I have to be totally honest with you guys before I get to my review: I’m a big fan of Gail Simone’s writing. I think she has one of the best character-driven voices in the industry. My gushing aside, I will try to be completely fair with my review of the new Secret Six. I was a big fan, as I’m sure you would have guessed, of the original series. So I jumped all over this one when it came out.
Simone gets to bring back some of the old favorites from the last series, like Catman and Black Alice. Unfortunately, some of the other characters from the old series have either already been spoken for, such as Deadshot, or just aren’t even the same character they were before The New 52, like Bane. Either way, with the new Secret Six we have a fun mix of baddies that I’m sure everyone will like.
What makes Simone’s writing so good is her delivery of characters. What I mean by that is that each one is an individual, with their own unique voice. Simone’s characters are not cookie cut-outs, or just a body in a costume. This is one of the consistent strong-points of her writing, and it’s why her runs on characters are some of the most memorable. Catman is the focus of this book so far, and he is a great example of Simone working her characterization magic. Catman, once considered a silly and laughable character before Simone got her hands on him, has turned into a compelling and interesting person. The way she gets you into the characters’ heads makes you really start to understand them beyond the traditional clichés that so many writers fall back on.
The original Secret Six was gritty and full of great interaction between the characters. While we are only two issues into the new title, Simone is already giving signs that this book will be no different. The last series was full of humor, which is already showing here too. Simone brings out the natural humor in the characters through their interaction, and it’s not forced. This approach works so well in a book like this, and gives it a whole other dimension of enjoyment.
The art by Ken Lashley is really good stuff. He has his own unique style that is important for an artist in comics. That said, I’m not a fan of it here. It’s not that the art is bad; far from it. He is a spectacular artist, but his style just doesn’t fit the overall feel of the book, in my opinion. Lashley’s art is very dramatic and stylized to the point that it detracts from the story, and it doesn’t help. His art needs to be in a book that is brooding, dark, and serious to the core. I see his art and I’m reminded of Gene Colan’s Tomb of Dracula. Hellblazer is another title that comes to mind where his art wouldn’t just fit, but would take that comic to the next level.
All in all, I think that anyone who is a fan of Gail Simone will like this book. If you are a fan of the original Suicide Squad you will probably like this comic too. It’s smart, fun and engaging, and just starting to get to the real juicy parts. I for one am looking forward to more of this–a lot more.