Secret Six: The Reptile Brain (DC) | Under the Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
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Secret Six: The Reptile Brain

DC Comics

Written by Gail Simon & Paul Cornell; Art by J. Calafiore & Pete Woods; Cover by Daniel Luvisi

May 23, 2011 DC Comics Bookmark and Share

Here is what you need to love about Secret Six: shit happens.

Sounds simple but, damn, so many comics get it wrong. Gail Simone is more adept at orbiting around the status quo than just about anybody in comics, most of whom confuse melodrama and naval-gazing with storytelling. Sure, we move away from and dive back into the premise of the series —a team of six villains for hire —but the path there and back is always compelling. She shakes things up for the Six without ever losing sight of her bread and butter: humor, action, interrelationships, and strong, strong characterization.

That being said, The Reptile Brain, the latest Secret Six collection, doesn’t particularly stand out amongst the previous Secret Six books. It’s better than the last one (by virtue of no Blackest Night tack-on/tie-in). Things are muddied a little bit by a Lex Luthor crossover with Action Comics, but only in the sense that the art is switched up and Paul Cornell’s writing, while very good in its own right, at the very least represents a tonal shift from the bulk of the collection. Still, it’s a natural crossover, featuring Vandal Savage, the father of Secret Six team leader Scandal Savage (again, putting it ahead of the Blackest Night infestation from the last collection; see Under the Radar‘s review here.).

Most of the book concerns two teams that could be called the Secret Six, one mostly the core (Deadshot, Scandal, Cat Man, Rag Doll, Black Alice); the other, while led by Sixers Bane and Jeannette, is filled out by the likes of Giganta (Wonder Woman villain), Lady Vic (a Nightwing nemesis), Dwarfstar (a psychotic version of The Atom), and the hilarious King Shark (Aquaman villain; his battle cries are classic). The groups do battle within a uniquely DC-centric playground: Skartaris, a fantasy setting established in classic DC series The Warlord. One team is manipulated by some corrupt government-employed hero-type called Spy Smasher; the other team, the one with Deadshot and company, is brought on board by Amanda Waller (I’ll say it again: DC’s best character).

With good action, breezy plot, and, again, great characterization, Secret Six: Reptile Brain is a fine example of consistent, quality DC Comics. ( /

Author rating: 7/10

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