With only a few issues of The Superior Foes of Spider-Man remaining, or so we speculated, it is a bit disheartening to find out that at least of one of those issues would be from a fill-in team. Fortunately, the creative team, led by James Asmus (Quantum and Woody, Thief of Thieves, and Gambit), is able to reproduce some of the comedy that has made the series so special.
While this issue does not move the series’ story forward in any substantial way, it does offer some good character work that helps to define our “heroes” and their particular personalities. The issue focuses on Lady Beetle, Overdrive, and Speed Demon and their greatest victories as they drink beers at a bar they in the process of robbing. It is the kind of backstory work that I vastly prefer, couching it inside a broader tale, than spending an entire issue on one character like The Superior Foes of Spider-Man #7 did. In a way, this issue feels like a love letter to the series, one that deserves to see greater sales than it is getting, from the rest of Marvel.
The humor and deft plotting is what makes this series special and while the humor here isn’t as bonkers, relying on a lot of body humor, it definitely comes away successful. The only real letdown is the story of Lady Beetle tricking Matt Murdock as it is a bit too technical of a concept to really be all that humorous. However, seeing a full page of the Marvel universe beating up on Speed Demon as he attempts to verbally rewrite his own history is truly funny.
The art in this book changes throughout, with some spotty editorial labeling of the changes, but is always appropriate to the story being told. The art lacks the simple and streamlined look of Steve Lieber’s work on the title but is appropriately exaggerated and funny when it needs to be. Each different artist is successfully matched up to the tone of each character’s story and what readers might assume their brain would interpret their world like.
Best of all, these stories (save the Daredevil one) all manage to come full circle at the end of the story and the new predicament that these characters find themselves in. Whether or not we’ll see the ramifications of their actions and the appearance of Hercules is yet to be seen, but as it stands the issue ends rather abruptly. While this issue is strong for a fill-in it is hard to surpass the incredible work that is being done by Nick Spender and Steve Lieber.