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.
The 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.
The 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!