This month, things escalate quickly. I mean things really get outta hand fast. It jumps up a notch.
“Trapped Like Rats”
WRITER Nick Spencer
PENCILS/INK Steve Lieber
COLORIST Rachelle Rosenberg
LETTERER VC’s Joe Caramagna
EDITOR Tom Brennan
SENIOR EDITOR Stephen Wacker
Beetle, Speed Demon and Overdrive finally come to the inescapable conclusion that Boomerang has double-crossed them. The three fan out across the city, determined to find Fred and get what’s coming to them – though they’re not even sure exactly what that is yet. But Boomerang has much bigger problems; the Chameleon is out and he wants what was promised to him. While Chameleon and his hired muscle torture Boomerang to find out where Silvio Silvermane’s head is, the Shocker tries to adapt to his new roommate. Who just happens to be Silvio Silvermane. Well his head, anyway. And how does Fred’s girlfriend take it when he finally comes clean with her about what he does for a so-called living?
I couldn’t be more overjoyed knowing that this title will continue despite Superior Spider-Man coming to an end. It’s a great legacy to a quirky moment in Spider-History and it has been a real “out of nowhere” treat. I didn’t get into this book until late last year and it’s bringing me a tremendous amount of fun. Everything about this book is just delicious and you can go back through after reading it the first time and find stuff going on in the background that you completely missed on the first go. That’s very refreshing!
The main story this months deals with Boomerang (Fred Myers) going in and out of consciousness while being tortured by the Chameleon and his goon. The torture starts off small (being drowned in the toilet) and ratchets up to being electrocuted through the nose. All through the torture Fred’s as flippant and irreverent as always, coming across as snarky and pathetic. Finally, when realizing there are no answers to be had, Chameleon just has his goon beat Fred until he passes out. Fred’s dream sequences when he loses consciousness are enjoyable but take a back seat to the pep talk his girlfriend gives him towards the end. Her insight winds up being a great character moment for Boomerang – but with Bullseye entering into the picture at the dead end, lining his sights up on Fred, it may be short-lived.
Silvermane’s head really steals the show here. Shocker’s got the head back at his pad and it’s proving to be more work than he thought. Even when his mouth is duct taped to prevent him from screaming Silvio finds ways to break Shocker down – physically and mentally. Whether he’s badgering Shocker for food, badmouthing his costume or shaming him for the dump he lives in, Silvio brings a healthy dose of G.O.M. (Grumpy Old Man) that’s well suited for this title. And where is the food going, exactly? He’s just a head now!
Has the ballad of the Doctor Doom painting come to an end here? Time will tell. Fred was counting on that for his big score but in the absence of Silvermane’s head the Chameleon has taken it as payment. I’m guessing it will come back into play before issue #12.
I was trying to explain this book to one of my best friends last week. I told him it felt like a combination of all the best parts of Snatch mixed with Midnight Run. For every step forward our “heroes” make, they fall down into another level of pain. They find new ways to lose, and we love ’em for it. Because when they lose… the readers win!
EDIT: There was a mistake in the first paragraph. I’ve changed the names from “Beetle, Speed Demon and Whizzer” to “Beetle, Speed Demon and Overdrive.” Because damn.