This week we gather around to share thanks (and say goodbye) to The Superior Foes of Spider-Man, and check in with DC’s weekly Batman title, Batman Eternal!
The Superior Foes of Spider-Man #17
It’s a sad day for me folks, because this week brings the finale of one of my favorite series on the stands: Nick Spencer and Steve Lieber’s Superior Foes of Spider-Man. While I’d love to see this title continue into infinity, the truth of the matter is that it’s amazing that this book even saw the light of day, let alone made it to seventeen issues, and Spencer and Lieber certainly send it off in style.
The main plot of this issue finds Boomerang filling us in on his life since the events of last issue’s Gang War. This narrative jump it pretty weird at first, especially with the delays that this series has encountered, but Nick Spencer keeps the tone pretty light and entertaining, and allows for all of the members of the “Sinister Six” to shine, even with Boomerang taking center stage. There’s a ton of awesome character cameos and hilarious moments, and even a few riffs on classic TV finales like Lost and The Sopranos.
Of course, none of this would work as well as it does if not for Steve Lieber’s art. As always, Lieber fits the tone of Spencer’s script perfectly, and peppers the issue with some hilarious sight gags of his own as well. Boomerang’s explanation for how he made it out of the gang war unscathed is a particular highlight, but a scene with Shocker steals the show, and gives the constant punching bag the kind of ending that makes you feel happy for him (almost).
It’s sad to see Superior Foes of Spider-Man go. It was one of the most unique comics on the stands, and while others tried to copy it, none could match the hilarious and irreverent tone of the original. Hopefully Spencer’s upcoming Ant-Man series will have the same tone as Superior Foes. Lord knows we need more comics like this one on the stands. For now though, we’ll always have the single issues and trades to go back to.
Batman Eternal # 34
Batman Eternal, aka “DC’s first weekly series of 2014”, started off really strong, but quickly grew pretty stagnant. However, ever since the reveal of Hush in the book’s 21st issue, the pace of the book has grown by leaps and bounds, and Batman Eternal #34 brings us the fight we’ve been waiting for: Batman vs. Hush.
For the past few issues, Hush has been systematically taking down different areas of the Batman’s armory, as well as parts of Bruce Wayne’s life. Everything Hush has been planning comes to a head here, as Batman confronts him in one of his last remaining “Bat-Bunkers” in Gotham. What follows is a pretty brutal fight between the Dark Knight and his former childhood friend, but just when it seems like Batman is winning, Hush plays his final hand: arranging for the federal government to seize control of Wayne Enterprises.
The script in this issue is definitely a winner, and with the creative input of Scott Snyder, Ray Fawkes, Tim Seeley, James Tynion IV, and Kyle Higgins, that’s not a big surprise. Higgins is credited as the primary scripter, and he brings a really good feeling of menace to Hush’s monologue. Higgins also keeps the pace up throughout the issue, delivering one of the best issues of Batman Eternal so far.
Unfortunately the mighty Jason Fabok isn’t the artist for this issue. Luckily, Alvaro Martinez is a worthy replacement. Martinez’s figure work and layouts are spectacular here, and the splash page with Hush sitting on a make shift Iron Throne from Batman’s weapons in his bunker is poster worthy.
Batman Eternal is really hitting its stride right now. While the book started to get lost among the many subplots, it’s finally starting to feel like a book that ‘s not only back on track, but making huge changes in the world of the Dark Knight. While 34 issues is a lot to catch up on, the first trade collection should be out in a few months, so you’ll have an easier time to get caught up if you want to.