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Spider-Man villains wage a civil war in "Sinister War" event

Amazing Spider-Man Sinister War
Sinister War promotional art by Mark Bagley (Image credit: Marvel Comics)

The nature of Marvel's recent 'Sinister' Spider-Man teaser has been revealed, and the epithet does indeed refer to the return of Doctor Octopus and the Sinister Six. But there's more – Doc Ock's Sinister Six will take on the Vulture's Savage Six for villainous supremacy in Sinister War, a four-issue limited series from writer Nick Spencer and artist Mark Bagley which kicks off in July.

Sinister War # cover by Bryan Hitch (Image credit: Marvel Comics)

"This July, an all-out war between two of Spider-Man's greatest villains and their own Sinister Sextets erupts in SINISTER WAR!" reads Marvel's announcement of Sinister War. "Exploding out of Nick Spencer's pulse-pounding run on Amazing Spider-Man, this all-new series pits Doctor Octopus's Sinister Six against Vulture's Savage Six in a war that puts all of New York City in the crossfire."

"These deadly groups of foes are out for blood: Spider-Man's and each other's!" it continues. "With art by Mark Bagley, SINISTER WAR will be the latest epic in Spencer's transformative work on the Spider-Man mythos, packed with even more surprising developments including the grand return of Doctor Octopus!"

The original Sinister Six debuted in 1964's Amazing Spider-Man Annual #1. Organized by Doctor Octopus, the original team also included Sandman, Mysterio, Kraven the Hunter, Electro, and Vulture.

Now Vulture has his own rival team, the Savage Six, which seems to consist of Rhino, Tarantula, Scorpion, Kobra, and Stegron. Meanwhile, the new Sinister Six shown on Mark Bagley's cover of Sinister War #1 facing off with the Savage Six, apparently consists of leader Doc Ock, the Lizard, Hydro-Man, Sandman, and Kraven the Hunter.

Amazing Spider-Man #71 cover by Mark Bagley (Image credit: Marvel Comics)

If you're saying, "Gee whiz, that's only five members of the Sinister Six," well, you're exactly right. The sixth member seems to be unrevealed – though the conclusion of this week's Amazing Spider-Man #64 implies that Kindred could be inside Doc Ock's head somehow, with the synopsis for July's Amazing Spider-Man #71 also hinting at a connection between Kindred and the Sinister Six.

"Two of the most deadly villain teams are fighting both Spidey and each other, but what is Kindred’s role in all this?" reads the simple solicitation for Amazing Spider-Man #64.

"Nick Spencer always goes big," states Editor Nick Lowe in the Sinster War announcement. "And this is his biggest story yet through this series and the concurrent issues of Amazing Spider-Man, so clear some room on your 'Best Comics Ever' shelf."

Doc Ock hasn't been seen as his classic regular villainous self in some time. He was previously incarnated in a perfect clone version of his original body, which he inhabited after mentally taking over Peter Parker's body as well as his life when Ock's original body died.

Whew, comics!

That all went down in the now classic Superior Spider-Man, which left Doc Ock on a somewhat tumultuous trajectory, with Sinister War apparently now bringing him back to form.

Sinister War promotional art by Mark Bagley (Image credit: Marvel Comics)

"DOCTOR OCTOPUS IS BACK! AND THE SINISTER WAR HAS BEGUN! Ock's got a new Sinister Six and if you think he's thought big in the past, think again," reads Marvel's solicitation for Sinister War #1.

"What Ock DOESN'T know is that the VULTURE has a sextet of his own: THE SAVAGE SIX! It's an all-out WAR between two of the greatest villains in the Marvel Universe, and the only person they hate more than each other is SPIDER-MAN!" the synopsis continues.

"Spidey's in deep trouble with the toughest battle that he's ever faced. Nick Spencer and Mark Bagley team up for this epic Spider-Man story guaranteed to shock readers everywhere!"

Sinister War #1 is due out July 14 with a cover from Bryan Hitch and a wraparound variant from interior artist Mark Bagley. Amazing Spider-Man #71 from Nick Spencer and artist Federico Vicentini is due out July 21, also with a cover from Bagley.

Stay tuned to Newsarama for Marvel's full July 2021 solicitations coming later this month.

Maybe Sinister War will someday make Newsarama's list of the best Spider-Man stories of all time.

I've been Newsarama's resident Marvel Comics expert and general comic book historian since 2011. I've also been the on-site reporter at most major comic conventions such as Comic-Con International: San Diego, New York Comic Con, and C2E2. Outside of comic journalism, I am the artist of many weird pictures, and the guitarist of many heavy riffs. (They/Them)