‘How To Get A Head In Bad-Guyvertising’
WRITER Nick Spencer
ART Steve Lieber & Rich Ellis
COLOR Rachelle Rosenberg
LETTERER VC’s Clayton Cowles
EDITOR Lauren Sankovitch
We’re coming to the end of the line, and it’s an all out brawl for control of the Maggia!
The end is nigh, True Believers. Just one more book left after this issue. *sob!*
SUMMARY: After a curveball start with a Punisher cameo, Fred comes under fire – literally – when he stops off at his girlfriend’s apartment to smooth things over. That goes about as well as you’d expect. What’s her hang up? It’s not like he kinda tried to use her as a human shield or… oh wait, that’s pretty much what he did awhile back. Yeah.
Meanwhile, probation officer Abner ‘Mach VII’ Jenkins tries to get some support on dealing with Fred and his gang from Tony Stark. Sadly, all Tony has to offer Abner is a half-assed pep talk and a quick hang-up. The former Beetle heads out to find Fred, leading to another hilarious slapstick moment with the wings on his armor.
Across town, Fred’s gang gets ready to meet with the Maggia representative to gain control over the crime family using Silvermane’s head. As an added genius detail to their plan they’ve disguised Silvermane’s head as Paul “Starchild” Stanley of KISS. Nick Spencer & Steve Lieber have deep comedy pockets, folks, and ‘Starchild’ Silvermane further proves that.
Back in the graveyard, Shocker – who was buried alive by his former teammates last month – is quickly losing hope and accepting that he’s going to die alive in his coffin. But when the night seems darkest he gets sprung by his movie-watching buddy, Hydro-Man. Yes, Hydro-Man – the same asshat who double-crossed Herman to the Maggia. Shocker quickly repays Hydro-Man’s thoughtfulness with an energy blast to the face, then moves on to repay his former teammates as well.
As the Maggia meeting starts, everyone’s double-cross comes into play at the same time. Tombstone (tipped off by Janice) arrives on the scene, followed by Madame Masque (tipped off by Speed Demon) and Mister Negative (tipped off by Overdrive). Tensions run high between the Sinister Several, the Maggia and all the interested parties – who also brought small armies of muscle – but then Silvermane kicks things off by essentially yelling ‘Fire!’ in a crowded theater. All Hell breaks loose and it becomes a small war to see who will win control of the Maggia.
But what of our hero, Fred Myers? At first, Fred leads us to believe that the Owl and the Chameleon have caught up with him and that they are taking their revenge out of Fred’s treacherous backside. But in truth, Fred reveals that what he stole from the Chameleon’s safe several issues ago was in fact an appearance-altering serum. Turns out this is what Fred’s wanted all along. But why? As the first step in a new master plan, surely?
Nope. All Fred wanted to do was pitch a pro baseball game again. And that’s where we end.
ANALYSIS: I really enjoy the way Steve Lieber can show us sprawling scenes of carnage while moving the story along at the same pace. It almost seems like the story goes “slow-mo” somehow when he does it, and I’ve always liked those moments in this book.
Disguising Silvermane as Paul Stanley made me freaking lose it this month, as did Abner’s wing-gags again. My apartment’s got thin walls and my neighbors must think I’m crazy. I love that at some point Nick Spencer & Steve Lieber thought “What would really tie all this together? Screw it – paint Silvermane up like the Starchild.” Awesome. Just… awesome.
Where will the chips fall next month? There are still some things to resolve. Like who wins for control of the Maggia? Do they all beat one another down to the point that Mach VII arrives at the dock & takes the credit for apprehending them all? Does Shocker catch up with Fred? Even more important – does the Punisher’s cameo in this book spell bad news for our Sinister Several?
We’ll know in November!
I can’t believe this is all over next month…