Secret Six #2 (Comics Review)

In December of last year, DC kicked off its New 52 version of the Secret Six with a new series by Gail Simone and Ken Lashley. The first issue introduced Catman to us in detail while also covering the other members of the team roster, and it ended up being one hell of a story combined with some equally great art. As a fan of Gail’s work in general, and having read a previous Secret Six graphic novel, this was definitely one of my highly-anticipated titles of the Fall’14 season, and the book did not disappoint.

This past week’s Secret Six #2 carries on directly from where the first issue left off some 2 months back. We continue to get some great background information on Thomas Blake aka Catman, while at the same time also coming to understand the group of misfits assembled together by some mysterious character for some so-far-unexplained objective. Gail Simone continues to delve rather fantastically into what makes each of these characters tick, especially Catman, while on the other side Ken Lashley and the other artists also turn out some magic.

One of the really cool things about Catman in this series is that he is afraid of closed spaces, and that being wet inside closed spaces is something else that he can’t handle with any sort of grace. I don’t really remember much about Blake’s background from the other comics, but here, all of this is presented really nicely, and it is one of the many ways with which Gail pulls you into the entire experience that she is creating here. It adds a certain vulnerability to Catman that really isn’t apparent otherwise, and I definitely like that angle. It allows Gail to play with the character in ways that aren’t possible with the other characters she usually writes.

At the same time though, Blaka isn’t the only character here of course. We have a misfit group of characters here, such as Shauna Belzer aka The Ventriloquist, Strix, Big Shot, Porcelain and Black Alice, each of whom is a multi-layered character, the details of which are slowly teased out by the writer. The characters all find themselves in a situation where they have to choose one among their number to be sacrificed so that the rest may live, and the tension generated by this narrative is something worth paying attention to. And that’s mostly because of the character interactions, with each character being an utter nut-case and yet balancing the threads of their sanity at the same time. Really wonderful mess here.

As is usual with Gail when she has to deal with characters like this, she keeps the dialogue short and punchy. Sure, there’s some talking up in a few places, but by and large the dialogue between the various characters is pretty short and to the point. Which works really well for me since I’m somewhat averse to expository comics, unless the characters and the story itself are really, really good. That’d be the only exception, and such an exception is rather tough to find anywhere.

Aside from all of that though, the neatest part of the comic was all the background on Blake from when he was captured by some unnamed villain and left in solitary confinement for a year or so. Absolutely brutal scenes though, from an emotional point of view, but also really intriguing since the context of the mysteries surrounding this whole thing is something you do have to discover on your own. I’ve had only partial success with it so far, but I’m sure that all of this is going to be far more important than given credit for.

Ken is the artist on this, with inks by him and Drew Geraci, colours by Jason Wright, letters by Carlos M. Mangual, and the cover itself by Dale Eaglesham and Jason. As before, the art in this issue is really good. In typical Ken lashley style, the inks can be a bit heavy and dark, which is where Drew comes in no doubt, to soften the overall effect, and the pencils themselves are phenomenal with the free-form style chosen by Ken. And as for the colours, they lend a nice water-colour feel to the whole thing that I really like.

A superb sophomore effort.

Rating: 9/10

More Secret Six: #1

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Posted on February 17, 2015, in Comics Reviews, Review Central and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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