It’s all in on Sinister War for Amazing Spider-Man as Nick Spencer looks to conclude his run on this series on a high note. The first issue of the Sinister War got the latest Spider-Man event off to a strong start. We saw how the various versions of the Sinister Six are all now working for Kindred and how that makes an immediate impact on Peter Parker’s life. The question now is if we will finally learn what Kindred’s ultimate endgame is now that ever chess piece he has been manipulating is in place? Let’s find out if Amazing Spider-Man #71 starts answering some questions.
Writer: Nick Spencer
Artists: Federico Vicentini and Federico Sabbatini
Colorist: Alex Sinclair
Story Rating: 4 Night Girls out of 10
Art Rating: 4 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 4 Night Girls out of 10
Synopsis: Spider-Man battles the Sinister Six in Kindred’s secret base in a graveyard. The Sinister Six overwhelm Spider-Man and harshly throw him out into the graveyard.
Elsewhere Mysterio brings Mary Jane Watson to where he created his Mysterio persona. He goes over how he battled Spider-Man until he eventually was broken after failing to drive Daredevil insane (Daredevil Vol. 2 #7) when he committed suicide because of it. While in hell Mysterio made a deal with a demonic Harry Osborn to do his bidding, which included taking on both Peter and Miles’ Spider-Men. After all this time doing Kindred’s bidding Mysterio is lost at what his current state of mind is.
Over at Ravencroft, Norman Osborn wakes up and finds a letter from an attorney’s office.
Norman goes to the attorney’s office who reveals that Mendel Stromm (Norman’s former business partner) left him a special key in his will.
Norman takes the key to a mansion he believes the key belongs to.
Back at Mysterio’s hideout, MJ admits that she went to therapy after Gwen Stacy and Harry Osborn died at different points in time. While it helped her she did eventually have to find a new psychologist when her’s retired. Mysterio asks MJ to remember the name of the second psychologist she saw. After some thinking she remembers his name to be Ludwig Rinehart.
Elsewhere, in their prison cell Carlie Cooper demands to be let out. When that doesn’t work Carlie wonders why the Harry Osborn isn’t helping her get them out of the prison cell. Harry admits that he knows that his demons (Green Goblin) are forever part of him no matter how much good he tries to do. Carlie tells Harry to pull himself together.
Harry notices that the prison cell door is suddenly open. Harry and Carlie step out of the prison cell wondering what they should do next.
Somewhere unknown Kindred is in the destroyed ambulance where he as Harry Osborn died while Spider-Man let him believe he died a hero. Kindred admits he feels nothing now.
Back at Mysterio’s hideout, MJ asks Mysterio why he can’t remember that Ludwig Rinehart was one of his old disguises. Mysterio says that memories are a tricky thing. He goes on to admit that he knows his past and future already. As his body leaks smoke and he sees Spider-Man fighting the Sinister Six, Mysterio says his story is already at an end.
MJ tries to stop Mysterio from doing whatever he plans to do. Kindred appears and tells MJ it is already to late. Kindred then tells a shocked MJ that it is just the two of them alone now. End of issue.
The Good: For better or worse Amazing Spider-Man #71 reminds me of all the tie-in issues we got with “The Last Remains” storyline that Nick Spencer wrote earlier this year. As with “The Last Remains” tie-ins Spencer is going to be clearly be using Amazing Spider-Man’s tie-ins to the Sinister War to tell the plotlines that don’t fit in the mini-series event.
Now while that has its own fair share of problems by going in this direction I’ll give Spencer credit that he does a good job with continuing the story built between Mary Jane Watson and Mysterio. Spencer works in the connection between the characters that we saw built up in Leah Williams’ Amazing Mary Jane series. You get that that both characters have bonded through making the movie.
Mysterio’s end leads into a much more interesting interaction that is now set up between MJ and Kindred. As we saw with “The Last Remains” the Harry Osborn side of Kindred does have some form of care for MJ. Even if how he captures MJ comes across as extremely creepy we don’t know what Kindred plans to do with MJ. Spencer continues to build MJ as a wild card in this Kindred Saga. And it does seem as though Kindred realizes this part of MJ’s character. Which brings to question what MJ’s ultimate role will be in the Sinister War.
The Bad: Once again we are presented with yet another example of how Spencer has one to many storylines going at the same time that he needs tie-in issues to complete his stories. This has been a consistent trend throughout his run on Amazing Spider-Man. And with how we are at the end of Spencer’s run on Amazing Spider-Man it is not surprising, but still disappointing, that Sinister War is facing that same problem.
The main story Amazing Spider-Man #71 with Mysterio and MJ, while executed well if you only take this issue into account, just shows how a major plot point in Sinister War is not going to resolved in the main story. Even though Mysterio played a big role in Sinister War #1 his story from where we left it in that issue won’t be told as part of the full narrative in the main series for this event. This clues you into how Spencer has to many things going on that he can’t just tell the complete arc of his finale Amazing Spider-Man story in one comic book.
The Harry Osborn and Carlie Cooper scene was another example of this. This scene is just a complete rehash of what we saw in previous issues with the two in the prison cell leading up to Sinister War. The only thing added is that they got out of the prison. Which should’ve been a scene saved for the main Sinister War mini-series. The way Spencer writes it here just comes across as a complete aside that is not needed for to add drama to the Sinister War story.
If that wasn’t enough Spencer seems to be compelled to still add even another unnecessary layer to this story by introducing a sub-plot of Norman Osborn accepting what Mendel Stromm left for him in his will. This sub-plot comes out of nowhere and is nothing more than filler content. More than anything, this Norman Osborn scene comes across as Spencer trying to buy time until he has Norman brought into Sinister War. And he did so in the most boring way possible that just reminds you that Norman still hasn’t added anything to the Kindred Saga since Amazing Spider-Man #31. Revisiting the failed partnership with Stromm emphasizes how Spencer is trying to do to much to fill pages for the Amazing Spider-Man tie-in issues of Sinister War.
The art by committee does not help any. While I have no problem with Federico Vicentini and Federico Sabbatini, their styles just do not match. It breaks up the flow of the story to have two different artists working on the same issue. Which feeds into how we are likely rushing to get to the end of Spencer’s Amazing Spider-Man run so it concludes before October.
Overall: Amazing Spider-Man #71 does very little to bring greater excitement for the Sinister War event. Instead, it is reminder of how Nick Spencer has too many sub-plots going on. This ends up causing Spencer to take certain sub-plots in directions that make them come across as filler content. With Sinister War set to be Spencer’s final big Amazing Spider-Man story it is disappointing that we can’t get a complete story in one comic book.
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