Rise of the Sinister Six

Rise of the Sinister Six by Jerry Whitworth

Since at least the time of Marc Webb’s Spider-Man films, Sony Pictures has desperately wanted to produce a Sinister Six movie. Toward that end, the Gentleman (who organized the Sinister Six in Adam-Troy Castro’s Sinister Six trilogy) was introduced in Amazing Spider-Man 2 (2014) teasing Dr. Octopus, Vulture, and the Black Cat as the series featured the Lizard, Electro, Green Goblin, and the Rhino (subsequently, Webb confirmed the group would have included Kraven the Hunter and Mysterio). For the latest iteration of Spider-Man films, the likes of the Vulture, Shocker, Tinkerer, and Mysterio (whose elementals were based on the Sandman, Hydro-Man, Molten Man, and Cyclone) have been introduced as the civilian identities of the Scorpion, Prowler, Darter, and the Chameleon also emerged. While Venom 2 is filming featuring Carnage and Morbius is coming this summer, Kraven the Hunter is heavily rumored for the next Spider-Man film (as Norman Osborn is rumored to be in other Marvel Studios projects) leaving a wide breadth of Sinister Six candidates. Lets take a look at some of these characters.

THE PROWLER

A young inventor inspired by the Stilt-Man during a battle he had with Daredevil, Hobie Brown created a number of inventions to aid in his window cleaning job. When he was let go and unable to find work to pay his bills, Brown opted to use his inventions and become a costumed thief called the Prowler. Crossing paths with Spider-Man on occasion, he reformed and used his talents as a superhero instead which included working for Silver Sable in the Outlaws, a group of reformed Spider-Man villains that included the Sandman. In the Ultimate universe, the Prowler was instead Aaron Davis, a career criminal whose profession lead to his nephew Miles Morales becoming a new Spider-Man. Davis went on to form a version of the Sinister Six that included Sandman, Electro, Hobgoblin, Bombshell, and the Spot. The Aaron Davis Prowler appeared prominently in Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (2018) as Miles Morales’ uncle who took his nephew to an abandoned subway station to paint graffiti where Morales received his fateful spider bite giving him super powers. Davis acted as the Prowler in the Kingpin’s Sinister Six who was killed by his employer when Davis refused to slay his nephew. Aaron Davis appeared in Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017) portrayed by Donald Glover as a low level criminal protective of his nephew Miles that aids Spider-Man in his hunt for the Vulture.

THE CHAMELEON

The first supervillain Spider-Man faced in the comics, Dmitri Smerdyakov is a Russian immigrant and master of disguise known as the Chameleon. Meeting defeat at the hands of Spider-Man, Smerdyakov convinced his half-brother Sergei Kravinoff, a world-renowned hunter known as Kraven, to hunt his arachnid foe. Following the suicide of Kraven, Smerdyakov swore revenge on Spider-Man for not preventing his half-brother’s demise and consumed a serum that allowed him to naturally alter his appearance. The Chameleon returned again-and-again, often with various villains (Exterminators, Sinister Six/Twelve), and even learned of Spider-Man’s secret identity. The Chameleon has appeared in virtually every animated television iteration of the wall-crawler and was portrayed by Numan Acar in Spider-Man: Far from Home (2019) as Dmitri Smerdyakov, an operative working under Nick Fury/Talos.

THE SCORPION

A private investigator in the employ of J. Jonah Jameson, Mac Gargan was paid by Jameson to undergo an experimental process by Dr. Farley Stillwell to develop attributes similar to that of a scorpion in order to combat Spider-Man. Successful, Gargan repeatedly defeated Spider-Man but the process that gave him his powers eroded his mind driving him insane. Gargan returned again and again to face Spider-Man, eventually learning his identity and bonded with the Venom symbiote. Gargan has been affiliated with numerous supervillain groups, ones such as the Sinister/Savage Six/Twelve who targeted Spider-Man, as well as other groups like the Masters of Evil, Thunderbolts, and Dark Avengers. The Scorpion has appeared in virtually every animated television adaptation of Spider-Man, was part of the Kingpin’s Sinister Six in Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (2018), and was played by Michael Mando in Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017) as Aaron Davis’ former partner Mac Gargan apprehended by Spider-Man while trying to buy arms from the Vulture.

KRAVEN THE HUNTER

A Russian aristocrat and world-renowned hunter known for wrestling animals with his bare hands, Sergei Kravinoff was convinced by his half-brother Dmitri Smerdyakov/the Chameleon to hunt Spider-Man. Consuming a mystical serum that gives him superhuman capabilities, Kravinoff (called Kraven for short) fought and was defeated by Spider-Man in Central Park. Kraven returned as a founding member of the Sinister Six but as his health failed over time, the hunter eventually initiated a final hunt of Spider-Man in which he succeeded but he instead captured his foe and impersonated him to prove his superiority. Having captured Vermin, a foe Spider-Man couldn’t defeat, Kraven chose to take his own life satisfied with his victory. Kraven’s wife later resurrected him but he was reborn as a psychopathic monster. Kraven has appeared in virtually every animated television Spider-Man series as the current Spider-Man film director Jon Watts has made no secret of his desire to adapt the hunter. Kraven’s name has been seen displayed prominently in various set photos for the upcoming film Morbius.

GREEN GOBLIN

Arguably Spider-Man’s arch-nemesis, Norman Osborn is Peter Parker’s superior in every way: strength, intellect, wealth/resources. Osborn’s other identity as the Green Goblin is likewise superior, Spider-Man’s web-shooters versus the Goblin’s glider, electro-blast gloves, and spider-sense dulling pumpkin bombs. The first super-villain to learn Spider-Man’s secret identity, Green Goblin spent years troubling the hero only to be drafted to the world stage when he was tasked to direct the Thunderbolts program featuring super-villains in service of the US government. Using this turn of events as a stepping stone to leading H.A.M.M.E.R., a paramilitary extension of S.H.I.E.L.D., Osborn founded the Dark Avengers and adopted the guise of the Iron Patriot (as well as founding the Cabal, a malevolent mirror of Iron Man’s Illuminati). Where there has been an adaptation of Spider-Man, there has generally been an adaptation of the Green Goblin. The character’s most recent adaptation was in Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (2018) adapting the Ultimate version of the Green Goblin where Osborn sought to perfect the super-soldier serum used to create Captain America and paired it with inspiration from the spider that empowered Spider-Man. While Osborn turned down Dr. Octopus’ offer to join the original Sinister Six (though he later formed the Sinister Twelve), Ultimate Osborn co-founded the group with Ultimate Octopus. Thus far, there’s been no official connection between Norman Osborn and the Marvel Cinematic Universe, rumors have persisted of his being the one who bought Stark/Avengers Tower in Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017) to being Sonny Burch’s mysterious benefactor in Ant-Man and the Wasp (2018). With Thanos dead and Sony/Disney seemingly sharing Spider-Man for the foreseeable future, could Norman Osborn (and perhaps his Cabal) be the big bad Earth’s heroes need to align to face?

It should be noted, characters like Dr. Octopus, Electro, Rhino, Sandman, and the Lizard are thus far missing from rumored involvement in plans for the Sinister Six but that doesn’t necessarily rule them out.

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