The forces of magic have been put back in place. Mostly… Kinda… But now, a new threat comes for the Secret Six, one that wants only one thing: Strix. Your Major Spoilers review of Secret Six #12 awaits!
Previously in Secret Six: At the end of last issue, the Secret Six were scattered, as Catman dealt with Batgirl and Big Shot, The Ventriloquist and Black Alice fell before the precision strikes of a new foe. But only one member of the team has even the slightest shred of a chance in one-on-one combat, because the name of this enemy is… Lady Shiva.
A DEVIL IN SUBURBIA
The issue opens with a truly lovely moment, a one-page vignette featuring Scandal, Knockout and Liana discussing something very important which may or may not involve Catman’s DNA. Cut to the Dibny home in suburbia, where Lady Shiva effortlessly takes out the entire police force in seconds. Of serious note is the redesign of Shiva’s fighting togs, which look flat-out awesome, especially when she starts fighting. Batgirl and Catman arrive to defend Strix from Shiva, only to find that they are both far out of their league (no pun intended.) Speaking of League, Shiva brings greetings from one comprised of Assassins, who want Strix for her knowledge of the Court Of Owls, and she has a simple offer: If Strix wants her friends to live, she will join Shiva in the shadows of Murderville. It’s a truly terrible choice, and one that Strix quickly makes to save her makeshift family…
As with many Gail Simone-written books, the true joy is in the character interactions: Catman’s quiet acceptance that both Batgirl and Strix are more capable than he, Big Shot’s big reunion, and most of all, Batgirl giving Strix/Mary her boots as a going-away gift, after Mary expressed her love of them earlier. The last few pages of the issue feature the remaining members of the Six weighing whether to face Death to get their friend back. It’s all wonderful stuff, but it has a tinge of sadness and finality to it, especially when Sue Dibny arrives, having regained her memory after the Riddler’s brainwashing. Maybe it’s the Rebirth announcement talking, but this all feels like buildup to a last issue, and when Ferdie, of all people, expresses that it’s time to save their sister, even his partners are taken aback. The last page of the issue features a moment that I’ve been looking forward to since the first hints about Big Shot’s identity, but it’s another moment that feels like we’re building up to the end…
THE BOTTOM LINE: HE’S BACK! HE’S BACK! HE’S BACK!
In short, there’s lots to love here for the fan of complex and touching character interaction, and the art by both Derenick and Eaglesham is excellent, to the point where I didn’t even notice the transition between pencillers on my first read-through. Even with the shadows of maybe-the-last-issue in the corners of the story, this is a good read, and Secret Six #12 is pretty excellent, earning a well-deserve 4.5 out of 5 stars overall. When a random group of characters can be forged into something this wonderful, you have to hope that the book will keep going forever (even if you’re pretty sure that it won’t.)