The first half of the “Action Comics” and “Secret Six” crossover two weeks ago was a fun start, pushing two of DC’s villain-led comics together with a common enemy. Now, Gail Simone gets to pick up the baton and bring it to a conclusion, and if it wasn’t for one small problem I’d be quite pleased with it.
The good news is that the problem has nothing to do with Simone’s writing. She’s got a good grasp of how to write guest star Lex Luthor certainly helps matters, keeping the characterization that Paul Cornell’s been using in “Action Comics” to make the transition from one writer to the next feel smooth. And while some of the resolution relies on coincidence, it’s Simone’s sly sense of humor that makes you not care that the characters have escaped in part because of dumb luck.
(This is, after all, a comic where the first page shows a harp-holding, winged, angelic version of Ragdoll-complete with his scars everywhere-bringing the reader up to date in case they hadn’t read “Action Comics” previously. Simone isn’t afraid to bring the slightly ludicrous into the comic, perhaps because she can make it work so well.)
Simone also goes for a slightly different than normal resolution for the story; instead of being strictly violence, there’s some negotiations at hand that are odd in a good way. I like how things are left with Luthor and Vandal Savage, to say nothing of Scandal pointing out to her father that if they end up with yet another dead employer it will reflect poorly on the Secret Six. And Simone brings a lot of great character moments; my favorite is probably the interaction between Bane and Black Alice. Her being the “baby” of the team could have ended up a little too cloying for words, but instead it’s a relationship that just clicks every month.
The downside to this issue is that while guest art team Marcos Marz and Luciana Delnegro are good at static images, there’s absolutely no sense of motion in this book. Everyone looks like they’re frozen in place, posing for an unseen camera. So when Black Alice points to herself and says, “Me? What?” it doesn’t seem like she’s actually subconsciously identifying herself with her finger, but instead someone just asked to to strike a pose so they could make it part of an editorial fashion shoot.
It’s like that the whole way through, too; the worst offense is when there’s an action sequence escaping from a large explosion, and it took six panels to realize that the characters involved are not floating, but instead actually rocketing through the air. It’s a shame too, because there are some small visuals (Black Alice’s ragged Dr. Fate cloak, the tongues of fire from the explosion) which show that Marz and Delnegro have a lot of potential. But until everything stops looking so stiff and fake, it’s ultimately too distracting to work.
Still, despite the faults in the art, “Secret Six” #29 is a satisfying conclusion to the crossover with “Action Comics,” and if down the line Simone and Cornell want to do another crossover? I’m definitely down with that.