Or – “Amazon Meets Criminal Vermin… This Oughtta Be Good.”
Recent issues of Secret Six have introduced the character of Jeannette, a super-strong, nigh-invulnerable woman who seems to be a banshee of legend.Â She is several orders of magnitude more powerful than any of the other members of the Six, and has performed feats of strength that dwarf anything the other members of the team are capable of…Â But, as Qui-Gon Jinn was heard to remark, ‘there’s always a bigger fish.’Â
Previously, on Secret Six:Â The members of the Secret Six (Catman, Rag Doll, Deadshot, Bane, Scandal Savage and Jeannette the Banshee) have been through metaphorical hell (in protecting a card that provides egress from the literal one) and were thus understandably trepidatious about taking on their new gig, working security in the jungle for a madman who seems intent on creating the perfect prison, and using slave labor to do it.Â The depths of their new boss’ depravity have created a rift within the Six, with half the team ready to walk, and the other half willing to stick it out for a sufficiently enormous payday.Â Complications have arisen, though, in that one of the slaves is the warrior woman of the Amazon Bana Mighdall tribe (and former bearer of the mantle of Wonder Woman)Â Artemis.Â Her presence has brought an even bigger problem to the fore, as former Princess Diana, the CURRENT Wonder Woman has arrived, and has a bone to pick with the team (probably one of their vertebrae, if she holds to her normal tactics) about the current state of her sister, and about the proclivities of their less-than-savory boss.Â And did I mention that Jeannette apparently hates Amazons?
“Who killed my sister Artemis?” demands Wonder Woman of the stunned team, who only seconds ago stopped fighting one another…Â Â “Go to hell, Amazon,” is Jeannette’s curt reply, and for a moment there is calm, as the combatants assess one another.Â Deadshot remarks that if he opens fire, she’ll just do the whole “bullets and bloomers” thing, and Wonder Woman calmly replies that he’s free to attempt it.Â “Assuming you don’t mind being a castrati afterwards, of course.”Â Heh…Â Deadshot thinks for a moment, and just as it seems like he’s going to do the smart thing, he rains a hail of bullets on Wonder Woman.Â With hostilities opened, Wonder Woman starts manhandlin the team, dropping Deadshot with a backhand, and punching Jeannette THROUGH a nearby building.Â When asked for his plan, Catman shrugs, “Stand here and try not to bleed on her, I guess.”Â Double Heh…Â I love Gail’s dialogue throughout this entire sequence, comparing the squalid nature of the Six to Wonder Woman’s straight-forward heroism.Â Realizing how incredibly outgunned they are, Jeannette and Scandal come to the decision that it’s time for rash action.Â Scandal grabs her partners, and tells them to run, and when asked about their Banshee, replies, “She’s…Â She’s going to do something bad.”
After taking a serious beating from Diana, Jeannette is still defiant of the princess, answering her question about Artemis by theorizing that she’s been sold into sex slavery.Â “First time in history, one of your people might actually do somethin of VALUE for the world.”Â Wonder Woman continues beating the snot out of her, until Jeannette finally responds.Â “You asked…Â what kind of monster am I.Â Let me SHOW you.”Â She transforms fully into her Banshee form (which looks very much like Silver Banshee, the old Superman foe, which is a very nice touch) and screams the song of her death.Â Her story involves a drunken executioner who couldn’t quite get the blade to sink through her neck, having to repeat his strikes until he finally kills her.Â Even Diana is fells by this horrible retelling, feeling the pain of each missed slash, until she finally died.Â Her magic having defeated Diana, the Six return to their own disagreement, with Bane, Scandal and Jeannette heading one way, and Catman, Deadshot and Rag Doll staying to finish the job.Â Each of them takes an Amazon with them as they go, and while Artemis wakes up and starts her own ultra-violence, Wonder Woman ends up being prepared to be fed to “The Beast,” a monster that their mysterious master keeps chained in the basement.Â “Please meet my friend, The Devil.”
The real star of this issue is Gail’s dialogue, going from wonderful (after Wonder Woman threatens to castrate Deadshot, Rag Doll explains how he doesn’t miss his “boys,” and how there are now flavored substitutes) to horrifying (the description of Jeannette’s death) to sad (as Scandal explains to Bane that he needs to Venom up again.)Â The entire issue takes place over the space of about twenty minutes or so, and the battle sequence is quite well-handled, given the imbalance of power levels involved.Â I’m still unclear on the real reasoning behind the creation of this prison, with it’s “Nine Circles of Hell” theme, and I’m wondering where this split will leave the team after this mission is over, but overall it’s a good issue, with Nicola Scott once again delivering some of the most wonderful (and overlooked) art that the Big Two has to offer, as she does month after month.Â Secret Six is an overlooked gem of a title, and Secret Six #12 earns an impressiveÂ 4 out of 5 stars overall.Â Here’s hoping that Gail and Nicola continue working together for a very long time…