When it was hinted that the Sinister Six would be returning to the pages of ASM, nothing prepared me for just how great this would be. Not only are they back, but they pick a fight with The Intelligencia to kick things off. If you’re not familiar with The Intelligencia, there’s a very brief overview of the team of evil geniuses in the beginning of the book. Now, you’re probably asking why one team of super villains would attack another. Well, Doc Ock is pissed and has a point to prove to M.O.D.O.K. and his team. One thing you have to also realize is that when you’ve got two super villain teams going at each other, you’re bound to have characters that have at one point or another teamed up. This is cleverly shown during the stand off between Sandman and Wizard, who are on opposing teams yet are also founding members of the Fearsome Four. The history between the two is long, but things go horribly wrong during the course of the fight. As the battle wages the various members of each team achieve little victories, but when the smoke settles there is one clear victor.
You may have noticed that there has yet to be mention of Spider-Man in this review. That’s because he only shows up on the cover, and to tell the truth he was hardly missed. Aside from the appearance of the Winter Guard, this is basically an all villains issue. Not only is it a great departure from the life of Peter Parker, but Slott skillfully sets up things to come in the world of Spider-Man in future issues. What also makes this another strong issue is that the villains aren’t treated as jokes or caricatures, and can be taken seriously even during the lighter moments in the issue. Slott also displays Sandman as the grey area character I’ve always seen him as. His motivations are quite different from the rest of the group, but since family is involved he’ll do whatever he needs to in order to achieve his goal. He’s more of the heart of the Sinister Six, if that makes any sense. The only part of the story that is a bit disappointing, is that I know deep down that none of the “deaths” that happened will hold for too long.
As far as the artwork goes, Ramos and Delgado continue bringing great looking pages to Amazing Spider-Man time and again. Though I’m not too keen on the design of Doc Ock’s newly upgraded suit, they did manage to make M.O.D.O.K. look less silly for a giant floating head with little arms and legs. What was also pretty cool was the top panel on the last page, as you could tell the team was doing the slow walk with the explosions going off behind them!
Know that this issue sets the tone for what’s to come next year in Amazing Spider-Man, and if the words “zero cannon” don’t make you nervous, then you need to pick this issue up and see why it should.