Secret Six #10
Written by Gail Simone
Pencils by Nicola Scott
After two issues of "quiet" stand-alone stories, the six finally have a new gig; They've been hired to protect a mysterious large slab-looking thing (Han Solo in carbonate!) by a sketchy trio of slave drivers. Bane continues to struggle with his reawakened venom addiction, and Deadshot and Jeannette continue to flirt (in Ireland!). To complicate matters even further, the trio claim that their employer is none other than Mockingbird-- the shadowy figure who united the six in the first place.
After a brutal, and stunning opening gambit-- for some reason is seems to be a developing motif that the six's employers will inevitably become their enemies-- Simone turns her attention to the small character moments that make Six such a great comic to read. It is inevitably what makes the issues of six such a pleasure to read, so much so that you almost wish that six wasn't about a vicious mercenary group, and rather just a comic about the crazy adventures of a group of mismatched friends (frankly, it almost is already). That desire has never been more apparent than in reading the pages of this issue.
Simone is at her best when she's writing the brutal, the blackly comic and the sincere-- an odd combination to be sure, but none the less the truth of it. Simone knows her characters, and she knows what's funny but at some point in this issue she falls flat. The opening gambit is gripping, the characters moments are captivating, but with the meeting of the new employers and the six, things begin to get long winded and uninteresting. The characters make light of this later in the issue-- but it doesn't excuse the sluggishness of the scenes, and the difficulty they have grabbing an audience.
The end of the issue is something flat and not entirely gripping-- this isn't so much of a problem, it's significance will likely play into the events of the story arc-- but new readers certainly wouldn't come back after something so seemingly empty and if Secret Six needs anything, it's certainly more readers (Read it!). In addition, the characters have a strange, unsurprised response to finding out that their employer is the notorious Mockingbird. Given their association with him (I'm being careful not to reveal any spoilers from Villains United).
The fact is that Simone is a dynamite writer, at least for these characters, and they're damn good characters in addition to that (scoff at Catman if you like but he's come a long way under Simone's watchful eye). Her plots have been solid, and the solicitations for this particular arc seem very promising. Despite all of the complaints above, they're really only a light sprinkle on an otherwise perfect day. While this issue may not be the best of the run by any means, it's solid, and that's a critique I given when I didn't even feel like reading my comics this week.
RATING: 7 out of 10.
If you want to hook up with Simone's Six (please do! Marvel has already canned Captain Britain-- DC can't be too far away from scrapping six) you can start reading with this very issue, or it likely wouldn't be too difficult to find the entire 10 issues out already!