SUPERIOR FOES OF SPIDER-MAN #7 REVIEW

Writer: Nick Spencer

Artist: Rich Ellis

Colorist: Lee Loughridge

Review by Suzanne Nagda

Hype can be a powerful thing. What else would convince me to check out a book about the Sinister Six? I saw this series dominate several Top Ten Lists for 2013 and thought… what am I missing here? Well, it looks like the combined acumen of the Internet has something to offer after all.

It doesn’t hurt that this is a one-shot about a female villain. Janice Lincoln is the new Beetle, although I wasn’t very familiar with the original incarnation. She’s a motivated, intelligent woman who isn’t above scamming her way to the top. The flashback scene where she pulls her “first job” as a primary school kid is hysterical. Her relationship with her father, Spidey villain Tombstone, is equal parts endearing and over-the-top. Essentially an origin story for Beetle, it portrays her current super identity and echoes a history of scams and manipulation.

Nick Spencer balances hilarious moments with solid character work. He also weaves in some meta-commentary with tropes about women, feminism and comics. Janice heatedly debates her father about women in the workplace (specifically the underworld). Yet she’s more of an opportunist than a feminist icon, which makes her more complex than a simple archetype. After one issue, I feel invested in Janice as a character and want to see where she goes from here.

Have I mentioned the artwork yet? Rich Ellis seems to be a master of Janice’s indignant facial expressions and eye rolls. One panel in particular is pitch perfect–Ellis draws two super villains as toddlers throwing food at each other in high chairs. Another double-page spread shows a page from Janice’s planner as she goes through her daily routine.

The Verdict: BUY. Where was I for the first six issues? I’ll be hitting the back-issues bin to catch up on the beginning of the series.

This is a perfect jumping-on point for new readers (like myself) with a one-shot issue that introduces us to a member of the Sinister Six. No prior reading or knowledge of previous Sinister Six teams required. I would recommend this to anyone who likes fun books about failed anti-heroes. The title of the series is a red herring–from what I can tell, this book has little to do with Superior Spider-Man or Spider-Man in general.

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