The Sinister Six
Written by: Stan Lee
Drawn by: Steve Ditko
Lettered by: S. Rosen
Originally published: 1964
Before reading this I felt both excitement and trepidation. On one hand, it’s the first appearance of the Sinister Six, which is pretty cool and has the potential for some excitement. On the other hand, the cover advertises “Spidey’s biggest, longest, greatest battle”, which is definitely not my kind of thing. Thankfully, the writing is surprisingly good. Spider-Man (and even some extras) have some great one-liners, the story keeps up a pretty good pace, and the action doesn’t really seem stale (except when the Human Torch showed up; man, that guy makes everything boring).
My biggest complaint concerns how Spider-Man “loses” his powers for awhile at the beginning. Having this happen at such a critical moment could have been incredibly interesting and forced Peter to outthink his opponents, rather than simply out-superpower them. Unfortunately, the powers returned just as mysteriously as they disappeared, right at the moment they were needed. That’s balls, and to do it all without an adequate explanation is even bigger balls. (Please note: sadness-induced psychsomatic power loss is not an adequate explanation.)
My only other problem with this boook is the number of cameos from other Marvel characters – Thor, Dr. Strange, The Fantastic Four, Ant-Man, the Wasp, and the X-Men – for no reason whatsoever. It’s clearly just to advertise their respective comics, which Stan Lee/the editors don’t hesitate to do in a bunch of captions.
Despite these two drawbacks, the book is good overall. I even dug Ditko’s art more than usual – there were a couple of really awesome close-ups and really great full-page splashes of Spider-Man fighting each of the Sinister Six.