Secret Six #31 - Six B-List villains, tired of being manipulated into the machinations of the A-list villains, tired of the sanctimony of heroes, strike out on their own as mercenaries, fighting on both sides of the law. If you read comics or watch movies, this premise sounds trite (“They play by their own rules!”). That’s okay, though: it’s never been done this well. What has made this series so compelling is the extremes it goes to. These characters are cruel and at times depraved. They have no remorse for their actions and are resigned to going to hell when they die. The violence they wreak on the DC universe is straight out of Tarantino films (so absurdly graphic you laugh from the shock). They’re also capable of showing a level of humanity that all too often goes missing in hero tales. They love one another. They protect the truly innocent. They fight to be free. This issue kicks off a storyline that sees the team go to hell to recover a fallen teammate and a “get out of hell free” card. While they’ve done enough evil in their lives that such a card would be invaluable to them individually, as I said before, they’ve accepted their damnation: they’re after the card to save loved ones lost. To label this comic morally ambiguous is too simple and a disservice to the creative talent. In my opinion, it’s a story about heavily scarred people who were left behind. Had things broke differently for them earlier, they might have done better for society. Now, they’re just out for themselves, trying to get by, and every once in a while, committing a random act of kindness.
Comic Book Wednesday 3/2/11