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Secret Six #16

Posted: Monday, December 14, 2009
By: Shawn Hill

Gail Simone
Peter Nguyen, Hazlewood & McKenna (i)
DC Entertainment
Plot: Catman and Deadshot take on a short term assignment and Black Alice picks that moment to apply...for a job?

Comments: I'm not sure why cover artist Daniel Luvisi chopped up Alice's body and set her severed torso atop her disjointed legs, but the biggest black tutu in the world isn't enough to cover up the feeling that something's gone very wrong with her body. An odalisque she is not in this example of photo-reference gone horribly wrong.

But Nguyen fares much better inside, capturing clear personalities for Cat and Shot out of their costumes (but no less deadly, of course, as these two alpha dudes have made self-confidence their defining trait). Nguyen also has fun with Alice's powers, as we see Phantom Stranger Alice, Blue Demon Alice, and even Silver Banshee Alice at one point. She's a powerhouse who steals any magic she likes, but Simone makes it clear that she's also undisciplined and deeply in need of guidance. That no one sees that so well as Bane is one of Simone's insights into these DC-underside characters. Bane's simple respect for "Child Alice" as she makes a typically brutal, reckless life choice is the one thing that could have reached her, and stop her from attacking the team.

This is a month for sensible badasses talking sense to desperate and needy psychos (as a similar scenario plays out in Astounding Wolf-Man, too). But it's just one strong note in an issue which, perversely, is about character amongst criminals. Simone's noir territory includes a just fate for a serial killer of children, an unwise strip-club stop off, and R-rated dialogue for grown-ups. It comes as a bonus that the team has hit the club on "Bad Girls of DC" night. Nguyen comes up with funny, sexy riffs on some familiar DC costumes for the entertainers, and Simone keeps the banter up as the Alice problem is sorted out.

Seems she's joining the team (at least for the short-term), which pisses off Scandal and turns Ragdoll on. After months of battling slavers and demons, Simone lightens things up considerably with a lovely tale of mentoring and promise. Sure, mostly of more carnage, but that's a promise!



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