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Comic Book / The Superior Foes of Spider-Man

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"Is this some kind of sex thing?"
"Why would it be a sex thing?"

These guys, right?

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—without his mask. 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. Written by Nick Spencer and drawn by Steve Lieber, it quickly became notable and acclaimed for its comedic style, use of obscure heroes and villains, and examination of the concept of supervillains. The book ended with issue 17 in November 2014. Spencer's run on Ant-Man, beginning in 2015, serves as a sequel of sorts to the book, picking up with several characters after the events of this series.


So yeah... these tropes, right?:

  • Actually a Doombot:
  • 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. In the final issue it's revealed that she's really Black Cat and was simply using Fred to get the Doctor Doom painting.
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    • 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.
  • All There in the Manual: Deadly Foes of Spider-Man and Jeff Parker's Thunderbolts run aren't necessary to read to understand the story but can give some proper backstory that isn't fully discussed or brought up in the comic, such as why Boomerang hates Mach VII so much.
  • 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. She’s later revealed to be Black Cat, so white.
    • Justified in the case of 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 civilian lifestyle. In the ending, he successfully sues Iron Fist for an exorbitant amount of money for injuring Speed Demon's ankle.
    • Beetle is one when she's not being 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 legal career, she has provided her services to supervillain contacts. Her father Tombstone is disappointed that she doesn't do this full time and drop the supervillain part, seeing her day job as an attorney as basically "legalized crime" than she can easily get rich at with zero risk of arrest. But she considers being a supervillain a more fun way to get rich.
  • Anything but That!: Fred attempts this, trying to escape from Bullseye by begging him not to kill the love of his life and recreating the moment he's so proud of.
  • 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 its 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.
  • Berserk Button: Jokes about Silvermane not having a body will not go over well with him.
  • 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.
  • Big Bad Ensemble: The role of Big Bad is split pretty thoroughly between Chameleon, the Owl, Hammerhead, and a few other supervillains like Madame Masque and Mister Negative.
  • Big Bad Wannabe: The Looter really wants to be a badass and edgy supervillain, even trying to give himself a new image as "the Superior Looter", but in the end he's still a loser.
  • Big Creepy-Crawlies: Among the defences in the Owl's hideout are some giant scorpions.
  • Big Damn Villains: Tombstone to the rescue!
  • Big "WHAT?!": According to Fred's account, a hungover Doom was distressed to discover that drunk Doom had commissioned a portrait.
    "Doom did what?!"
  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: Hydro-Man seems like a nice-enough guy at first, but he betrays his buddy Shocker to Hammerhead the first chance he gets.
  • Bittersweet Ending: The gang escape with their lives but fail to retrieve the portrait and what little friendship they had completely dissolves. Shocker becomes the new mob boss of New York, Speed Demon successfully sues Iron Fist for his ankle injury, Beetle and Overdrive get caught by Doctor Doom, and Mach VII gets his dream of working with the Avengers. Boomerang ends up broke once again but admits that he actually enjoyed his time with the others and clearly has no regrets. The final page strongly implies that he gets arrested by Spider-Man.
  • Blatant Lies: Boomerang loves to indulge in these, usually regarding his skill and status as a criminal. Issue 9 features a brief montage of him claiming to be a better hired assassin, marksman, and lover than Bullseye.
  • Bolivian Army Ending: The series ends with Beetle and Overdrive in some serious hot water, with their fates left unceartain. Overdrive and Beetle later showed up in Spencer's Ant-Man series, as well as his run on ''The Amazing Spider-Man'', indicating that they both survived.
  • 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.
  • Bookends: Boomerang throwing a baseball match and becoming a criminal. The first time it's his descent into villainy. The second time, it's his ultimate failure to escape the supervillain business.
  • Boomerang Comeback: Boomerang tries to use this against Bullseye. Bullseye simply closes the door behind him just before the boomerang comes back at him.
  • Brain Bleach: One of Chameleon's henchmen expresses a desire to pour bleach in his eyes after witnessing Chameleon roleplaying between two personas over the painting of Doom.
  • Briar Patching: Boomerang tries to use this to convince Bullseye to spare him. Unsurprisingly it fails.
  • Brick Joke: Tons. For example, in issue #1 Boomerang insists that the name Sinister Six should be kept because it would freak out their opponents by making them think there's one more member hiding nearby. When the Heroes for Hire attack the gang several issues later, Luke Cage expresses that very fear.
  • Bring My Brown Pants: Speed Demon wets himself when he comes across the Owl's giant scorpions. Overdrive does the same when Hercules walks into the bar he, Beetle and Speed Demon are holding up.
  • 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.
    • Also Mach VII and Mirage.
  • Call-Back: After leaving the bar, Boomerang toasts the group with a word-for-word recitation of Shocker's rant about being a team.
  • Catchphrase:
    • 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.
  • Changed My Mind, Kid: Hydro-Man ends up saving Herman from getting buried alive. Unfortunately for him, Shocker still blasts him for screwing him over.
  • Chekhov's Gun: It turns out that the first supposedly fake story about where Silvermane's head is located was actually true.
    • Chameleon's face-changing serum.
  • Chekhov's Gunman: Boomerang's nameless girlfriend. She's actually Black Cat, having gone undercover to steal the portrait from the gang after they get it.
  • 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 (i.e. "Surfs up! It's Hydro-Man!").
  • 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.
    • At the start of the comic, Shocker is still wearing his Thunderbolts badge from his time on the team. In issue #4, Luke Cage takes it back, declaring that Shocker doesn't deserve to wear it after he quit the team and went right back to being a supervillain.
    • 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.
    • In the finale Shocker uses his old Shockmobile, not seen for over thirty years out-of-continuity, to take out the Punisher.
  • 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. Most notably, when he finally cuts loose in the end he manages to single-handedly defeat the Punisher, though it's possible that part was made up by Boomerang. Similarly, while Overdrive has the least fighting skills, he's great at using his powers to get an advantage.
    • Inverted with Baron Zemo, who is portrayed as being an egotistical Manchild beneath his veneer of badassery.
  • 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.
    • In the final issue, Shocker comes in on his Shockmobile and launches Punisher to the sky with a single blast from his gauntlets.
  • 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.
  • Darker and Edgier: Looter attempts (and fails) to invoke this by becoming "the Superior Looter".
  • Darkest Hour: Hilariously subverted in issue #16; Boomerang is getting the shit kicked out of him as the various factions involved are in a massive shoot-out, only for it to turn out that getting beat up was just another lie Fred was telling. He was really kidnapping Demang Pendak in order to take his place at the big baseball game. Then double-subverted when it turns out he actually got poor Mach VII attacked instead.
  • 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.
  • Diabolus ex Machina:
    • The person Boomerang's been telling this story to? The Superior Spider-Man, who ends the comic by knocking him out and taking him into custody.
    • The real painting is stolen from Boomerang by Black Cat.
    • Doctor Doom shows up to take back the fake painting that Beetle and Overdrive managed to wrest away from the gang war.
  • Dirty Coward:
    • Boomerang is willing to let his girlfriend die so that he can live.
    • Speed Demon runs off and leaves Beetle and Overdrive behind when Hercules walks into the bar they've taken over.
  • Disney Villain Death: In issue #17 Boomerang shoves Mirage off a building. Of course that's assuming it was the real Mirage.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: Invoked during the flashback to Beetle's origin; she sits by as the Fixer and Baron Zemo are arguing, and visualises them as a prostitute arguing with her pimp.
  • 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.
  • The Don: In the final issue Shocker becomes this for the Maggia crime family.
  • The Dreaded:
    • Spider-Man is treated as this from the perspective of the villains. Even more so because this series occurs in the same time period as Superior Spider-Man.
    • Naturally, the Punisher is also on this list from the villains' perspective. Boomerang actually lists Frank's very existence as the worst thing about being a costumed villain.
    • Speed Demon is terrified to learn that Tombstone is Beetle's father , because of the possible repercussions if anything bad should happen to her, and especially because he tried to sleep with her.
    Beetle: You never had a chance.
    Speed Demon: Don't tell me, tell him!
  • 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. Then subverted in the last issue as Beetle abandons her father during the gang war and leaves with Overdrive while taking the fake Doctor Doom painting. Overdrive even asks if she is concerned with her dad to which Beetle replies "*** my dad!".
  • 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 vs. 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 prominently 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.
    • Boomerang is great at presenting himself as a much more trustworthy person than he really is.
  • The Family for the Whole Family: Pretty much the entire gang except Shocker and Beetle. In fact, it's pointed out that most supervillains (especially younger ones) amount to this in a realistic manner; they're certainly willing to commit serious crimes but they tend to be terribly inexperienced, unprofessional, and too caught up with reputations and gimmicks to actually pull them off.
  • Fetish: Brought up and discussed. Apparently there are quite a few people with a superhero/supervillain fetish, dubbed "mask-chasers" in the supervillain community. invoked
  • Flock of Wolves: By the end of the comic the entire gang except Shocker are moles working for another faction.
  • 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.
  • From Nobody to Nightmare: Shocker. He starts the series as the butt of every joke but by the end of it, he's become a major mob boss who flattened the Punisher like he was nothing.
  • Frivolous Lawsuit: In the epilogue Speed Demon files one against Iron Fist over an injured ankle and proceeds to win it.
  • 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.
  • Fun with Subtitles: A few instances:
    • When Fred and his date are bound and gagged, their muffled shouts are translated. Or at least Fred's are, his date's are censored.
    • A panel depicting the Owl preparing to deep fry a rat translates the rat's squeaks to "If you kill me, they'll just send 008!"
  • 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). And Issue #16 starts off with The Punisher making his way to the meeting.
  • Glove Snap: In his narration, Boomerang describes Mirage as not talking despite probing by Chameleon and Owl. The illustration shows Chameleon in surgical garb flashing a Slasher Smile while snapping a glove (labeled as genuine latex) onto his wrist.
  • Go-Karting with Bowser: Done unintentionally; it turns out that the guy Boomerang is telling his story to is actually Spider-Man in his civilian attire.
  • 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 Door-Slam: Shocker responds to the treacherous Hydro Man saving him by knocking Morris on his ass.
  • 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".
  • Hero-Worshipper: Or Villain Worshipper in this case — 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...
  • History Repeats: In the final issue Boomerang ends up having to throw a big game and become a criminal, just like he did years ago when he became a supervillain.
  • 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.
    • Boomerang and Speed Demon keep insisting that the Sinister Syndicate were losers and the gang shouldn't associate with them... but conveniently forget that they were part of the Sinister Syndicate.
  • I Call It "Vera": The BFG that Beetle used in her first appearance is given the name of Bertha by Fixer.
  • I Coulda Been a Contender!: Boomerang deeply misses his days of being a professional baseball player before being kicked out over a bribery scandal and his overarching goal is to play one more game while in disguise.
  • 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.
  • Ironic Echo: Boomerang toasts the rest of the Sinister Six after leaving a bar about being a team, using a word-for-word copy of Shocker's earlier speech from before they knocked him out and buried him alive.
  • Ironic Echo Cut: Right after Boomerang's speech, we cut to Overdrive, Beetle, and Speed Demon, each offering Silvermane's head to different supervillains behind each others' backs in successive order.
  • It's Personal with the Dragon: The Owl's hitman Bullseye has quite a bit of enmity toward Boomerang for constantly shooting off his mouth that he's a more accurate shot, a more respected hitman, and a more passionate lover than Bullseye.
  • Jerkass: Boomerang, Speed Demon and Beetle mainly.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Speed Demon. 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 more villainous to kill Boomerang's girlfriend.
    • In issue #17 he does quite possibly the most horrible thing he's ever done; he drugs Mach VII, than dresses Mach in his costume so that Mach gets beat up by gangsters.
    • Right after [spoiler:Shocker]] shows him a touching amount of respect and loyalty, Boomerang tries to murder him by tries to murder him by putting him in the trunk of his car and pushing it off a bridge because He Knows Too Much.
  • 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.
  • Lazy Bum: Speed Demon complains about having to run across town to get a set of keys even though he has superspeed and can get there and back in a matter of seconds. As he points out, super speed doesn't mean super endurance, and when he gets back he's clearly as exhausted as one would expect after having run that.
  • 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.
  • Logical Weakness: Mach-VII's wings are really useful for flying. They are not useful for things like going through doors. By issue #16 he's wised up and redesigns them to automatically retract when he's walking through doors. He proceeds to knock out a blind man when he turns around.
  • 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
  • Manchild: 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.
  • Misapplied Phlebotinum: One of Speed Demon's flaws. He uses his superspeed for things like getting keys he forgot or running away from threats, but doesn't understand how he could easily apply it properly to actually pull off heists.
  • Mythology Gag: Shocker's fight against the Punisher brings back the old Shocker Buggy that was last used in the Spidey Super Stories series. He even shouts the same battle cry from the issue it was referencing.
  • Never My Fault: Baron Zemo apparently gets pissed that the heroes won't give him a chance to be good despite him being a known violent, mentally unstable supervillain. Not to mention the fact that he apparently continues to wear his villain costume and call himself Baron Zemo even during a trial for crimes he committed as Baron Zemo. When Fixer points this out Zemo responds with "SILENCE YOU CUR!".
  • 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.
    • Turns out Spider-Man was there the whole time as the whole series was a recap of the events being told by Boomerang to a rather nice guy he met in a bar named Peter.
  • 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.
  • No Name Given: We never learn the name of Boomerang's girlfriend until the final issue. Felicia Hardy (a.k.a. the Black Cat)
    • Overdrive remains nameless by the end of the series. Though he does get backstory and motivation, and far more depth than prior appearances, he's still left without a name by the end of the run. As he's not appeared since, its up in the air whether he'll ever get named.
  • 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.
  • Nostalgia Filter: According to Boomerang, this is in effect with Silvermane's rule. All the stories about him sing praises about him being the last good don in New York, who treated everyone well and kept the peace. In reality he was a curmudgeonly Jerkass and racist who would sometimes accidentally order the wrong people assassinated because of his failing memory. Everyone except Hammerhead hated him and just pretended to like him to keep from getting whacked; it became so habitual that even after Silvermane was gone, everyone kept praising him.
  • 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.
  • Official Couple: Beetle and Overdrive.
  • Old Shame: In-Universe, this is how Boomerang's feels about his time in the Sinister Syndicate.
  • Only Sane Man: Woman, that is. 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. At the same time, its repeatedly shown that this is just in comparison to the group; compared to other villains, Beetle is just as much of a loser as the rest of them.
  • Outgambitted: As clever as Boomerang's plan was to replace the pitcher of the Mets, he's ultimately outdone by Black Cat, who was secretly posing as his girlfriend in order to steal the real portrait of Doom and The Owl, who forces him to toss the game and become a criminal like he did so many years ago.
  • Perspective Flip: This is basically a Spider-Man story from the point-of-view of the regular D-list crooks and supervillains.
  • 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.
    • In issue #16 Hydro Man saves Shocker from being buried alive. Unfortunately for him, Shocker isn't in the mood for giving any more second chances.
    • Issue #17 has Shocker poised to fight off all of the criminals he saved from the Punisher as they don't know whether to follow him or kill him for the deed, but the conflict is averted when Silvermane jumps in and tells them all to respect Shocker as their new Don.
  • Plethora of Mistakes: A simple enough plan to steal a portrait ends up spiraling out of control and causing, amongst other things, a gang war.
  • Poke the Poodle: Speed Demon is apparently of the opinion that stealing puppies is prime supervillain material.
  • Pop-Up Texting: In some of the earlier issues, Beetle is focused on texting and a pop-up emoji appears above her phone.
  • Porn Stash: Boomerang has one under his bed. He claims they were already there when he moved in.
  • Protagonist and Friends: Inverted
  • Pseudo Crisis: In issue #16, Boomerang is getting the crap kicked out of him by some goons and it seems like he's done for... at which point it turns out he was just lying again to make things more dramatic. He's actually fine.
  • 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.
    • The Punisher finds out the hard way that an assault rifle isn't much use next to a guy toting sci-fi weaponry. His 'fight' with Shocker lasts a single panel before Herman blasts him into the horizon in one blast.
    • Being a speedster, Speed Demon runs off from the final fight to get some chicken the moment he can.
  • 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.
    • Katherine Heigl
    • When Fred is about to say something incriminating, a beat panel will show a visual representation of the wheels in his head (or in one case, the Apple spinning ball of death) before the Verbal Backspace.
  • 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.
  • Ship Tease: Beetle and Overdrive to some extent; while all the men in the group are attracted to Beetle to some degree or another, Overdrive is the only one she actually sleeps with, and is generally the one she's the friendliest to.
  • Shout-Out: Everywhere.
  • The Sixth Ranger: Mirage.
  • 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.
    • Nick Spencer's Ant-Man run is one to this comic, revealing what happened to some of the characters after the end of the comic.
    • The Fix, another project by Nick Spencer and Steve Lieber done for Image Comics, is effectively one to to this series in a real world setting and without the PG-13 restrictions.
  • Spoof Aesop: "If you want a man to work with you, don't show him a video of a bull @#$%ing his wife"
  • The Spook: Spider-Man from the villains' perspectives. Imagine a nameless, crazy guy with superpowers in a spider-themed costume showing up while you're committing a crime and beating the crap out of you, then mocking you.
  • The Starscream: Beetle tries to do this with Boomerang in the first issues. Upon knowing this, Boomerang just denounces the team to Mach VII, who sends the Heroes for Hire to arrest them.
    • Shocker also tries to do this in issue #15. Of course he fails but in the other hand he ends becoming the new Don after saving the major criminal gangs of New York of being executed by the Punisher.
  • 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. invoked
  • 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).
  • Take That!: An in-universe example:
    Speed Demon: Still say we grab a few more guys and just keep being the Sinister Six! Or at least get one and become the new Frightful Four.
    Beetle: That's just a name for guys who had their widdle feewings hurt by Reed Richards.
    • Issue #11 includes some not-so-subtle jabs at Dan Slott's Superior Spider-Man, such as having Looter attempting to reinvent himself as the Darker and Edgier "Superior Looter" and only succeeding making himself look like a moron.
  • 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...
  • Third-Person Person: Of course.
    Doctor Doom: Doom believes you have something... of Doom's. Really no way around saying it twice there.
  • Throw the Dog a Bone: In the end Shocker and Speed Demon end up becoming Boss of the Maggia and ridiculously rich after suing Danny Rand respectively. Mach VII is saved by Iron Man, who makes him an Avenger.
  • 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.
  • Took a Level in Badass: But even Shocker has his limits. After all the abuse he goes through during the series, he comes out as a mob leader while all the others turned out as failures from the convoluted scheme.
  • 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.
    • 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... which it actually is. Boomerang even admits to the guy listening to the story (strongly implied to be Spider-Man in his civilian identity) that he was making up at least half of what happened. invoked
    • Truly taken Up to Eleven in issue #16, in which Fred lies to the reader about his own near-death.
  • 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.
  • Villainous Rescue: During the finale, Shocker saves dozens of mobsters from the Punisher using his gauntlets and his Shockermobile.
  • Wham Line:
    • This from Beetle to Tombstone at the end of issue #6: "Hi daddy".
    • From the end of issue #17:
      Boomerang: What'd you say your name was?
      Bar Patron: Peter.
  • 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.

"I heard their sixth member is Thanos."
"It's obviously Dormammu."

Alternative Title(s): Superior Foes Of Spider Man


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