Thursday, September 10, 2009

Secret Six #13 Review

Written by Gail Simone
Art by Nicola Scott and Doug Hazlewood

Ragdoll takes some of Wonder Woman's costume and dresses up in it in this issue. Let me repeat. Ragdoll dresses up like Wonder Woman in this issue. If that isn't enough to make you buy this issue, I'm not sure what else I can tell you. Maybe that it featured character moments up the wazoo? Action? Betrayals? Great dialogue and art? Any of this cluing you in to how good this issue was? No? Well, I guess I'll have to go into some more details then.

The Secret Six have been hired by some slavers to police their new prison they are building that will house the unwanted criminals and degenerates of modern society. It's built on the backs of slaves. Half the team found this too repugnant for even their relatively low morale standards while the other half didn't give a damn as long as they got paid. Their team rules also state they take a job, they finish a job. So, when half the team goes off to free the prisoners and betray their clients, the other half decide they have to kill their former allies.

It's obviously never that simple with the Six and it leads to a great many morale quandries and character moments, such as dealing with Jeannette's and Scandal's pasts, some mysterious words from Grendel and Wonder Woman to Catman and the eventual release of Grendel.

Currently, the team is in shambles, but it looks like they will all fall on the same side by the end of this arc, which is quite possibly the strongest one to date from the various Secret Six miniseries and the current ongoing. My favourite part of the issue, and series, is that these are people first, villains second. They aren't just the mustachio twirling Saturday morning cartoon villains, either. They have their own codes and morale dilemmas. Some just don't care about anything (Deadshot). Others are clearly insane (Ragdoll). Others still are victims of their pasts (Jeannette & Scandal). The dynamic between them all makes it work and the dialogue and character work is easily the strongest part of the series and what makes a concept such as a team of villains work. These aren't nice people, but they are still people and that is what differentiates it from other villain books where it's simply the villains doing villain things or trying to be heroes.

Verdict - Must Read. If Hercules is the best book being put out by Marvel, Secret Six is easily the best coming from DC, if not on the market. The defining characteristic has to be that it is unlike any other book and offers something new and unique every month - something typically only found in indie or Vertigo titles.

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