My Sinister 6

Spider-Man has one of the wildest Rogues Galleries in all of comics, literally. Nearly all of them are based off some kind of wild animal. That makes for a nice consistency. And one key component of Spidey’s baddies over the years has been the Sinister Six. Back in 1964, six of Spidey’s greatest villains teamed up to take him on as a group, because none of them could beat him on their own. Essentially they all sat down and someone said, “Gentlemen, we’re going to kill Spider-Man!”

It didn’t work. They lost.

The first Sinister Six was composed of Doctor Octopus, Mysterio, Electro, Sandman, Vulture and Kraven the Hunter. That team stayed pretty consistent throughout the years, with a few additions and subtractions here and there. They basically always teamed up to kill Spider-Man, though sometimes also to commit crimes.

Well today I’m going to debut my vision of an even better Sinister Six! The idea of some of the big bad guys teaming up just to kill Spider-Man is passe. Nowadays the Sinister Six should be more working-class, more street-level guys banding together to accomplish something. Kill Spider-Man, sure; but being super criminals should come first.

It should be no surprise that DC Comics’ Secret Six is a big influence on what a villain team should be.

1. Lady Octopus: Villainous mastermind and brains of the operation!

She's all hands

It’s true! There’s a Lady Octopus! She is an obscure character (my favorite kind!) who hasn’t been seen much since she debuted in the mid-90s as a part of the Clone Saga. That makes her perfect for revamping into something new and spectacular! Just cut away all the crappy baggage she had back in the day and make her sleek, new and exciting. Get rid of the armored costume and give her something more subtle and a little bit sexy. Keep the Doc Ock arms, but make them more stream-lined and less mechanical. And pink hair is always cool. When she debuted, she was all about Cyberspace, back when the Internet was called the Information Superhighway and nobody really knew what it would become. They can keep the interest in the Internet, just don’t get insane about it. She’d be the new mastermind of the team, the one who brings everyone together for her nefarious schemes!

2. The Spot: Transport and some comic relief.

Make it rain!

My faithful readers first met the Spot on my list of 6 Favorite Comic Book Characters, so it shouldn’t be any surprise that I’d want him for my team. Should I ever get to try my hand at writing a Marvel comic, I have big plans for the Spot. He has the super power of creating portals out of thin air and then using them to transport himself and anything else over great distances. So clearly he’d be great as a teleport-for-hire sort of guy. Saves the team from having to rent a truck, or something. So he’d be great for that. He’s also an amazing visual. The Spot is just fun to look at. A recent appearance made him something of an arrogant comic relief, and I’d keep that while also giving him some of the recent back bone he’s developed.

3. The Rhino: Strong silent type, the muscle.

Run for your life!!

Just look at that picture, read those captions. The Rhino is no longer the big, blundering fool he used to be. There was a story in Amazing Spider-Man not too long ago that had the Rhino retiring from crime because he’d fallen in love. He went to prison, served his time and then got out and married the woman. Then some Rhino wannabe came on the scene with a new mechanical suit and challenged the old Rhino to a fight. Spider-Man stepped in and had a cool scene where he told the old Rhino to go home to his wife, Spidey would handle this new guy because that’s what Spider-Man does. And Rhino listened! It was a brilliant story, really humanizing this long-standing joke character.

Then a few issues later, the bad guys came back into the picture and killed the Rhino’s new wife. He went off the deep end then, becoming the monster you see in the picture above. So now he’s tough, strong and super angry. I’d keep all those things going with Rhino on the Sinister Six.

4. Hobgoblin: Insane, funny wildcard.

Take that, Spider-Man!

Another character from my list of favorites, the Phil Urich Hobgoblin. This choice is mostly fanboyism. I love the character, I want to see more of him and this would be the perfect opportunity. It would give Phil a higher profile. Hobgoblin has a long-standing history with the Sinister Six, so throw him back on the team. He’s wildly crazy, in a fun way, and would be the perfect wildcard (like Charlie Kelly). Marvel is trying to make this Hobgoblin a legitimate character, and I’m all for it!

5. Scorpion: Tough, angry veteran.

And that!

Mac Gargan, the Scorpion, has been around forever. He was even Venom for a few years. But he’s back now as the Scorpion, with a badass costume and a return to glory as a bitter, angry, henchman-for-hire. He was originally a private eye hired by J. Jonah Jameson to get some dirt on Spider-Man. Then JJJ went the extra mile and paid for some Science to turn Gargan into the Scorpion. Gargen’s been half-insane and bitter at JJJ ever since. Plus as a kid, I loved scorpions (still do), so this guy was always one of my favorites. He was never a member of the comic book Sinister Six, but he was on the cartoon show, when they were called the Insidious Six.

One has to assume that FOX Kids in the 90s just didn’t like the word ‘sinister’. They also wouldn’t let Spider-Man punch anybody.

6. The Shocker: Heart of the team, the put-upon every-man just trying to get by.

Not the 'shocker' you're thinking about

The Shocker, Herman Schultz, is the ultimate working-class super-villain; so he’s a real hero of mine. This is a guy who just wants to make a buck. He’s not in this game to be a super-villain or ‘kill Spider-Man’. He’s just a crook doing his thing. And that’s fantastic. I want to write a Shocker solo series. I want more Shocker. Here is a schlub, a working stiff, a guy that readers can really relate to. He was a safe-cracker who invented a pair of gauntlets that release a vibrational frequency that would destroy the safes. But they vibrate so powerfully he also had to design a protective suit for himself. So that’s why he looks like a costume super-villain. His costume actually serves a function!

So The Shocker would be the star of my Sinister Six series. He’s the sort of guy you can write about taking the subway, or standing in line for coffee or complaining about making rent for the month. He’s perfect.

And special thanks for friend-of-the-site Alyssa for this list suggestion. If you have a suggestion for my Lists of Six, put it in the comments!

About Sean Ian Mills

Hello, this is Sean, the Henchman-4-Hire! By day I am a mild-mannered newspaper reporter in Central New York, and by the rest of the day I'm a pretty big geek when it comes to video games, comic books, movies, cartoons and more.

Posted on July 26, 2011, in Comics, Lists of Six!, Marvel, Spider-Man. Bookmark the permalink. 14 Comments.

  1. The problem with your Sinister Six is that I have a very difficult time picturing them losing….ever. Take the Spot for instance. The Spot can never team up with anybody who isn’t goofy because anyone who took things seriously would just say, “Oh hey, you have the power to do pretty much anything? Why don’t you try…..?” And then the Spot would go, “Oh yeah, you got a point.” And then he’d do it. I wouldn’t be able to take Shocker or Lady Octopus seriously if they didn’t “fix” the Spot.

    I like the Lady Octopus idea though. I would have to assume that she is the one assembling this group. So look at it from her point of view. Shocker and Rhino are definites. Replace Scorpion with Sandman. You want a veteran? Then choose a veteran who was actually on the Sinister Six, especially the original. He’s a take orders kind of guy, he’d be great.

    Hobgoblin isn’t bad. The wildcard thing is very important. As Charlie pointed out, the wildcard helps make sure that the team fails. So he can use his sonic laugh and end up hurting his teammates, giving Spidey the upperhand. I could read that in a comic and be like, “ok yeah, I could see that.” It is also why no one teams up with the Joker.

    For the sixth slot I’d pick one of those bad guys who can also be good guys. Like Black Cat, Prowler, Puma, Molten Man, etc. (btw I’m not sure how many of these guys still exist.) That’s why Secret Six and the Dark X-Men work so well. Catman and Mimic are still redeemable. You also create the tension between doing crimes for profit and killing Spider-Man. Black Cat would love to do cool super-powered heists, but some of her crazier teammates (Hobgoblin) might try to kill Spidey when he interferes. TENSION!

    Now I may have missed some stuff, since I haven’t read that much Spider-Man recently. But Lady Octopus, Shocker, Rhino, Sandman, Hobgoblin, and Black Cat have the right kind of non-homogenized personalities that can be both highly successful and tragically flawed. If we’re really using Secret Six as benchmark, then they’re perfect. Last I saw, Secret Six were in Hell fighting their dead teammates. The best conflict comes from within.

  2. You raise some very good points, I can’t say I disagree with any of them. Other than the Black Cat. While she’d be awesome in that role, it’s simply not for her. She’s a bona fide hero these days. Though I think still a thief.
    The Spot is something of a mob-enforcer these days, I think. I missed the issues where he was working for Mr. Negative. He also appears in the new Daredevil #1 that I’m going to try and get my hands on. I wasn’t going to buy it, but suddenly, Spot. So we’ll see how badass he is in that issue. He’s definitely ditching the ‘loser’ tag in his current appearances.
    I can get behind replacing Scorpion with Sandman, I just happen to be a bigger Scorpion fan. Frankly, I don’t have any real interest in the original Sinister Six or their various incarnations. Hence why my list doesn’t have any of them on it. Sandman, Vulture, Electro, Mysterio…no thank you.
    And if the last Secret Six you read still had them in Hell, I’ve got to get you more comics. They get out of Hell and have some really good issues…but they’re about to be cancelled to make way for the DC relaunch. I’m going to do a post lamenting the loss of the Secret Six.
    But until then, Wildcard, bitches!

  3. I’d totally read that series! Great characters too.

    As for the line up, I’d agree that the spot kind of breaks them. I mean just think Of what Lady Ock and Spot could do alone! Obviously this was written before the change was made but, what do you think about what’s been done with the Spot? I really only know him from the animated series but it seemed like they did a good job of making him live up to his potential.

    The only other one I’d question is Hobby. He’s a fun wild card but with the high comedic potential of this team I worry that he’d end up as the resident sociopath. There is something fun about that, but Carnage can do that, if you want Phil you need to play to his strengths. The other thing is that Phil works for Kingpin. While both the Spiderman: TAS and Spectacular Spiderman have played with the idea of one or more member being “on loan” from a crime boss to decent effect, it feels like that might get in the way.

    I feel like Electro could be a good addition, I know he’s a little obvious as a Six member but his inferiority complex could be fun with this crew (also I think it would be funny if there were some running joke of he and Shocker being confused for each other). Admittedly, he has a lot of the same issues as the Spot but at least his powers can be used without being overpowered, I feel like the Spot’s powers are inherently powerful whereas Electro can at least be written as not capable of that level of power or limited by his own issues. Electro also provides another ranged threat, where Lady Ock and Scorpion provide a surplus of mid range power and Rhino is a close range powerhouse.

    I don’t know who I would suggest to replace Hobgoblin if you decided to switch him out. But I would be remiss in my duties if I did not urge you to find a place in this idea to incorporate that most deadly of spider-foes, STEGRON, THE DINOSAUR MAN.

    • I am a huge Stegron fan and I don’t know why he doesn’t get more play. He’s like the Lizard…but he’s a dinosaur! There are not enough dinosaur themed comic book characters. You’d think it would be an obvious choice. But oh well. As for the recent changes to the Spot, I haven’t been reading Daredevil, but I have been skimming them at my local comic book shop. Looks to me like some villains just abused his powers. And in general, I prefer my favorite characters to be healthy and alive, so hopefully Spot will come back good as new sometime soon.

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