Review: Secret Six #13

Secret Six

Gail Simone has always had a talent for writing fast-paced action punctuated with brief character moments and more black humor than most writers would be comfortable with, and Secret Six is the book that lets her and artist Nicola Scott get really filthy as they take a team of supremely broken individuals through the wringer, with few pretensions of good and evil in the traditional sense.  “The Depths”, the book’s current 5-part arc, tears the team apart with ruthless efficiency, but the marvel of what would otherwise be a relentlessly grim arc is how heart-wrenchingly believable it is… and how much fun.

Secret Six #13 follows the now-split team in two directions.  As Catman, Ragdoll and Deadshot stay faithful to the mission and learn more and more about the island’s purpose, they’re also tasked with hunting down their renegade teammates.  Scandal Savage, Bane, Artemis, and a still-recovering Jeanette, meanwhile, decide to take the island’s security forces on in a bid to save the enslaved Amazonian prisoners.

With all that action, it may come as a surprise, then, that the book has a number of the very brief moments at which Simone excels to familiarize us with these characters.  From Bane’s admiration at the precision of the prison to the single panel daydream of a bored Deadshot, the book revels in just how broken these characters are without asking for pity or compassion.

Scott contributes more than her fair share, meeting every single one of Simone’s twisted demands with what I can only imagine as a malicious sort of glee.  The action sequences in the issue, though brief, are quick and gorgeous, with a keen eyes for setting up surprisingly natural panels and sequences that highlight just how dangerous, and how cool, these characters are.  She also manages to illustrate a wide cast of characters, a number of different settings, and even a sepia flashback to Scandal’s past with equal skill.

Though the book is far from over, Secret Six is shaping up to be Simone’s masterpiece.  Even by the high standards to which the book is generally held here, however, Secret Six #13 was an fun, exciting, downright excellent issue of comics.  Along with Scott, Simone seems to be well on her way to crafting a cool, bloody modern classic.

Grade: A

– Cal Cleary

Secret Six #12

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5 thoughts on “Review: Secret Six #13

  1. I agree, but man, so much CRYING!!!

    That’s a slight comic peeve of mine anyway, but lord, Scandal and Jeanette cry, Bane cries, Scandal’s girlfriend cries, and young Scandal cries, all within one issue!

    It didn’t add to the drama, it was just a distraction.

  2. I loved the issue, obviously. It was funny and emotional and violent in equal measure, which is part of why the series is so enjoyable. It wasn’t a perfect issue in some ways, but it illustrated just about EVERYTHING that’s to love about Secret Six, from Scott’s art to the wry one-liners; from the betrayals to the dark humor.

    Also, where have the two of you been these past few weeks?

  3. This is how I role:

    BC: Sorry, I’m in bitchy-fanboy mode. Crying is a bit of a comic peeve of mine. It’s overused as a gimmick to try to add drama, usually with damsels in distress.

    I was reading Secret Six #13, enjoying it as always, but there were so many tears, it was distracting.

    Jeanette and Scandal cry

    Bane cries

    Liana cries

    Young Scandal cries

    All within one issue. Gail, you’re kind enough to roam this forum from time to time. Would you mind explaining your reasoning behind this? Thanks!

    GS: Well, the central core of this story is about how an evil, evil place can make people do and feel things that they are not prepared to deal with. Scandal says, “this place will be the ruin of us all,” and that’s a big part of what’s happening as we’ll especially see next issue.

    But to be fair, Scandal is nine and cries because she got the crap kicked out of her, and Bane is crying a tear of misguided joy, and Liana isn’t even in the Six.

    Only one (Scandal) even remotely fits the idea of a ‘damsel in distress’ scenario.

    BC: Thanks, Gail!

    I wasn’t trying to criticize your specific usage of the tears. I know you’re above devolving your heroines into teary, hysterical clichés.

    I think, in this case, you could’ve relied on Nicola a little more. I’m sure her rendered expressions would’ve captured the necessary drama, without the crying.

    Perhaps I’m just being churlish, but I’ve read a lot of comics in my time. I’ve been subjected to so many gimmicky tears, and when I see five people cry in just one issue, even when used well, I cringe.

    Is any of that relatable?

    Taken from: http://dcboards.warnerbros.com/web/thread.jspa?threadID=2000200010&tstart=0

  4. Pingback: Review: Secret Six #14 « read/RANT!

  5. Pingback: Mini-Reviews « read/RANT!

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