Secret Six #5

Since its release at the end of last year, the relaunch of "Secret Six" has been a little problematic. The schedule of the series was quickly shot to hell, with only two of its first four issues released before "Convergence," as well as additional delays that resulted in the contents of issues #3 and 4 being swapped. Here's the good news, though: Gail Simone, Dale Eaglesham and Tom Derenick make up for lost time in "Secret Six" #5 as the story kicks into high gear and the answers to many mysteries are revealed.

I'll admit that I was genuinely surprised that "Secret Six" #5 not only had the rest of the Six learning Mockingbird's identity -- something that could have been strung out for months -- but also the truth behind Ralph and Sue Dibny's connections to Mockingbird and the Six, as well as why this group ended up imprisoned together. While I don't know if this was always the plan, it was perfectly timed. Despite loving the pre-reboot "Secret Six," the erratic production schedule had caused my interest to erode a bit. With this much forward movement, my attention has been firmly grasped once again. "Secret Six" #5 feels like the series is not just moving in a real direction, but doing so full speed ahead. With revelations left and right (as well as the distinct possibility that one of our protagonists might be the indirect cause of Mockingbird having locked all of them up), this feels like a series worth paying attention to again.

Eaglesham and Derenick split the art this month, and they're a good choice to work together. Both of them draw in a very clean manner and the transition from Eaglesham to Derenick doesn't feel jarring or out of place. That said, I have a particular fondness for how Eaglesham often slightly distends and warps his characters when the moment calls for it; Ralph's powers in particular have never been quite so visually stunning. The characters all have strong visual identities in this issue, but I especially love how Porcelain and Ventriloquist stand out, the former with her strong and almost regal demeanor, the latter with such a ragged look that it feels like she went through the washing machine. Derenick's art is a bit more controlled, but he continues to follow through on Eaglesham's overall look for the book, keeping it all well-composed.

"Secret Six" #5 is a strong recovery for the book, enough that I'd recommend people who might have given up to dip back in to give the series another shot. Simone, Eaglesham and Derenick put all of their chips on the table, and it's paid off. I'm all-in for future issues.

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