The Second Coming of the Sinister Six Trilogy by Jerry Whitworth
Be it the emergence of the long-lost sister of Spider-Man in Mark Waid and James Robinson’s upcoming graphic novel Amazing Spider-Man: Family Business or director Marc Webb teasing the Gentleman in Amazing Spider-Man 2, it would appear Adam-Troy Castro’s novel series the Sinister Six trilogy is being resurrected in a big way. Beginning in 1999 published by Berkley, Spider-Man: The Gathering of the Sinister Six features one of the greatest stories to feature Mysterio as he gains revenge on those he felt did him wrong in the past while the mysterious Gentleman and his bodyguard/slave Pity assemble a new Sinister Six to gain mutual vengeance on Spider-Man. Bringing together the Chameleon, Doctor Octopus, Electro, Vulture, and Mysterio along with Pity (Sandman was reformed as a hero and Hobgoblin, revealed to be Roderick Kingsley living in Belize by then, was retired at the time), Spider-Man (with some help from S.A.F.E., or Strategic Action For Emergencies) must stop the Gentleman’s nefarious plan, halt the murderous rampage of the Sinister Six (the Six’s Day of Terror a mature version of Amazing Spider-Man Annual #1), and save the world as we know it in Revenge of the Sinister Six and Secret of the Sinister Six. It would be no exaggeration to say the Sinister Six trilogy is something like over half a dozen action films rolled up in to a three part epic. The story spans virtually the entirety of Spider-Man’s career from before the birth of Peter Parker through his trials as being a hero to the present juggling work and married life to Mary Jane Watson-Parker. Supporting cast members from the past like Flash Thompson and Razorback as well as cameos from Captain America and Wolverine (close friend of Richard and Mary Parker, Peter’s parents) make the series a who’s who of Marvel Comics. Lets take a look at the series’ two prominent original characters.
Born in to wealth, the sadistic sociopath Gustav Fiers takes pride in his designation as an investor in chaos. Despite being around a hundred years in age, Fiers is in relative fit shape owing his longevity to a perceived superior set of genes (Fiers a white supremacist and subscriber to eugenics). Operating alongside some of history’s most despicable men, Fiers would be an acquittance of both of the Red Skulls. Fiers became an enemy of Peter Parker long before his birth when secret agents Richard and Mary Parker crossed swords with the villainous financier and war profiteer when they saved Canadian operative Logan from his torturous inquisition. Relishing revenge like some men enjoy an aged wine, Fiers approached the second Red Skull when the Parkers were in deep cover under the Communist terrorist and exposed them. Fiers’ brother Karl, under the name the Finisher, worked under the Skull and not only rigged the plane crash that murdered the couple, he also set-up evidence indicating them as traitors to America. Gustav Fiers, not one to leave business unfinished, also plotted revenge against the Parkers’ son Peter. However, he chose to await Peter’s adulthood so that he would acquire enough loved ones to lose and an appreciation for life to make the vengeance its sweetest. Fiers would have operatives monitor Peter throughout his life, so far as reporting his transformation into Spider-Man (leaving Fiers to murder his operatives so he alone would have this knowledge). Parker would eventually uncover his parents’ past and when the Finisher tried to take the hero’s life, his attempt backfired killing himself. Before passing, Karl revealed his part in the death and framing of the Parkers leading to Peter clearing his parents’ good name. Gustav, now going by the Gentleman, was twice defeated by Spider-Man: his brother dead and his revenge against the Parkers marred. Using Spider-Man’s greatest enemies in the Sinister Six, the Gentleman planned on taking away everything Peter Parker loved before taking his life (while the villain would make himself one of, if not the, wealthiest men on Earth).
The personal bodyguard, assassin, punching bag, and slave to the Gentleman, Pity is a mysterious woman Gustav Fiers acquired some time after arranging the death of her parents. A mutant capable of controlling light and darkness (Fiers forbidding her use of the former), Pity was maliciously programmed to be completely, utterly subservient to the Gentleman so far as being virtually incapable of independent thought. This training would carry a deep mark in the girl worn as a mask of sorrow compelling even someone as devoid of emotion as Doctor Octopus to feel some measure of pity for the woman (where Electro developed an almost heroic persona to protect her). Further, the Gentleman marked her cheeks the same way someone would brand cattle to denote his complete ownership of her. The identity of Pity comes to a head during her confrontations with Spider-Man as he observes a resemblance between the two in time becoming convinced she is a sister he was never aware of. Between her similar appearance, her backstory matching up to Parker’s own circumstances, and the Gentleman’s penchant for savoring the greatest of tragedies, the idea of sibling killing sibling makes the situation almost definite (perhaps, though, a little too definite which may make it too good to be true, but either way the perceived situation adds to the Gentleman’s pleasure). By series end, the mystery remains unresolved as Pity gains her freedom and the Gentleman suffers perhaps his greatest indignity.
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