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Secret Six #10

Posted: Friday, June 5, 2009
By: Shawn Hill

Gail Simone
Nicola Scott, Doug Hazlewood (i)
DC Comics
“Depths” (part 1)

Plot: The Six have a new employer (or is it an old one?) and he's a real piece of work.

Comments: I suppose it makes sense for this book to sport cover art that recalls Marvel's current run of Thunderbolts. The two are equivalent books in a way. But while Marvel seems to be exploring the bad guys and what they can get away with these days, Simone explores the bad guys and how they cope with goals and pasts not permissible in normal society. The psychology of her characters is often in the forefront. This new shadow-drenched cover (with our crew bursting into deadly action against unseen foes) captures the tone of "Depths," the new story arc. Though we may have thought we've already seen the worst, this looks to be Simone's attempt to see just how low she can go.

There are many interesting danglers on display in this first issue: the ruthless Mr. Smyth is rather by-the-numbers, but his henchwoman Giuna is an intriguing mystery, and his depraved servant Emil is a casting call for Peter Lorre. That they've somehow managed to subdue Artemis (of the Amazons) surely must be explained. Human trafficking, slavery and drug-related kidnappings comprise the sub-themes of this arc, and as it was in the recent topically similar arc in Manhunter, we're going to see some horrors before the heroes reach the light of day.

Oh, waitaminute. These aren't heroes. Forget that light of day stuff. Surprisingly, we do get the occasional moment of tenderness. Scandal soothes Bane in a moment of crisis, returning a favor he did for her, making a sacrifice in turn. For all of Deadshot's bravado, you'd rather be on his side in a fight than against him. Nicola Scott fills the art with telling details, as in the darkening of the banshee's eyes when she gets mad, the panic on Bane's face after a nightmare, or the grim emotionless mien of the horrifyingly silent Giuna.

And maybe most telling of all, when the team is literally dropped into a nest of gun-toting guerillas, their effectively simultaneous leap into action (if hemmed and hawed by a lot of nervous verbiage) is the truest sign of all: for all their sins, this group has formed a formidable collaboration. And their clients better watch their backs.



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