‘Secret Six’ #1: locked in a room with a bunch of maniacs

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‘Secret Six ‘ #1

Written by Gail Simone

Pencils by Ken Lashley; Inks by Ken Lashley & Drew Geraci

After three years, Gail Simone returns to the popular and critically praised ‘Secret Six.’ However this isn’t a continuation of the much beloved team, but a full reboot. Most of the classic villains for hire aren’t to be found save for a few familiar faces. The rest is comprised of either brand new characters and a couple of villains from Simone’s ‘Batgirl’ run.

The story stars Thomas Blake, a.k.a. Catman, who is approached by some mysterious men in suits and placed in a coffin-shaped single room prison with five other strangers. His fellow captives include Black Alice, a girl with strange magical powers; Strix, a scarred assassin for the Court of Owls; Shauna Belzer, a.k.a. the Ventriloquist, a mad woman with a doll named Ferdie; Porcelain, a new character with the ability to turn solid objects brittle; and other new creation Damon Wells, a.k.a.Big Shot, a P.I. with growth abilities. Why these six have been brought together here is a mystery, even to them. It sets up a compelling first issue, which in turn makes talking about the plot difficult. Rest assured, the only time the writing fell through was with one small panel. It’s where a man and a woman who were flirting with Catman comment how hot he is while beating up shady men in suits. Gail Simone plans to make Cat Man’s bisexuality more apparent in this new series and, while it’s well intended, if comes off forced.

The interaction between the Secret Six is what makes up the majority of the issue. Simone does a great job establishing her new cast, bringing them out through their words and actions, and makes it abundantly clear that everyone in the room is holding back what they know and are various levels of mentally unstable. It’s a wonderful introduction to this new mad and manic team.

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The art duties are handled by Ken Lashley. His style and colors expertly convey the grimy  setting and even grimier morals of the cast. It’s not a pretty style, but that’s very much the point.  He makes it clear that everyone’s their own shade of disturbed. While his faces can sometimes be strange, like a few times Catman suffers from massive eyes, it hits the mark for the most part. Even at a distance and with minimal detail, Lashley can tell the reader who’s who with just basic design and body language. It’s a good fit, and he’s clearly enjoying himself with this title.

Gail Simone’s long awaited return to the fan-favorite ‘Secret Six’ is off to a solid start. It’s got mystery, madness, and whole lot of mayhem to come. Ken Lashley’s pencils and inks serve the book well and make something well picking up this week.




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