This issue of Secret Six is a Battle for the Cowl tie-in. But only in the loosest possible way. And that makes it the best kind of tie-in. (Especially considering that everything connected to Battle for the Cowl so far has sucked.)
The story focuses on two of the more honorable members of the Six; Catman and Bane. The two of them have returned to Gotham City in Batman’s absence to try to do some good. Both of them deny having any thoughts of replacing Batman. But Ragdoll (in Robin drag) suggests that either of them would make a good candidate.
The issue is a done-in-one, self contained story despite the connection to the larger “event” story. Gail Simone manages to cram in more good stuff in this one issue than every other Battle for the Cowl book I’ve read so far combined.
One of Gail Simone’s real strengths as a writer is characterization. She has given each member of the Six a unique voice. It’s easy to forget that Catman was a joke in the DC Universe before Simone rehabbed him. And Bane has never been better than when Simone is writing him.
What I love about this book is the mixture of action, laugh-out-loud comedy, strong characterization and over-the-top action. You never really know what you’r going to get from the Secret Six, and yet you always know that Simone will include some mixture of these ingredients. And this issue was no exception.
And Simone never shies away from the fact that her protagonists are anything but heroes. Although they may be sympathetic, they are still villains. Whereas Batman might rough up some would-be kidknappers, Bane beheads them without an ounce of remose. When another kidknapper begs for mercy, Bane merely chucks him out a window out or respect for Batman.
All of this is beautifully rendered by Nicola Scott. Scott is my pick for them most under-rated artist currently working in comics. Scott’s artwork is nothing short of amazing.
In recent reviews of GLC and Power Girl, I praised Patrick Gleason and Amanda Conner respectively. Both are artists with unique styles that compliment the books they are working on. But some find this kind of artwork distracting. Nicola Scott has a clean style that would suit any book. It’s hard for me to imagine anyone not being a fan.
If you’re not reading Secret Six, give it a try. Everyone here at read/RANT loves the book. I promise, it’s better than at least one other book you’re reading. Drop that book and pick up the best book you should be reading!
(Easter Egg: If you’re a fan of the defunct Adventurer’s Club at Walt Disney World, be sure to check out Gotham City’s slogan on the road sign as you enter the city.)