Secret Six #1

by Alan Rapp on December 10, 2014

in Comics

Secret Six #1Spring of 1980. That’s the first time I picked up a comic book, and the first Batman story I ever read was Batman #323 which featured both Batman and Catwoman being bested by lesser-known villain known as Catman. Needless to say I was an immediate fan. Sadly, the following two decades weren’t kind to the character who resurfaced in 2005 as the break-out star of DC’s Villains United giving birth to the first iteration of the Secret Six.

With the new Secret Six #1 Gail Simone returns to the comic (along with her run on the original Birds of Prey) which made me a lifelong fan of her work, albeit through the craptastic lens of DC’s New 52 filter. Playing on similar themes of the Six being brought together and controlled by an unknown master called Mockingbird, Secret Six #1 opens with Catman being kidnapped and locked-up with a group of five others and tortured by a mysterious voice who wants answers to a question that has yet to be asked.

The first issue doesn’t sell me immediately on the series, but (unlike so much of the New 52) doesn’t immediately turn me off of beloved characters, either.

Although professionally done, I’m not a big fan of Ken Lashley’s art in this issue (more fitting for a Vertigo horror title) much preferring the work of the previous series’ artists Nicola Scott and Jim Calafiore which found a way to balance the characters’ rough actions with some beautifully drawn panels. And although we see moments of the lion hidden beneath, I’m also not quite sold on the whininess of Catman in this first issue (especially if he’s going to be tied to one of those cheap masks and kept out of his rightful tights and cowl).

I’m happy to see Black Alice‘s inclusion in the group but the absences of both Deadshot and Scandal Savage are certainly felt. I’m unsure about the new Ventriloquist (who appears to be a stand-in for Ragdoll’s particular brand of horrible yet lovable awfulness) or the P.I. Big Shot (is he the redshirt to get killed off as soon as possible?), but throwing a Talon into the group feels a bit like DC still milking a character whose five-minutes of fame ended two-years ago. Despite a strong set-up, I think we’re long past time that people admit that Court of Owls wasn’t that good. Worth a look.

[DC, $2.99]

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