By: Nick Spencer (Writer), Steve Lieber (Artist), Rachelle Rosenberg (Color Artist), VC’s Clayton Cowles (Letterer), Ron Wimberly (Cover Artist)

The Story:
“I guess it was kinda like the last time after all” (Boomerang, page 17).

The Review:
When the first lines of the story begins “doesn’t it feel like we’ve been standing here a long time?” I find myself with mixed feelings. One, I have to laugh in spite of myself, because it is a very metatextual self-deprecating joke. On the other hand, it’s upsetting that such a joke has to be made in the first place. It takes some time to remember what exactly the storyline was four months ago, from which this scene picks up.

In some ways, however, the exact storyline isn’t really important. This series really shines when there’s a focus on one man, Boomerang, and the rest of the team, indeed even the rest of the villains in the Marvel comics universe as well as the overall plot, are all basically in service to exploring Boomerang as a character. In this issue, Boomerang has to face his teammates and bluff his way back into their good graces, face the Owl and convince him to bankroll a new job, and pretty much pull off the same job from the beginning of the series. This allows Boomerang to engage in some truly humorous dialogue, of that “squirmy, awkward” variety. (Hmm. “Squawkward?”) One of my favorites was when the reader is given opportunity to see inside Boomerang’s head when he catches himself from misspeaking; it results in a virtual stream of consciousness as sentences cascade behind his silhouette in free association.

But you know? In some other ways, the exact storyline really is important. Characterization aside, this is a heist story, and such stories rely on very specific details. It’s awesome that some of these details are left for the artist, with comics being a visual medium of course– in particular, the double-page spread of the target lair is funny. But is it really informative? Again, it actually tell us more about Boomerang, since this is a visualization of his point-of-view and narrative, and less about the actual plot, since the things pictured must be exaggerated, metaphorical, or just made up.

And so, when Boomerang reaches his objective at the end of the issue, and Overdrive runs away to presumably get ready for his spotlight next issue, I can’t be necessarily surprised when Boomerang says it’s not “what he came [there] for to begin with.” Perhaps if there wasn’t such a gap in the production of the series, I would understand the stakes a bit more, to have a better context for the heist in general. As it stands, I just have to take the characters at their words and watch as the discussion and even the battle of the heist interrupts what really seems to matter, the characterization.

The Bottom Line: Foes does what it does best– offer a unique glimpse into the quirky ways Boomerang tries to make his life work. The dialogue is snappy, the art playfully changes style to visualize the inner minds of the characters, and there is a heist plot in there somewhere, with twists that will play out somehow. Stay for the fun, but stay away if you want to take things seriously.

The Grade: A-

-Danny Wall

Three Other Tidbits:
— “Roll call!” The Sinister Sixteen includes Armadillo, the Bi-Beast, the Clown, Cyclone, the Fly, Kangaroo, Man Mountain Marko (I think?), Mirage, Scorcher, Shriek, Spot, the Squid, plus the usual Boomerang, Beetle, Overdrive, and Speed Demon.
— Out of all the things Hydro-Man would order in an Italian restaurant, he orders ham?
— Apparently, whoever guards the portrait of Dr. Doom, which is in a small room in the basement with at least one other portrait, that of Kraven the Hunter, whiles away the hours playing solitaire on the computer. I can’t tell if that’s the cushiest mob job ever, or the worst.

 

Grade

Conclusion