The Sinister Syndicate which is a band of super-villains made up of The Beetle, Speed Demon, Hydro-Man, Rhino, and Boomerang, attempt to put aside their differences and work together once again. Their goal.... Make money. The Beetle puts together a well planned heist and Spider-Man shows up to complicate matters. Things take a different turn when powerful entities surface and one person secretly seeks vengeance for being wronged in the past. -summary
One of the more interesting aspects of Spider-Man has always been his colorful rogues gallery. He has the largest list of villains for a superhero in quite possibly all of comics. One of the most interesting spins on his arch-enemies were the gathering of the super-villain group called the Sinister-Six, who were founded and lead by Doctor Octopus with the sole purpose on killing Spider-Man. Marvel more than likely enjoyed the idea of the group, and went for another try at it gathering another gang of villains who would be collectively known as the Sinister Syndicate. These characters weren't exactly on the higher echelon in terms of popularity. However, each of them were well established colliding with not only Spider-Man, but others such as; Iron Man, Hulk, and the Fantastic Four. They were interesting in their own right. The group made their first appearance in the action packed Amazing Spider-Man #280, which is collected in a compilation Spider-Man vs. Silver Sable; this TPB here written by Danny Fingeroth collects Deadly Foes of Spider-Man and its sequel Lethal Foes of Spider-Man, which happens to be his second and third run-ins with the group. The limited series are reprinted in their entirety, collecting all 4 issues of both arcs. Definitely a treat for Spider-Man fans who enjoyed the character's run in the early 90's.
The first story is very action packed, and the plot follows Spider-Man as he tries to stop the Syndicate from accomplishing their goals. Fortunately, the story has several sub plots going on to keep it from falling into something too simple. There are hidden motives galore and some of them have out in the open aims; such as Rhino trying to make enough money to get out of his rhino hide, the Shocker trying to get his confidence back to fight due to too many defeats at Spider-Man's hands, and the distrust within the Syndicate. All of these things work in the end and it's no doubt a fun ride if action is what you're looking for. Surprisingly, character development isn't exactly scarce, since I believe even a newbie can come into this and learn how certain characters think, most notably the Kingpin. He's one of the cooler characters in this story.
The second story Lethal Foes of Spider-Man, continues the inner battles amongst the Syndicate as they feud over some weapon that can be sold for at least a billion dollars, while others would rather use it for something else. It also features Dr. Octopus as he attempts to break out of the Vault, which happens to be the prison for costumed criminals; he seeks to re-create his metal arms, due to the originals being destroyed by order of the court. This tale also features plenty of different motives, and more enemies consisting of the dinosaur man Stegron who wants to rid the world of humanity, the Vulture who believes he can cure his cancer (in which it was revealed he had the disease in the story arc Funeral Arrangements), and more.
The stories are pretty gripping for those only searching for action, there's nothing cerebral here in the slightest. Although I enjoyed it, I found the plot to be weak at times, and there was quite a bit of rehashing going on. The same plot devices were being used because it seemed as if Fingeroth had no other ideas to push these stories. Spider-Man would show-up, be defeated in some quick and easy way, and is somehow saved by things that just shouldn't happen. One would wonder just how long his luck can possibly last. Plus, in the case of the second story, villains were showing up just because they haven't been used in awhile. Some weren't even used well at all.
The artwork is pretty average and easy to follow, with some entertaining action panels. The characters are used pretty well to their strengths, and there are various mix ups. Unfortunately, as fun is it may be, there really isn't much creativity here. This goes for the second story as well. Still, I can't say that I had a bad time with it.
Deadly Foes of Spider-Man is something I can only recommend to the serious Spider-Man fans. This is not a story you sit back and try to analyze, instead, you just enjoy the witty banter and madness. It's pretty much what a fan comic should be, but I seen far better.
Spider-Man: Round Robin - The Sidekick's Revenge
Spider-Man: Invasion of the Spider-Slayers
World War Hulk
X-Men: X-Cutioner's Song
-Action, fun story
-Will not appeal to the thought provoking crowd at all, some poor plotting at times
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