Writer: Nick Spencer
Artist: Steve Lieber
Color Art: Rachelle Rosenberg
Letterer: VC’s Joe Caramagna
Cover Artist: Michael Del Mundo
Variant Cover: Bagley, Morales & Sotomayor
Editor: Tom Brennan
Senior Editor: Stephen Wacker
THE STORY: Boomerang, ever our plucky narrator, recounts the most oft-believed tale of the head of Silvio Silvermane – that being that when Silvermane’s robot body was crushed, the head popped off and was found by the son of the owner of the scrap yard, who took it in and eventually Silvio became a real member of the family. This, of course, is horse crap. The head did pop off, but was found by The Owl (the whole crushing of Silvermane’s body thing happened in a battle between him and The Owl). Boomerang knows this because he was one of The Owl’s trusted lieutenants for a time, and was privy to the information of where the head was. Meanwhile, Boomerang has to meet with Mach VII, his new parole officer and former partner who says he really does want to help him. Boomerang wants none of that. Well, not until his gets back to his crew, the current Sinister Six, who oust him because he’s now being tailed by a superhero. Boomerang returns to Mach VII who puts him in a Super Villains Anonymous group. Later, Boomerang gets vengeful and tells Mach VII about his crew’s plan to get Silvermane’s head, but requests Mach VII doesn’t go himself so it doesn’t look like he ratted. So the Sinister Six are very surprised to find themselves attacked in their own place by none other than Luke Cage and Iron Fist!
MY THOUGHTS: There’s just no other way to say it, folks – this comic book is flawless. It is without flaw. Flaw-free. I got no complaints. Not only was there nothing I didn’t like, I DID like everything. So if you’re not into positive reviews, this one ain’t for you!
Let’s start from the very, very beginning – the cover. This is a third in a row that is a cool, unique, eye-catching piece by a different cover artist. So far this series has had three different cover artists working in very different styles all creating images that flat-out rock. Why is this so important? Because we all know this is not a series you can expect people to just immediately be sold on and want to pick up. People have to be really enticed to pick this book up because it just doesn’t have the name recognition in its characters or creators (hardcore comics fans know the creators are great, but the casual fan probably doesn’t know their names yet). So you’ve got to do whatever you can to get the butts in the seats so to speak, because this book can be as good as it wants but it won’t matter if no one’s reading it. And great covers are a really important step towards catching a casual reader’s attention to pick it up off the shelf and give it a flip-through. But what’s even smarter is having completely different art styles do great jobs on the first several covers because it casts a wider net to get the interest of more people. Marcos Martin doesn’t catch your eye? Fine, how about Ed McGuinness? Not your cup of tea? Ok, well this month we have Mike Del Mundo for you. Really, really smart tactics by editorial there that I have to applaud, and for someone like me that’s buying the issues anyway, I just get great, varied pieces of art every month, so it’s win/win!
And how about the art on the inside of the cover? Still really damn good. Lieber’s art has the gritty, nearly grimy feel that sets the tone for this book that is about people you’d sooner call ‘crooks’ than ‘villains.’ And, as always, it’s the little touches that really make it shine. Lieber does a lot with doing a magnified bubble of a smaller piece of a panel with an arrow pointing to that smaller piece, and that often works great. My favorite image in this issue, though, is when Boomerang is narrating the fake story of Silvermane’s head being taken home by this little boy, and there’s a part at first where Boomerang says, “And he even tried to blot out the kid a few times at first, the old rascal.” And the art is a small, darkish panel of the little boy walking away from a chair, and you just see Silvermane’s head with a knife in his mouth throwing itself off the top of the chair and totally missing. Heck, that whole sequence is absolutely hysterical, and the art really makes it shine.
I’ve praised the writing every issue so far as really funny and entertaining, and folks, even more so than the first two issues, Nick Spencer is just ON this month! The whole first five pages are absolutely brilliant. I’m sorry, did I say brilliant? I know that word gets thrown around hyperbolically and I shouldn’t say it unless I mean it, so I won’t. What I really meant to say is that the first five pages are BRILLIANT. We have a whole sequence narrated by Boomerang detailing what happened to the head of Silvio Silvermane, and it is laugh-out-loud ridiculous. Even for this book, it’s stretching things a bit far. Until we find out…it’s complete bull! This is the story believed by most criminals, and as Boomerang says, “Hopefully you learned something about how stupid the kind of people I work with are.” After that hilarious detour into fantasy-land, we get the much more sense-making actual story all in one page. At the end of which, Boomerang even recants what he said at the beginning about how great and magnanimous a Don the guy was, basically saying by the end he was a crotchety forgetful old man, and one of my favorite lines: “Also, weirdly racist.” Because we’ve all known that crotchety old man, and we all know what he means.
This issue also has some absolutely great commentary by our star crooks about things in the Marvel Universe. Some examples. Boomerang observes about Mach VII: “Also that new costume makes him look like something your wife says she doesn’t own.” If you don’t get that one you’re probably too young, so move along, nothing to see here. Later when Overdrive asks if Mach VII’s a Defender, Boomerang just says, “They’re all CHICKS now,” to which the Beetle replies, “Seriously?” and Speed Demon says, “S’hot.” This to me feels like the actual conversation that would happen about the new Fearless Defenders among these guys. It’s sort of like something I would hear in a comic shop, which makes sense since these guys really have no more association with the Fearless Defenders than the average comic shop patron. And then there’s Speed Demon’s comment about Mach VII that cracked me up because I was thinking the same thing since I heard his name last issue: “Seven now? Did he just skip six?”
My second favorite part of the issue after the opening is the Super Villains Anonymous scene. In attendance are people like Mirage, Doctor Bong (looked it up, actual villain from Howard the Duck…and believe it or not the “bong” refers to the actual bell helmet he’s wearing), Porcupine, and the freaking Hippo. These guys make this current Sinister Six look like the ORIGINAL Sinister Six. Boomerang may as well be the Green Goblin next to them. Honestly if I hear one person say this issue is disrespectful to any of THESE characters I’m going to have to recommend you drink a beer, watch a Three Stooges DVD, and stop taking life so seriously. Because this is how you have fun with extremely low level comic book characters. Mirage gets up to talk and laments how he’s been killed – twice. It’s not even a big thing that he’s alive now. This is just the world they live in. And there’s a hilarious flashback that shows that he became a super villain basically because Iron Man’s a huge douche. At the end, there’s even a direct recreation of the Fight Club scene with Edward Norton being hugged by Meatloaf with Boomerang and the Hippo that even referenced the movie. I don’t think I could have been happier with this scene.
And the end is pretty freaking sweet, too. You had to wonder in the conversation between Boomerang and Mach VII which hero he was going to send, and Luke Cage and Iron Fist busting through the wall was just pure awesome. Also, because there’re two of them, I don’t have to worry about it turning out to just be the Chameleon again! This is also what my line at the beginning of the review, “THAT escalated quickly,” was about. Didn’t really see this ending coming when I opened the comic, and gosh-darn it if that’s not a good thing!
GRADE: A+ I know this review is radioactive it’s so glowing, and believe me when I say this issue deserves it. This review has also been intentionally quote-heavy, because I think it’s better to let you read a few of my favorite lines than to just tell you how great the writing is. Because this book is so good I genuinely want a bunch of you to pick it up and support it, and I’m willing to try whatever it takes to show you what you’re missing!