Review: Superior Foes of Spider-Man #12

SFOES12-1“Gah! Smells like buttcheeks in here… !”

Hyrdo-Man tries to peddle information to Hammerhead and the Maggia while Fred fast talks his way out trouble with his team. Owl launches a new offensive to get his hands on the Doom painting and the Sinister Sixteen make their first appearance! While the Maggia closes in, Shocker decides he’s done playing nice…

‘Department of Revenge-Ucation’

WRITER Nick Spencer
ART Steve Lieber
COLOR Rachelle Rosenberg
LETTERER VC’s Clayton Cowles
EDITOR Lauren Sankovitch

First off – let me apologize profusely to you folks and to Brad. I’m severely late with this review and all I can do is throw myself on the mercy of the court. It was almost up over a week ago when Brad and I recorded one of the Spider-Satellite Reviews episodes of the podcast but that night I’d had a power outage during a storm that wiped out most of what I’d written. The next morning I had to go out of town on short notice for some family stuff. Time has not been on my side in the last two months. So again, I apologize for the delay with this!

SUMMARY: Beetle and Overdrive finally catch up with their double-crossing leader Boomerang – or as we call him around here, ‘Fred.’ We finally get part of the story behind the school bus full of kids armed with Japanese weapons, which Fred finds hysterical. When Beetle and Overdrive clearly show Fred they are ready to pound him for double-crossing them, Fred does what he does best: blame everything on the Chameleon. Beetle’s too smart to buy it but then the Owl, who Fred already duped three issues ago, shows up to corroborate Fred’s claims.

This leads to planning a strike on Chameleon’s hideout to get the painting of a maskless Doom. Fred’s girlfriend announces their break-up with a Southpaw punch to the face and Speed Demon resurfaces in time to join up with an expanding Sinister team. The Sinister Several has now turned into the Sinister Sixteen, courtesy of the Owl. Now on board are such villain luminaries as Bi-Beast, Clown, Man Mountain Marko, Mirage, Squid, Shriek, Armadillo, the Spot, Human Fly and others.

SFOES12-2The assault on the Scorpion’s ridiculous base explodes across one of the best pages in this comic’s history. In a wave of carnage the Sinister Sixteen smash through such perils as a giant chameleon, mummy clones of Vladimir Ilyich Lenin, a great white shark and a Yakuza sauna. Fred slow walks through victory as he closes in on Chameleon and Doom’s painting. In another apparent double-cross, Overdrive takes the painting and runs off. Fred then reveals that he knows the painting is a fake.

On top of all this, Hydro-Man has backstabbed his friend Shocker and has taken his knowledge of Silvermane’s head straight to Hammerhead. As Shocker decides it’s time to stop playing around and get serious the Maggia gathers in front of his apartment.

ANALYSIS: FINALLY! After two “good but not great” fill-in issues we’re finally back to the meat and potatoes on this title. I get that the delay in the main story was probably due to this book officially becoming an ongoing but the disruption was jarring.

Fred Myers finally gets a ‘win’ in this one as he takes his butt off the hot seat. There’s no one in town he hasn’t double-crossed yet it looks like he’ll get away with it alive. At least for now. Writer Nick Spencer and artist Steve Lieber have done an incredible job with Fred. He’s such a loser that when things finally break his way you actually feel good for him. Despite the fact that he’s also a colossal douche.

SFOES12-3The full-page reveal of the Sinister Sixteen is flat-out awesome. So many good B, C and D list talent showing up feels fantastic. If the creative team is planning on keeping some of these guys around I cast my vote for Spot and Squid. I mean I like Shriek but with Shriek comes the remote possibility of Carnage some day and I’m so very, very tired of the symbiotes now.

Steve Lieber and Rachelle Rosenberg’s art is great. Even though they are short I really got into the action scene here at the end. Lieber manages to create an effective battle royale across two pages and it makes you just flat-out fall in love with all the other villains that show up here.

One thing I don’t get is Hydro-Man being a little afraid of the Maggia when Hammerhead makes it clear that his men will make Hydro-Man stick around until they get Silvermane’s head back. The Maggia’s got guns – what the Hell is Hydro-Man afraid of? Dude – you’re made of freakin’ water!


The gags are still here, the action jumps up and we get a ton of good cameos. Welcome back Spencer & Lieber! Please never leave again!

–George Berryman!

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(5) Comments

  1. hornacek

    I am way behind in reading this issue, but I concur with pretty much everyone, this was a great issue. While the 2 fill-in issues were not up to the great standards this book has presented in the past, they were not terrible, and if having them meant Spencer/Lieber were able to do more work to make this an ongoing, I have no problem with that. I especially liked the self-awareness on the first page about how long it feels like the characters have been at this particular spot (since the end of issue #9). The Sinister Sixteen villains were great. We didn't get a lot of time with them individually but we weren't supposed to. Most of these guys are D-listers and as far as the Owl was concerned, when making up this team he was thinking quantity, not quality. As far as Shriek and Carnage, while I do not want to see Carnage in this book, considering that I had zero interest in seeing any of these 5 villains in a book before I read the first issue, I would have confidence that Spencer/Lieber could do something good with the character. Maybe make him depressed that nobody liked him or something, I don't know. Don't get me wrong, I don't want to see him in this book. But you could tell me "next issue has character X" and even if that character was someone I had zero interest in or hated, I would probably still love it. I mean, this series is making me feel for the Shocker. The Shocker people!

  2. Jeff Gutman

    Yeah, I hate to be the dissenting voice but this was the first issue (other than the fill-ins) that I wasn't completely thrilled with. For starters, didn't it feel to anyone else like a beat for beat complete re-dux of the invasion of the Owl's stronghold in issue #5? The story even acknowledges as much. I mean it plays like its practically a reprint. The team is heading into a villains lair to steal something. The team think its for one reason, boomerang has another secret reason. In issue #5 it was "the team is breaking into (Owls) headquarters to steal (Silvermane's head). Boomerang's secret agenda is to steal (Dr Dooms painting)." Now in the issue, in almost mad libs form: "the team is breaking into (Chameleons) headquarters to steal (Dr Dooms Painting). Boomerang's secret agenda is to steal (something seen off panel)." Its redundant for a series so early in its run with such promise. Just like issue #5, there's a big obstacle course given a two page spread that boomerang bypasses with an elevator. The plot structure here is almost identical to the one from issue #5. On and on. I mean it almost made me think that Nick Spencer is running out of ideas for the series if he's already recycling the only major event plot point the series has had so far after two fill-in issues!

  3. Big John

    So glad Spencer and Leiber are back. Look forward to this book every month!! Carnage would not fit in this book. No major baddies, unless they're there as antagonists for the main five. Lol I would LOVE to see Spot and Squid in this book on the main Six! nitpick: Didn't Mirage get shot in the head during Remender's Pinisher run? Not that anyone keeps up with Z-Listers. . .ugh. . .

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