Secret Six #7 “There’s Something at the Door, Darling”
Written by Gail Simone
Art by Dale Eaglesham and Tom Derenick
Colors by Jason Wright
Now this is what I’m talking about! Secret Six has been getting under my skin lately due to its inconsistency. If I were to say that the plot of the first arc were all over the place, it would be an understatement. Thankfully, Simone does a damn good job writing characters, and managed to keep them interesting enough to hold my attention throughout the first arc. That’s behind us now, and we can finally “start fresh.”
I hoped for a distinct change, and it feels like that’s what we received. Everything in this issue feels different, except for a few scenes where the quirkiness of the characters shine through. The biggest change I noticed was that for the first time since the second issue, this book felt like it had a purpose. It didn’t feel like it was just a popular brand that DC was releasing to appease readers. Instead, a new plot was presented, it contained a relevant problem, and it reached across the entire DC Universe. Which is exactly what this book needed. If Secret Six expected to redeem itself, then the team would have to encounter a problem that was large enough in scope to warrant them staying together… and that’s exactly what we get.
Throughout the first arc, Black Alice’s powers were going haywire. She doesn’t have full control of her abilities yet, so there were times when she appeared to have a grasp on them, times where she had no control at all, and times where she exerted so much energy that it would completely drain her of her life force. Nothing seemed dire about it at the time. In fact, I assumed it was going to be a long-term plot to allow room for her character’s growth. Well, that’s not exactly the case. There’s more to it than her controlling her abilities… Way more.
The power she’s channeling has caught the attention of numerous mystics across the world. And when I say numerous, I mean nearly every magical character in the DC universe… Yes, you read that correctly… Nearly every magical character in the DC Universe. It’s like a who’s who of anyone tied to the occult or mystics. I would list names, but there’s A LOT, and it would somewhat ruin the fun of reading this issue. What I will tell you is that they’ve come together to decide what to do concerning the effect Black Alice’s powers are having on the magical community, and on magic in general. Effects that are bringing the good and bad together, and could potentially change magic forever.
Be warned, there are spoilers below.
The Art: Eaglesham and Derenick both pull art duties in this issue, and it’s honestly hard to tell the difference between the two. As a reader, there’s nothing worse than noticing a distinct difference in the art. It’s distracting, and tends to pull me out of the story, so thankfully, these two don’t do that… unfortunately, Jason Wrights color choices do. I’ve commented on this before, but there are times when this book looks like two different books strictly due to the colors. Everything we see with the various magical characters all contains a darker, rich color scheme… The moment we see members of the six, the colors shift to a bright, vibrant scheme that jolts the tone of the story a different direction upon first site. Considering this issue jumps back and forth between both groups, by the end of the issue, I felt like I had visual whiplash.
The Good: The characters make this book! Catman and Strix have created a relationship that I’ve really come to enjoy, and I really what to see it continue to blossom. While I really enjoy the oddity that tends to occur between these two (the basketball game in this issue was a riot, even if I saw it coming from a mile away), I would love to see more heartfelt, grounded moments. I don’t want them to be an item (ever), I just think they have a lot of similarities that extend from the basic concept of survival, and because of that, have an immense amount of respect for one another. I strongly believe that they are also drawn by a deep desire of having someone to rely on, or have support them – as Catman speaks to in this book. All of these characters are misfits, and that, ultimately, is what keeps them together.
The other two characters that have really grown on me are Ralph and Black Alice. This has more to do with Ralph, and how protective he is of Black Alice, almost as if he were her father. Hopefully we can continue to separate him from his wife so we can forget how crazy he was around her, and upon up to him a little more. I also don’t mind Porcelain, but it’s intrigue to learn more about him… her… I’m not sure which pronoun is appropriate, but just know there’s a desire to know more about this character.
There is quite a bit of exposition in this issue, but I’m not too bothered by that considering the story the creative team is trying to tell. I will admit that due to the exposition, not much happens, and when I reached the end, I was left wanting to know where they plan on taking this story. What carries this story, is what’s been carrying this book: potential. Previously Secret Six had potential due to its characters and the fact that it can take more risks than other titles at DC, but the plot wasn’t there. Now it appears as though the plot is rising to meet the quality of the rest of the book, and that should lead to magical things.
Nearly every magical character in the universe has come together to figure out how to stop/destroy Black Alice because she could end the world and magic… Think about that. Phantom Stranger, Zatana, Klarion, Etrigan, Swamp Thing, Solstice… I mean, this is pretty epic for a book that’s not in the middle of a main event!
The Bad: Somebody kill the Ventriloquist! Please! I’d rather have Ragdoll!
- You never knew you wanted to see Catman try to teach Strix how to play basketball.
- Your favorite characters are those of the mystical variety.
- You’ve been hoping for a plot to justify the team’s unity.
Overall: Simone and team have been fumbling for months now, and desperately needed to find their footing. This issue does just that, and will hopefully be the first of many to build momentum for this title. This book finally has a direction and a purpose, two things that, along with the already great characters, will drive this book’s success for a good while!