Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Secret Six #8 Review and *SPOILERS*

Cats Hate Water, but They Love Fish. Cats are Stupid.

Written By: Gail Simone
Art By: Dale Eaglesham and Tom Derenick, Jason Wright, Travis Lanham
Cover Price: $2.99
Release Date: November 18, 2015

*Non-Spoilers and Score At The Bottom*

Here’s the big secret about the Secret Six: this is a silly comic book. It’s gross, it’s crass, it’s dumb and so very touching that you almost want to punch it in the arm and call it a jerk for giving you feelings. Perhaps you don’t want a goof. Perhaps you want something a little more stoic and reserved in a comic book. That’s fine. You can just count yourself among the majority of people who are dead inside and for whom life has no meaning. Me, I’d rather read a comic book where a game of mini golf with Etrigan concludes with a visit to the outskirts of Atlantis and a fight between Catman and Aquaman. Who’s coming with me on this ride? Read on, if you have the stones!

Explain It!:

Last issue had every single member of the DC Universe’s magicverse conspiring to kill Black Alice lest her magic-stealing powers leave the world vulnerable to an attack by unnamed evil. Well, Black Alice stole everyone’s powers and now she’s kicking their asses. Cheetah lunges at her and she straight up steals the spots from her body. Suddenly, a bunch of weirdoes in robes show up claiming to be true Atlanteans, the Children of Arion, just as Black Orchid explains that the forces of magic will never stop trying to kill Black Alice, because there are four alabaster stones near Atlantis keeping the old, gross gods at bay? I didn’t really get that either, though later one of the Children of Arion explains that these same alabaster stones are causing Black Alice to steal the magic of other people, a condition that they say will eventually kill her. So one of the Arion’s kids suggests they destroy the stones, while Black Orchid insists they help protect them. Big Shot tells Black Orchid no, he’s going with the new weirdos in robes that just showed up because he’s really good at making life decisions.

Meanwhile, Thomas “Catman” Blake, Strix, Porcelain and the Ventriloquist have concluded their game of mini golf with Etrigan, who is now wearing a red polo shirt and golf slacks. Bless Gail Simone, she writes Etrigan as a rhyming demon and gets the meter right. A Child of Arion has showed up there too and given them the same pitch, and everyone except for the Ventriloquist agrees to destroy the stones and help Black Alice, though Shawna decides to go along with the majority vote after all. First, they dump off a spent and sleeping Black Alice with a few members of the last iteration of Secret Six: Scandal Savage, Jeannette, and Ragdoll, who all seem to be sharing a loft apartment together somewhere. Where is that comic book, DC? Seems like it could be Friends except Ragdoll will keep saying horribly inappropriate things to Courtney Cox’s character. Scandal agrees to watch Black Alice, and Jeannette, being a Banshee and therefore made of magic everybody knows that, decides to leave with the Secret Six to Atlantis because she doesn’t want to be vacuumed up by Alice’s power.

So let’s do a current Secret Six roll call: Catman, Strix, Porcelain, Ventriloquist (and her drill-handed dummy, Ferdie), Etrigan, Big Shot, Jeannette, and one of the Children of the Atom. This is the most awkward birthday party ever. The team magicks down to the floor of the Atlantic Ocean, which is being held back from crushing them all through wishes and good thoughts. They begin screwing with one of the alabaster stones, which brings the attention of Aquaman because he’s part of the neighborhood watch. He and Catman fight, one of the stones is destroyed, and it ends with them all drowning to death, never to be seen ever again forever and ever.

I could have spent this whole review talking about the greatness of Dale Eaglesham and still not have properly given him his due. Why isn’t he drawing all the things? His artwork is dynamic and a little chunky, somehow perfect for the story. He’s also a master at plotting, evidenced when the team is beneath the ocean and every panel looks like you’re seeing it through a fishbowl. Really, if you’re a fan of this comic, then you’re a fan of Gail Simone’s characterization, and this one had it in spades. The book has lots of goofy laughs, but also a lot of characters explaining their motives in subtle (and at times less than subtle) ways within those actions. I feel confident saying that the book is over the shipping and artist changes that plagued the first arc, and now it seems like the author is juggling the large cast adeptly and the book is back in its crass, offensive, wonderful saddle. Check this out if you still have a soul.

Bits and Pieces:

I rated last issue strongly but tentatively, in hopes that this book would pull out of the tailspin that was its first arc. I’m pleased to say that Secret Six has done just that and it is all of the madcap, fart joke fun that we all hoped it would be. If you think Catman’s butt could rival Grayson’s, if you like when Etrigan’s character is written in correctly rhyming patterns, if you think a deathless, mute, reformed assassin could be the most touching character in comics right now, then you should do yourself a favor and check this out. Worst thing that could happen is Big Shot teaching you some awesome new epithets.



  1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    1. I don't know why your comment was removed...I'll find out

    2. Well, AJ said you got him interested in reading the book. See. We can't even keep the positive comments. We really are negative fellows!