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Amazing Spider-Man Epic Collection: Return of the Sinister Six
Marvel Comics

Comic Books

‘Amazing Spider-Man Epic Collection: Return of the Sinister Six’ review

This Epic Collection brings together some of the most famous battles Spider-Man faced in the early 1990s.

Remember when Spider-Man fought haunted spirits at a failed romantic getaway? What about when the Sinister Six got the band back together? No, not that time, the other time. Or when Venom decided to hunt down Spider-Man and bring him to a secluded island? What about when Spider-Man had 24 hours to return a jewel or face Doom? Yes? Great times, am I right? No? Well, look no further! Amazing Spider-Man Epic Collection: Return of the Sinister Six brings together some of the most timeless Spidey stories from the early ’90s in one giant collection. But does it stand the test of time?

Amazing Spider-Man Epic Collection: Return of the Sinister Six

Marvel Comics

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The first story, “Spirits of the Earth”, is possibly one of the most infamous stories from Peter Parker and Mary Jane Watson-Parker’s early days as a married couple. In a story both written and illustrated by Charles Vess, the Parkers take a romantic getaway to Kyle of Lochalsh, Scotland. While their trip carries more surprises, action, and mysticism than the two anticipated, it also packs a punch full of emotion and excitement. One of the most standout parts of the story is how Vess provides, in this oversized story, both Peter and Mary Jane their own agency from one another. It’s often hard to write about a married couple without one leaning on the other, but Vess ensures that both of the Parkers have an adventure to pursue with their own conclusion to reach. In addition to that, the story itself is beautifully penciled with soft line work and delicate coloring that adds an extra amount of nostalgia to the story. Altogether, this story itself shines as an enjoyable standalone love story.

Amazing Spider-Man Epic Collection: Return of the Sinister Six

Marvel Comics

The meat and potatoes of the book are a plethora of stories written by David Michelinie with art from Eric Larsen and Mark Bagley. The issues collect into several captivating reads. The first sees Doctor Octopus gather the familiar faces of Vulture, Sandman, Mysterio, Hobgoblin, and Electro to recreate the Sinister Six! Each issue in this arc works to build to an exciting conclusion to one of the more enjoyable times of the Sinister Six plotting against Spider-Man. The arc also brings about an important shift in the life of the Sandman, as he decides to make an important career change throughout the story. Altogether, this arc is rather enjoyable and does a good job building up to its finale.

The remainder of the novel collects other stories that, while alone seem unimportant, collect into a strong depiction of how relentless the life of Spider-Man can be. As each story seems to carry right off the heels of the prior, it’s easy to start asking oneself: “When does Peter catch a break?” Short answer: he doesn’t. These stories also provide depth to Flash Thompson and Felicia Hardy, who although at first dating Flash to get back at Peter finds herself having a change of heart. That said, some of the most important focus is given to Aunt May and Mary Jane Watson. While May goes through the stages of grief throughout the collection, Mary Jane faces off against stalkers and murderers without the help of Spider-Man. This is where a significant amount of the emotional weight of the story comes in, as Peter sometimes feels to have tunnel vision and can’t take his mask off for even a moment, the story allows the reader to remember the cast that loves Peter as much as the reader does.

Amazing Spider-Man Epic Collection: Return of the Sinister Six

Marvel Comics

The other important story in this collection brings the return of Venom! And he does so with a vengeance. While the Venom of today couldn’t be more different than the one in the ’90s, it’s interesting to see how far both the symbiote and Eddie Brock have come from their early days. This story makes for an exciting read as it brings one of the most famous battles between the pair into the hands of the reader.

The final stories, while heartfelt, seem to have a bit of a drop from the beginning of the book. While Peter is tracking down the Black Fox, he’s continuously sidelining the ones around him. Although this isn’t new for Peter, and won’t be the last time he puts responsibility over his personal life, it does seem strange to depict this after a series of issues portraying Peter’s growing trust in others. Additionally, with the continuation of some art which feels a bit oversexualized at times. While this theme began earlier in the book, it was unnecessary and pushed throughout the collection as a whole.

Altogether, Amazing Spider-Man Epic Collection: Return of the Sinister Six collects many popular stories from the Michelinine and Larsen days of Spider-Man into one oversized story. While the book starts strong, it does lose its steam as it continues; both feeling a bit outdated and losing track of some important developments the characters experienced earlier in the book. Regardless, this is a book for those who want to have and hold onto the earlier days of Spider-Man’s journey.

Amazing Spider-Man Epic Collection: Return of the Sinister Six
‘Amazing Spider-Man Epic Collection: Return of the Sinister Six’ review
Amazing Spider-Man Epic Collection: Return of the Sinister Six
Amazing Spider-Man Epic Collection: Return of the Sinister Six collects many infamous stories into one oversized book, but as a whole feels a bit outdated.
Reader Rating1 Votes
8.7
Spider-Man Spirits of the Earth is one of the most beautiful comic stories both in concept and delivery
Seeing a more classic Sinister Six heist is enjoyable
The book as a whole loses track of the development Peter has experienced with his relationships
Some of the treatment Mary Jane Watson and Felicia Hardy face from the book feels off-putting and unecessary
As a complete collection, the book lacks a certain amount of depth needed for its main cast
6
Average
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