Review: Secret Six Blackest Night

Published on February 18th, 2010

If you listened to the latest POW podcast that was posted the other day on this here very website, then you may be aware that I dashed off all of a sudden during a discussion on the latest issue of the highly praised Secret Six! Well, I dashed off for a purpose, to write this article, and not just on the latest single issue but the whole Blackest Night tie ins involving the Six. Now, I, like many other people, am currently wallowing in the bathhouse of awesomeness that is Gail Simone’s Secret Six over at DC. It is undoubtedly my favourite DC series at this moment, and certainly a high contender for the consistently best ongoing series I’ve read from DC…ever. I know that Gail is the key writter for the Six now and has been for a long time, so I class these as her characters essentially, and evidently she knows them inside out as she has proven since issue 1 of this ongoing series.

Now, if you’ll excuse me while I just remove my Gail Simone/Secret Six prayer shawl, I think it’s about time I actually got on and explained the premise for this awesome crossover, and did a little bit of reviewing!

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Blackest Night, as most of us are probably aware, is dominating the DC Universe right now, and is bagging itself a serious amount of high praise, not just from us here at ComicImpact, but from readers/fans et cetera across the globe. I thought it would be the more core DC universe orientated books that would be tieing in with it, and funnely enough not series such as Secret Six, as I’ve imagined SS as being a niche, cult favourite sort of series. I see Secret Six as ‘the phantom of the opera‘ of the DC Universe, it’s the twisted underdog and somewhat insane, yet it maintains a sophisticated appearance at the same time. Even more bizarre was the fact that the tie in for Blackest Night to Secret Six was not going to be brought in directly with the series itself, but that it would be routed in from a single issue comeback of Suicide Squad!

Enter, John Ostrander. He is what Gail Simone is to the Secret Six from my experiences. He is the man at the moment in control of The Suicide Squad. He worked on Secret Six #15 recently, which was an issue focused entierly on Deadshot (one character I go woooppoo wooopeeee la looo lee for.. that’s a good thing) and it was a delight to read, obviously no disrespect to Gail of course. So I was happy to see these two team up as it were, to write a Blackest Night tie in that would involve the Secret Six, some lovely Black Lanterns, and The Suicide Squad.

The Blackest Night tie ins with the Six and the Squad, began in Suicide Squad #67 (one issue revival for Blackest Night), and continued in Secret Six #17 and #18.

Suicide Squad #67 was a neat entry for this tie in involving both teams, and brought in all the characters involved in a plot in Belle Reve, where this crossover takes place for the most part, and introduced us nicely to both teams, and gave us a bit of backstory on some of the Black Lanterns that would be involved in this story. It is not this issue so much I want to focus on, but more the two issues of Secret Six that it followed on in.

Secret Six #17, sets Waller outside The House of Secrets, in which only at the moment Scandal is living in, as the rest of the Six are in Belle Reve as I mentioned, engaged in battle with The Suicide Squad. Waller wants to shut down the Six, as is natural for a major douche like her, and wants some of the Six to join the Suicide Squad. Scandal obviously doesn’t approve of such a gesture, and releases a dragon, gargolye monster on her and the many Multiplex’s (Multiplexi?). While the Squad and the Six in Belle Reve are dealing with the rise of some old enemies, thus meaning they must eventually join forces to see the fight through!

It’s written marvelously, the dialouge is so unique, it has the brilliance of being truly dramatic, while also being able to put black humour to good use, something I think a lot of writters find a challenge to pull off properly. The artwork by J. Calafiore is amazing as well, the way he (or she? I do apologise) draws Black Lanterns is super eerie that it actually makes me smile in an insane in the brain way.

Secret Six #18, which came out last week was the prefect wrap up to a story, that readers like myself only dream of getting delivered in our dreams. Beautiful artwork, beautiful writting by both our writters here, and a perfect conclusion that has the perfect pace. It is not overplayed, nothing is rushed, everything happens like it should. It’s realistic, it doesnt beat around the bush, and all in all, it’s twisted fun!

Deadshot and his unique sense of humour really come through here, but you know that he can snap at any given moment when he shoots Waller in the chest once the fight against the Black Lanterns (which is now taken to The House of Secrets from Belle Reve as a retreat plan gone wrong) is won! Waller wanted Deadshot to join the Squad, and Deadshot didn’t want to.. so I figure that seen as though everyone is incredibly pissed off with her stone cold attitude and nazi-esque decision making, that it would be for the best if he just shut her up straight there.

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The fights in this issue are even more awesome than the previous issue, with great development on everypage it doesn’t screw up the pacing or the goings on!

I mean what more can I say. I loved it too bits, so much so that I’ve written about it especially here! I wouldn’t want to spoil everything about what happens in the end in this crossover, as there is a reveal that is pretty groundbreaking for Secret Six fans.

All the best Comic Impact readers, thank you for taking the time to read my article.

Rob Andrews
Rob@comicimpact.com