I have a confession to make. Before now, I’ve only read one issue of all of Gail Simone’s revamped “Secret Six” and “Villains United” stories. I’m not sure why it kept falling off my radar; the concept (six villains try to survive outside the recent forced-groupings of villains into all-encompassing organizations) is a good one, and Simone’s certainly the master of bringing old discarded characters back to life. So with the start of a “Secret Six” ongoing series, now seems as good a time as any to give the title another try.
As a re-introduction to the book, so far it’s not bad at all. I felt like I got my money’s worth just from the conversations between Catman and Deadshot as the two head to a nearby convenience store in search of ice cream, arguing over the idea of becoming a “good guy” or not. Their interactions with each other and the people in the store says a lot about their characters, and drew me in enough that I want to read more issues just for the two of them.
On the other hand, there’s one member of the team who at the end of the day I must admit I was a little mystified by, having blinked and somehow missed the one time he’s addressed him by name (I blame a combination of the really annoying font used for Ragdoll’s dialogue, and an onset of early senility on my part; turns out it was Bane). Visually Bane seems to have been stripped of everything that made him look like he used to; who’d know that I would somehow actually miss his cheesy Mexican wrestler mask? There are definitely bits of information I feel like I’m missing, but nothing was a deal-killer for me.
Simone also does a good job with introducing Junior, her villain for the first story arc. She and Nicola Scott really make the character genuinely unnerving by the time we’re done with that opening scene; it makes later comments that Junior scares the inmates of Arkham Asylum easier to swallow because we’ve already seen Junior in action and have been suitably creeped out. And speaking of Scott, she’s a good choice for drawing “Secret Six,” not only because she’s worked with Simone in the past but because she’s very adept at drawing characters out of their traditional costumes, making them look like actual people. (Maybe it’s because Bane didn’t look like a caricature for once that I didn’t recognize him?)
It’s a fun first issue, and I want to see more. For now, Simone and Scott have got me right where they want me.