Secret Six #32

In “The Darkest House” part 2 of 3, our favorite mercenaries continue their romp through Hell!

Ragdoll has stolen Scandal’s “Get Out of Hell Free Card,” leading the rest of the Six to follow him down there–which was one big mistake. The team finds out that they’re all hell-bound anyway, shocking Bane; Catman deserts them to find his father; and Scandal continues to try to persuade Ragdoll, who’s had a reverse-mental breakdown of sorts, to help her find her long-lost love, also in hell. Just when you thought it couldn’t get any better, that the stakes were high enough–wham! Gail Simone hits us with a knockout.

Even though things get weirder and crazier in this issue, Simone deftly builds the tension while still developing all seven members of the team (well, technically there are eight, but Black Alice bailed out). Seven! And yet, not one of them goes unnoticed: Scandal’s undying devotion to not only Knockout, but her team; Jeanette, who surprisingly defends her; Deadshot, who doesn’t give a crap and just takes a smoke; Catman deserts them in search of his father; Ragdoll’s just gone insane; Killer Shark is, well, Killer Shark; and Bane, whose condemnation to Hell  gives him philosophical pause:

Once again, Gail Simone accomplishes the impossible: I actually like Bane.
Whaaat.

Even though the Six are in the pits of hell, Simone’s rapier wit has not diminished in the slightest. You’ve gotta love Killer Shark: “My name’s Killer Shark. I’m a shark.” Can’t beat that logic!

Oh, and did I mention that our favorite Arthurian demon makes an appearance? That’s right, it’s Etrigan!!

Most random character ever to be a fan of, but I digress.

As you might have noticed, Jim Calafiore’s art is stunning. He uses the same skull background on each page, adding to the despair-fiery-general unhappiness that is hell, but also uses it to create some cool non-framed pages consisting only of outlined characters. It’s one of the less cartoony styles I’ve seen, and it complements the characters and Simone’s tone perfectly.

Most fans seem to only reference Birds of Prey when talking about Gail Simone’s current comics work, but Secret Six deserves equal praise and attention. It’s twisted, dark and fantastically witty, and it’s probably my favorite comic title on the shelf right now. I can’t wait for the conclusion on May 4th!

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