After three years of build up the big final epic that Nick Spencer has been building towards is finally her. To end his run on Amazing Spider-Man in the biggest way possible Spencer is writing the Sinister War event as its own mini-series title while Amazing Spider-Man provides tie-in chapters. Especially with every single Spider-Man villain involved there is no telling how Harry Osborn’s revenge plan as Kindred will end and what it will mean for Peter Parker and everyone in his life. Let’s find out how the latest Amazing Spider-Man big event kicks off with Sinister War #1.
Writer: Nick Spencer
Artist: Mark Bagley
Inker: Andrew Hennessy, John Dell, and Andy Owens
Colorist: Brian Reber
Story Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10
Art Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10
Synopsis: At Hotel Inferno, Doctor Strange questions Mephisto on what he took from Peter Parker. Mephisto laughs and says that he never takes anything but is given things freely.
Somewhere in New York City, Peter Parker walks behind Mary Jane Watson as she walks the red carpet for the premiere of her new movie. As MJ has her picture taken by all the media at the premiere Peter thinks about how MJ has always been there for him. Cage McKnight (the secret disguise of Mysterio, who is the director of the movie, and only MJ knows the truth of this secret) meets Peter and then asks MJ to do some interviews with him.
While walking to get interviewed Cage is surprised by the fact that MJ didn’t tell Peter that he is really Mysterio. MJ says that she needs time to explain this to Peter.
Nearby Peter thinks of how tonight is the perfect night to finally propose to MJ.
On a nearby rooftop the Vulture gets the Savage Six (Stegron the Dinosaur Man, King Cobra, Tarantula, Rhino, and Scorpion) ready to crash Mysterio’s big party and provide a twist Mysterio would never see coming.
Over at a graveyard Kindred watches the caged Carley Cooper and Harry Osborn (who is the Brand New Day version of Harry Osborn) while thinking of how Peter will get what is coming to him soon.
Back at the movie theater just as MJ’s movie is about to play the Savage Six crash the premiere and attack everyone in the room.
Peter quickly finds a place where he can change in all of the madness. He immediately returns as Spider-Man just in time to stop Tarantula from attacking MJ. Rhino, Stegron, and King Cobra triple team Spider-Man to distract him long enough so Scorpion can tie up Spider-Man with his tail.
With Spider-Man tied up Vulture goes to attack MJ. Cage McKnight transforms into Mysterio and starts fighting Vulture, much to Spider-Man’s surprise. Vulture soon gets the upper hand in the fight with Mysterio. Suddenly Vulture is struck from behind by Doctor Octopus.
Doctor Octopus then fully shows up with the rest of Sinister Six (Electro, Kraven the Hunter, Sandman, and Lizard), who are there to get Mysterio to complete their villain team. Spider-Man is left stunned as he watches the Savage Six and Sinister Six (minus Mysterio) fighting.
MJ and Mysterio check on Spider-Man. Spider-Man confronts Mysterio thinking he tricked MJ but MJ reveals she knew the truth about Cage McKnight and Mysterio the whole time. Spider-Man and MJ have a back-and-forth about their respective choices for people they have had in their lives.
Before the conversation can go anywhere Spider-Man’s Spider-Sense goes off. He grabs MJ and leaps away just in time to avoid Rhino, who was knocked towards their direction by Sandman.
Mysterio tries to tell Spider-Man about how Mephisto is involved. Spider-Man says he can’t listen to Mysterio right now as he has to deal with the Savage Six and Sinister Six.
Spider-Man does his best to control the situation but he is overwhelmed by all his villains. Seeing no other way out Mysterio grabs MJ and disappears, saying this is how things are supposed to happen.
Spider-Man doesn’t get time to go after Mysterio and MJ as he is knocked out by Doctor Octopus.
Sometime later Spider-Man regains consciousness and finds himself back in Kindred’s hideout. Spider-Man tries to attack Kindred, blaming him for what happened. Kindred knocks Spider-Man back while saying this is all actually Peter’s fault. Kindred then shows Spider-Man images of MJ talking with Mysterio and an unconscious Norman Osborn.
Kindred then reminds Spider-Man about how he was going to throw Peter a party. Suddenly the Sinister Six, Savage Six, The Syndicate (Trapstr, Beetle, Electro, Scorpia, White Rabbit, and Lady Octopus), Boomerang, Shocker, Taskmaster and other villains all appear ready to launch attacks at Spider-Man.
Back at Hotel Inferno, Doctor Strange demands Mephisto to put an end to what he has done. Mephisto says that he can’t as his hands are tied in this situation. Doctor Strange still doesn’t believe Peter Parker would make a deal with Mephisto. Mephisto tells Doctor Strange he is not opposed to putting the deal he made with Peter up as a wager in a gambling game. Mephisto then asks Doctor Strange if he feels lucky. End of issue.
The Good: With how much time he has spent developing all of the players who are involved in this Amazing Spider-Man event it isn’t surprising that Sinister War #1 kicks off in a big way. This is exactly what should be expected from all the build-up. Everything about this first issue from Nick Spencer and Mark Bagley spoke to how Sinister War is an endgame story for a long-term run.
Opening and closing Sinister War #1 with the sub-plot involving Doctor Strange confronting Mephisto over the One More Day deal was definitely a strong statement to make. As we’ve seen throughout Spencer’s run we are finally dealing with the consequences of One More Day in a way that is not just about Peter and MJ’s relationship or who magically returned. Whatever your feelings are for One More Day circling back to this major event gives more weight to Kindred’s actions beyond just the revenge of some form of Harry Osborn. The way Mephisto talks to Doctor Strange adds a sense of mystery to how Spencer actually plans to wrap up his run-on Amazing Spider-Man.
Which also brings into question if the whole kick starter to everything in Spencer’s run is due to Peter Parker and Mary Jane Watson being back together. Because the big thing about the One More Day deal with Mephisto was wiping out their marriage and breaking them apart. With how much attention Spencer places on Peter proposing to MJ throughout his run we’ve seen Kindred’s attacks and Mephisto’s involvement be brought into play. And with Sinister War #1 that is once again emphasized right before everything blows up with Kindred plot to have all of Spider-Man’s villains attack him where Peter planned to propose to MJ.
The ties to One More Day aside, Spencer does a lot to have Sinister War #1 start the wrap up of his run on Amazing Spider-Man. We see that specifically with how Peter as Spider-Man finds out the truth about MJ’s film being directed by Mysterio. What made this type of reveal work was it was done all within the context of the story rather than just hanging on it for the rest of the issue. Doing it in this way shows that there is no time to waste as Peter has a lot to deal with as all of his villains are now involved in Kindred’s plot.
With basically every single major Spider-Man villain except Norman Osborn’s Green Goblin brought in by Kindred the sense of escalation was well executed by Spencer. We weren’t simply through every villain right away. Spencer slowly introduced the villains with the Savage Six kicking things off as our typical bad guy groups. Going from there to bringing in the Sinister Six, who are more directly tied to Kindred, gave the fight a sense of scale that increased.
Both the Savage Six and Sinister Six involvement also worked to show how overwhelming the odds are against Spider-Man this time around. It’s not simply Kindred vs Spider-Man. This is literally Spider-Man against his entire Rogues Gallery, as the final double page spread showed. Seeing that image of all of Spider-Man’s villain created even greater concern for our hero than anything he has gone up against so far in Kindred’s plotting.
This also did a good job in setting up how Kindred is not going to be messing around like he was before. By bringing in all of Spider-Man’s villains, Kindred is looking to end things. Which once again brings to question what his endgame is. Because we’ve seen Kindred talk all about wanting Peter to accept responsibility for every bad thing that has happened. But that is clearly not the only thing Kindred has going, as we see with how he still has Carlie Cooper and the Brand New Day version of Harry Osborn locked up. It brings back up how Kindred ties into Mephisto since we know he is a version of Harry Osborn that broke out of Hell.
Mark Bagley brought his A-game to Sinister War #1. With how crazy things get with Spider-Man fighting the Savage Six and Sinister Six Bagley delivers on making every single character pop. The different power sets are used well without ever making any page feel cluttered. It all looked appropriately chaotic considering the odds Spider-Man was fighting against. The big double page spread of all the villains ready to attack Spider-Man was impressive to look at as Bagley got over each character design well so everyone stood out.
The Bad: While I enjoyed Sinister War #1 a lot this is not a comic book for new readers. This is a comic book event not made for new or casual Spider-Man fans. If you haven’t been reading Nick Spencer’s run on Amazing Spider-Man this is not for you. Which will definitely hurt the reading experience for those who just pick this up because it is a #1 issue and Spider-Man is on the cover.
It all just simply comes down to everything that happens in Sinister War #1 is heavily tied to all the continuity of a story that has been going on for 70+ issues. Even though Spencer tries to summarize a few things the reality is there is too much continuity to that goes into this story. If you haven’t been reading at least the Kindred stories in Amazing Spider-Man you won’t have the context for many things that are said or done by characters in this issue.
Overall: Nick Spencer and Mark Bagley do not disappoint in delivering an epic start to the Sinister War event. Everything about Sinister War #1 gives you the vibe that we are at the endgame of a big storyline. The concern for what will happen to Spider-Man and his supporting cast is at an all-time high. That all creates great excitement to learn how everything will turn out when all is said and done.
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