“The Sinister Six in, TOMORROW THE WORLD!”
Written by Dan Slott
Illustrated by Humberto Ramos
Inked by Victor Olazaba
Colored Edgar Delgado
Lettered by VC’s Joe Caramagna
THE PLOT: Doctor Octopus, with his new armor shielding the husk of the body he now inhabits, has the Sinister Six (Ock, Chameleon, Mysterio, Sandman, Rhino and Electro) attack M.O.D.O.K. and his Intelligencia in a physical battle of wits.
LONG STORY SHORT: The Six win, putting several members of the Intelligencia into orbit yet allowing M.O.D.O.K. to live under the condition that he admits that Ock’s intellect is superior.
MY THOUGHTS: Sucked.
This is an issue of preference. If you are currently digging Dan Slott’s run and like his writing at the best of time, then this issue is right up your alley. If you don’t read Spider-Man but have a general knowledge of him and his villains, then this issue is decent. If you’ve been reading Spider-Man for years now as well as other super hero comics, then this just does not cut the mustard. Everyone’s perspective on what makes an enjoyable comic is different, and that’s the best thing about perspective; it’s always dynamic. Oh sure, there are hive like minded opinions on several Spider-Man stories throughout the character’s history, such as the following.
Death of Gwen Stacy: Good
The Wedding of Aunt May and Doctor Octopus: WTF
Who is F.A.C.A.D.E?: Bad
But for the most part, under-the-radar issues like these won’t register a blip on most fan’s screens because it’s either enjoyable filler or a waste of time. My opinions coincides with the latter and I’ll explain myself…now.
Let me preface by saying that there’s nothing I can say in this review that co-reviewer Erik Lexie didn’t say in his review. He hit the nail on the head exactly what the overall weakness of the issue was, and it’s a problem I’ve repeated to have with Slott’s run time and time again.
The dialogue is forced. It sounds unnatural. It’s campy. It’s kiddie. It’s over expositional. It’s unbelievable. It’s cartoony. It’s smug. It’s annoying.
Again, this is nothing new to my criticism of Slott’s issue each month, but for crying out loud, if this is a regular and recurring complaint, it very much seems to be a genuine flaw. This issue in particular bugged me because the dialogue took me out of the story in each. and. Every. SINGLE. PAGE. Every one. That is a surefire sign of a badly written book. The comic book is meant to keep reader’s interest and have them invested in the scenes, the situations, the goings-on. We as readers aren’t allowed to leave that world until we’ve reached the end or there’s something of more importance that requires our attention in the outside world. If I can’t keep a clear gaze and focus when my eyes travel from panel to panel without making faces that would startle a psychologist, it says something about said world that I spent money to be invested in.
I’m not a professional writer. I’d like to be, and am currently in the process to earn my bachelor’s degree in the subject, but until then despite the credentials of my position on the Crawlspace, I really can’t talk too much. This review, again, is an opinion piece by a fan, and if there’s one thing Marvel has been “proving” for the past several years, it’s that the writers always know better than the fans. Plus, Dan Slott has openly held his hands up and admitted that he finds his personal weakness as a writer to indeed be dialogue, so in some respects it’s a cheap move to exploit or even mention that fact. But seeing as how my opinion in the end doesn’t really matter, I’ll exloit it anyway. It ruined the issue for me. The plot wasn’t really a plot, (bad guys fighting bad guys in an effort to see who’s the baddest is the equivalent to watching a boy on Christmas night play with his new set of Cobra Commander action figures) Ramos’ art while not bad has frankly worn out it’s welcome, and again-repeating what Erik said, there’s no Spider-Man or his supporting cast to be seen anywhere in the issue. That alone is not enough to merit a critical beating of a Spider-Man comic, but in my opinion not having their presence felt in the issue is. A Sinister Six solo issue is an intriguing idea, but you really have to run with that idea to make it stick. The Six have to be the baddest of the bad, they have to be cooler than ever, they have to have a definite presence. In Amazing Spider-Man Annual #1, the novelty of the six supervillain trashing Spider-Man was sold because Peter had lost his powers. Same with their first “Insidious” appearance in the 90s show. In their resurgence during the Erik Larson run, the villains were all slightly revamped for a more then-contemporary setting and made to be more dangerous than ever.
In this issue, the novelty of the Sinister Six is just that, a novelty. The cover tries to sell itself on the fact that six of Spidey’s baddest foes are out to get him right this second, and he’s up against a wall (or, glass window). The actual issue consists of the Six acting like they’re in Ocean’s Eleven with none of that movie’s actual conflicts reflecting the Six’s camaraderie. Because that’s funny, or is supposed to be. I’m not against the Six having a familiar relationship with each other, but it all depends on how you do it. To me this mirrored their relationship in The Spectacular Spider-Man cartoon, but it doesn’t work as well because in that show Sandman and Rhino had way more of a closer bond than they do in this comic. Plus, it’s really hard for me to buy Rhino’s angst in this story, or his character to be honest. Yeah he’s been established as russian years ago but he never expressed a Russian dialect before this. “Nyet!” What’s next? “Dosvedanya comrade!” “I must break you…” “If he dies, he dies.” It’s because he’s Russian you see. I’m all for ethnocentrism in my comics, but not at the expense of an established character and his way of speaking. If Robbie Robertson suddenly found out he had New Orleans ancestry and began to be written with a Creole accent…you get the idea.
The rest of the characters, and I do mean the rest, all sound the same. Either they talk like Slott’s Spider-Man (Mysterio: “Sweet! New High Score!”) or they sound like your everyday Bond villain. Doctor Octopus and M.O.D.O.K. are certainly inclined to have a more verbose manner of speaking, but they come off as too similar to either be individualistic or original. And the worst part?
M.O.D.O.K.: “Then again, who but I, M.O.D.O.K., could have devised such a device?”
“Doctor Octopus?! You’ll pay dearly for this effrontery!”
Doc Ock: “How do you like my opening move, M.O.D.O.K.? I just used your own Zero Cannon to take one of your pieces off the board.” (You know, the thing I said we were doing to each other as a game?)
M.O.D.O.K.: “A pedestrian play at best!”
Remember guys, this is all being spoken in mid-battle.
There’s a podcast I listen to called Bigger on the Inside that bi-monthly discusses Doctor Who, story by story. In the latest episode, the hosts go over a weakness of the script in that it was filled with big words that made the characters sound smart but withdrew any sense of humanity or realism in their dialogue. This comic is almost full of that, save for the big words.
So what was the point of all this Sandman and the readers ask? Absolutely nothing! Ock literally looks into the camera at the reader and says buy our storyline in 2012 .
The one scene that amused me was the scene with Sandman and the Wizard. It was interesting how these two teammates used common sense and didn’t fight, and I did laugh out loud when Wizard was chucked into space. That’s another annoyance of this issue though. Wizard, the Winter Guard, and several other villains randomly all die for no apparent reason other than to stroke off Doctor Octopus’ ego. That would be cool if it were villainous, and not at all carried out like a fighting game.
To reiterate, this is not a horrible issue of Amazing Spider-Man. I’ve read worse, there’s been worse, and the issue as a whole was purely inoffensive. As a reader however, I can’t seriously say that this was good either. What did it have going for it? The Sin. Six fighting the Intellegencia? (Which btw in the meaning Red Ghost is going for is spelled wrong.) That doesn’t do it for me. It’s one of those things that readers can look at and go “This is really awesome!” Not for me it isn’t. I want Amazing Spider-Man to have more meaning in its issues than to promote a storyline a few months down the road. I want there to be genuine conflict that the series always use to provide for decades. I WANT PETER PARKER TO BE THE MAIN FREAKING CHARACTER IN HIS DAMN COMIC BOOK AGAIN. Wasn’t that part of the manifesto? Throughout Spider-Island, he got less than half of each issue’s screentime. He’s not even mentioned in this comic. I like Doc Ock and everything, but him showing off isn’t nearly enough to justify the money they wanted for this issue.