Peter Parker has had a rough go of things lately. Friends have either been disappearing, reappearing, betraying him, or outright dying. His sense of responsibility and his relationship have been pushed to their limits. All he wants is to have a night out with MJ and for nothing to go awry. Of course, if you’re reading a book titled Sinister War #1, you know that Spider-Man’s troubles are only beginning.
The real reason we’re here is to see villains battling villains to see who is truly the baddest of them all, with poor Spidey trapped right in the center. Well, there’s also a good bit of table setting right at the start of the issue, mostly to catch folks up on a few developments in Pete and MJ’s lives in the most recent months, Nick Spencer and Mark Bagley quickly get to the fight at the center of the crossover.
Luckily, the previous issues of Amazing Spider-Man have done a good bit of heavy lifting when it comes to getting the villains together, so this issue gets to let loose with some truly bizarre team-ups. Not only do we get some great battle sequences, complete with some heavy-hitting villains combining their abilities against our friendly neighborhood hero, but Spencer manages to squeeze in some great quips from Spider-Man and the others about just how absurd this whole scenario is. There’s even a bit of a meta nature to some of the dialogue here, particularly when it comes to calling out a few baddies that only seem to be in the fight because a position needed to be filled and the money was right.
The fight scenes, as you might expect, are tremendously crowded, with multiple panels being taken up by a mess of villains, all trying to get their licks in. Thanks to some incredibly dynamic posing from Mark Bagley, everyone feels like they have their own discernible fighting style. Some of the villains are literal wrecking balls, while others seem like they’ve almost forgotten how to go to-to-toe with Spider-Man — and the hero clearly notices.
And of course, there’s plenty of time amidst all the smashing and punching for plenty of soap opera drama, which no true Spidey event would work without. It’s unclear how MJ’s revelations in this issue will shake Peter’s resolve in the coming battle, but it certainly throws an interesting wrench into things — particularly because it involves a classic villain.
A recurring theme in Spencer’s Amazing run concerns how often even the best of us can make deals with one devil or another. That continues to play out not only in the Kindred storyline but in ways that seem to be cluing readers into how Spencer may be planning to wrap up his run with the character. Without spoiling anything, it feels like this storyline will end in a way that not only changes Spider-Man forever, but may have dramatic repercussions for some more of the Marvel Universe’s most beloved heroes. After all, Doctor Strange wouldn’t play games with the devil for no reason, would he?
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