Comicbook: The Superior Foes of Spider-Man
Boomerang and the Sinister Six — which only has five members
— are a gang of no-name bad guys trying to make it big as super villains. Incompetent and dysfunctional at best, the group spends most of their time committing petty crimes to keep the lights on and bickering amongst each other. However things take a turn for the strange when the gang gets a bizarre opportunity; a chance to make a fortune by stealing a priceless portrait of Doctor Doom
. Problem is the mob and other supervillains are after the portrait too and superheroes are trying to arrest everyone. Soon the wannabe villains find themselves in a madcap race to recover the portrait and fulfill their dreams.
Debuting in July 2013 as a part of the Marvel Now
initiative, The Superior Foes of Spider-Man
is a spin-off to Superior Spider-Man
. It is written by Nick Spencer and drawn by Steve Lieber. It quickly became notable and acclaimed for it's comedic style, usage of obscure heroes and villains, and examination of the concept of supervillains. The book will end on issue 17 in November 2014.
- Actually a Doombot: Bullseye turns out to be a life model decoy employed by the Owl. The real Bullseye was placed in a vegetative state with absolutely no working senses by Daredevil a few months prior.
- Affably Evil:
- Overdrive, who is a fan boy of super heroes despite being a super villain.
- The Shocker for the most part seems to be the friendliest of the group and was the only one reluctant to vote out Boomerang as their leader. It doesn't save him from often taking a lot of crap from him, up to being locked in the trunk of a car that Boomerang is pushing off a pier. Even when dealing with a talking head he comes off as a total push-over.
- All Girls Want Bad Boys: Played with. When Boomerang's girlfriend learns that Fred is a supervillain, she's largely horrified but admits that it's not a total turn-off. Later on, she even reluctantly gives him advice and tells him that if he's a supervillain, he might as well be the best supervillain he can.
- This is revealed to have been Mirage's primary reason for becoming a supervillain, his girlfriend having dumped him and become a "mask chaser" after being saved from Fin Fang Foom by Iron Man.
- Always Someone Better: As Boomerang learns to his chagrin, even an LMD of Bullseye is a better shot than him.
- Ambiguously Brown:
- The Shocker. However, Steve Lieber has commented that it is because the colorist wanted to make it seem that the Shocker is one of those old rich people that go to vacation in Miami often, and are therefore tanned.
- Also Boomerang's bartender/love interest.
- Justified in the case of The Beetle (stated to be half-black and half-Dominican) since she's the daughter of Tombstone.
- Amoral Attorney:
- Boomerang's attorney, Partridge, is conniving and sleazy and when not simply ripping Fred off, demands large payments for the purpose of bribes to prosecutors and judges so that Fred can maintain his civillain lifestyle.
- Beetle was one before becoming a supervillain. She's shown in a flashback giving a lecture on how to help a client get away with premeditated murder, and during her short legal career provided her services to supervillain contacts.
- Apologetic Attacker: Grizzly ties up and gags a civilian and steals his wallet, only to later free the man and share some pizza with him. He even states that he'd never kill someone over something as petty as a mugging.
- Arc Welding: The comic uses it's low-level focus to patch some plot holes and backstories, as well as reverse a lot of cases of Chuck Cunningham Syndrome. For example issue 7 fills in Beetle's origin and how it tied into the Captain America run she debuted in.
- Author Appeal: This is a book that Nick Spencer wanted to write since he was a teenager.
- Badass Driver: While he's not much use in a fight, Overdrive is an excellent driver.
- The Bechdel Test: Issue 13 features a Lampshade Hanging of the test, with Beetle complaining about how all the supervillains she's hanging out with are guys.
"My life is failing the Bechdel test."
- Better than a Bare Bulb: There's a lot of Lampshade Hanging and trope discussion/trope invoking in this comic.
- Beware the Nice Ones: As mentioned above, Shocker is probably the nicest member of the group. 12 issues of abuse and insults finally gets to him when he finally reunites with the team.
- Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: Hydro-Man seems like a nice-enough guy at first, but he betrays the group to Hammerhead the first chance he gets.
- Bodyguard Crush: Hammerhead is at the least creepily obsessed with Silvermane, and was even stated to have been trying on his boss's socks "the wrong way". Silvermane for his part just sees him as a creepy psycho who he puts up with since he's good at killing. When Shocker manages to escape with Silvermane's head, Hammerhead got quite emotional◊.
- Boomerang Comeback: Boomerang tries to use this against Bullseye. Bullseye simply closes the door behind him just before the boomerang comes back at him.
- Briar Patching: Boomerang tries to use this to convince Bullseye to spare him. Unsurprisingly it fails.
- Bullying The Dragon: Boomerang's constant bullying of Shocker comes back to bite him hard.
- The Bus Came Back: Many heroes and villains who were Put on a Bus, believed dead, or just forgotten about make their return in this book.
- Butt Monkey: Shocker, as per usual.
- I Call It Vera: The BFG that Beetle used in her first appearance is given the name of Bertha by Fixer.
- Nearly any time a character is introduced Boomerang's narration begins with "So yeah — this guy, right?".
- "What's better than being the Sinister Six and only splitting the money five ways?" (The number changes occasionally over the course of the first storyline, culminating with "What's better than being the Sinister Six and not splitting the money with anyone?")
- Casanova Wannabe: Mirage, who basically became a supervillain to get laid.
- Chekhov's Gun: It turns out that the first supposedly fake story about where Silvermane's head is located was actually true.
- Cloud Cuckoolander: Overdrive and to a lesser degree, Speed Demon.
- Clue from Ed.: Parodied. Every time a more notable/bigger name villain appears a little message pops up that says "HEY KIDS! IT'S X!" or some wacky variant there-of.
- Continuity Nod: Aplenty, mostly to the previous Thunderbolts comics.
- In the very first issue, Boomerang states that a diamond shipment he planned on robbing was delayed thanks to the Origin Bombs that were hurled at Earth during Jonathan Hickman's opening Avengers arc.
- Issue #7 essentially ends up as a prequel of sorts to Captain America #607, showing how Beetle came to work for Zemo against Bucky and The Falcon.
- Speed Demon alludes to the events of Spider-Island during a discussion about Hercules.
- Continuity Porn: Though not to the extent that it harms the story.
- Consummate Liar: Boomerang is rather talented when it comes to lying his way out of a problem.
- Consummate Professional: Both Beetle and Shocker are this in their own ways. Beetle believes in meticulous planning while Shocker believes in working with the team.
- Control Freak: The Beetle is obsessed with following schedules and plans, though it's shown that this makes her a vastly more competent leader than Boomerang.
- Cool Old Guy: Grizzly. He's not really that old, but he's older than most of the cast and is a veteran supervillain so he counts.
- Cowardly Lion: The Shocker gets regularly poked fun at for being a coward. However he is also the most competent and experienced fighter on the team; and fared the best against Luke Cage and Iron Fist in issue 4. He also states that he has no problem with being seen as a coward since he only cares about getting the job done and getting paid. Silvermane even points out that despite more capable than he thinks, Herman's lack of confidence and his unwillingness to take risks is holding him back.
- Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: Shocker and Overdrive. The former, while often derided as an incompetent coward is actually reasonably practical as well as being perhaps the most skilled fighter of the group, putting up a good fight against Luke Cage and single-handedly knocking out the rest of his teammates when his patience wears out. Similarly, while Overdrive has the least fighting skills, he's great at using his powers to get an advantage.
- Curb-Stomp Battle: The team fighting Luke Cage and Iron Fist goes very bad very quickly. Pretty much the whole team except Shocker get their asses kicked.
- Cut Lex Luthor a Check: Tombstone is disappointed by Beetle since she succumbed to this trope, rather than engaging in Pragmatic Villainy.
- Daddy's Little Villain: Beetle turns out to be Tombstone's daughter. As a young girl, he helped her steal gifts from another girl's birthday.
- Subverted in the sense that he insisted that she became an Amoral Attorney, and was against her becoming a costumed supervillain.
- A Day In The Lime Light: For a group of C-list Spider-Man villains, but especially Boomerang.
- Issue #7 is a Whole Issue Flashback focused on Beetle's childhood and origin story.
- Issue #11 focuses on the members of the supervillain support group Boomerang attends, such as Grizzly and the Looter.
- Issue #14 deals with Overdrive's backstory and what he and Beetle were up to during the Boomerang's heist.
- Deadpan Snarker: Boomerang.
- Dirty Coward: Boomerang is willing to let his girlfriend die so that he can live.
- The Dog Bites Back: After overhearing Boomerang actively mocking him and at the urging of Silvermane, Shocker single-handedly knocks out every member of the team and declares himself the new boss. Subverted next issue when Beetle manages to knock him out and the team have him buried alive.
- Even Evil Has Loved Ones: In a rare case where the loved ones are also villainous, Beetle and Tombstone genuinely love and care about one another.
- Everything's Precious with Puppies: Inspector, Speed Demon's dog that he stole from a young girl.
- Evil Counterpart: The actual comic itself could be one for Matt Fraction's run on Hawkeye, which both feature an artistic Slice of Life type focus on B-list super beings, with super heroics (and villainy) portrayed in a more realistic — and comical — manner.
- Evil Parents Want Good Kids: Subverted with Tombstone, who didn't want Janice to be a supervillain because he wants her to be a financial attorney, which he thinks is far more profitable and a lot harder to be arrested for.
- Evil Versus Evil: Rather than clashing with heroes, the gang tries to avoid costumed crimefighters whenever possible (especially the "Superior" Spider-Man), and instead are in opposition to other criminals, most prominent Chameleon and The Owl.
- Explosive Propulsion: Shocker manages to escape Hammerhead and his men by using his Vibro-smashers to launch him and Silvermane out the window.
- Faux Affably Evil: The Owl, an investor and society man turned feral gangster, speaks in a friendly and casual manner very much at odds with his behavior (namely his penchant both for feeding people to rats as well as eating rats alive himself). One illustrative scene is when after he captures the team, he acts friendly and tells them because he's reasonable he will let live whoever tells him of Boomerang's whereabouts. Although they won't have legs of course, since he plans to saw them off with a hacksaw.
- Fetish Fuel: Brought up and discussed. Apparently there are quite a few people with a superhero/supervillain fetish, dubbed "mask-chasers" in the supervillain community.
- Five-Bad Band: The Sinister Six
- Flying Brick: Lampshaded by Speed Demon, who notes that superheroes/villains are seen as this. Unfortunately for the Six, none of them are this and Overdrive is afraid of the day that Hercules figures out who he is and kills him in a single punch by assuming that he's tough enough to take it.
- Friendly Enemy: Mach VII thinks that he and Boomerang are this, but in reality Boomerang just hates him.
- Funny Background Event: In issue 9 during the scenes in Shocker's apartment you can see that his couch is colored to look like his costume. Later on we see that the entirety of his furniture is like this.
- Gambit Pile Up: The Sinister Several are trying to steal the Doctor Doom portrait, Mach VII is trying to catch all the supervillains, Hammerhead is trying to retrieve Silvermane's head as is Chameleon, the Looter wants to manipulate things towards his own end, and Boomerang just keeps betraying everybody left and right. Needless to say things get very convoluted very quickly.
- Things get really mess with issue 15, in which the Owl and Chameleon agree on a truce in order to go after Boomerang and that the rest of the team are in cahoots with another villain (Overdrive with Mr. Negative, Beetle with Tombstone and Speed Demon with Madame Masque).
- Green-Eyed Monster: Boomerang is resentful of Mach VII partially because he got chosen to be a Thunderbolt over him, than promptly pulled a Heel-Face Turn.
- Hair-Trigger Temper: Speed Demon who stole a puppy just because a child called him stupid. It gets brought up again in the next issue.
- Harmless Villain: The new Sinister Six.
- Heart Is an Awesome Power: Overdrive has the power to... upgrade and change vehicles which sees like a rather useless ability in a fight. Then he turns an R/C helicopter into a full blown attack helicopter and uses it to blast the Owl's hideout.
- Heel-Face Turn: Abner Jenkins aka Mach VII used to be the first Beetle (long before Janice took the role) until he switched sides and became a hero. There's a lot of resentment towards supervillains who do this in the supervillain community, which makes Mach's attempts to help/be friends with Boomerang difficult to say the least.
- Overdrive initially agreed to working for Mister Negative and gain his powers so that he could follow in the footsteps of Hawkeye and Quicksilver and eventually find the opportunity to perform a proper defection. He even uses the term "face turn".
- Horrible Judge of Character: Shocker is a believer of Honor Among Thieves and has a bad tendency to be a bit too trusting when it comes to his allies, which leads him to get screwed over by Boomerang and Hydro Man. Silvermane mocks him for this, telling him that his allies are all selfish crooks and that he's stupid for believing in such things as loyalty.
- Hypocritical Humor: Boomerang is the kind of guy who talks about how important teamwork is whilst shoving one of his friends off a bridge.
- I'm Going to Hell for This: Overdrive prays for forgiveness when he's forced to hijack a school bus.
Child: Are you a superhero?
Overdrive: No, and now I never will be.
- Impostor Forgot One Detail: Boomerang realizes that the Hammerhead he meets is really the Chameleon because while Chameleon!Hammerhead talks like a stereotypical gangster, the real Hammerhead had shaken that quirk.
- Ineffectual Sympathetic Villain: The Sinister Several. It's pretty much the whole point of the comic.
- Jerk Ass: Boomerang, Speed Demon and Beetle mainly.
- Jerk with a Heart of Jerk: Boomerang, its gets exemplified at least once an issue. Highlighted in issue 4 when he was talking about the importance of teamwork while throwing Shocker off a bridge.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Speed Demon, arguably. While he did steal a kid's puppy for a petty reason, at least he seems to take good care of it. Also Grizzly who's a thief and a grouch on the surface but is actually surprisingly nice, even giving a guy pizza as an apology for mugging him.
- Speed Demon eventually gives Inspector back to the girl he stole him from for the reward money, but not before giving them all of the stuff he bought for the dog.
- Kick the Dog: Boomerang tries to get Bullseye to spare him by saying it would be far be villainous to kill Boomerang's girlfriend.
- The Knights Who Say Squee: Rare villainous example, Overdrive fanboyed when Luke Cage came to beat him and his team up. As a young man, he idolized superheroes (Spider-man in particular) and made various attempts at gaining superpowers, all of which failed until he met Mr. Negative.
- Legacy Character: Janice is far from the first Beetle; she's the fourth or fifth person now to don the outfit.
- Let Me Tell You a Story: The Owl is shown doing this toward a minion who had robbed him, after the guy pleads for his life, arguing that since he knows how to rob the Owl, he can stop other people from doing it in the future. The Owl tells him a story about partnering with another criminal, the Man-Bull, and attempting to recruit a third, first by persuasion, and when that didn't work, by threatening his girlfriend. The plan was to show the guy a video of Man-Bull in his home with an implied threat, but Man-Bull hit off with the wife, and so Owl and Man-Bull ended up showing the guy a sex tape, which was... less than persuasive. The moral of the story is basically that it is not a good way to win someone's trust by rubbing in their face something you've done against them (which is why the Owl has the minion Eaten Alive by rats).
- The Load: Mach VII is far less helpful to Boomerang than he thinks he is.
- Losing Your Head: Silvio Silvermane lost his cyborg body to a junkyard automobile compactor, but his head is still functional since it's where his power source is stored. His head is currently in the possession of The Owl— or so Boomerang tells his gang. In actuality, the line of bull Boomerang feeds them turns out to be true; Silvermane's head befriended a young boy whose mother owned the junkyard and is later taken away by Shocker.
- MacGuffin: The portrait of Doctor Doom without his mask.
- Mafia Princess: The Beetle
- Man Child: Overdrive.
- Manipulative Bastard: Boomerang has a special talent for weaseling his way out of trouble.
- The Millstone: Boomerang developing into this results in the team kicking him out.
- Missing Mom: Beetle's mother wasn't involved in her upbringing and it's implied that she never even knew her. Tombstone raised her on his own.
- Never Trust a Trailer: The book's title, promo materials, and even the cover of issue #1 heavily suggest the presence of the Superior Spider-Man, who so far hasn't shown up or indeed really played any role in the plot.
- Nobody Poops: Averted. In issue 14, the first thing Beetle does after the gang gets back to Shocker's apartment is go to the bathroom. Unfortunately poor Shocker was hiding in the shower. He ends up having to listen as Beetle uses his toilet.
- Nonindicative Name: Discussed, Boomerang brings up the advantage to only having five members on the Sinister Six is that whomever they are facing would think that there are more of them. Later on, Luke Cage does indeed wonder if there's another member when he breaks into their headquarters.
- The name in itself also suggests a more classic line-up of Spider-Man villains, including the likes of Doctor Octopus, Kraven, Electro and others. This series' lineup actually has more in common with the short-lived Sinister Syndicate of the 90's, who most prominently appeared in the Deadly Foes of Spider-Man collection.
- This also gets lampshaded, Shocker suggests that they go back to calling themselves the Sinister Syndicate, but the idea promptly turned down by Speed Demon and Boomerang saying the the Sinister Syndicate were losers.
- Nonsequitur Thud: As he recovers from being locked in a car driven to the sea, Shocker keeps telling the kid who found him to not do drugs and stay in school.
- Not What It Looks Like: When The Incredible Hercules walks in on the Six holding up a bar full of Bound and Gagged employees, he wonders aloud if he's just entered the scene of a robbery or a kinky bondage parlor.
- Pet the Dog: Pretty much everything between Tombstone and Beetle. We even get a sequence where he praises her for her success in life and tells her how proud he is... while dumping the body of some guy he had killed for snitching.
- In issue 14 Speed Demon returns Inspector to his owner and apologizes.
- Poke the Poodle: Speed Demon is apparently of the opinion that stealing puppies is prime supervillain material.
- Porn Stash: Boomerang has one under his bed. He claims they were already there when he moved in.
- Only Sane Woman: Beetle is the sole member of the team that is even remotely competent as a supervillain—or, at least, as a leader or mastermind. The rest of the team are Mooks at best: potentially effective with competent leadership, little more than thugs if left to their own devices. Overdrive in particular is little more than a super-powered wheel man.
- The Quisling: Villains who fully reform and become heroes (serving a stint in the Thunderbolts is considered different) are seen as this amongst the villain community, which is one of the reason Boomerang hates Abe Jenkins, the original Beetle and his parole officer.
- Race Lift: Beetle is depicted as Ambiguously Brown, despite clearly being white when she first showed up in Captain America. A reason for this is finally given in issue #6, where we find out that her dad is Tombstone.
- Reality Ensues: This comic is basically the life of C-List supervillains portrayed realistically. They're all complete failures in life and are considered jokes, the group is reduced to robbing convenience stores just to make money, Boomerang gets kicked out of the group the second he starts becoming The Load, and the group is constantly having to tiptoe around the mob.
- Retired Badass: Subverted with the supervillain support group; they claim to be retired as villains, but in reality most of them are secretly still committing crimes.
- Revision: The final moments of issue #7 takes place just prior to Captain America #607, explaining how Janice came to work for Baron Zemo.
- Running Gag: Many:
- "So yeah this guy right?"
- "Hey kids, it's X!"
- Rumors about Silvermane's head. Which are true.
- Hammerhead doing impersonations of James Cagney.
- Speed Demon running away when something scary happens.
- Boomerang's obsession with Dormammu.
- Mach VII's wings getting him stuck between doors or windows.
- Shocker having a moment of triumph at the end of an issue that quickly falls apart at the start of the next one.
- Screw Politeness, I'm a Senior!: Silvermane is incredibly grouchy and demanding despite being incredibly old and simply a talking head. Of course, it probably doesn't help that Shocker took him from his comfortable life with a family that he actually liked.
- Self-Deprecation: Issue 15's solicitation proudly declares "STILL NOT CANCELLED" as it's main selling point.
- Shout-Out: Everywhere.
- Sixth Ranger Traitor: Hydro-Man.
- Small Name, Big Ego: Boomerang's Fatal Flaw.
- Spiritual Successor: To Jeff Parker's run on the Thunderbolts which prominently featured Boomerang.
- Additionally, the series is a successor and semi-sequel to the early '90s miniseries Deadly Foes of Spider-Man, which also focused on a team of low level villains- the "Sinister Syndicate" lead by Abe Jenkins as the Beetle and including among others, Boomerang, Speed Demon, and Shocker. The earlier series provides a context for Fred's feelings toward Abe in this series, in Deadly Foes, pre-Thunderbolts Abe committed some of his worse behavior and betrayed Boomerang, not only setting him up to be caught, but also recommending a lawyer to Fred whom he (Abe) had instructed to throw the case.
- STD Immunity: A possible justified example gets brought up. Speed Demon tried to get revenge on Hercules for catching Demon so often by setting Herc up on a date with a girl that he knew who had the clap. As Beetle points out Hercules is basically a god so he probably can't even contract normal diseases, let alone an STD. So all Speed Demon's revenge attempt accomplished was getting Hercules laid.
- "Stop Having Fun" Guy: Beetle is obsessed with plans and schedules and gets angry whenever her teammates go against her strict instructions.
- Stuffed into the Fridge: Invoked. In issue 9, Boomerang makes a cowardly attempt to get Bullseye to spare him by commenting how terrible for him (and awesome for Bullseye) it would be if Bullseye killed his girlfriend and left Fred dealing with the guilt and motivated by it in future face-offs (this alludes to Bullseye's murders of Daredevil love interests Elektra and Karen Page).
- Tempting Fate: Speed Demon insults Hercules a bunch in issue 10, calling him a "hairy, skirt-wearing ape of an Avenger". Cue Herc strolling into the bar the gang just happens to be holding up...
- Token Good Teammate: Shocker is much less malicious and ruthless than other members, is a strong believer in Honor Among Thieves, and genuinely views the rest of the group as his friends.
- Tropaholics Anonymous: The supervillain support group Boomerang attends. Ostensibly it's for people trying to retire from the supervillain business but most of the people in it are still committing crimes behind each other's backs.
- Unreliable Narrator: Boomerang rarely tells the complete truth in his narration if any of it..
- First Person Smart Ass: Usually overlaps with this.
- In issue 9, Speed Demon talks about his various encounters with other heroes, all of which are shown to be incredibly one-sided confrontations on the side of his enemies.
- According to Word of God, Nick Spencer once said that if any sort of Continuity Snarl happens in this series, it means Fred is lying to the readers.
- It's also been said that the series can be viewed as something closer to a bar story Boomerang is telling.
- The Unreveal: The portrait of Doctor Doom's true face is always blocked off by something in the environment.
- Villain Protagonist: The Sinister Six, who overlap with Unsympathetic Comedy Protagonists.
- Villain Worshipper: Boomerang seems to have a fascination with Dormammu. In his Imagine Spot with his new girlfriend, he even imagines Dormammu as his best man in his wedding as well as the father of his baby.
Speed Demon: It's always Dormammu with you...
- Wham Line: This from Beetle to Tombstone at the end of issue 6; "Hi daddy".
- Women Are Wiser: The Beetle is for the most part the most practical and professional member of the gang and has demonstrated better planning and organizational skills than Boomerang himself.
- Being the daughter of Spider-Man villain and gang leader Tombstone she probably picked up a few things. She also graduated valedictorian from Columbia Law School and spent a few years as a successful lawyer. In her words she wants to break the glass ceiling and be the Hillary Clinton of drug lords.
- Wrong Genre Savvy: Mach VII clearly thinks that he's in a straightforward superhero story when it's actually the farthest thing from it. He also thinks that Boomerang is a Jerk with a Heart of Gold and that they can be friends.