Secret Six #36
Writer: Gail Simone
Artist: Jim Califiore
Colourist: John Kalisz
Published by DC Comics
Since inception, Secret Six has been one of the best books on the stands and it’s final issue continues this tradition.
Fearing that his moniker of “The Man Who Broke the Bat” is meaningless, Bane assembles the Six to take down Batman’s allies to reclaim his title, but not before they spend time with their own loved ones.
In the issue each character gets a moment to shine. Bane spends the night with his lover in which his gentle personality is portrayed but keeping him equally motivated. Knowing that he is bound for Hell, he refuses to go there without recognition and so puts his plan into action. His interaction with a small child also shows his tenderness while still being the calculating man we all know.
“Child, put this knife inside your stuffed animal. Your enemies will always be at a disadvantage.”
Catman’s sense of nobility shines when he refuses to allow love interest Huntress be a target of Bane’s plan but he is willing to allows her to be a hostage so that an innocent family can go free. Despite these virtuous traits he has no qualms participating in the death and torture of a mob boss.
Deadshot, Catman and Rogdoll’s “fishing” scene (in which they feed the mob boss to King Shark) is a great example of Gail Simone’s tendency to put these villainous characters in mundane situations. Catman and Deadshot’s friendship is played exceptionally in a typical manly fashion were they won’t admit that they like each other, even to the point were the demented Ragdoll has to point it out. Ragdoll excels here too but it’s his speech before the finale that really reveals that he’s more than a twisted freak, in that he understands his team-mates better than anyone.
“We are worthless. We are the scum of this planet. We have only one redemptive trait, my dear sick, wounded friends. We don’t know how to surrender.”
Scandal, finally reunited with her ex-girlfriend and Female Fury, Knockout, now has to choose between her and her current partner Liana. Scandal’s decision is one of the most surprising yet delightful aspects of the issue, which is only made more tragic by the ending.
Jeanette only gets a few small moments but are all interesting. Despite being an immortal banshee, we see her human side throughout, whether it’s when she accompanies Scandal when visiting Lianna or showing panic and fear at the prospect of death and defeat.
King Shark is the most straight forward character in the cast but that just means he’s the most fun. Despite being a huge shark creature he’s the comic relief with great moments such as asking to be excused for impolite behaviour when he spits out the shoe of a man he just devoured or when he sums up his character perfectly; “Enough talk! I’m a shark, not a… talking guy!”
Artist Jim Calafiore had a lot to do this issue. Drawing the Six in various situations from bloody battles to pillow talk, plus dozens of guest stars from every corner of the DC Universe and he nails it. Calafiore can do gore and story and everything in-between. I don’t know what series he’s moving onto next but it’s sad to see that he’s not on any of the New 52 books.
Gail Simone is one the best writers in comics today and has made me care about characters I’ve never heard of more than some comic book icons. Her Secret Six stories have been funny, gruesome, exciting and heart warming. With the book ending I’m worrying about the future of the characters in the DC relaunch. The fates of the characters are left ambiguous with the exception of Bane in which it sets him up for even bigger things and only Deadshot and King Shark have been spotted in any of the New 52, appearing in Suicide Squad alongside former Secret Six member Harley Quinn. I’m hoping that all the this work by Simone and Co. isn’t lost and is continued by other creators if not by Gail herself.
Secret Six has always excelled by focusing on it’s characters and this was no exception. With a heart breaking finale and art that matches everything perfectly you’re left with an amazing comic that shall be sorely missed.