Ah, remember the brisk winter days of 1924 and the weekly routine of reading a fresh issue of “Collier’s” while curled up next to the fire?
Well how about that time you had to read Richard Connell’s “The Most Dangerous Game” in 8th grade? Or that time you watched Ice-T and Gary Busey in “Surving the Game”? Ring any bells?
Because what we get in “Secret Six” #23 is a one-shot story by John Ostrander and RB Silva — an inventory story if the “This story takes place before ‘Secret Six’ #19” disclaimer is any indication — and its an issue that has a simple concept: “The Most Dangerous Game” meets “The Secret Six.” Connell’s story originally appeared in the aforementioned “Collier’s” but has since become a staple of school-age anthologies and spawned many a terrible movie adaptation. The Connell story was about a big game hunter named Rainsford and the aristocratic General Zaroff who set up his island as a sanctuary in which he could hunt the world’s most dangerous game. Man! Dun dun dunnn!
“Secret Six” #23 gives us that same story, but with the title team playing the role of Rainsford and a guy by the name of Nero playing a variation on the role of Zaroff. Is Nero a recurring character in this series? I have no idea, and I couldn’t tell from this issue. Here, he’s just a dude who facilitates corporate big-wigs and their penchant for hunting. And if man is the most dangerous game, what could be more dangerous than the men (and women) of the Secret Six. Killers, all.
The story is decent enough — it’s exactly what you might expect from its simple premise, though with extra exosuits for the hunters — and the art is quite good. The team of Silva/Palamaro/Wright remind me of a cross between Rafael Albuquerque and Nicola Scott. They have energy to their work here, but also a softness that provides an interesting contrast to the violence.
Unfortunately, beyond the appeal of the art and the high-concept charm of the plot, there isn’t much actually going on here. Sure, the team fights back against the hunters and we get plenty of blood and explosions, but there’s nothing surprising about a single second of it.