Sinister War went from a story that I was a Spider-Man event that I was very hyped to read. Even when there has been story arcs in Nick Spencer’s Amazing Spider-Man run that did not click with me, overall I was still very engaged in the greater Kindred storyline. That interest in seeing what the Kindred story was all building towards has just about gone away because of how Sinister War has gone thus far. This has been a disappointing event, to say the least. I still have hope that Spencer can turn things around because I do want to enjoy the big conclusion he has built his 80+ issue run on Amazing Spider-Man around. With that said let’s see if Amazing Spider-Man #72 can help turn things around for Sinister War.
Writer: Nick Spencer
Artists: Federico Sabbatini, Ze Carlos, Marcelo Ferreira, and Carlos Gomez
Colorist: Alex Sinclair
Story Rating: 1 Night Girls out of 10
Art Rating: 6 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 3.5 Night Girls out of 10
Synopsis: In the graveyard Spider-Man does his best to dodge the Sinister Six (Doctor Octopus, Mysterio, Lizard, Electro, Sandman, and Kraven the Hunter) attacks but is quickly overwhelmed. As the fighting goes on Spider-Man reflects how people make deals for many reasons and that sometimes they are motivated by greed.
Flashing back to years ago Norman Osborn sits alone during a gala frustrated that Mendel Stromm was given another award. Someone approaches Norman with an investment opportunity.
In the present, Norman is seen entering a mansion with the key that Mendel Stromm left him in his will.
Over at a movie theater Mary Jane Watson tries to talk to Harry Osborn (pre-One More Day Harry Osborn) and begs him to stop what he is doing. Lost as Kindred, Harry states that there are still twists for them all ahead.
Elsewhere Brand New Day Harry Osborn and Carlie Cooper look for way out of the dungeon they are in. They are able to break down a wall that leads them into the morgue that looks like where Carlie works at. Harry notices there is one body covered and goes to remove the blanket, going against Carlie telling him not to.
Elsewhere, Norman walks through the mansion he entered and finds a secret room behind one of the walls. Norman is shocked when a message from when he was still Green Goblin appears on a screen to reveal that the facility is what they built.
Flashing back to years ago as Norman is enjoying a day out with a young Harry Osborn the guy Norman met years earlier approaches him. The guy says he is there to remind Norman of something.
Back in the present the message from Green Goblin reminds Norman of how he was so in love with himself that he made a specific deal.
Flashing back to years ago, after putting Harry to sleep, Norman meets with the guy from earlier. The guy turns out to be Mephisto in disguise. Mephisto says he knows that Norman’s life is in ruins as his partner has eclipse him. Mephisto offers to make all of Norman’s fortunes turn around and all it will cost him is his firstborn son. Seeing flashes of Norman and Harry’s history it is shown Norman agreed to Mephisto’s deal.
In the present, Kindred Harry Osborn reveals to have be the real one behind the message and states that while Mephisto lived up to his deal with Norman he is a survivor. Norman then looks on at horror at two of the large tubes in the room as Kindred Harry Osborn screams “GOTCHA” over and over again.
Back at the movie theater, MJ has been left alone by Kindred to watch Spider-Man fighting all his villains.
The movie screen suddenly changes to Kindred meeting Chameleon in prison. Kindred says that it is time to reveal the truth no matter the cost. Kindred then starts removing his mask much to MJ’s shock. End of issue.
The Good: Everything that does not involved Spider-Man fighting waves of all his villains is right in Amazing Spider-Man #72 except one sub-plot. This choice by Nick Spencer continues to baffle me as there are clearly so many important plot points that should be part of the main Sinister War event but aren’t. That leads Spencer to attempt to have Amazing Spider-Man #72 to do a lot of heavy lifting. Which leads this issue to be a cluttered mess in trying to develop several sub-plots simultaneously with no success in actually progressing the Sinister War plot.
Luckily the artwork for Amazing Spider-Man #72 was solid enough to carry the story that Spencer was attempting to tell. By this point Federico Sabbatini, Ze Carlos, Marcelo Ferreira, and Carlos Gomez have worked together in different combinations long enough in Amazing Spider-Man to understand each others styles. The artwork was all consistent and did make the splash pages, such as Harry Osborn’s history, pop. Credit to Alex Sinclair for helping maintain consistency in the artwork through his coloring.
The Bad: As if Spencer did not have enough going on with the entire Kindred Saga that Sinister War is supposed to be the big payoff for we get introduced to one last minute major change to Spider-Man’s continuity. That change comes in the form of Spencer revealing through the video message left by Kindred Harry Osborn that Norman Osborn made his own deal with Mephisto to become the successful businessman we first met when he debut. There was no bigger eye roll moment in the entirety of Spencer’s Amazing Spider-Man run than this reveal.
What immediately stood out about this reveal in Amazing Spider-Man #72 was how completely unnecessary it is. It adds absolutely nothing to everything Harry Osborn has done as Kindred that his father made a deal with Mephisto to sell his son soul for business success. We’ve already seen enough of a build around Harry as Kindred to understand what is motivating him. Almost all of Spencer’s entire Amazing Spider-Man run has been about explaining this.
It also adds absolutely nothing to Norman Osborn’s character. You aren’t left feeling sorry or understanding him better because of this reveal. There’s been enough written about the character that a deal with Mephisto doesn’t make Norman a deeper character. All it does is make him come across as being forced into the story just because he happens to be Harry’s father.
Which all goes to once again make Mephisto one of the worst characters Marvel has because he is nothing more than a plot device. Worst yet, is that by doing this reveal Spencer reminds the reader that he actually has done nothing with progressing Mephisto’s role in Sinister War. Because back in Sinister War #1 we ended the issue with Doctor Strange and Mephisto gambling game to talk about Peter Parker’s deal with Mephisto. Where the hell is that sub-plot? It sure isn’t in any Sinister War or Amazing Spider-Man issues since that major cliffhanger ending took place. With how Mephisto is shown playing a role in everything going back to this major sub-plot would’ve actually improved Norman’s plot that needed all the help it could get.
This is also all just another reminder of how we continue to just go around in circles with what Kindred is really doing. Every single issue of Sinister War continues to end with Kindred teasing to reveal the full extent of his endgame. It’s become a crutch used by Spencer to trick the reader into thinking that something epic is about to happen. These Kindred endings have lost all its magic since we are just repeating them so much. Which unfortunately leads to Mary Jan Watson’s role in the story to be diminished because she gets stuck in this never ending cycle of teases involving Kindred..
Not helping the story of Amazing Spider-Man #72 out any was the fact that this issue opens with a rehash of Spider-Man’s fight with the Sinister Six. This entire fight does nothing to expand on what we saw in Sinister War #3. Even Spider-Man’s inner monologue read like it was Spencer talking to the reader than giving us insight into Peter Parker’s current struggle. In the end it all just came across as Spencer needing to fill the necessary page count he was given for Amazing Spider-Man #72.
Overall: Amazing Spider-Man #72 continues the disappointment train that Sinister War has turned into. Nick Spencer attempts to create interest by introducing last minute character developments that only makes the story an even greater cluttered mess. The end of this story can’t come soon enough so we can all just move on from the disappointing story Sinister War has become.
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