Comic Book Review: Secret Six #1 (of 6)

From the pages of Villains United, comes the Secret Six, although they are not all the same characters. I enjoyed, and recommend the Villains United mini, and have high hopes for this one. Lets see how Issue 1 holds up.

Creative Team

Writer: Gail Simone
Penciler: Brad Walker
Inker: Jimmy Palmiotti
Art Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10.
Story Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10.
Overall Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10.

Synopsis: A prisoner in a North Korean “Political Camp” is making an impassioned plea for aid from another, masked prisoner, who is not all that helpful, when the guards come to collect the masked prisoner. The guard, through another prisoner who is translating to English, tells this masked prisoner that he will die soon and as their first American for this camp, it is the commandant’s pleasure to have him killed.

Four of the Secret Six, Catman, Scandal, Knockout (a relatively new member) and Ragdoll. They exit a plane near the above camp, half an hour behind schedule and a bit further from the camp than they wanted. They jump, because they have to, but Catman vows he’ll see the pilot again, saying “I’m going to make it my business”.

After landing, they know they are too far behind schedule to hoof it, so Knockout flies the group in, one at a time it appears, to make their rendezvous. Back at the camp, the commandant is about to kill the masked prisoner, but asks first for the name of the target the prisoner was supposed to kill. He asks if the commandant knows who “Jip Li An” is, and as the commandant gloats that he is dead, the masked man says “I wasn’t telling him his target. I was telling him about my client. An’s widow”. When the prisoner moves to escape, the guard draws a gun on him, but the masked prisoner kicks it up to point at the commandant, who is shot square in the chest.

The rest of group makes their appearance at the nick of time, and to use Rokk’s favorite line, its a braaaaaaaawl! Fairly one sided though, as the other four help Deadshot, aka the masked prisoner, eliminate the guards. Score one for the, umm, bad guys…

Back at the Secret Six HQ, the House of Secrets, Ragdoll is talking to the stuffed corpse of Parademon, previously a living member of the Secret Six, but killed in the Villians United Miniseries. Deadshot and Catman remark on this, then head to a meeting of the group elsewhere in the castle. They split the earning from their mission. Scandal reports that Dr. Psycho has a grudge with the group, and with Catman in particular. Scandal suggests recruiting a new sixth member as a “countermeasure” to Psycho, one that Catman is not particular fond of.

Psycho cannot convince the remnants of “The Society” to go after the Secret Six, so Psycho turns to what has to be Cheshire, the traitor that everyone thought was killed in the V.U. mini. She states that she’ll “relay his message to the big man” and that starts their plan into motion.

The Six(five) have split up, all taking a deserved bit of R & R. Other than Catman, the other four are ambushed and attacked, and Knockout at least is hit with something lethal enough that it appears she is killed, although all we see for sure is the explosion. The others are all still in jeopardy at the end of the issue.

Catman is working his way through a rather odd house, and through some rather odd dialogue, before he convinces the sixth member, his countermeasure, to join the team. The last page reveals that the Mad Hatter is the new member, and apparently only wears a hat.


The Good: If you liked Villains United, you’ll like this. If you haven’t read that series first, read it, because Simone does not take much time to establish the characters, other than seeing them in action in the beginning, and that is brief. The characters are, at the moment, not as sympathetic as they were in the previous miniseries, but their actions in the North Korean prison do hint at that a bit. You still need to like the characters, and that is always a challenge with a “villain” centered comic, but Simone handles it well. The art is clear, expressive, and evokes very specific but different moods in different scenes.

The Bad: My only complaint is that the Mad Hatter, and Ragdoll, is a little too creepy. I don’t mind weird, but it felt a little much to me. There are two types of bad guys, the kind you like to hate and the kind you wish would never show up, and so far the Mad Hatter fits the latter. I’m in for the full six issues though, so I’m hoping that, now established, we won’t dwell on the Hatter quite so much.