In a week with a huge amount of extremely impressive titles hitting the shelves, there was one book I read that stood above the rest of the field. So, without any further ado, I give you… my comic of the week!
The Superior Foes of Spider-Man #2 (Marvel Comics)
Writer: Nick Spencer
Artist: Steve Lieber
When Nick Spencer’s name was originally linked to this title I was pleased, but a little hesitant. I’ve made no secret of my love of Spencer’s work on titles like Morning Glories and Bedlam, and while I had no doubt he would put together something extremely solid with this book, I wasn’t sure there would be enough uniqueness in the subject matter for it to really stand out on the already crowded shelves.
What we have here is a comic that is in many ways a spiritual successor to Matt Fraction’s Hawkeye, taking familiar (or semi-familiar, at least) characters and showing us the real people behind the masks. The jokes, the humour, the barely-concealed ineptitudes. It’s almost impossible not to read this book with a smile on your face, and I found myself actually laughing out loud on more than one occasion.
Fred Myers (Boomerang to you) provides the narration to the series, and has the same down-on-his-luck everyman appeal that made Clint Barton so damn likeable in Hawkguy. Yeah, he may be the other side of the law, but it’s almost impossible to not find yourself rooting for the guy as he tries to lead his Sinister Si… uh, Five… into the ranks of the Super-villain elite.
Leiber’s artwork is perfectly suited to a title like this, providing all manner of neat creative flourishes along the way (with Myers’ visualisation of what he’d like to do to his lawyer being a definite highlight). He also has a great gift for facial expressions, something that works extremely well in nailing the comic timing of Spencer’s many, many jokes.
Another highlight of the issue is the introduction of Partridge, Fred’s Saul Goodman/Barry Zuckerkorn-esque lawyer. Myers’ interactions with him are pure gold, particularly during the parole hearing near the end of the book, and I can’t wait to see their relationship play out as the book continues.
If you’ve been looking at this book and thinking “meh, just another pointless Spiderman cash-in”, you truly couldn’t be more wrong. This is as much of a Spiderman comic as Hawkeye is an Avengers comic, and Spencer and Lieber have managed to capture something really, really special with their irreverent take on these ‘blue collar’ super villains.
If you’re not getting this already, you need to at least give it a try. A completely hidden gem, and one that – if you do pick it up – is almost guaranteed to become one of your favourite titles overnight.
Seriously… what are you waiting for?
Honourable Mentions: Ten Grand #4 (Image Comics) lost a bit of the momentum of the earlier issues, but is still light-years ahead of a lot of other things on the shelves, due in no small part to Ben Templesmith’s incredible artwork. Trillium #1 (Vertigo) by Jeff Lemire put together a stunningly creative first issue, and two completely unrelated yet ultimately intertwining stories. Can’t wait to see what happens next. And finally, Daredevil: Dark Nights #3 (Marvel Comics) by Lee Weeks capped off its first three-issue arc in style. Despite struggling a little with a slightly overwritten third act, the final moments cut to the very heart of just what the ‘Man Without Fear’ is all about.
And that’s all for this week. Let me know what you guys liked most this week, and I’ll see you all again here next week. Same Ceej time, same Ceej channel!