Spider-Man: Revenge of the Sinister Six Review
Written/ Art by: Erik Larsen
Colors by: Gregory Wright and Joe Rosas
Published by: Marvel Comics
This week almost nothing interesting came out or at least nothing that I’m inclined to cover. Daredevil was good, but I’m still waiting on some more meaty developments before I jump back to that book. So, I needed to figure out what to review this week and for some reason I’ve been on a little bit of a 90s kick and ended up reading two pretty cheesy Spider-Man stories: Return of the Sinister Six and its sequel Revenge of the Sinister Six. Why am I reviewing Revenge? Because it was stupider and therefore more fun to talk about.
After the shenanigans that happened during Return, the members of the Sinister Six that were tricked by Doctor Octopus are now out for revenge against him! Except he has a pretty good idea for a plan they can execute to finally take over the world… Meanwhile, Spider-Man needs to team up with everyone that was cool in the 90s and fight some robots and stuff.
Ok, if that doesn’t seem like a real plot synopsis that means you’ve figured out the problem here. Return was written by David Micheline and drawn by Erik Larsen which means that, despite some dumb moments, it was written by someone with extensive experience writing and with some idea of how a story is supposed to be paced. Revenge was written and drawn by Erik Larsen, who just doesn’t know any better, so you get what you get.
The basic pitch is that Doc Ock and the rest of the Sinister Six are going to another dimension to steal weapons… Actually, that’s not the basic pitch, that’s the entire plot of the book summed up. Really, this whole thing is an excuse to have Erik Larsen draw “EPIC fights yo” featuring Spider-Man and some of the 90’s favorite sons, including Solo, Deathlok, Ghost Rider (Danny Ketch) and Sleepwalker!
There’s also some personal drama between Peter and MJ because she’s finally getting her big break in a major Hollywood movie… but she’s going to have to be naked and Peter isn’t up for that. It gets solved without much incident and its overall effect on the proceedings is negligible.
So if the story is nonexistent and the characters are basically just there to shoot at each other, what’s the point of reading this? Well… It is fun.
For as much (deserved) crap 90s comics get, there is something to be said about the sheer ostentation of it all. Artist nowadays tend to have, y’know, SENSE enough to know that you can’t just plaster a page with insanely large Onomatopoeias.
Or that a story should probably be something a bit more than “CRASH THE ACTION FIGURES TOGETHER BAM ZOOM POW”
Or maybe you should consider certain decisions more than not considering them at all AKA. “WHAT IF SPIDER-MAN LOOKED LIKE DEATHLOK THO”
It’s not for everyone, and I recognize it’s not exactly good, but sometimes you want something that’s dumb in a way that feels really sincere. It’s the same feeling you get from a trashy B-Movie: You know it’s bad, but gosh darn it you are entertained.
As for the artwork, I’m conflicted. Erik Larsen was premier talent during the 90s and I guess I can see why. His style is very distinct and very movement/ impact oriented. Lots of people jumping around and things punching/ shooting/ crashing through each other.
The thing is… You remember how I talked about having sense earlier? Yeah, that’s something that Larsen lacks in both writing and artwork. He’s straining so hard to have things look awesome, that a lot of the times he ignores things like anatomy or perspective.
His paneling style is also interesting and by interesting I mean a nightmare of chaos. There’s tiny panels and large panels, segmented next to tall panels with about 45 gigantic and colorful Onomatopoeias. I mean look at this page and tell me it’s not just madness.
His art isn’t necessarily bad, but if you’re not prepared for… all of that, then you might reject it outright as ugly and terrible.
Overall… Revenge of the Sinister Six is a ridiculous romp, with no character development or meaningful conflict, that basically just exists to showcase popular 90s Marvel characters beating the tar out of each other. It is fun, I’ll say that much. But if this doesn’t seem like your thing, I can guarantee it definitely won’t be.