Thomas Blake. AKA Catman. A savage drifter who doesn’t like being cooped up or tied down. Even if you ask him nicely.
Lori Zechlin. AKA Black Alice. A riot goth grrrl with a dark attitude and darker magics at her command.
Damon Wells. AKA Big Shot. A small-time private investigator who can live large when necessary.
Mary Turner. AKA Strix. She’s a former assassin of The Court Of Owls and a former Bird of Prey. She kills people.
Kani. AKA Porcelain. A thief with a flair for the dramatic, who makes things go to pieces.
Shauna Belzer. AKA The Ventriloquist. A triple-threat and a psycho-killer who talks to her doll… and makes him talk back.
Six lost souls. Six captives in a locked, booby-trapped room.
One question tormenting them. One question that must be answered if they are to live.
What Is The Secret?
Fans of the previous Secret Six series may be disappointed to learn that this new Secret Six is a different kettle of fish. There is no slapstick or shenanigans of the sort one’s come to expect from your average Gail Simone book. No fatherly Bane or innocently demented Ragdoll. The overall tone is far closer to horror movies like Cube or Saw than to dark comedies like Serial Mom or Very Bad Things. This new Secret Six is a far deeper book and the humor – what little we see in this first issue – is equally disturbed.
Thankfully, while this may not have been the Secret Six book we expected, it is still a good read. Simone’s script does a grand job of establishing the cast, quickly setting up fan-favorite Catman as our point-of-view character following a spirited bar-brawl action-sequence in the book’s opening moments. Only Black Alice returns from the previous Secret Six, with the rest of the group’s slots being filled with other Simone creations from her recent run on Batgirl (Strix and the new Ventriloquist) and two new characters (Big Shot and Porcelain).
The artwork perfectly captures the darker vibe of this series. Ken Lashley – a veteran artist with experience on a wide variety of superhero and horror titles – proves a perfect partner for Simone. Lashley does a great job of subtly building the tension from panel to panel. The inks by Lashley and Drew Geraci are suitably dark without the shadows being over-emphasized, as often happens in some thriller comics. And the colors by Jason Wright serve to add dramatic power to the final product, with key scenes being rendered in one color to catch the reader’s attention.
It is too early to tell if future issues will return to the black comedy that made Simone’s first Secret Six so memorable once the cast is better established. Still, this first issue is one heck of a hook for new readers and it is an enjoyable opening taken on its own terms. This is definitely a series to keep an eye on and a must read for anyone looking for something new and unique.