Spider-Man (Vol. 1) #23

Background

Spider-Man's five issue marathon with the Sinister Six is at its conclusion. Part five left Peter alone against Doctor Octupus, Hobgoblin, the Vulture, Electro, Mysterio, Gog, and an army of killer robots under Doc Ock's control.

In a series filled with guest-stars, Ghost Rider, Hulk, and Sleepwalker have already been taken out by the Six.

Story 'Confrontation'

The conclusion of 'Revenge of the Sinister Six' opens with Spider-Man facing the Sinister Six alone. His allies (Hulk, Ghost Rider, and Sleepwalker) have already been taken out of action and all the hero can manage is knocking Electro and Vulture from the fight, momentarily, while he flees the coming onslaught.

The story shifts to a news report of the battle with several heroes catching the live coverage. As the heroes leave their homes to join the fight, we catch up with MJ as she auditions for the 'nude' role that Peter has been fighting against since the storyline started.

Flashback to the battle and we find Spider-Man dodging attack after attack just to survive. The Sinister Six finally have the hero pinned when the first, of several, guest-stars arrive to save the day. Peter's calls to the Baxter Building are answered when the Fantastic Four burst onto the scene to save him. Immidiately following the quartet are Nova and Solo.

With the numbers turned so suddenly, the Sinister Six turn to their trickster Mysterio to keep the odds in their favor. He creates an illusion that has heroes attacking heroes, or seeing things that just aren't there. Deathlok returns and knocks Mysterio out of the fight (his computer side being able to 'see' through Mysterio's illusions).

The next few pages are a free-for-all. The Hulk and Ghost Rider are back along with Nova, Solo, and the Fantastic Four. At this point, the Sinister Six have little hope except for Gog. Unfortunately for the villians, Gog is taken out with a cannon that Solo constructs while everyone else is distracted.

Things go quickly with all of these characters involved. Doc Ock threatens to blow up the planet, but Reed Richards has already disabled his computer. Then, Hulk gets his revenge on Doc Ock for his beatdown in part two. Hobgoblin and the Vulture leave as Spidey takes out Electro (with the help of Sue Storm). Doctor Octupus continues on against everybody, but is finally taken down by a revived (glass) Sandman. He cuts the Doc to shreds, just sparing his life.

The heroes disband with promises to see one another 'next crisis'. Spidey gives a verbal beatdown to Sandman for almost murdering Doc Ock and the threat is ended. The series ends with MJ turning down the nude scene for Peter while leading him toward a surprise birthday party. Everyone is there... a fitting celebration for Spidey saving the world.

General Comments

There is pushing characters in a best-selling book, and there is SHOVING characters into a best-selling book. The 23 pages are barely enough for every guest-star to get an action shot during this finale. At times, characters that had been knocked out are brought back just to fill fight scenes. Or... a dozen inexplicable robots are thrown into the fray.

However, the legitimate Sinister Six threat was answered with a legitimate response from the Marvel hero community. Mary Jane's storyline is also ended nicely. The perfect punchline to the world-ending threat is Mary Jane hiding a surprise birthday party for Peter.

Overall Rating

If you enjoy the Marvel universe you'd enjoy this series' conclusion. It involves every character at their best. Unfortunately, if you like the traditional Spider-Man storyline this will dissapoint.

Footnote

This was Erik Larsen's last issue of Spider-Man. He would leave Marvel (like fellow Spidey artist Todd McFarlane) to create the comic company Image.