Or – “Hey, What’s The Deal With Luthor?”

Originally formed by Lex Luthor, the members of the Secret Six really ought to know better than to work for him (or, honestly, to trust him at all) by this point.  Of course, where there’s cash on the line, Scandal and company will follow, putting them between their evil old boss and one of their evil old daddies.  It makes you wonder if these guys can even go to the store without a major disaster…

SECRET SIX #29 – “What Luthor Has Wrought…”
Writer: Gail Simone
Penciller: Marcos Marz
Inker: Luciana Delnegro
Colorist: Jason Wright
Letterer: Travis Lanham
Cover Artist: Daniel Luvisi
Publisher: DC Comics
Price: $2.99

Previously, on Secret Six:  It’s been a rough few months for the Secret Six, as Catman’s son was kidnapped by a bunch of schmucks who quickly learned why you don’t cross somebody who survived multiple shots at Batman.  But the decision to follow him in his personal vendetta split the six apart, and caused Bane and Jeannette to form their OWN Secret Six, inevitably leading to both teams clashing in the hidden world of Skartaris.  Now reunited, the seven members of the Secret Six (it’s complicated) have taken on a contract from former President Lex Luthor, working as his bodyguards during a negotiation with the immortal Vandal Savage.  The team is still healing from their recent shattering and rebirth, what do you think their odds of survival are standing between the DCU’s greatest badasses?  (Apologies to Ra’s Al Ghul and Aquaman…)

You’re A Bald-Faced Liar!

That is one beautiful cover, with a Jeannette who looks like the girl from Zack & Miri Make A Porno, a Scandal who looks a bit Natalie Portman-esque, and realistic painting…  The only real issues is that the “6” on the skull looks an awful lot like a lock of curly hair, making it resemble the skull of Charlie Brown to me.  The story opens with the hysterically disgusting image of a half-naked Rag Doll dressed in a toga and flying about like an angel, explaining that the team is all dead now, and this is how it happened.  I don’t believe him for a second, mind you, but it’s a funny bit anyway.  Vandal Savage has come after Lex because his astrologer told him that Luthor was somehow key to the most joyful moment of his life, and also that his zodiac sign has changed (to Lobo, the sign of the wolf!)  Luthor, for his part, is truly acid-tongued and condescending throughout, an excellent portrayal of the character by Gail Simone, even explaining that he doesn’t care about his own paid assassins, then turning to Deadshot with a callow “No offense.  “Hey, you’re rolling, stuff gets said,” replies Deadshot.  Heh…

Vandal has a bomb, Luthor has a forcefield, and Black Alice has a moment of near-pants-wetting terror (as any sixteen-year-old caught between Savage and Luthor should) leading to a massive explosion and Rag Doll telling us that they’re all dead.  The END!  It’s funny that the narration is clearly lying to us, something that requires a very good writer to pull off, as we see the team turning the tide (sort of) while the hairy guy and the hairless guy figure out that the price of their interaction is a yacht full of rum.  There’s also some quietly touching moments as Scandal talks about growing up as the daughter of a complete lunatic, the story of how her mom died and what happened on her ninth birthday.  The interior art is a bit stiffer than I’m used to on this book (still miss the hell out of Nicola Scott’s delicate-but-dangerous Scandal and twisted Rag Doll) but it does the job ably, never detracting from the proceedings, even though it doesn’t have the unique line of regular artist Calafiore…

But Am It Art?

Overall, this issue’s crossover with Action Comics is probably deigned as a jumping-on point, a place where Superman/Luthor readers have a chance to get some exposure to DC’s most character-driven protagonists (they’re still not quite heroes, even after all these months.)  It gives you insight to nearly everybody (Catman and Jeannette are pretty much just along for the ride), it gives you clever dialogue, and it reminds me of just how much fun these characters are.  My great fear is that somehow this book will be absorbed into the Bat-books and become just another Birds of Prey, but so far, things are still going well for the Secret Six.  This issue isn’t the most flashy or impressive of the title, but it makes its case clearly and gives you everything you need to get a foot in the door.  Secret Six #29 earns a solid 3.5 out of 5 stars overall, doing it’s thing well and without fanfare…

Rating: ★★★½☆

Faithful Spoilerite Question Of The Day:  Seriously, how in the world is Luthor not in a federal prison for the rest of his life?

The Author

Matthew Peterson

Matthew Peterson

Once upon a time, there was a young nerd from the Midwest, who loved Matter-Eater Lad and the McKenzie Brothers... If pop culture were a maze, Matthew would be the Minotaur at its center. Were it a mall, he'd be the Food Court. Were it a parking lot, he’d be the distant Cart Corral where the weird kids gather to smoke, but that’s not important right now... Matthew enjoys body surfing (so long as the bodies are fresh), writing in the third person, and dark-eyed women. Amongst his weaponry are such diverse elements as: Fear! Surprise! Ruthless efficiency! An almost fanatical devotion to pop culture!

And a nice red uniform.

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6 Comments

  1. Ricco
    January 19, 2011 at 9:01 pm — Reply

    “Seriously, how in the world is Luthor not in a federal prison for the rest of his life?” Same way half the celebreties in the world stay out of prison = money, tons and tons of money. Plus he has knowledge and contacts at all levels of the governement and in the criminal world.

    • TaZ
      January 20, 2011 at 11:04 am — Reply

      True. Luthor is the “super-villain” equivalent of Batman. His powers are in his intellect, will and ability to intimidate others, just turned in the opposite direction of Bruce Wayne. It’s a testament that the two most recognized “villains” in the DCU are not “real” meta-humans but a complete uber-manipulator (Luthor) and a total psychopath (Joker).

  2. John I.G.
    January 22, 2011 at 4:11 pm — Reply

    So, i guess I’ll finally take the plunge, and try out a DC book.

    • January 24, 2011 at 9:40 am — Reply

      Read it from the beginning of this run, volume 3. V2 is good, but the scene with th skinheads in the bodega tells you all you need to know about the six.

      http://www.dccomics.com/dcu/graphic_novels/?gn=12116

      • TS
        April 7, 2012 at 11:19 pm — Reply

        That is one of my favorite comic book scenes ever. Deadshot stealing cigarettes is priceless. Simone is unparallelled in the industry.

  3. January 24, 2011 at 10:00 am — Reply

    Gail nailed it, Cornell set her up pretty good.

    I wasn’t so into the last run, with them at the center of the earth, or whatever. What works for the six is; while if Wonder Woman fought, say Cheetah, she would kick her ass, but if I, and all my friends and my high school graduating class, and everybody on my block fought Cheetah, she would beat the holy hell out of us.

    Guys like Catman and Ragdoll seem weak by DCU standards, but placed in the real world and compared to regular people, they are the badest badasses you would ever meet, ever, in your life.

    That’s why putting them in that magical dinosaur land thing, undercut their mojo. It was cool in a sharks with lasers on their heads way, but it wasn’t quite the six.

    I’m a little nervous about Simone. Birds of Prey just isn’t coming together. She may be overworked. You can’t blame her, it’s hard being completely fantastically awesome indefinitely. This next six arc will be the test.

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