REVIEW: Secret Six #35


Or – “A Weird Sense of Bittersweet Ennui…”

I only wish I had done this review yesterday, if only to get the creepy Gary Busey eyes out of the rotating slide more quickly…

Writer: Gail Simone
Artist: Jim Calafiore
Colorist: John Kalisz
Letterer: Travis Lanham
Editor: Rachel Gluckstern
Publisher: DC Comics
Cover Price: $2.99

Previously, on Secret Six:  The Secret Six has been to hell and back, quite literally, in the last few issues.  The journey has left all of them changed, as Scandal has regained her lost love, Ragdoll has been forced to face his own baser desires, while Deadshot likes to shoot the hell out of people and King Shark is a SHARK!  Knockout is back from the dead, Jeannette is still dead, and Bane…  Well, apparently, Bane is jealous of her.

The End Is Near…

The opening of this issue is particularly marvelous, as Bane (running barefoot in the Vermont snow) is suddenly confronted by Catman, who assures Bane that he’s not trying to ambush him.  “If it had been an ambush,” replies a deadpan Bane, “you would be dead already.”  Heh…  Catman turns to leave, and Bane, incredibly, asks him for his help.  Their conversation quickly turns into a sparring match, and I once again have to chuckle as they battle, with Bane discussing emotions and such while Catman beats on him.  Back in the House of Secrets, the two couples on the team are having very different mornings:  Jeannette and Deadshot are reacquainting themselves (on the breakfast table…  Eww…) while Knockout and Scandal have to come to terms with the fact that Knockout is not the woman she once was.  What’s most amazing is the economy with which writer Simone gives us the insights we need on each character, right up to an embarrassed King Shark interrupting Jeanette and Floyd so that he can raid the refrigerator.  There’s a palpable sense of closure in every panel, and even if you didn’t know about the pending DC relaunch (you did hear about the DC relaunch, right?) you’d know that change is in the air…

The Game’s Afoot!

The battle between Bane and Catman becomes deadly serious, and Bane reveals what his trip to hell taught him:  He never really broke the Bat.  And now, he intends to rectify that error.  The Six set off to find the man who Bane knows will give them an in, leading to the glorious sight of King Shark running into machine-gun fire singing his theme song (“I’m a shark, I’m a shark, I’m a mother&$$&ing SHARK!”) as the Six finally, completely spirals down the drain.  Bane is unsuccessful in beating the information he needs out of the special guest star, and even Jeannette (who has been dead since the 16th century or so) realizes that things are out of control.  For the last couple of issues, she has been talking ominously of the smell of death, and damned if the creators aren’t able to imbue that awful forboding into the pages of the book.  We end with the increasingly-inappropriately named Secret Six drafting their ninth member as we lead into the grand finale of it all.  Given that we only have foreknowledge of where a couple of our team members will be come relaunch, I don’t hold high hopes that everyone will survive this ‘n.

The Verdict: Gail Simone, Will You Marry Me?

Well, not literally.  I’m sure my wife would have something to say about that, and it’s a pretty stalkery sort of sentiment…  but then, it’s kind of appropriate for a book like this.  Secret Six succeeds where many previous titles have failed in that the creators have put together a team so dysfunctional that you BELIEVE that the worst could happen, and given the events that have already occurred, you don’t really expect that everyone will survive the final issue.  It’s a book about damaged personalities who don’t even know what it is that they’re doing wrong, and when they realize their errors (as Bane claims to this month) they even get that wrong.  Secret Six #35 is excellent, and I have high hopes that next issues denouement will leave me at a place where I’m satisfied how it all closes up, leading to 4.5 out of 5 stars overall.  Given the general lack of endings in comics, I’m looking forward to seeing how this all comes together…  or maybe comes to pieces.

Rating: ★★★★½

Faithful Spoilerite Question Of The Day:  Is it odd that I’m more excited to see these characters blow right the $&@# up than I am depressed?