The first issue of Sinister War set up the latest Spider-Man event to be the endgame that Nick Spencer has built his entire run around. Kindred has set the stage for Peter Parker to face his toughest test to date as Spider-Man. The demonic villain did this by assembling every Spider-Man to work for him. With the odds stacked against him can Spider-Man survive the endgame Kindred has crafted all of his plans around? Let’s find out with Sinister War #2.
Writers: Nick Spencer and Ed Brisson
Artists: Mark Bagley, Diogenes Neves, Carlos Gomez, and Ze Carlos
Inkers: Andrew Hennessy, John Dell, Andy Owens, Carlos Gomez, and Ze Carlos
Colorist: Brian Reber
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: As the Sinister Six (Doctor Octopus, Max Dillon’s Electro, Sandman, Kraven the Hunter, Lizard, and somehow Mysterio, who “died” again in Amazing Spider-Man #71) stand in Kindred’s hideout Doctor Octopus is frustrated by having to work for Kindred.
Outside, Spider-Man is thrown through a gravestone. Foreigner, Jack O’Lantern, Chance, Taskmasker, and Black Ant continue the assault on Spider-Man. They are able to quickly get Spider-Man held down with Foreigner ready to shoot Spider-Man in the head.
Flashing back to sometime in the past, while they battled one another Taskmaster, Foreigner, and Chance are taken by Kindred’s demonic centipedes.
Back in the present The Superior Foes (Overdrive, Boomerang, Hydro-Man, Shocker, and Speed Demon) take Spider-Man with the intentions of being the ones to get credit for killing Spider-Man. Hydro-Man and Shocker do a combo attack that takes out Foreigner, Jack O’Lantern, Chance, Taskmasker, and Black Ant.
Flashing back to sometime in the past, as Overdrive recruits Boomerang to help him find Carlie Cooper Kindred’s demonic centipedes take Overdrive, Boomerang, Hydro-Man, Shocker, and Speed Demon outside the Bar With No Name.
Back in the present The Syndicate (Trapstr, White Rabbit, Beetle, Scorpia, Lady Octopus, and Francine Frye’s Electro) cause Overdrive to crash. The Syndicate then proceed to attack Spider-Man together. Spider-Man does his best to dodge all the attacks. Spider-Man is then suddenly stabbed from behind by Anastasia Kravinoff (the daughter of Sergei Kravinoff and Sasha Kravinoff).
Flashing back to earlier, The Syndicate talk about bringing Anastasia Kravinoff to their group. As they talk Kindred’s demonic centipedes take all The Syndicate members.
Moments after this the Superior Foes, The Syndicate, Foreigner, Jack O’Lantern, Chance, Taskmasker, and Black Ant all start fighting amongst themselves as they blame one another for being kidnapped.
Kindred shows up to reveal he is the one that kidnapped all the villains. Taskmaster tries to attack Kindred but he along with all the other villains suffer severe headaches.
Kindred reveals he implanted small demonic centipedes in all of the villains heads and he can order them to kill them at any moment he wishes. Kindred says that he can take the demonic centipedes out of their heads but they must help him punish Spider-Man for his sins by killing Spider-Man. Kindred says that the one who kills Spider-Man will become his lieutenant.
As he starts walking away Kindred finishes by saying if they don’t follow his order then he will find someone who can.
The Sinister Six and Savage Six are then shown charging towards Spider-Man’s location.
The Good: Unnecessary. That is the first word that came to mind each time I read Sinister War #2 before starting to write this review. This issue adds absolutely nothing to build excitement or interest in the latest big Spider-Man event.
The only positive I have towards Sinister War #2 is that at least the artwork is solid. While I am never a big fan of art-by-committee Mark Bagley, Diogenes Neves, Carlos Gomez, and Ze Carlos did a good job maintaining a sense of consistency for the look of this issue. The way the entire issue is done Bagley’s art style takes the lead, which is the right move since he drew the entire first issue of Sinister War #1. Inkers Andrew Hennessy, John Dell, Andy Owens, Gomez, and Carlos along with colorist Brian Reber deserve as much credit for the consistency in the artwork. They helped maintain a similar look so that the focus can be on the chaotic action Spider-Man was in the middle of.
The Bad: Reading Sinister War #2 the first time I got to the end thinking that Nick Spencer and Mark Bagley worked on the entire issue like the first issue. With that in mind I felt in that first read through that the entire issue was rushing to get to the final page no matter how much actual plot progression is made. It wasn’t until I went to the credits when working on this review that I noticed the movie end credit-like list for the creative staff that it all clicked that Sinister War is a completely rushed event. The only thing that matters is getting things over with so we can get to the new creative direction for Spider-Man.
The lack of plot progression really is the biggest stand out of Sinister War #2. We are almost in an identical spot we were in when Sinister War #1 concluded. The only difference between the first issue and Sinister War #2 is Spider-Man getting stabbed from behind by Anastasia Kravinoff. Outside of that everything is considered new content in Sinister War #2 is either information that we knew about Kindred or just unnecessary.
The big unnecessary aspect of Sinister War #2 comes from all the flashback pages dedicated to Kindred “recruiting” all of Spider-Man’s villains. There was absolutely no need to dedicate page space to how Kindred gathered all the villains for this story. It completely takes away from the hype moment seen in double page spread at the end of Sinister War #1 where Spider-Man is surrounded by all of his villains.
Rather than explaining why the villains are working for Kindred what these flashbacks ended up accomplishing was making the Sinister Six, Savage Six, Superior Foes, Syndicate, and other villains come across as a joke. They are nothing more than grunts to delay the big final battle between Spider-Man and Kindred. At no point did it actually feel as though Spider-Man was in danger of dying. You knew immediately that the villains would get in each other’s way because the flashbacks set them up to be that kind of joke.
It does not help that Kindred’s entire recruitment of Spider-Man’s villain do nothing to progress his endgame. We learn nothing new about what Kindred’s endgame is. It is just the same rant of making Peter Parker pay for his sins by killing him that we saw repeated over and over again in The Last Remains story arc. Its to a point you just tune Kindred’s rants out as he has become a caricature of himself by this point.
This is incredibly disappointing when you consider there are so many interesting storylines that were built up leading into Sinister War. Rather than presenting repetitive character beats or unnecessary flashbacks those pages should’ve developed the stories around Mary Jane Watson, Carlie Cooper, Brand New Day’s Harry Osborn, or Norman Osborn. Nick Spencer has spent so much time making these characters as important to the story as Spider-Man and Kindred that it is a shame that the main series for Sinister War isn’t spending time developing these key sub-plots.
Which once again points to how much of a crutch the tie-in comic books have become to Spencer’s storytelling during his run on Amazing Spider-Man. A lot of what goes on in Sinister War #2 comes across as Spencer knowing he has the Amazing Spider-Man tie-in issues to tell character centric stories. By having those tie-ins to fallback on Spencer is using content that comes across as filler to get to the page count given to each issue of Sinister War. It all leads me to wonder if Spencer was forced to tell the Sinister War event only in Amazing Spider-Man if we would’ve gotten a much tighter, more compelling story in each issue.
Overall: Nick Spencer and company completely drop the ball with Sinister War #2. For how little is accomplished in Sinister War #2 the entire comic book comes across as rushed from beginning to end. The massive creative team behind Sinister War will now have an uphill battle that is even greater than the one Spider-Man is fighting against Kindred to regain the high interest coming into this event.
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