*Non-Spoilers and Score At The Bottom*
Monday, October 12, 2015
Secret Six #6 Review and *SPOILERS*
Written By: Gail Simone
Art By: Tom Derenick, Jason Wright, Wes Abbott
Cover Price: $2.99
Release Date: September 16, 2015
*Non-Spoilers and Score At The Bottom*
It’s time once again to enjoin our merry band of criminal misfits and doofuses, the Secret Six. Eric promised his Imaginext play sets he would devote a few more hours per week hanging out with them, so I agreed to take on reviewing this series since I have no prior commitments with my toys and I like it better anyway. This issue teases a macabre wedding on the cover, but that doesn’t even begin to explain the contents within this whirlwind of a comic book. Sure, the hijinx are wacky, but is this issue any good? Read on and see!
Picking up right where we left off last issue, Riddler stands with his gang of Riddlers, boasting before that sexy cad Catman and mute ex-Talon Strix about how he has bested our titular team by using the man’s lost wife to compel Big Shot aka Ralph Dibny aka the Elongated Man aka Possibly Not Ralph Dibny to gather the crew and subject them to a series of elaborate traps in order to bring them to this place at this moment in time because one of them stole a diamond the Riddler wanted. Oh, and he also knocked out the other three-plus members of the team, because they looked like they needed a knocking out I guess. While Riddler yaps on about his diabolical superiority, Strix murders the other guys in Riddler suits. That’s on the sixth page.
So Riddler acts all scared and lets Catman beat him up a little, then pulls his master stroke: to have Due Dibny step from Big Shot’s clutches with a detonator wired to blow up the whole area. Why this was deployed after Riddler’s entire crew was murdered, or why they were even there in the first place, is just one of many mysteries…maybe there are six such plot-related head-scratchers each issue, hence the title Secret Six? Big Shot acts really uncharacteristic here if he is supposed to be Ralph Dibny, which Sue seems to think he is not. The rest of the team comes to consciousness and advance on Sue Dibny to keep her from blowing up the spot, but Big Shot comes to her defense on account of him thinking she has the softest hair. He grows super huge, Bane-style, and starts thrashing the Sexy Six around—I don’t recall Ralph Dibny being able to increase his mass and strength like that, another reason I think he may not be who he didn’t say he was but now says he is even though he isn’t. While our heroes tussle, the Ventriloquist’s puppet-thing springs to life and jams his palm-mounted drill hands into Riddler’s legs. Which is pretty gross, when you think about it, and particularly if you’ve seen as many low-budget slasher films as I have.
Turns out the puppet stole Riddler’s diamond, a fact he rubs in Nygma’s face as he jams drills into his feet. The team starts getting the better of Big Shot, but it all comes to nothing when Sue simply presses the detonator and blows everyone up. The Secret Six get away, of course, but Riddler and Sue Dibny are nowhere to be found. The team reconvenes on some patch of land where we learn the Ventriloquist’s dummy lost the diamond, which is probably just as well because it was merely a contrived plot point and probably not worth much in a literary sense anyway.
Tom Derenick’s art is great throughout and, despite the very weird story, this is a pretty straightforward and easy-to-understand read—at face value. Looking deeper, the issue seems filled with a lot of inconsequential moments and concepts that end up meaningless almost as soon as they’re introduced. Gail Simone’s strong suit is dialogue, and if you like quips and witty patter then you should be able to enjoy this book on a surface level. I’m still having fun with this book personally, but like Eric’s penchant for Imaginext toys, it gets more uncomfortable the longer your scrutinize it.
Bits and Pieces:
Very well-drawn and well-plotted comic book about a bunch of characters that do weird things for strange reasons. Some of the characterization is really enjoyable, particularly in Catman and Strix, but too many of the characters seem like throwaways or placeholders for punching bags. The wedding teased on the cover is barely an afterthought in this issue, it comes across as just another of the bizarre scenarios that play out through the story. And it all takes place at the same location…this may actually be a tour de force of Hitchcockian proportions!