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If you read this blog or listen to the podcast it’s no secret that I am a huge fan of Gail Simone’s Secret Six. From their very first appearance in Infinite Crisis it was clear that this was a very different comic team. A more than worthy successor to the brilliant 90s team book, Ostrander’s Suicide Squad, Secret Six pushed the boundaries of violence and sex more than any other book at DC. Twisted, I think, is a good word to describe it. Through good writing and some of the best character dialogue in comics, it was able to walk the dangerously thin line between humor and drama. Comics is really a little worse off due to the loss of this fantastic book.
Bow to Scandal and then click through to see a familiar face!
The latest trade of Secret Six, Secret Six: Cats in the Cradle, is out today and I highly recommend it. I named “Secret Six” the best ongoing comic of 2010 and this volume contains the bulk of the issues that led me to selecting it. At this point, I might as well get a tatoo with the words, “Go read Secret Six, it’s one of the best books on the market” for all the times I’ve said it. Seriously, this is the best team book being published by DC.
But if you won’t listen to me, listen to her—Gail Simone:
Sorry if this is shameless, but, well, I can’t help it this one time.
One of my favorite tpb collections of my work ever comes out today. Secret Six: Cats in the Cradle.
I love the mix in this collection. It has the critically acclaimed title arc, a story that shows Catman still has a lot of demons left in him. I’m terribly proud of this story, and I think it’s some of Jim’s best work ever, as an artist.
There’s a fun John Ostrander one-off story, a take on the Most Dangerous Game, only where the SIX make lousy targets.
And there’s one of my favorite single issues ever, the much-talked-about Secret Six Western issue, the UNFORGIVABLE.
If you’ve been curious to try the Secret Six, and see what’s going on in one of the wrongest books on the stands, this is a great tpb to try. You won’t need previous volumes to understand it, and the stories are all complete in this tpb.
I hope you’ll give it a try. If you do, please let me know what you thought, I’d love to hear!
Check out this incredible Secret Six set of custom figures. They are so great Nicola Scott and Gail Simone give them the thumbs up. You can see just how intricate the builders work is here. That Jeanette is amazing!
From the December solicit of Action Comics #896 by Paul Cornell
Part 1 of a 2-part crossover with the Secret Six! Lex Luthor doesn’t want to get his hands dirty fighting Vandal Savage (that Black Ring energy ain’t gonna find itself!), so he hires Savage’s daughter Scandal and her Secret Six team to take the immortal villain down for him! Continued in SECRET SIX #29!
I have been waiting for Scandal to run into Daddy Dearest, this should be fun. And by fun I mean sick and twisted.
If you haven’t read Secret Six by Gail Simone this week, please just go buy it. This month’s issue, “Unforgivable”, is an “Elseworlds” like tale that has the Six trying to be heroes in the old West. A spaghetti Western combined with the loonies of the Six? There’s gold in them thar pages (but not apparently in Jeanette’s … ahem). This is an incredibly fun issue particularly if you read the first arc of the series. And it has Jeanette and Deadshot in the bathtub, um, well it can’t be getting clean because the panel is so dirty. Scandal is the town sheriff. Deadshot is every Clint Eastwood cowboy character ever but with his snarky personality. Ragdoll … has puppets — what more needs to be said than that?
Jim Califiore does his strongest work to date in this issue. I’ve said it before, this is the best team book that DC has right now.
The issue made me pull out my copy of another “Elseworlds” set in the old west “Justice Riders” by Chuck Dixon with art by J.H. Williams. In this one, Wonder Woman is the sheriff (and is it wrong to hope for some fan fiction that involves, say, Sheriff Scandal and Sheriff Diana?) and she teams up with some other familiar faces, including Wally West for some cowboy fun. Here’s a glimpse of the team:
Doesn’t Wonder Woman look great? Clearly J.H. Williams need to draw her again in book. Perhaps when Diana gets back onto the same timeline as everyone else she can visit Gotham City and Batwoman. (And get that drink that Kate offered in Wonder Woman 600). Also see how great the boots look with the black pants? You would think that the cowboy Diana would have the pony shoes but no it’s “grim and gritty Diana” - please Jim Lee and Don Cramer, fix those boots. The story is pretty standard cowboy fare except that everyone is a JLA member. You get Ted as the gadget guy, J’onn as the Clint Eastwood man with no name, etc. Clark is even in it at the end as a reporter. But mostly you get Diana being a kick ass leader. Justice Riders is out of print but you can pick up copies online and at comic shops and shows for fairly cheap.
This issue of Secret Six and The Last Family of Krypton that was also out this week make me wish DC would go back to regularly issuing “Elseworlds” titles. They’re fun and because they are out of continuity can use characters that might not be currently in a book. I certainly would enjoy seeing, for example, “Cassandra Cain: The Fastest Gun in the West”. What are some of your favorite “Elseworlds”?
I thought this was going to be the Birds of Prey. Of course I adore them but I’m not sure they’re what I think a team should be — a set of equals. There can be a leader, of course, but the leader shouldn’t overshadow the rest of the team. And right now when I think of the Birds, I think of Oracle, then Dinah and then everybody else.
So currently my favorite team is the Secret Six who appear in one of the best books being published by DC right now. The Six consist of legacy second-tier rogues (Catman, Deadshot and Bane), original characters developed by Gail Simone (Scandal Savage, Jeanette, Black Alice) and Ragdoll, a character that defies description.
A team of mercenaries who take on jobs for hire the Six regularly dive into illegal and morally murky waters. Their adventures provide good action and plot twists but the real fun is the dynamics of the team. They are friends, they are enemies, they are lovers and former lovers and in the case of Bane and Scandal, a fun house version of father and daughter. But everyone on the team has each others back. Except Ragdoll who may have everyone’s back and front given his “bendy” body. Their interactions drip with black humor and the relationships shift from issue to issue and sometimes from page to page or even panel to panel. But be warned, these are not good people although they may occasionally do good things. The Six are vicious murderers and thieves. But despite that they come across as likable and I find myself regularly rooting and caring for them.That’s because every character is so fully fleshed out. In fact, there is so much good character writing in this book that, at times, it makes me heady.
Another thing I like about the Six is that they transcend the usual team parameters in comics. The leader, Scandal Savage, is an out and proud lesbian. She sets the team’s agenda and books their jobs. But she isn’t just the brains of the group, she’s an equal protagonist to the male members and just as deadly. The only thing I would tweak about the Six is to be have a more varied ethnic make-up. The original team featured Cheshire but since then the team has consisted of whites and Hispanics. The sixth member of the team changes regularly so that is probably an eventuality. Otherwise they are sickeningly perfect.