Boomerang has assembled the newest of super-villain teams, the Sinister Six! Among the team is the suspenseful Shocker, the beastly Beetle, the startling Speed Demon, and the...obnoxious Overdrive? Look, they all suck, okay? Boomerang convinced his team to bail him out of jail since he had a job for them all, but it was really all a set-up to release him. Now, since the Chameleon helped him out, Fred is in debt to him. And his team still thinks he has a job for them...
The story begins with Fred wondering what part of being a super villain is the worst. First, he considers the Punisher, but sets his mind on "all the stupid meetings." Boomerang is talking to his team while Shocker eats a sandwich, Beetle plays on her phone, Overdrive repairs a toy car, and Speed Demon drinks.
Boomerang informs them that the bathrooms will stay unisex, but everyone else in the group is concerned about how they're missing a team member. Fred tells them that it's better because they only split the money five ways. Speed Demon counts in Obamacare too, which makes it "tricky." (So that's where my taxpayer money goes to!)
Beetle adds that people will be confused and Fred considers that the sixth member could be anyone, particularly Dormammu, making it "cooler." Beetle says that his idea is stupid, and the drunken Speed Demon calls her stupid, but then apologizes. Herman suggests going by the Sinister Syndicate, which everybody rejects since they were "losers." Overdrive brings up that many people on the team used to be Sinister Syndicate. Fred confirms they're the Sinister Six now.
Later, Fred goes to see his lawyer and decides that it's really the worst part of being a super villain. Partridge, his lawyer, introduces Fred to his new wife/secretary who he married last month but she can still sue for it. Fred yells at Partridge for not getting him out of jail like he promised. He objects saying that he was busy in Cancun, which he funded with Fred's advance money.
Then, Partridge says he can fix it and Fred, still bitter at him, listens. He tells him that the district attorney will drop most charges, but he violated his parole. Partridge declares that they won't give him anything more than a "slap on the wrist." When Fred is leaving, Partridge tells him to keep his "nose clean."
Soon, Fred is holding up a new fancy restaurant with his team. The owner of restaurant across the street hired them to shut it down for a few weeks so that it becomes "old news." In exchange, Fred and his men get their fee and anything they want in the kitchen.
In the dining room, Beetle, Shocker, and Speed Demon are ordering their meals. Shocker can't pronounce anything and Speed Demon orders the "most expensive meat thing" on the menu. Then, he yells at the waitress for bringing out overcooked meat. She informs him that they are understaffed since they broke the chef's arm and sends it back. "Somebody's not getting a tip," Speed Demon tells Beetle. She tells him to get Overdrive and he becomes jealous that she likes him. Shocker goes to get Overdrive but finds the Punisher instead.
Everyone flees quickly (except for Speed Demon, who goes back for his doggy bag), and Boomerang walks out of the kitchen, drunk. Punisher strides up to him as he kneels to the floor and Punisher rambles that the worst part of his job is the last words. "Just the #### repetition of it," Frank Castle explains. Fred tells him that he doesn't want to die with a boomerang on his head and the Punisher reveals himself to really be the Chameleon in disguise.
The Chameleon hits Fred with his gun and is unhappy he is accepting other jobs before his own. It is revealed that the job Chameleon wants Fred and his group to do is to bring him the head of Silvio Silvermane.
Later, at base, Boomerang fibs about how he escaped Punisher by throwing down a "gas 'rang" when his gun got jammed. They all think he's "hardcore" and Overdrive apologizes for letting them down as lookout. Fred exclaims, "You see the big skull on his chest, it's every man for himself," but thinks the opposite.
Fred tells his team that he has let them down, and they all slowly agree. He thinks that they need to "aim high" and build themselves an empire. Fred tells them that they will get Silvio Silvermane's head. They all know it to be a myth, but he admits that he's seen it.
Everyone agrees to retrieve it, but Herman, drunk at the bar, has to think about it a bit. It's revealed that he had watched Fred and the Chameleon's conversation at the restaurant. Reluctantly, Shocker agrees to help.
Later, Fred sits outside the courtroom with a black eye when Partridge approaches him. He rambles on with the usual lawyer talk, and Fred, obviously worn, asks him to stop. Partridge tells him to show the jurors the real Fred Myers and demonstrate how prison has changed him. "So I don't wanna kill anyone anymore?" Fred asks.
When they enter the courtroom, Fred presents a makeshift, awkward testimony and the juror, annoyed, tells him that it was "very--illuminating." She finishes by informing him that they will look past his violation, but he is part of a pilot program. Fred's new parole officer is Abner Jenkins, the original Beetle and an old member of the Sinister Syndicate that betrayed him. (Now, he goes by Mach VII.) Immediately after the announcement, Fred barfs.
Although this is mainly a build-up issue, it is satisfying on many levels. Mainly, I have to complement how the characters are all displayed and how much fun this issue is. Although it isn't laugh-out-loud funny like the last issue, the lawyer humor and entertaining banter is witty. I specially enjoy how strong the characters' personalities are. It's obvious that Spencer knows what he's doing and keeps everything fresh.
I also respect the advancement of the series already. The first big mission is set: find Silvio Silvermane's head. Two trials have been placed: Mach VII as Fred's parole officer and Shocker knowing about Fred's conspiracy. And the whole tone has been set: a day in the life of a two-bit super villain. Unlike many other new Marvel NOW! launches, this book has direction and substance.
I mainly have two quibbles with this issue. First, how does this fit into continuity? I thought last issue had been placed before Superior Spider-Man #1 since only Fred was in prison, but that certainly can't be right since the catch-up page shows that Superior Spider-Man #14 has already occurred. So it's all a big fat continuity error, and that bothers me. Second, I felt cheated with the Punisher sequence. I normally don't like Punisher, but I was expecting a more tense scene when he had the gun to Fred in the restaurant. The whole Chameleon reveal was a big let-down.
Steve Leiber's art remains as consistent as last issue. It portrays the character's emotions well and catches the funny moments of the book. I have noticed that Leiber's line work is a bit lacking, though, both in this and the last issue. Some of his lines are very thick and strong, but others are thin to the point that I nearly can't see them. This seems to take away a bit of depth from the art, but Leiber's a beginner and just needs to figure out what works for him.
An entertaining character and set-up issue with a let-down Punisher sequence.