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Superior Foes of Spider-Man

Spider-Man Legends
by yo go re

This is a second-generation villain in more ways than one.

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, Beetle, Speed Demon, and an otherwise-forgettable dude named Overdrive (he can magically supe-up any vehicle; anything with wheels, really) formed a new incarnation of the Sinster Six. Yes, there are only five of them. They know that.

It's weird that we still don't have a plain 6" version of the Beetle - ToyBiz made an armor he never wore, and now Hasbro has made the woman who replaced him. This Beetle is Janice Lincoln, a defense attorney who was given the villainous identity by Baron Zemo in a plot against Captain America. Unknown to her teammates, she's also the daughter of Tombstone.

Beetle keeps the classic Beetle colorscheme - green and purple. How did he not get confused for Green Goblin? Well, they very rarely fought Spider-Man at the same time. And remember, Beetle was created for Human Torch to fight before getting shuffled. Anyway, the new Beetle has an undersuit that's Phthalo Green and pinkish heliotrope boots, gloves, swimsuit, mask and wings.

The torso is an entirely new mold. According to the comics, Beetle's suit is smart armor - light, versatile and form-fitting, but with an exoskeleton to augment strength and tough enough to stand up to one of Iron Man's repulsor blasts. It still looks like a swimsuit, though. There are sculpted straps running over the shoulders, and weird old-timey flares on the hips. How are those even slightly aerodynamic? They've got to create some huge drag when she's flying. The bodice is sculpted with seams and small wrinkles, while the rest is just painted.

She gets the same wings as Wasp, which makes sense. While the wings on Abner's suit were basically just straight panels, Janice's have always been a more organic style. She has two ports in her shoulders where the wings plug in, and thus has swivel/hinge joints there. The smaller set of wings actually plug into the larger ones, adding another swivel joint without cluttering up her back. It's tough to find her balance point, especially if you point the wings very far back, but it can be done.

Beetle comes with the right leg of Absorbing Man, this series' Build-A-Figure. We can tell it's a new mold, because none of the other BAFs have been wearing long pants and normal shoes.

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 Beetle - into interesting, fully fleshed-out people and not just bright costumes.

-- 01/18/16

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