As I’ve grown up, I’ve learned that your best friends are often the ones that are aware of, and accept, your special kind of crazy. That’s what this book reminds me of at times: that odd relationship that I have with my closest friends. Each of these characters are a little off their rocker (or a lot), and that makes them quite entertaining to read. And with that acknowledged, I’m happy to say that this issue really plays into the relationships between these characters.
So far, Secret Six has spent most of its time focusing its attention on the plot or the characters individually. I don’t state this as a call out, but rather an acknowledgement of something that was needed. Simone and team needed to build a foundation for the team, and establish a reason for them to stick together – a feat that was a bit of an uphill battle considering there wasn’t a driving force behind the team’s long-term unification. In the end, that reasoning came down to the fact that the entire team were (are) misfits in their own right, and that they had nowhere else to go after escaping their capture. It may not seem like much, but when you have no one to turn to and nowhere to go, you can create a pretty strong bond with people that are in a similar situation. Also, stopping the world from ending can play a large role in relationship building as well… Minor detail.
Now, you might be asking yourself, “Josh, how can you say that this book hasn’t focused on the relationships of these characters, when the characters are what you praise each month?” Good question! I’m glad you asked!
The first two arcs have predominately dealt with the formation of the team, and the development of each character individually. We’ve seen the development of relationships, but from an aspect of the team members building those connections. This is the first arc where it feels as though the team are familiar with one another, and coexisting as a unit or extended family. We’re mostly past the discovery process, and that brings about a new energy to the title that is fun and refreshing.
The relationships aren’t the only aspect that’s refreshing in this issue though. The plot itself appears to be more grounded and focused than the previous arcs. Everything that occurs here is more intimate and personal to an extent. That’s not to say that the narrative is more serious – the charming quirkiness we’ve grown to love is still in full effect – it’s just that the focus is on the characters themselves, rather than their situation, or something effecting them. Add in one of the better interpretations of Batgirl that we’ve seen in a while, as well as a looming threat from the League of Assassins and arrival of one of DC’s best martial artists, and you’re left with a winning combination.
The Art: Eaglesham and Derenick continue to deliver really strong art! I’d actually venture to say that Eaglesham’s work appears to be getting better… I doubt it’s actually him getting better, and that it has more to do with the two artists not trying to match their art… it’s subtle, but it appears to be the case. Overall, the book looks and feels a little more dramatic, and that’s something I appreciate.
Breakdowns are in the spoiler tag.
The Good: Strong characters. I say this each month, but the best thing about this book are its characters. There’s only one character that I’m still not happy with, but I’ll get to that in a bit. A number of scenes in this book were an absolute pleasure to read. Specifically, I loved the opening pages that featured the training between Strix and Porcelain, as well as the makeover involving the same characters. Both scenes are fun, and full of heart and humor.
Batgirl. God it’s so nice to see Barbara back in Gail Simone’s hands! DC, if you’re reading this… I’m just saying… While Simone did give Barbara a bit of a younger flare to match the current continuity, she was still head and shoulders better than what other writers have delivered. I wouldn’t mind reading the character if I received this quality each month. I still prefer the “old Barbara,” but I can’t deny that this is better.
Court clashes with the League. Something that I’ve kind of always dreamed of writing is a narrative that leads to an altercation between the League of Assassins and the Court of the Owls. Clearly I’m not writing for DC, so I’m going to revel that this almost feels like what I’ve hoped for…
Strix, a former Talon from the Court about to face off against one of DC’s deadliest assassins, Lady Shiva!
Holy cow! I want the next issue asap!
The Bad: Shauna. Whenever a character is being removed from the plot, and you think, “Thank God!”… That’s never a good sign. She’s the one character on the team that feels like a waste of space. I questioned other characters in the beginning, but they’ve shown growth and developed over time. Shauna hasn’t. There doesn’t seem to be any depth to the character… just delusion. I feel like the character only works from a horror standpoint, and that’s it… This book is coming to a close in May, so it kind of feels like a wasted spot where a better character could’ve been included.
- Strix is one of the main reasons you read Secret Six.
- You want a more grounded Secret Six story.
- You wouldn’t mind reading an interpretation of the new Batgirl that isn’t bad.
Overall: This is a fun issue that focuses on the characters and their relationships. With a solid Batgirl cameo, and the build up to Strix and the Secret Six (with Batgirl) versus Shiva… It’s near perfection!