With “Secret Six” going to Hell, there are a lot of easy jokes to be made about it being the eventual resting place for all of the book’s villains, anyway. Heck, it’s pointed out to them, as well. But, in a nutshell, that’s part of the draw of “Secret Six.” They may know they’re going to Hell eventually, but they aren’t going to go down without a fight.
Well, some of them, anyway.
Gail Simone’s script, as it so often does, delves into the psyches of her cast of bad guys, and in multiple places. When offered the choice to either stay and become part of Hell’s court, or fight for their freedom and know that their eventual return will be one of misery, it’s a decision that shows just how each of them sees themselves and their future. And later, when we see the personal hells for a few of the characters, they’re some of the darker and more depressing moments in the series to date (and that’s saying something).
My one nitpick-and it’s a small one-is that increasingly it’s feeling like someone can betray the team and then start stepping back into the fold fairly easily. I understand that this is a group of villains that are together in part because no one else will have them, and there’s no one truly trustworthy here, but I’m starting to hope for some stronger repercussions the next time someone pulls a fast one on the team. Still, so long as we get scenes like Catman’s parents in Hell, well, I feel like I can’t complain too much, because in all other areas it’s delivering the goods.
J. Calafiore’s art continues to look as impressive as ever. I’m used to his sharp lines and I look forward to them every month, but he’s kicked it up a notch here. The full page portraits of the individual hells look great, setting up a series of scenes without using panel borders, each image bleeding into the next. (Plus, John Kalisz’s limited color schemes for each of the pages makes them not only stand out but further unifies the drawings.) He also draws the most disturbing Ragdoll we’ve seen to date immediately after those scenes, looking almost like a Ted McKeever character that snuck in when no one was paying attention.
When even the smaller moments stand out, like Liana’s eyeliner running due to tears, or the glow underneath Lady Blaze’s helmet as she delves out a nasty final piece of information to Scandal, you’ve got a strong and cohesive issue. That’s exactly what I expect from Simone and Calafiore, and they deliver in spades. And with such a nasty final proclamation from Lady Blaze, well, I suspect everyone’s going to be dying for the next issue (no pun intended). “Secret Six,” month in and month out, continues to be excellent.