to nothing about, and now (with this reveal) she may end up being the most interesting character in the book. Suddenly Boomerang, who will almost certainly face the wrath of his former teammates for double crossing them, will have a lot more to worry about than just the hapless crew he left behind.
Steve Lieber’s playful artwork has been perfect for this book from issue one, and this issue is no exception. His full page daydream sequence, in which Fred imagines growing old with the bartender, is fabulous. The whole retelling of the legend behind Doom’s painting is brilliant too. It’s that kind of whimsical storytelling that sets this series apart from anything that Marvel is putting on the stands right now (that includes Hawkeye).
A lot of people, myself included, thought that this series would not last long. An entire ongoing title based around five b-list villains, how is that even going to work? From the beginning though, Spencer and Lieber have taken this fun concept and ran with it. They’ve breathed new life into old characters and have kept us interested in the atypical story of Boomerang, Shocker, Speed Demon, Overdrive and Janice Lincoln. Who'da thunk?
Boomerang is generally unlikable. He’s screwed over everyone and constantly thinks of no one but himself. Despite all of that, I’m still rooting for this guy and am generally worried about what’s going to happen to him next. Either that’s good storytelling or I have a scary knack of cheering for horrible people.