Comic Reviews: The Superior Foes of Spider-Man and Batgirl!
Hey you. Yes, you! Why aren’t you reading The Superior Foes of Spider-Man? It’s one of the best titles Marvel is producing right now, and easily deserves your $3 every month. Issue six of Nick Spencer and Steve Leiber’s book chronicling the misadventures of Boomerang, Speed Demon, The Beetle, Shocker, and Overdrive isn’t quite as laugh out loud funny as the previous one, but it’s still full of incredibly fun moments that will leave you absolutely floored.
After screwing over the other members of his “Sinister Six”, Boomerang is now trying to live a life as a regular guy, and failing miserably at it. Now that he’s in possession of the “True Face of Victor Von Doom”, he’s technically rich, but has no way of actually selling the painting. At the same time, his (former?) teammates are held hostage by the Owl, who demands to know who stole his prized painting, and since no one else on the team was aware of the real goal of their heist, they’re not talking.
Nick Spencer again delivers an incredibly fun and twisted take on these idiot super villains, but the real stand out here is the back-story behind the Portrait of Doom. It’s natural to think that the leader of Latveria would seek out the world’s greatest artist to craft him in his likeness, but having the super villain get drunk and be convinced to take his mask off for the painting? Genius. Of course, Doom reacts the way one expects him to when his hangover subsides, and kills the painter who deemed it necessary to depict him without the iconic mask.
It’s scenes like the one I just mentioned that make Superior Foes stand out as a truly unique comic, especially one published by Marvel. Artist Steve Lieber’s work adds to the grimy, low-level vibe that the narrative creates, and without his brilliant site gags the book wouldn’t be the same.
If you haven’t guessed already, I’m in love with this book. It’s one of the most refreshing and original books out right now, and I truly hope it continues. Yes, I’ve already made the comparisons to Marvel’s Hawkeye series, but in a lot of ways this book is starting to remind me of Gail Simone’s brilliant Secret Six, which focused on some low level baddies in the DC universe. Comparisons aside, Superior Foes of Spider-Man is a brilliant book, and a must read for everyone.
After a little trip into “Zero Year”, Gail Simone and Daniel Sampere bring the “Wanted” storyline to an end in Batgirl #26. The quick one shot from last month definitely hurts the narrative of this issue, as it took me a few minutes to remember exactly where we left off in issue 24. However, Simone’s fantastic characterization of Barbara definitely makes this a worthy conclusion to the story. She’s got such a strong handle on Barbara that I sincerely hope she writes Batgirl until the end of time. Crazy talk, I know, but when Batgirl and her father team up to take on the collected villains that Babs has faced since the first issue, I couldn’t help but have a huge smile on my face.
Also putting a smile n my face was Daniel Sampere’s art, which continues to fall in line with the previous artists who have worked on Batgirl. Sampere’s action scenes are awesome, but it’s the finale of the issue that really stands out. The pained looks on both James and Barbara’s faces are fantastic, and really sell the emotions that the two are feeling. I won’t spoil the ending here, but the scene addresses the long held suspicion that James Gordon can’t figure out who Batman’s allies are in a great way that holds true to the character of Gotham’s Commissioner.
Batgirl continues to be an extremely solid comic that has a ton of charm and a fantastic female lead in Barbara. Truth be told, it’s one of my favorite titles that DC is currently publishing, and will remain that way as long as Simone is writing.