Publisher: Marvel Comics
Writer: Nick Spencer
Artwork: Mark Bagley
Inks: Andrew Hennessy, John Dell, Andy Owens
Colours: Brian Reber
Lettering: VC’s Joe Caramagna
Release Date: 14th July 2021
Cards on the table, I’ve been a bit of a lapsed Spider-Man fan over the last few years. Too many comics not enough time I guess, but Spidey has always been one of my main guys when it comes to superheroes, so when I heard the premise behind Nick Spencer’s “Sinister War” – two villainous sextets waging war with ol’ web-head stuck in the middle – I knew it was time to dive back in. As such, this review is going to be a little more relevant for new readers than die-hard Spider-fans, and apologies in advance if I’ve missed something that should be obvious for a long-time reader.
Firstly, in terms of capitalising on the bombastic potential of its premise, Sinister War delivers on all counts. After a gentle opening at the premiere of MJ’s latest blockbuster, things go absolutely nuts for pretty much the entirety of the rest of the oversized issue as the Sinister and Savage Sixes crash the proceedings and proceed to knock lumps out of each other.
Y’see… Doc Ock wants to recruit Mysterio (who is secretly the director of MJ’s movie, although she knows and is fine with it) back into the Six (now currently just five) at the request of Kindred (a mysterious new villain who has been plaguing Spidey by exhuming the bodies of everyone he has lost to teach him a lesson), and Vulture and his Savage Six seem to just be there to wreck stuff and hurt people (although I may have missed their motivations somewhere along the line). Phew!
There’s a lot going on, but it never feels overwhelming, even to somebody who only just picked things up with ASM #70 – the “prelude” issue, and one I’d highly recommend new readers to pick up as well, if only for Federico Vicentini’s stunning artwork and the tragic situation surrounding Curt Connors. Nick Spencer has a real knack for keeping multiple storyline plates spinning, and in spite of the aforementioned carnage (no, not that one), there’s a fluidity to the storytelling here that really impressed me.
Mark Bagley is clearly having an absolute blast here, and his pencils have him coming across like a kid in a candy shop, fully embracing the chaos with crammed panels and dynamic splash pages aplenty. Bagley’s Spider-Man credentials should be pretty much unquestioned at this point, but it’s great to see him handling the sheer scale of the melee with such flair, making sure every panel flows naturally from the last while making them each individually striking in their own right. His inking cadre do a good job of fleshing things out, managing a uniform style throughout and helping to breathe life and energy – alongside colourist Brian Reber – into the visual package.
All in all, while I could certainly have opted for a gentler reintroduction into the world of Spider-Man, I’m still glad that I chose this particular moment to hop back onto the bandwagon. I’m also fairly relieved by the fact that, including the prelude issue, this “event” is only going to run for eight issue across two titles, which is far more palatable than some of Marvel and DC’s other events in recent years. A fun, action packed start to what promises to be a hell of an event.
[PREVIEW ARTWORK – CLICK TO ENLARGE]