Spilling out of recent events and reveals, Sins of Sinister takes over the X-Men line for the next few months as we witness a takeover of sorts. Alternate timelines are a staple of X-Men comics, making this an exciting new twist on the concept with Mr. Sinister at the center. Affectionately called a horror timeline, the kickoff issue offers surprises galore in the same sense as Age of Apocalypse.
Be sure to read Immortal X-Men #10 before diving into Sins of Sinister, which this issue spoils since it heavily involves a character we saw fully revealed at the end of that issue. The events of this issue jump around a lot, starting with where we left off with Immortal X-Men #10, then jumping to years 1, 5, and eventually, year 10. Over its 52 or so pages, a lot of events transpire, giving this issue an event one-shot feel.
This issue ends up having a satisfying story arc, showing us how Mr. Sinister’s meddling gained him power over the Quiet Council, the X-Men, and eventually all other threats in Marvel Comics. That includes taking the Avengers off the board, or even Hell, and in one full-page splash, Thanos. Writer Kieron Gillen irrefutably proves Mr. Sinister can defeat anyone if given enough time and tries, but the question at the end of the day is how long can that last?
Sure, the egomaniacal villain can win, but it’s pretty clear by the end of this issue these acts of dominion only mean future losses for him, humans, and all of Earth. This issue acts as the ultimate diatribe on how Mr. Sinister wins, all but for a few years before things crumble. By the end of the issue, there’s a big mystery to unpack, revealing itself over the 1,000 years the three new miniseries will explore.
While the main story is fairly easy to follow, Sins of Sinister takes big swings, giving it an event-caliber feel. That’s thanks to multiple pages of full-page splash wins for Mr. Sinister. They’re epic moments, like how Mr. Sinsister devises a plan to defeat Asgard, depicted beautifully by a treasure trove of artists. While Lucas Werneck draws most of the main story, each full-page splash has a different artist: Geoffrey Shaw, Marco Checchetto, Juan Jose Ryp, David Baldeon, Travel Foreman, Carlos Gomez, Federico Vincentini, David Lopez, Joshua Cassara, and Stefano Caselli. The long list of artists was likely decided on due to splitting up the work, but since each page is like an event-level defeat for Mr. Sinister’s enemies, the different art styles almost make them feel like lost events. Some of them are self-explanatory and not quite an event-caliber moment–Thanos being killed by a Juggernaut bullet comes to mind–others, like Captain America killing the president, could very well be an event in itself.
One question mark that hangs over the issue is how many of the heroes tainted by Mr. Sinister still exist. There’s a key scene where they seem to defy Mr. Sinister on some scale, which suggests a little bit of them left, it seems? It’s unclear, and while Mr. Sinister admits he gave them “too long a leash,” it makes you question if there’s any saving them. My only other gripe is some hand waving needs to take place to explain how Mr. Sinister could win in some scenarios.
Mr. Sinister is an excellent villain throughout this book, which is a highlight. From Werneck’s ability to make him slimy no matter what he’s saying or doing to the many disturbing things Mr. Sinister does without a single thought about how awful they are or how dehumanizing they can be, you’ll love to hate him here. He’s also a bit goofy, making him less of an evil villain and more of a disturbing jester with too much power.
Sins of Sinister #1 is an entertaining issue that feels like a one-shot thanks to the many event-caliber moments, all of which lead to a mystery cliffhanger to resolve in the tie-in series. Taking big swings, Sins of Sinister doesn’t miss as it delivers big comics moments X-Men and Marvel fans will love. It sparks the imagination and is jam-packed with cool ideas and visuals.
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