Long term readers will know that I have been incredibly harsh on this site when reviewing Secret Six. I felt that the dialogue was nothing more than gibberish, the art to be substandard and everyone involved in creating the book more interested in getting your $2.99 or £2.35 than writing something interesting and worthwhile. And then I read this issue.
Secret Six #35 details Bane’s plans to take down Batman and prove himself the best in the world, and break Batman, just like he did in the early 90’s. After finding out that no matter what he does, when he dies, he will be going to hell, and any good deeds between now and the day he dies will be worth nothing, Bane's attitude changes to that of a kamikaze pilot. He knows he is going to die, he knows what will happen when he dies, so he wants to cause as much havoc and destruction while he still can. Bane has formulated a plot which is similar to his original Knightfall plot, which was to take down the Dark Knight's allies, leaving Batman alone for Bane to take down personally. This sounds eerily similar to what he did in the Knightfall saga to take Batman before. Some may say this is just showing how much of a one note villain Bane is, to which a response could be “If it ain’t broke don’t fix it.”
To say this book isn’t soaked with gibberish dialogue and cringe worthy scenes would be a lie, even though the issue overall is entertaining Simone still tries to interject some “wit” into the book, with King Shark singing “I’m a shark” over and over again as he breaks into a security building, or seeing Deadshot and Jeannette make love on the kitchen table. Still, this is better than the entire book being wrapped around the stupid things Ragdoll says. The issue ends on the cliff-hanger of another Batman-rogue joining the Secret Six, overall bringing the total members of the Batman-Rogues gallery being one time members of the Secret Six, which has included: Deadshot, Catman, Mad Hatter, Harley Quinn, Bane and Penguin. So, say what you want about Batman villains, they certainly like being parts of team, unless you’re the Joker.
Art by Jim Califiore here is not up to his usual standard. Instead of being blocky and having weird faces, only half the book suffers from this issue. It’s a real shame that Califiore has finally been able to draw art that is actually appealing to look at, so close to the book's cancellation as this is easily the best looking issue of Secret Six that he has drawn. The art is the exact same mixed bag with some pages being great and others being car crash esque, you don’t want to look at them, but you feel like you have to.
The writing for this issue ranges from downright great with Bane, to boring gibberish, in the pages not featuring Bane, which is about half the book.
Overall this issue is better than expected, however still not as interesting as it should be. In the DC Relaunch into DCnU several books are being cut short and/or outright cancelled, Secret Six is one of those books, it had a good run, but as with all comics, sometimes a good run isn’t enough to keep your book going.
Secret Six #35:
Reviewed by Austen Beattie