When it comes to super heroes, Spider-Man is often said to have one of the best collections of super villains and it’s easy to see why. What’s really remarkable about Spidey’s rogues is not only their eclectic sense of fashion, but how alone they’re always a bit of a handful for the wall crawler. The individual “talents” of Spider-Man’s villains alone are substantial, but when they all gather together to take him on as a group, they really are a force to be reckoned with. The Sinister Six has been a staple of Spider-Man’s canon from the beginning, and it has remained a part of it ever since and in a variety of different forms.
Our latest Origins and Evolutions piece will explore most of these appearances as well as what the future holds for The Sinister Six. You can read some of our previous Origins and Evolutions features on individual Spider-Man villains
and The Rhino by clicking on the respective character.
The Green Goblin
Hit Full Screen to read Origins and Evolutions: The Sinister Six!
Origins & Evolutions The Sinister Six
A little over a year after landing his own self-titled series, the first “Annual” issue of
The Amazing Spider-Man was released and within it, The Sinister Six was born. Notorious villain Doctor Octopus had been thwarted one too many times by the web-head, and decided if he was going to get rid of him he might need some help, and thus he created the infamous collection of bad guys.
Roster: Doctor Octopus, Vulture, Electro, Sandman, Kraven the Hunter, and Mysterio.
Nearly 20 years later, a splinter group of the Sinister Six, calling themselves the Sinister Syndicate, debuted in
The Amazing Spider-Man #280 where they functioned in a way as a precursor to the Thunderbolts, mercenaries for hire. They would later go on to get their own mini-series titled Deadly Foes of Spider-Man.
Roster: Beetle, Hydro-Man, Rhino, Boomerang, and Speed Demon.
The Return of the Sinister Six
Almost 25 years after their debut, The Sinister Six came back in a storyline appropriately titled “The Return of the Sinister Six,” which appeared in
The Amazing Spider-Man #334-339. Once again put together by Doctor Octopus, the group's big plan this time around was to hold the Earth hostage with a capsule that could poison the atmosphere unless they were made the rulers of the planet, at least that's what they said. The poison Doc Ock had created was actually a chemical to cause seizures in cocaine users (yes, really) which he planned to use on the uber-rich to secure his leadership of the planet. He turned on the Sinister Six and even turned Sandman into glass at one point.
Roster: Doctor Octopur, Electro, Mysterio, Vulture, Sandman, and Hobgoblin.
Revenge of the Sinister Six
Just two years later, the super group would gather together once again, though there was some bickering with previous members over a few hard feelings. The new group managed to defeat Spider-Man a number of times but were eventually over-powered when he recruited the likes of Hulk, Ghost Rider, Nova, Deathlok, the Fantastic Four, and even former member Sandman to take them out.
Roster: Doctor Octopus, Electro, Vulture, Hobgoblin, Mysterio, and Gog.
During the infamous “Clone Saga,” Peter Parker clone Kaine actually did a very Un-Spider-Man like thing and killed Doctor Octopus. Fearing for his own life, the Hobgoblin assembled a new group together in order to take on the wall crawler and insure they stayed alive.
Roster: Hobgoblin, Beetle, Scorpia, Shocker, Electro, Vulture and Mysterio.
Legion of Losers
Though none of them were ever members of the Sinister Six, another collection of Spider-Man villains, having been defeated very easily by him beforehand, banded together to defeat him once and for all. The group eventually splintered when Grizzly and Gibbon had a change of heart. The pair went on to defeat the remaining members with Spider-Man's help.
Roster: Spot, Kangaroo, Grizzly, and Gibbon.
Sandman's Sinister Six
Having been turned into glass one too many times by Doctor Octopus, Sandman formed his very own Sinister Six in order to take on the infamous villain. The group was eventually defeated for the most part by one of their own members, Venom.
Roster: Sandman, Electro, Kraven the Hunter, Vulture, Myserio, and Venom.
Formed by Norman Osborn after he was publicly revealed as the Green Goblin, the Sinister Twelve was the largest gathering of Spider-Man villains that the web-slinger had ever faced. Tasked with breaking Norman out of prison, and with Aunt May's life on the line once again, Spider-Man enlisted the help of Black Cat and released Osborn from prison, where they were confronted by the group. Luckily fellow Avengers Captain America, Iron Man, Daredevil, Ant-Man, and the Fantastic Four jumped in to subdue much of the group.
Roster: Green Goblin, Boomerang, Chameleon, Electro, Hammerhead, Hydro-Man, Lizard, Sandman, Shocker, Tombstone, Scorpion/Venom, and Vulture.
Away from the traditional “616” Marvel Universe lies the “Ultimate Universe” with its very own Captain America, Iron Man, X-Men, Spider-Man, and Sinister Six. Called the “Ultimate Six,” the group banded together after being captured by S.H.I.E.L.D. and eventually counted Spider-Man among their ranks for a brief time, before he turned on them. The group eventually returned for the “Death of Spider-Man” story and were at least partially responsible for his demise.
Roster: Green Goblin, Doctor Octopus, Sandman, Kraven the Hunter, Electro, and Spider-Man.
Civil War Sinister Six
During the universe-dividing “Civil War” event, a new Sinister Six was formed and they were the first group that didn't face off against Spider-Man in some capacity. Instead, they were defeated by Captain America and his Secret Avengers.
Roster: Doctor Octopus, Grim Reaper, Lizard, Shocker, Trapster, and Vulture.
Big Time Sinister Six
The Sinister Six would be reformed for The Amazing Spider-Man storyline “Big Time” and would stay together as a group through the “Ends of the Earth” storyline. Their big plan this time was to heat up the Earth, accelerating global warming and destroying the planet. The group is even able to handle themselves against the likes of The Avengers this time, thanks to a variety of stolen technology and artifacts at their disposal.
Roster: Doctor Octopus, Chameleon, Electro, Mysterio, Rhino, and Sandman.
In 2012, the current Venom, Flash Thompson, would get his own rogues gallery collection who would go by the name of the Savage Six. Much like Spider-Man, this group of bad guys were brought together for the sole purpose of killing Venom, and it nearly worked.
Roster: Crime Master, Toxin, Jack O'Lantern, Human Fly, Megatak, and Death Adder.
The Superior Spider-Man comic series saw Doctor Octopus finally get the upper hand over his long-time nemesis, resulting in his mind being implanted in the body of Peter Parker. As he gained more power, he began “collecting” previous members of his super villain group and utilized mind control to make sure they would do his bidding. He dubbed them “The Superior Six.”
Roster: Spider-Man, Electro, Sandman, Chameleon, Mysterion, and Vulture.
Superior Foes of Spider-Man
Marvel would later go on to publish a new comic series focusing on a brand new “Sinister Six” that was composed primarily of B and C level villains. Though they call themselves the Sinister Six, there were only ever five members of the group. The group did fight Spider-Man at one point but have gone up against other Marvel Universe villains much more often.
Roster: Beetle, Boomerang, Overdrive, Shocker, and Speed Demon.
Six Most Sinister
In 2000, Marvel debuted a new “elseworlds” series titled
Avataars: Covenant of the Shield, which pictured the Marvel Universe in a fantastical medieval world. The group fought against the “Webslinger of the Webwood” and consisted of alternate versions of Kraven the Hunter, Electro, Mysterio, Sandman, Vulture, and Doctor Octopus.
Roster: Huntsman, Jolt, Mysterium, Sandstorm, Talon, and Tentaclus.
In 2006, a four issue mini-series titled
Spider-Man: Reign propelled the wall crawler 30 years into the future and gave him his own grim-dark futuristic tale, not unlike Batman's The Dark Knight Returns. Dubbed “The Sinner Six” in this storyline, the group of rogues were set free by the mayor of New York City and were promised a pardon for all their crimes if they can successfully defeat Spider-Man.
Roster: Electro, Mysterio, Kraven the Hunter, The Sandman, Scorpion and Hydro-Man.
Marvel Zombies Dead Days
The Sinister Six even made an appearance in the fan-favorite “Marvel Zombies” comics as well. Their first appearance was the
Marvel Zombies: Dead Days one shot, which saw them attacking bystanders on the S.H.I.E.L.D. hellicarrier.
Roster: Doctor Octopus, Green Goblin, Vulture, Sandman, Electro, and Mysterio.
Marvel Zombies Return
Marvel Zombies Return Spider-Man one shot saw the infected wall crawler enter an alternate dimension and quickly rip apart and partially eat most of the group.
Roster: Doctor Octopus, Sandman, Vulture, Mysterio, Electro, and Kraven the Hunter.
Spider-Man the Animated Series
The group appeared in the very popular 1994 animated series of Spider-Man, but instead went by the name the “Insidious Six.” It's said that the word “Sinister” was considered too menacing for a children's program, but that remains unconfirmed. In the series, the group wasn't formed by Doctor Octopus, but instead the Kingpin, who would later replace member Mysterio with the Vulture when the group was reformed many episodes later.
Roster: Doctor Octopus, Mysterio, Shocker, Chameleon, Rhino and Scorpion.
The Spectacular Spider-Man
The 2008 animated series
The Spectacular Spider-Man had a few versions of the Sinister Six, the first of which was successful in causing Spider-Man to retreat, only to be later defeated by his symbiote-controlled body later.
Roster: Doctor Octopus, Sandman, Shocker, Vulture, Rhino and Electro.
The latest animated Spider-Man series also introduced its own Sinister Six, which, unlike the “Ultimate Spider-Man” comic series, wasn't put together by the Green Goblin and never counted the webhead among the ranks, though they did employ mind control to use The Lizard as their sixth member.
Roster: Doctor Octopus, Electro, Rhino, Kraven the Hunter, Beetle, and The Lizard.
Spider-Man: Return of the Sinister Six
The 1992 NES game
Spider-Man: Return of the Sinister Six was the first inclusion of the characters as the group in a video game. Much like their early appearances in the comics, the player never fights the group as a whole but instead takes on the individual members one at a time.
Roster: Electro, Sandman, Mysterio, Vulture, Hobgoblin and Doctor Octopus.
Spider-Man 2: Sinister Six
The 2001 Game Boy Color game
Spider-Man 2: The Sinister Six saw the group appear in a game once again, and like their previous game, the players only fought the villains individually.
Roster: Doctor Octopus, Mysterio, Sandman, Vulture, Scorpion, and Kraven.
Sinister Six Novel Trilogy
Starting in 1999, author Adam-Troy Castro would release the first of his “Sinister Six” Spider-Man novels with
Spider-Man: The Gathering of the Sinister Six. Two more novels, Spider-Man: Revenge of the Sinister Six and Spider-Man: The Secret of the Sinister Six, would be released in 2001 and 2002, respectively. The novels introduced the character “The Gentleman” as the creator of the team, who it is said could have a place in the group's formation on the big screen.
Roster: Doctor Octopus, the Vulture, Electro, Mysterio, the Chameleon, and Pity.
Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark
The infamous Spider-Man musical had its very own version of the group. Put together by the Green Goblin, the group featured some rather unlikely members and even included a brand new character.
Roster: Electro, Carnage, Swarm, Kraven the Hunter, Lizard, and Swiss Miss.
The Sinister Six film
Not much is known about the upcoming
The Sinister Six film, other than that The Cabin in the Woods' Drew Goddard will write and direct the feature and that we can expect to see it on the big screen before The Amazing Spider-Man 4.
Producer Avi Arad had the following to say about the planned film: “Everybody's looking for redemption. They're unforgiven… As long as there's that one thing in common: they'll hate Spider-Man. They'll hate him because he's so different from them. But then, you know when you sit by yourself somewhere and you think about it, they all had a different life at one time and that's what's so beautiful about the Spider-Man universe."
found during the end credits of a new tease The Amazing Spider-Man 2 points to the potential members of the cinematic Sinister Six, including Green Goblin, Doctor Octopus, Vulture, Rhino, Kraven the Hunter and Mysterio.
Update: As of February 9, 2015, Marvel Studios and Sony have agreed to work hand in hand on the Spider-Man franchise bringing him into the Marvel Cinematic Universe. As a result, The Sinister Six film has been canceled as a result.