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Superior Foes of Spider-Man

Spider-Man Legends
by yo go re

Remember when we told you about the Squadron Supreme, the team of DC pastiches and their evil counterparts who fought the Avengers? This was their Flash.

Obsessed with personal glory, these super-powered anti-heroes fight for any team that gets them ahead.

"Superpowered antiheroes"? That doesn't describe either of these characters. They're not heroes. They're not loveable rogues and they're not rebels with a cause. They're villains, plain and simple. They're liars, cheaters and thieves. They're sold under the name "Superior Foes of Spider-Man," because they both come from the comic of the same name - Boomerang, Shocker, Speed Demon, Beetle, and Overdrive formed a new incarnation of the Sinster Six. Yes, there are only five of them. They know that. Doesn't matter. Thing is, Speed Demon and Boomerang (and sometimes Shocker) had already teamed together as the Sinister Syndicate, alongside Rhino, Hydro-Man and the original Beetle, so this was something of a reunion for them.

James Sanders was a chemist with Hudson Pharmaceutical when he was approached by the Grandmaster (brother to the Collector - you know, the guy from Guardians of the Galaxy), who was looking to build a team to compete with the Avengers. He gave Sanders a formula that would grant him super speed, allowing him to become... The Whizzer!

(He later changed it to "Speed Demon" for obvious reasons.)

Speed Demon is a runner, so he should be a super skinny dude, right? Even Hasbro's "small" body would have been too big for him, so he instead gets the Spidey body. Great choice! He even comes with your choice of fists or flat hands, depending on how you like your running poses. The face is terrific, with a wonderful smirk. His mask has a seam over the top, and there are tiny wrinkles where the mask stretches over his ears.

All the other costume details are simply painted on: he wears a mix of red and dark blue, with golden lightning bolts separating them. He and Captain Marvel could throw their laundry in together!

The articulation is the same on this figure as on other uses of the mold, no surprise. There's a balljointed head, hinged neck, lateral pec hinges, swivel/hinge shoulders, swivel biceps, double-hinged elbows, swivel/hinge wrists, a hinged torso, swivel waist, balljointed hips, swivel thighs, double-hinged knees, and swivel/hinge rocker ankles. It's nice to get one of these where the later shoulders aren't stuck, but the fact that those bits of plastic only connect to the torso at the bottom mean that there's a lot of stress put on them when you move the arms up or down.

Speed Demon has no accessories, but he does include a pack-in - one that will require some explaining. The plot of Superior Foes of Spider-Man revolved around Boomerang putting this team together to pull a heist. The Macguffin they were after was the head of Silvio "Silvermane" Manfredi.

Silvermane was the head of the Maggia, Marvel's we-live-and-work-in-New-York-please-don't-kill-us version of the Mafia. He was born in Sicily and eventually became the head of the crime syndicate. In failing health and obsessed with extending his life, he had himself turned into a cyborg. This worked for a while, until he was grabbed by an industrial magnet and dropped into a trash compactor, seemingly killed.

Turns out that instead, his head was popped off his robot body like a champagne cork, and it was found by the son of the woman who owned the junkyard. The boy mounted Silvermane's head on a radio controlled car, and they became best friends. But the Sinister Six want it because whoever has the head can control his branch of the Maggia, making them incredibly powerful underworld figures.

Anyway, Speed Demon comes with Silvermane's head. It's another wonderful sculpt, though he could stand to look even older and more decrepit - he looks, say, 70ish, when he should really look like he's about 120. His metallic silver casing is smooth, and he has a socket for a balljoint where he connects to his little green car. The wheels don't actually turn, but the flag is removable. There's absolutely no reason Hasbro should have thought to include any of this, but it's incredibly awesome that they did.

And it's not like he doesn't include a piece of the Absorbing Man Build-A-Figure. He does. He has the torso, which is the biggest piece of the figure! So not only is there a second figure in this set that uses 100% new sculpt, there's still a BAF piece. Madness!

Superior Foes of Spider-Man was a great comic, even if you didn't feel like paying attention to the "real" books. Spidey was only in it tangentially anyway. The book was about the villains and how they interact with one another, turning all of them - including Speed Demon - into interesting, fully fleshed-out people and not just bright costumes.

-- 01/18/16

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