Review: Secret Six #33

Why is Secret Six one of the best books out there?  One reason is because Bane is awesome.  It also features a talking shark with arms and legs.

Andy Hunsakerby Andy Hunsaker

Secret Six 33

There is no comic book series on the market today that I'm in a bigger hurry to read each month than Gail SImone's Secret Six.  From unpredictable storylines to fascinating characters to brilliant dialog to elaborately crafted art from J. Calafiore, this funny and twisted group of anti-heroes makes for one of the most satisfying reading experiences you can get on a serialized basis.

In Secret Six #33, the story of these morally dubious pseudo-villains facing their own eventual fates in the bowels of Hell continues.  Last issue, we got what is essentially the mission statement of this team from Scandal Savage in response to Bane's surprise in discovering his code of honor means diddly squat as far as saving him from damnation.  "We choose the life we lead.  We choose the people we are.  Not for God.  For ourselves."  Now, their freaky teammate Ragdoll, who has become their antagonist in the endeavor to get Savage's fallen lover Knockout out of Hell, offers them something new to choose – sacrifice their lives above and gain status and power in the underworld, or fight back and eventually become, as Jeannette puts it, "tortured offal in some demon's latrine."

Incidentally, Jeannette is in need of a much cooler super-lady name, lest we repeat the awkwardness of "Jean Grey" being used in the middle of a whole slew of cool X-Men code names.

Anyway, the voting in the case of Whipmaster v. Offal comes down to Deadshot, and of course he's the worst possible tiebreaker because you cannot make Deadshot care about anything.  Floyd will decide what Floyd cares about, and when he does, he will still never let you know that he cares about it.  So his vote is to shoot Ragdoll in the head and start a big-time demon fight in Hell.  "All politics is guns, babe.  Everything else is just someone waiting to be shot."  That barely makes any sense, but it's so perfectly Deadshot.

The Secret Six make their hay by always bucking the trends of what normal heroes and villains would do in any given situation.  When heroism is called for, they'll often degenerate into antisocial apathy about "the right thing."  But put them in Hell, tell them they're going to be confined to eternal horror for the lives they lead, and their only way out is to just give up, and they band together, call on all their noble devotion to each other and the idealistic notion of "true love" and fight the good fight anyway against impossible odds.  Despite being faced with their inevitable horrible afterlives, they are still not afraid to die.  Even Ragdoll comes back around (although that could've been in response to having his classic clown look transformed into a goth-mummy thing that looks like it might be an official redesign), and we get an awesome speech from Bane, as seen in the header image above.  "We will defeat Hell."  That's nothing short of badass.

Plus, they have a big talking shark with arms and legs on their team.  This is why comic books are a wonderful thing.

Going forward, it'll be interesting to see if Catman's detour to get some satisfactory resolution to the fate of his parents will calm his tendency towards savagery enough that he may reconsider his triple-cross plan to kill off the interest that Huntress had in him over in Birds of Prey #11, but it's hard to tell where this trip to Hell takes place in relation to that.  There's also the huge question mark of how Scandal will deal with having to choose between the souls of her true love Knockout and her current, relatively normal girlfriend Liana, who's currently being abused by a cretin trying to "deprogram" her from her stripper's life, but also fighting the good fight.  The 'right thing to do' would probably be to leave Knockout where she is and save Liana's life, as she's not "in the game," so to speak – but the Secret Six never do what's expected of them, and that's what makes this book so fascinating.