So continues the series that does not want to die. This is also a book I cheer every time it comes out, because it has been a consistently funny and charming read. Following a group of C-level (at best) supervillains as they attempt to make a name for themselves in the Marvel underworld and achieve personal wealth and power. All along the way they stab each other in the back, lie through their teeth, and generally just can’t seem to get along. This series has shown that writer Nick Spencer can write very funny comedies when he’s allowed to just have fun with the world, including established serious characters (Dr. Doom anyone?). Steve Lieber also proves that he has great comedic timing when it comes to portraying the actions of the characters, the most notable example would be Mark 7’s attempts to maneuver out a window or around a room with his wings extended.
Even if you’re not familiar with these characters, this series largely portrays these characters differently they’ve been before. Shocker has gone through the biggest change, seeing as in this book he’s a rather naive, cowardly loser who everyone hates and can’t ever seem to get a break. The Beetle who first appeared (briefly) in Brubaker’s run on Captain America, gets a lot of development throughout this series and has become one of it’s best characters. But my favorite character is Boomerang. He rarely ever tells the truth, only thinks of himself, has no shame, will steal from his mother, and will stab you in the back if you so much as break eye contact. But he is just a delight to read, especially whenever he tries to wiggle his way out of a tricky situation. One of the highlights of this issue is when Boomerang attempts get out of what he did to Shocker earlier in this series.
This issue picks up where #14 left off with Shocker finally appearing to show how tough he is, and that he’s not a joke. Poor Shocker, no matter what he does, everyone makes fun of him throughout this run. The scene of Shocker having enough starts out well for him at the beginning when he FINALLY decks Boomerang in his smug mouth.
Unfortunately, lets just say things fall apart for him quickly, and in fact get even worse for him. After dealing with their angry former partner, The Sinister Six (four? whatever) now have the possession of the mechanical head of Silvermane. After setting up a meeting with some organization that will grant them power over Silvermane’s gang for the return of the head, the group goes out for a celebration. Their party is interrupted by former members of the Sinister Sixteen back in issue 12. This results in a BAR FIGHT! between the two groups with our merry band of crooks doing the impossible, they work as a team! This is both really fun, but also weirdly surreal seeing this group that like each other worse than the characters in Always Sunny in Philidelphia pull together and win the day. Of course at the end of the issue (without spoiling) the characters are back to their normal selves.
Like the rest of this series, the writing is very witty, and the characters are spot on here. Everything is building up to something bigger than our band of morons seem to realize (except for maybe Boomerang). I would have liked more scenes of Boomerang scemeing, but it’s interesting to see that he’s not the only one of the group with bigger ambitions than being a member of this cheap knockoff gang. This issue also uses some great visual gags, whether it’s from the characters or even the comic book itself.
If there is a problem I have with this issue, it’s that Steve Lieber’s artwork is not quite as strong in this as it has been. I’m not saying it is bad, it’s just not quite as impressive as previous issues. The coloring is not quite as bright, and the character outlines seem a little more muddy here and there. This is rather distracting, but it does not even come close to derailing the overall quality of this issue.
This is another great issue in a fantastic series. It’s fascinating how you can make a bunch of crooks who are complete jerks, and who have no intention of reforming, likeable in an unlikeable way. Nick Spencer and Steve Lieber have been doing a great job, and hopefully will continue to do so for the foreseeable future.
CBH Score: 4.5 Out of 5