Adam reads as many comics as he can afford. Every week he is going to attempt a mini review of one of them, with potential minor spoilers.
This week saw the Not-Really-That-New 52 debut of Secret Six, the much beloved series most recently written by Gail Simone before the relaunch of the DCU back in 2011. Until now the Secret Six has been absent as a series, the closest book to it being the Suicide Squad which has had mixed opinions for both runs over the last 3 years. Now DC comics have brought it back, with Gail Simone again taking over writing duties, pencils from Ken Lashley, who also shared inking with Drew Geraci, colours from Jason Wright and letters from Carlos M. Mangual. Full disclosure: I have never read an issue of Secret Six before. I am a terrible nerd. However, that does mean I can review this first issue on it’s own merits rather than having nostalgia influence what I think.
The issue opens with a group of agents, apparently the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, arriving at a bar to arrest Thomas Blake, aka Catman. The agents, who definitely don’t work for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, get somewhat destroyed before their backup arrives and stuns Blake. He wakes up in a large, dark room with a variety of other weirdos named Porcelain, Big Shot, the new(ish) female Ventriloquist, Strix and Black Alice, and two locked boxes. Any attempt at escape, even discussing it, results in reprimand from their invisible captors, who flash a message on the wall asking the question ‘What is the secret?’. The group are given a count down to provide an answer, or one subject from the ‘experiment’ will be terminated – and they have to choose who.
Gail Simone starts a compelling story here, swiftly introducing the cast of characters and giving a brief look at most of their powers or skills without wasting any time with it. The situation the they find themselves is extreme and confusing (for them), but the mystery is well crafted and the balance of action and dialogue is spot on. The art is scratchy and rough, lending itself well to the differences between the main characters. The backgrounds in the latter half of the issue, taking place inside the coffin-like box, are somewhat lacking but that can easily be attributed to the fact that there are no backgrounds in the featureless room. The strained desperation on the faces, particularly Catman’s as he realises he is trapped, is particularly strong in helping to get across the bleak situation everyone finds themselves in.
Secret Six was a very enjoyable read, and I’m looking forward to seeing where it goes next. I’ve always liked Simone’s writing style, and this was the last push I really needed to motivate me into actually tracking down the pre-reboot series that she worked on (though from what I hear that may be quite difficult). Pick this up at your LCS or digital comics platform thing.
8 Masks out of 10