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Marvel, Steve Lieber

I was a tattooer for 10 years and people always ask me, “How did you practice when you were first starting out?” They’re always shocked when I respond, “On people.” Unfortunately, that’s the only way to really learn how to tattoo. You make your mistakes, chop up some flesh, and occasionally do things right on people’s skin.

So you might be asking yourself at this point, “But who would let you practice on them?”

And the answer is, “Lots of people who are looking for a cheap or free tattoo.” And yes, you pretty much get what you pay for. I used to post ads on Craigslist and the people who would show up to get their discounted apprentice tattoo were definitely characters. And admittedly, not the kind of folks who made great decisions.

Like the giant gangster guy who wanted giant old english letters tattooed across his back. He acted tough, but then cried like a little girl during the whole process. He was charming, but kind of a dick. A few years later, I heard he was in jail for attempting to rob a bank.

So you might be asking yourself at this point, “But who, in this day and age, would attempt to rob a bank? Surely there are better ways of stealing money. Like you know, credit card scams or hacking bank accounts…”

And the answer is, “My dumb ass tattoo client. And Fred Myers, aka Boomerang.”

The-Superior-Foes-of-Spider-Man-page

Marvel, Steve Lieber

In July, Marvel launched a new series written from the point of view of Boomerang, one of Spider-Man’s less menacing foes. He’s not so bright, he’s a total douche bag, and his powers are kind of lame. He’s heading up the Sinister Six (even though there are only five of them) and it’s not going too well – which is what make this series fantastic!

Nick Spencer’s writing is top notch. There’s a lot of entertaining narration from Boomerang and despite all of his shortcomings, you can’t stop reading his story. You’re not rooting for him exactly, because even though at times you kinda feel sorry for the guy, at the end of the day he’s a double crossing dirt bag. He’s a villain – and you get a very nuanced look into the mind of a bumbling criminal.

The comic’s genius is that it introduces readers to the more mundane and hilarious aspects of being a minor super villain: making bail money, dealing with a sleazy trial lawyer, living in a crappy apartment, drinking too much, going to mandated recovery meetings, and barely being able to keep a crew together. Even with all the jokes, the storyline itself is interesting and not a throwaway. And get ready for run-ins with The Chameleon, Hammerhead, The Punisher, The Owl, Tombstone, Luke Cage, and Iron Fist!

Artist Steve Lieber employs some pretty clever storytelling techniques throughout the series, which add to the enjoyment of this comic. Like the HAWKEYE series by Matt Fraction and David Aja, SUPERIOR FOES OF SPIDER-MAN feels a lot like an indie comic. It’s a refreshing change from the usual superhero titles out there, especially the ones that have that weird CGI-looking artwork. Ugh, get me out of the uncanny valley!

It’s so brilliant to have a comic centered around a villain, especially one like Boomerang who is an ordinary everyday douche bag. He’s not creepy and terrifying like Image Comic’s Plutonian in IRREDEEMABLE. And he’s not gratingly annoying like Doc Oc controlled Spider-Man. (I had to stop reading SUPERIOR SPIDER-MAN because I just couldn’t take the pompous grandeur anymore.) He’s more like a dysfunctional character you might find in the pages of indie comic OPTIC NERVE or that asshole drinking buddy of yours who tells great stories – and still owes you $50.

I would highly recommend SUPERIOR FOES OF SPIDER-MAN. It’s creative, entertaining, and smart – even though Boomerang and the Sinister Six (er, five) are not.

Final Score: 9 out of 10