By Gail Simone (writer), J. Calafiore (artist), Jason Wright (colorist) and Travis Lanham (letters)

SoldierHawk did a great job on her review of Secret Six #21.  Given that I consume a lot of comics related media (blogs, podcasts, etc.) I think just about everyone agrees with her that this is one of the best Secret Six stories ever, but I had a slightly different take on this issue.

I still love the series and won’t stop reading it, but this current story-arc just isn’t working for me.  In saying this I feel a little like a blogger for Wired who is saying that the iPad isn’t the coolest thing of all time, so let me walk you through briefly what I thought of the issue.  And….there are a LOT of positives with this issue, but listing them is just redundant.

The thing that makes Secret Six so awesome for me is the team dynamic.  And, what makes them such a great team is that there are about 52 neat little two-way dynamics going on.  Catman & Deadshot have the buddy vibe.  Bane is always threatening to kill Ragdoll.  Ragdoll and Black Alice have some kind of weirdo romance going on.  Scandal and Bane have whatever it is that they have.  Deadshot constantly offends Scandal.  Etc, etc, etc.

But, we don’t get to have any of that here because the team is split into three.  Catman is off being badass vengeance-man.  Part of the Six are following him.  And Bane and Jeanette (she’s the dud of the team, btw because she has no interesting relationships with any of the other Six) are soldiering on with a new band of mercenaries to fulfill their contracts.  So, the only neat dialogue that we get was a cute standoff between Scandal and Alice.  In a normal Six issue we get about 10 of those moments per issue.

I’m also not that enamored with the whole Catman on this avenging-angel mission.  Who are these guys that he is slaughtering?  The issue that I have with the bad guys is that we’re wasting just enough page time to explain that they’re not just normal, henchman-level chumps, but them Catman is ripping them to shreds in about a page, so they sure look like chumps to me.  The whole thing is just very reminiscent of a Wolverine comic for me.

It pains me to bash on this book a little bit because this is one of the titles that I absolutely love and Ms. Simone might actually bring it all back together in the next issue, but this story arc has lost the most fun thing for the Secret Six.  There are a million places to see a badass guy viciously gutting enemies, but NOT so many places to get this level of character development and dialog in a superhero book.

Grade: C+

– Dean Stell