Sinister War started off well enough with the first issue of this event setting the stage for a lot of interesting plotlines that were going to converge around Kindred’s plot. Unfortunately that narrative has been lost in the second and third issues of Sinister War that were nothing more than an extended fight between Spider-Man and all of his villains. The problem with this endless fight has been the lack of heart that Nick Spencer was giving this storyline around Kindred that has attempted to connect a large part of Spider-Man’s history together. Now that we have reached the final issue of Sinister War will things turn around for the conclusion of the latest Spider-Man event? Let’s find out with Sinister War #4.
Writers: Ed Brisson and Nick Spencer
Artists: Mark Bagley, Dio Neves, and Marcelo Ferreira
Inkers: Andrew Hennessy, Andy Owens, Dio Neves, and Marcelo Ferreira
Colorists: Brian Reber and Andrew Crossley
Story Rating: 2 Night Girls out of 10
Art Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 4.5 Night Girls out of 10
Synopsis: Spider-Man does his best against Sin-Eater, Juggernaut, Morlun, Living Laser, Grey Gargoyle, and Whirlwind but is quickly overwhelmed. When Sin-Eater goes in for the killing shot Spider-Man is able to web up Sin-Eater’s shotgun to cause it to explode.
As more villains converge on where Spider-Man is now at Doctor Octopus finds Sin-Eater and rips something out of his head.
Elsewhere, Kindred is growing frustrated none of the villains have killed Spider-Man.
All of the villains finally find Spider-Man and quickly overwhelm him with a barrage of attacks. When Juggernaut goes to kill Spider-Man the other villains jump him as they want to be responsible for killing Spider-Man.
This gives Morlun the opportunity to use his draining powers on Spider-Man. Boomerang jumps in to save Spider-Man before Morlun kills him. By doing so Morlun turns his attention to Boomerang and kills him instantly.
Seeing Boomerang killed in front of him Spider-Man uses his anger to power through all of his injuries and find ways to fight off all his villains. Seeing this Kindred grows even more frustrated.
Doctor Octopus suddenly appears from the shadows and uses a device to send a signal that destroys the demonic centipedes that Kindred infected all of the villains with in order to control them. All of the villains pass out due to this.
Spider-Man asks Doctor Octopus what and why he did what he did. Doctor Octopus reveals he took the demonic centipede he took from Sin-Eater and combined it with one of Black Ant’s devices to send a signal to destroy the demonic centipedes. Doctor Octopus goes on to say he did this because Kindred went against their agreement and he is no slave to anyone.
Spider-Man goes to thank Doctor Octopus but is turned away. Doctor Octopus instead tells Spider-Man to make a run for it before all of the villains wake up or he changes his mind.
Over at Hotel Inferno in Las Vegas, Nevada, Doctor Strange has won the roulette game against Mephisto. Mephisto says that while Spider-Man survived his current fight he has a feeling Spider-Man will suffer a big loss soon enough. End of issue.
The Good: Sinister War #4 is not the conclusion it is titled to be in the opening credits of the issue. This is more a prelude to the final chapter of Sinister War that will actually be taking place in Amazing Spider-Man instead. This all just continues the ongoing problems facing Nick Spencer’s run as he has become reliant on secondary titles to tell a complete story rather than having a strong focus on one comic book.
Now before I get into all the problems that Sinister War #4 had I will give Ed Brisson and Nick Spencer credit for showcasing the tenacity of Spider-Man. Throughout Sinister War #4 we saw how Peter Parker was fighting to just survive as he pulled off various moves that were just on instinct. It all worked to at least show that Peter as Spider-Man was not going to just lay down to Kindred because he threw all of his villains at him. Peter will go down fighting and we saw that throughout Sinister War #4.
The artwork delivered by Mark Bagley, Dio Neves, and Marcelo Ferreira was the best we have gotten in all the art-by-committee issues of Sinister War. Neves and Ferreira made adjustments to their styles so it was Bagley’s art style that was most apparent in Sinister War #4. This was the best choice they could make as Bagley has such an iconic Spider-Man art style. This allowed the splay pages and double-page spreads to stand out even more because we got such solid consistency in the artwork even with three artists working on Sinister War #4.
The Bad: Sinister War #4 was a whole lot of noise with very little substance behind the conclusion of this mini-series. It follows the trend of the second and third issue of Sinister War being just an endless barrage of fighting with little to no progress on the actual Kindred storyline being told. In reality Spencer and Brisson could’ve presented this as the second issue of Sinister War and it would have been no different. The story that was told over the course of the last three issues of Sinister War was largely the same.
Because of how much similarities there were with three of the four issues of Sinister War Spencer and Brisson did not give themselves any room to progress the Kindred story in this mini-series. Just about everything in terms of plotlines presented in Sinister War #1 was never touched on here. Instead just about every plot development that is being made in Sinister War is being done over in the Amazing Spider-Man tie-in issues. Which is such mix messaging that makes me as a fan and consumer feel like I was conned out of the story that Spencer and Marvel promised Sinister War would be.
Just from a story perspective Kindred looks absolutely horrible based on his role in Sinister War #4. Because of the continuing direction of endless fighting between Spider-Man and the various Sinister Six villain groups Sinister War #4 only presented Kindred as a whining child. Every time we saw Kindred we weren’t shown a villain who orchestrated an extremely complex plot to destroy Spider-Man. Instead we Spencer and Brisson portray Kindred as a baby who had his toy stolen from him at a playground by another kid. With over 70 issues of development this is not how a big bad of an entire creative run, as Kindred has been for Spencer’s Amazing Spider-Man run, should come out looking during the endgame.
Because of how badly the ball is dropped with Kindred it makes everything that happens in Sinister War #4 feel even more repetitive. That repetition from previous issues makes you never worry about Spider-Man dying. That is at least something that Spencer was able to do during “The Last Remains” storyline where we actually saw Kindred torture Spider-Man by repeatedly killing him and bringing him back to life. The villain that did that is nowhere to be found. Instead, all we get is all of Spider-Man’s villains being treated as nothing more than Putty Patrol members from Power Rangers.
This leads to the two big dramatic moments of Boomerang sacrificing his life for Spider-Man and Doctor Octopus destroying Kindred’s demonic centipedes fail to hit the emotional note they intended to. Boomerang’s sacrifice in particular is not treated with the care you expect such a big moment would have. Especially considering how Fred Myers was the character outside of Peter Parker that Spencer spent most of his Amazing Spider-Man developing Boomerang’s death does have that emotional impact. Instead the death is given just three panels of focus before it is forgotten for more loud action. It all cheapens Boomerang’s sacrifice and makes it just appear as Spencer will likely undo this death over in Amazing Spider-Man.
Then there is Doctor Octopus destroying the demonic centipedes Kindred implanted in all the villains heads. This was another underdeveloped aspect of Sinister War because the focus of this mini-series was on the action that there was no character development for Doctor Octopus. This should’ve been a major moment that we saw build over the course of the first three issues of Sinister War. But Spencer and Brisson just never gave that a chance to happen and were relying on the shock value of Doctor Octopus turning on Kindred to drive this choice. It all just lacked heart.
Then there is Spencer and Brisson remembering in the final page of Sinister War #4 that Mephisto and Doctor Strange are part of this Kindred story. This final page was all just a reminder of how many different sub-plots were just never developed since Sinister War #1 ended. The way this final page goes down made Mephisto and Doctor Strange’s roles in the story feel completely unnecessary. Even Mephisto’s ominous words about Spider-Man about to suffer a big loss sounded just like Spencer and Brisson speaking to the reader about why they should read the true ending in Amazing Spider-Man #73. It all made the fact that the only thing Sinister War #4 accomplished in was living up to the title “Conclusion” with ending this mini-series in major disappointment.
Overall: After being excited to see how the Kindred Saga would end Sinister War #4 ended the latest Spider-Man event mini-series in utter disappointment. Nick Spencer and Ed Brisson don’t even present us with a true conclusion for Sinister War. Instead this entire issue acts more as a teaser for the true ending of Sinister War that we will get in the companion story taking place in Amazing Spider-Man. By the end you are left wondering if it was even necessary to read the Sinister War mini-series. It was just a massive dropping of the ball near the end of Spencer’s run on Spider-Man.
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