"The Superior Foes of Spider-Man" omnibus
Updated: Aug 12
Self-contained heist/humor/supervillain graphic novel
Spider-Man's deadliest foes, in their own book at last! No, not him. Or him. Or her. Or them. We're talking Boomerang! Shocker! Speed Demon! Overdrive! The new Beetle! Wait, has she even met Spidey? What are these guys trying to pull? Well, isn't that the big question as this questionable quintet set about attempting to prove they're Superior to any Sinister Sextet! Can they stand each other's company long enough to get their hands on the legendary item that will put them in charge of the New York mob?
I don't read a ton of comics, largely because I like self-contained stories with a beginning, middle, and end, and comics are basically soap operas. That's why when I do read them, it's usually graphic novels of specific story arcs or full runs of series/mini-series that don't heavily rely on also reading other related comics. (This problem was why I eventually gave up on reading Spider-Man comics as a kid. Four Spider-Man titles, each with their own stories but also interconnecting ... I just couldn't keep track of it, and I still don't like having to try.)
So, comics like this are very much the sort of thing I enjoy. This omnibus is a complete collection of a 17-issue series starring characters who you don't have to know anything at all about going into it. I think the most I knew any of these characters when I started reading was vaguely recognizing Shocker. You don't have to know anything about Spider-Man or comics at all in order to read this omnibus, so it's very approachable.
I also don't usually tend to like stories where the villains are the protagonists, because I like to have someone to root for, but since this story is a comedy, that's an entirely different thing. The team of villains is basically like Oceans' Eleven, except more bad (I hesitate to go so far as to call them really evil--again, it's a comedy) and less competent. And instead of one big heist, the plot involves a series of heists and double-crosses and people having their own plans.
The plot definitely kept moving, with plenty of twists and surprises. The characters were well-developed and entertaining--and, while bad, they were still sympathetic enough that their victories and losses meant something to me as a reader.
The art was good (definitely serviceable and it never bothered me, but it didn't exactly wow me, either). The story and characters were funny and exciting, with a large number of places that made me laugh out loud. There were even smaller plot threads or moments which added some nuance and depth to the story. The whole tone of this story really hit me well, and I think this page is a great example of the book's general vibe (sorry for the quality of the scan):
Overall, I'd definitely recommend this comic for someone looking for an exciting, funny superpowers story. As long as you're not only interested in a story with big names, because the most any headliners get are brief cameos. This one's about the C-list, and that's part of what makes it great.