By Koppy McFad
July 19, 2009 - 00:53
The Secret Six, a team of mercenary supervillains, are hired to protect an evil slave trader. But when some members of the Six decide to help one of the captives, the team ends up fighting among themselves.
Some people are calling this title the best book on the stands. Well, it may be good but it is far from the best and this issue is proof of this. At times, it appears to be trying to send some sort of 'deep' message on the morality of slavery and prisons but the situations and characters depicted in the comic are so unrealistic that any message would hardly apply to the real world.
Additionally, so much of the story is told through characters giving long monologues, speeches and threats rather than having them do anything. There is a fight scene near the end but it feels strangely forced.
The character of Artemis, the bad-azz sister of Wonder Woman, is introduced as a captive of the slavers and while some members of the Six want to free her, the others want to stick to their contract with the slavers and stop her from escaping. This leads to a civil war within the Six and it is refreshing to see that they are willing to kill each other over money and principle. Too often, the lead characters of this book are billed as being a dysfunctional "family" of anti-heroes. Well, this makes it clear that they are bad guys. Maybe now, they won't be shown being so chummy with various superheroes.
Artemis however seems to be rather unimportant. She gets cover billing and is pivotal to the plot but in the end, she seems to be just another one of the many strong, angry women who are all over comic books nowadays. She was a big-deal character once, with her own miniseries and a major role in the WONDER WOMAN books but they are going to have to build her up again if she is going stand out from the crowd.
This book can get too talky and is at times, too infatuated with its image of clever amorality. Sure, it is fun and even entertaining but it isn't as smart as its fans think it is. Besides that, a team or really amoral characters would be hard to sympathise with. When a real hero-- in this case, Wonder Woman shows up in the end of the issue, you do end up rooting for her to kick the Secret Six's butts.
The art does have a grim tone to it while still making the story clear and easy to follow. But it relies on too many close-in shots to convey emotion and the fight scene at the end is drawn in a way that makes it look static and dull-- almost as if it was just a backdrop for some more wisecracks and clever remarks. The cover is also rather unremarkable. It makes Artemis look like a chorus girl lost in a forest.
Rating: 6 /10