Thursday, October 22, 2015

Secret Six #7 Review and *SPOILERS*

The Magical Mystery Tour of the DCU

Written By: Gail Simone
Art By: Dale Eaglesham and Tom Derenick, Jason Wright, Travis Lanham
Cover Price: $2.99
Release Date: October 21, 2015

*Non-Spoilers and Score At The Bottom*

Do you believe in magic in a young girl’s heart? How the music can free her whenever it starts? Now do you believe that a young girl can also absorb the powers of any magical being in the DCU, thereby leaving our plane of existence vulnerable to attacks by prehistoric demons? Well then have I got the comic book for you! We’re through the first rather schizophrenic arc and into a new story about our favorite loveable gang of horrible people-things. Are there any secrets left in this series to divulge? Do we care to divulge them? Divulge on and find out!

Explain It!:

Let’s dust ourselves off and dive back into the weird world of the Secret Six, shall we? When we last left the team, Black Alice was left either dead or in a coma or both after tangling with the Riddler and a thermite bomb that was set off by someone who seemed to be Sue Dibny. Big Shot, who purports to be Ralph Dibny even though he appears to be a hulking figure that talks like Ralph Kramden, whisked Alice away to a hospital, where she is freaking out the nurses even though they have probably seen sucking gunshot wounds and other shit that would turn your hair white. So those two taken care of, let’s see how the rest of the gang is getting along: Social Director Catman tries to engage them in a basketball game, but Strix merely punches him in the face and takes the ball into a tree. Here we see Eaglesham’s new take on the Ventriloquist, who is looking more like a crazy zombie girl now. I like the look, and indeed Eaglesham’s art is pretty spectacular throughout this issue.

While all of that is happening, an ethereal meeting of all the magic-based characters of the DCU—and I mean ALL of the magic-based characters of the DCU (except for Dr. Fate and John Constantine, naturally, who are busy in their own solo titles)—is occurring in some magical dimension at a freaky library where everyone stands around and leers at each other for a while. Finally Dr. Thirteen and Baron Winters act as spontaneous co-chairs of the meeting and, in a bit that seems awfully rehearsed, have their “what shall we do about Alice?” discussion. Turns out Black Alice, whose super power is temporarily stealing the magical powers of other sorcerers and elementals in the DCU, is weakening our plane of existences' ethereal defense against ancient spooks n’ haints that could either be ripped off from H.P. Lovecraft’s work or the Hoary Hosts of Hoggoth and Dread Dormandu of Dr. Strange lore, whichever you like. So they figure the best way around this issue is to kill Black Alice the teenaged girl, who, luckily for them, is in some kind of death coma at the hospital.

Cut to Catman n’ the Posse over at World’s Finest Putt-Putt Golf, which boasts fifty-two challenging holes! Fifty-two holes?! Does the average game last eight hours?? That’s fairly irrelevant for the crew, who immediately get down to making mischief and sexual innuendo. Then, at a statue commemorating the cover to Action Comics #1, the rhyming demon Etrigan appears from a volcanic fissure in the ground. This splash page is so good, guys, Eaglesham really outdid himself with the detail here…I almost want to spoil it. Should I spoil it? That wouldn’t be right, right? Maybe I will spoil it…no, I’m not going to spoil it. You’ll have to at least thumb through the book to see it. Should I, though? I should probably spoil it.

I’m not going to spoil it.

The Sexy Secret Six immediately beset the yellow demon, because that’s sort of what they do when confronted with anything, but Etrigan is able to calm them down long enough to explain that he is there to warn them that the magical freaks of DC Comics are converging on Black Alice and plan to kill her! Cut over to the hospital, and it turns out he was right! Cheetah rappels through the window like a goddamned marine and Felix Faust and Black Orchid burst through the door to tackle Big Shot, and in doing so have awoken Black Alice!

This book has been plagued with problems since it began, first with a hiatus of a couple of months due to production issues and then the Convergence event, which delayed issue three even further. When it came back, the story had shifted wildly and even as the first arc closed things seemed half-baked. This issue comes out stronger with Dale Eaglesham’s awesome art, which includes an absolutely fantastic final splash page that I really think I should spoil…nah. If you have ever been a fan of Simone’s Secret Six, you know that the character moments are the draw, and we get plenty of them—oddly shoehorned into the story in the form of team building exercises that play like comic relief. I’m a fan of the DCU’s “Dark” line of characters myself, but I felt like many of the scenes involving them were superfluous opportunities just to showcase a panel or two of Blue Devil or Eclipso. Still, if you’re even slightly knowledgeable about these characters and like a little weirdness in your four-color beat ‘em ups, you might enjoy this book that is more like an episode of Soap than anything else.

Bits and Pieces:

Gail Simone has yet another attempt to get this book off the ground with the second arc, and with Dale Eaglesham on art the showing is pretty strong. The story sort of zips around in an attempt to give every character something to do, but it’s not difficult to follow if you can accept just looking at creepy semi-heroes hanging out half the time. Practically the entirety of DC Comics’ magic-wielding roster is featured in this book, so if your church has denounced them as blasphemous then you should probably stay away and light a candle or whatever.

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