It’s not really Secret Society #1, it’s more like Owlman #1 or Outsider #1. But while it doesn’t offer a whole lot in the Secret Society department it does give us a glimpse at what’s sure to be a pretty big part of the next issue of Forever Evil and plenty of interesting things to discuss regarding the world of Earth 3.

While the cover may show AMAZO and Copperhead and give you the sense that this will be about the band of villains who got the Forever Evil ball rolling in the first place, it actually deals with the Outsider exclusively. However, this isn’t really so much the Outsider’s story– although he narrates it– but Owlman’s story. In this issue you’ll learn about his approach to bringing order to Gotham, his relationship with Talon (the Dick Grayson of Earth 3), and what the dynamic was like between Owlman and the Joker. You won’t get all the answers and you may even end up with more questions by the end of it all, but Geoff Johns & Sterling Gates’ Secret Society #1 is definitely a thought provoking issue that’s sure to stir up opinions and a little fan debate.

Szymon Kudranski’s unique art style also proves to be a much better fit for the world of Earth 3 than it did for last week’s Scarecrow #1. His dark and foreboding style that emphasizes shadows creates a terrific atmosphere and drives the point home of what an awful place Earth 3 must be but there are still a number of pages that look inconsistent or downright lazy. In some instances the lack of detail works, but in others it just looks like we’re cutting corners. One page features the same image of a silhouette repeated 3 times and on that same page there’s a panel of Wonder Woman and Owlman that looks just plain bad (look to her chest and Owlman’s arm). There is also a character who loses his hand midway through the book but in a number of panels from then on his hand is back until one final panel in which it’s missing again. The action scenes are still quite static and some panels are kind of difficult to make-out, but thankfully the story wasn’t as reliant on backgrounds and fight scenes as last week’s issue and his work fit the ominous tone of the book.

Recommended If…

  • You’re fascinated by the alternate universe of Earth 3
  • You loved Forever Evil #1
  • You’d like to know more about this alternate take on Gotham
  • You like Szymon Kudranski’s dark, atmospheric artwork

Overall

While calling it “Secret Society #1” does feel a bit like false advertising what with only 1/3 of the characters on the cover making an appearance at all, this is still one of the more important Villains Month books and it makes for nice supplemental material to the Forever Evil event.

SCORE: 7.5/10