I'm going to miss these guys. There's only two issues left of this critically acclaimed series and creators Nick Spencer and Steve Lieber have a lot of plotlines to wrap up in a short amount of time. Last issue, the gang buried Shocker alive and found out a way for them all to become head of the Maggia crime syndicate. But to no one’s surprise, they all plan on backstabbing each other because, well, that's what villains do. The epic conclusion of Marvel's best book continues!
After re-introducing the Punisher, who has caught wind of the big gang gathering brought on by the Sinister Six, we re-join Fred Myers, our bumbling protagonist. After leaving his girlfriend, the bartender, to die back in Superior Foes of Spider-Man #9, he's stopped by her apartment to make amends. She's not having any of it though and at the barrel of a shotgun Fred flies out of her window and into the night.
Meanwhile, Abner Jenkins (Fred's parole officer) is getting advice on how to deal with Boomerang from Tony Stark. After being brushed off by Tony, Abner receives a text alerting him about Fred's whereabouts. In another hilariously illustrated sequence by Lieber, Abner accidentally decks an old man walking down the street with his enormous wings.
Elsewhere, Shocker is trying to escape from the coffin he was buried in last issue when he gets some help from his former partner Hydroman. Morris apologizes to Herman for betraying him in Superior Foes #12, but the Shocker has had enough. He's been screwed over way too many times and he's ready for some payback. He blasts Hydroman and walks off into the distance. "No more second chances," he mutters.
Anyhow, the Sinister Six have set up a big meeting so that they can present the head of Silvermane and become head of the Maggia. It doesn't take long to figure out that they have all betrayed each other though. Hammerhead, Mr. Negative and Madame Masque all show up to claim their share of the Maggia. As expected, after Silvermane devilishly lights the fuse, they all start brawling one another.
Fred isn't sticking around for this nonsense though and he sprints into a dark alley where, lo and behold, he's beaten to a pulp by Owl and Chameleon, the two crime bosses he's screwed over numerous times already. Then again, maybe Fred's plan runs much deeper than anyone knows. Next thing you know he's fine, in possession of one of Chameleon's face changing serums and playing baseball for the New York Mets. "This is me winning," he thinks to himself as he tips his hat to a stadium full of adoring fans.
So, after all this time, we finally get to the root of Fred Myer's motivations (unless this too is a trick). It's not the mythical head of Silvermane, it's not a priceless painting, it's not even becoming a gang lord. Nope, it's playing baseball again.
What exactly happened in the time between Fred (or is it somebody else?) getting his face smashed in and him playing baseball is still a mystery. I’m sure it will be addressed, along with all of the other dangling plot points, in the final issue of the series. I'm certainly excited to see what kind of revenge this new raving mad Shocker is going to exact. I'm also interested to see how the ruthless Punisher is going to play into all of this. It was detailed in the very first issue of this title how scared the petty underworld is of Frank Castle.
I'll wax poetically about how much I've loved this series in my review for issue #17. Right now I just want to say that Nick Spencer and Steve Lieber have done a great job with this fantastic series from the start and this particular issue is certainly no exception. The build up and anticipation has been firmly set into place and I'm expecting no less than perfection from this creative team in the final installment. They haven't let me down yet.
The ending is a bit confusing but the bulk of the issue is mainly just build up for the final issue of the series. One more to go, friends. It's been a fun ride.