Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Comic Book Review: Secret Six #17

Book Information
Written by Gail Simone & John Ostrander
Art by J. Calafiore

The Suicide Squad takes on the Secret Six in a fight to the death.  The Squad’s main target is The Six’s trigger happy ally, Deadshot.  While the Squad fights the Six in an attempt to reclaim Deadshot and bring him back into their ranks, the Lanterns of death make a unwelcome surprise and begin to trash and rip the hearts out of the inmates of the Belle Reve Jail.  Now, the two super villain teams must worked together to escape the clutches of the blood thirsty Black Lantern Corps.

My Thoughts
Like all the Blackest Night tie-ins, Secret Six #17 begins with a flash back by a character who has a distinct, yet distant connection to the book, Yasemin, who was killed by Deadshot earlier in this story.  She has risen from the dead and seeks vengeance against our bullet crazy fiend.  Having not read Suicide Squad #67, I was a little confused by what was going on.  This only means I’ll need to go to the comic book store tomorrow and pick up my own copy and play catch up.  It was an interesting inner recapping monologue however, in the sense that her death only happened last issue, yet she’s acting like this vengeance has been a long time coming.  It makes for an angst driven an intense introduction to this issue, but it seemed a bit contrived and strange to me.

Aside from that minor defect in the story, Simone and Ostrander deliver an exceptional issue that goes beyond what the typical comic book story does.  We have three super villain teams going at each other tooth and nail, The Secret Six, The Suicide Squad, and the Black Lantern Corps.  This approach to a story shouldn’t work, yet these two heavy hitting writers take it on as if it were the most natural thing in the world.  What’s satisfying about these match ups are how Simone makes the odd fights work very well in the literature.  While Catman and Bronze Tiger seem the most obvious brawl, Bane punching it up with Nightshade and Vertigo seems like a very unlikely fight, yet it’s written so smoothly and effortlessly; shows the unending versatility and intelligence that Simone and Ostrander have as writers.

Calafiore, while still a great artist, doesn’t hold a candle to Nicola Scott.  At first I thought Calafiore was going to transition into this title quite well, but he instead displays a lack of artistry that has been visualized so perfectly by Mrs. Scott.  The close up shots were intense and had crispness to them; the distant panels, like the fight scenes between Bane, Nightshade and Vertigo for example, were very stone like and frozen and it became a distracting feature of the book.  Many of the panels where someone landed a punch, the illusion of forward motion, and images where the fist makes contact are almost non-existent.  The art was a real disappointment for me as I know I’ve seen better coming from Calafiore.

As far as the tie-in to Blackest Night is concerned, I don’t think it did the job well.  It was a tie-in, yes, but it didn’t really do anything to progress the story.  Everything that happened in this issue has already occurred with every other tie-in.  It’s as if DC just wanted an excuse for including Blackest Night into one of its more popular selling titles and didn’t care if it helped boost the story in the least.  DC just wanted to slap Blackest Night at the top of the cover and call it good.  That’s quite the cop out if you ask me.

Had some flaws, but mainly consisted with the art and the less than satisfactory Blackest Night tie-in.  Still, it’s a fun read; all attributed to the writing team of Simone and Ostrander.

Rating: 8 out of 10 stars

Next Issue Coming February 10th, 2010
It's the exciting conclusion of John Ostrander and Gail Simone's epic team-up! The Black Lanterns have both the Suicide Squad and the Secret Six up against the wall. But Amanda Waller always has a plan. That plan: Manhunter! Plus, Deadshot is forced to make the decision of his life!

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