Posts Tagged ‘Secret Six’

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Reviews

October 19, 2008

Well for me over the last two months there has only been one real head and shoulders comic that I’d like to review, Be warned total spoilers ahead

As this issue opens, we see a man named Shelton being taken by two shady looking characters in plaid suits  into a sleazy sex club in an unidentified red light district.  Shelton is uncomfortable, begging for help, but the identical twin thugs try to talk him into calming down.  One of them says that “the boss” isn’t all that frightening, and how he says nice things about Mr. Shelton all the time.  He turns to his brother for backup, but the other man states, “I’ll be honest…  When he talks I’m mainly trying to figure some way not to soil myself.  I’m doin’ the therapy work for it, but there it is.”  HA!  Shelton is led into a dark, bare room, with only a wooden crate on the floor.  A voice emanates from the box…  “Know who I am?”  Shelton nervously says that he does, and the voice asks why Shelton helped to steal from him.  Shelton babbles that he knows he shouldn’t steal from the boss (called “Junior”) and the hidden boss agrees, and then asks him a horrible question.  “You have wife, daughters.  They die, or you die.  They die or you die.”  Shelton screams to kill his family instead, and Junior drags him bodily into the crate, hissing “That is choice everyone makes.”  That… was creepy.

Somewhere else, an expensive car races through darkness, as Floyd Lawton and Thomas Blake go somewhere at ridiculous speed.  Blake xplains that something bad happened in Africa, and we see a flashback of the Catman in action.  “Lot of men died ugly, and were left to rot.  And worse.”  Lawton snorts, and almost laughs.  “I have it on good authority that guys die all the time.  You asking me to believe you care?”  Blake quietly answers, “No.  I’m saying I DON’T care.  I’m saying I’d do it again.”  As Catman contemplates retiring  they stop by a tiny convenience store, engrossed in conversation, and completely miss the gang of thugs trying to rob the place.  Blak explains that life feels like something’s missing in his life, and Deadshot picks out ice cream.  A skinhead pops up, puts a gun to Lawton’s head and screams for them to put their hands up.  “You ain’t the contemplative type, Blake,” replies Deadshot.  Heh.  We are treated to a brief shot of Junior’s lackeys coming in to clean up their boss’s mess, and he replies that he has the information they need.  “Know who is transporting her.  Six individuals, not serious threat.”  Uh oh…

Back at the grocery, Floyd and Thomas continue talking, and Deadshot suddenly realizes.  “It’s that girl!  That Huntress broad.”  The best part is watching the skinheads scream at them, as the two men calmly have their discussion about chicks and ennui with guns to their heads.  Lawton continues with his Huntress theory, explaining that “It’s the closest thing you can get to doin’ it with Batman.  Hold that thought.”  Deadshot whirls, grabs the gun, and breaks the thug’s nose with his elbow.  “You don’t respect ME, fine.  But you will $&@$ing well respect the GUN.”  Floyd shows the idiots how it’s done, explaining as HE robs the grocer, taking all the cash  and an armload of smokes  and Deadshot and Catman prepare to leave.  Catman feels obligated to step in and save the day, though, and rips the thugs nearly to pieces with his claws.  “Yep.  Guess the Justice Legaue oughtta be callin’ any day now, General Glory,” replies Deadshot from the door.

Back at their lair, the House of Secrets, Scandal continues trying to drink herself to death, only to find that Ragdoll has arranged for a birthday party for her.  A stripper pops out of a cake dressed as her dead lover, and Scandal’s drunken mind hallucinates as she recieves a pretty awkward lapdance.  She imagines Knockout talking to her, and wonders how.  “Because you’re stupid drunk, silly…  Or, perhaps it’s because I am a New God and death alone cannot extinguish what burns within me.  Or perhaps I am a woman in love.”  Scandal finally starts to sober up, pushing the stripper away.  “She’s gonna kill us all,” says Deadshot.  “Not me,” replies Catman.  “I brought the ice cream.”  Ha!  Scandal smiles at her idiot partners, shakes off her stupor, and tells them that she has a mission.  The Six  are to transport the Tarantula, but the mission is a bit funny.  Just as she points this out, Catman gets a call from the Huntress ( warning him to not take the gig.  She warns him that the Six are dead if they cross swords with Junior, and hangs up.  Speaking to the darkness, Huntress explains how much she hates doing what she just did.  “A bloodbath is coming, Huntress,” replies The Batman from the shadows.  “None of us are getting out of this with clean hands.  Least of all, Thomas Blake.”

Part Two

And Secret Six #2 delivers on every level.  Beyond the intrigue and Mad, Mad, Mad World-esque story arc, Gail tells an engaging story on every single page.  Whether it’s Bane, Ragdoll, and Deadshot talking about Scandal’s love life , or Batman and Catman discussing the ingredients of Mexican food while duking it out on the rooftops of Gotham City, Gail can write dialogue that has you both on the edge of your seat, and rolling on the floor.

Her Batman is one of the most human I’ve seen in a while.  Instead of nabbing Catman, and putting him away, he’d rather pay the Secret Six to not do the job they’ve been hired to do.  Coming out and saying he cares for everyone regardless if they are a homicidal maniac or friend is about as close as we are going to get to seeing a Batman who is in touch with himself.

It is interesting that Simone pairs Batman against Catman instead of Bane – or maybe it’s not, considering the other Cat in Batman’s life is currently on a hospital table with a big hole in her chest.  Regardless, Tom Blake’s bravado plays perfectly against Batman’s no nonsense “don’t make me kick your ass” attitude.  And their fight isn’t too bad either, ultimately ending in a tie, because Catman let Batman get a few hits in.And lets not forget that Catman was created way back in the 60’s as the perfect foil for Batman, so all in all the fight that most of us sixers have been waiting for was actually very well paced and entertaining

The rest of the Six don’t fare as well as Catman, as they end up in a spot of trouble trying to break the Tarantula out of Alcatraz. I’ve come to appreciate the current incarnation of Bane, and like his screwed up philosophy on life, even if it means giving the opponent exactly what they need (in their ornament-things).  Scandal is the tragic character in the group, and I have a feeling she’s going to get out of her funk before the story reaches its conclusion. Deadshot, well, he’s just this guy…

By far the creepiest character is Ragdoll.  This is one messed up mo’fo’, and in Gail’s hands he moves from homicidal looney to scary “put the lotion in the basket” territory.  While I can’t wait to see what comes out of his mouth next, I’m also cringing every time I see the specialized Ragdoll font because I know it is giving me another glimpse into the mind of madness. If you get the chance head over to newsarama and listen to the interview with Gail (and forgive the interviewer for saying how much he loves the series and not spotting that the girl in green isn’t enchantress but is in fact cheshire doh!!!!)
As I mentioned earlier, there is a very Mad, Mad, Mad World vibe to this arc, but it is probably a more accurate homage to Cannonball Run as the Six now have to get their prisoner from one coast to the other, anyway they can, while avoiding a whole army of villains hell bent on killing them, thanks to the war cry of some dude under a hood.  At the moment I have no idea who the mysterious Junior is, but I have a feeling when he is finally unmasked, we’ll all go “wha-huh?  I never expected that.

The art by Nicola Scott is, once again, out of the ballpark.

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Fanboy Time- Sometimes I love being a comic fan

April 19, 2008

Gail Simone announced at the NYCC ’08 that the best villain/hero team ever is finally coming back. You know who i’m talking about the Secret Six. The rogues that make Two Face seem predictable. Gail will be joined on this ongoing by the excellent Nicola Scott. I am so happy as this was far and away my favourite comic in a long time. And Catman and Deadshot are definetely the new Murtagh and Riggs.

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Interview with Jimmy Palmiotti

April 4, 2008

tn.jpgtn1.jpgJimmy Palmiotti

He has extensive inking and writing credits and has often inked the work of his friend and collaborator Joe Quesada, notably on Ash(which they co-created, along with Painkiller Jane) and Daredevil(esp. the ‘Guardian Devil’ arc penned by Kevin Smith). He also worked for Dark Horse Comics, as the inker during the Doug Mahnke run on X. He inked Paul Gulacy on Shang-Shi Master of Kung Fu and Steve Dillon on  Punisher. He’s also inked over brad walker’s pencil’s on the DC Comics mini secret six. His most recent inking credit was on DC’s ,Manhunter , Countdown to Final Crisis, teen titans and The War That Time Forgot.As a writer Palmiotti is known for Deadpool , Punisher, Daughters of the Dragonand  Heroes for Hire for Marvel Comics, Hawkman, Superboyand The Monolith for DC Comics, as well as 21 Down, The Resistance  for their Wildstorm imprint (often in tandem with fellow writer Justin Gray). Palmiotti also co-scripted, with Garth Ennis, the Ghost Rider and punisher video games that tie in with the movies. He has also recently penned Supergirl #12, the Uncle Sam and the Freedom Fighters miniseries and an arc for Superman Confidential arc. Currently, Palmiotti, along with Gray, are writing the monthly, Jonah Hexand a second Uncle Sam and the Freedom Fightersmini for DC. Palmiotti and Gray are also part of the writing team for DC’s countdown series. Jimmy is also working on the fantastic Dock Whalloper at virgin comics with Ed Burns and has two animated projects with writing partner Justin Gray coming out soon.,  The Speed RacerDVD from Lionsgate and Deadspace, an animated feature written for Starz and E.A. GamesHe has, as well, sold and put into development at one time or another:  Gatecrasher, Tempest, Beautiful killer , The Pro And recently co-wrote with Justin Gray The Hills Have Eyes: The Beginning for Fox Atomic Comics.His work on the Painkiller Jane series for the Sci-Fi Channel starring Kristanna Loken has lasted one season which he held the titles writer consultant and creator as well as scripted the 13thepisode called “The League’ which was about comic book fans gone bad. In the past he has written and storyboarded films for Nike. They featured LeBron James and Vince Carter. Jimmy Palmiotti has been called a Renaissance man of comics, for his great productivity and versatility. He has been active in comics since the EARLY 90’S, co-creating many great titles such as ‘Ash’, ‘Painkiller Jane’, ‘Kid Death and Fluffy’, ‘Gatecrasher’, ’21 Down’, ‘Spygirls’ ‘Beautiful Killer’ ‘New West and ‘The Resistance’. Together with Justin V. Gray and Amanda Conner he founded Paperfilms.  

Jimmy let me start with saying thank you for popping by.

Butcher:What got you started in the industry?

JP:A love for the things that I enjoyed. Comics, movies and games have been a huge part of my life way before I made my first dime. I started drawing as soon as I popped out of my mom and was creating my own horrible little comic books when I was but 10 years old and haven’t stopped . I love everything about creating and living in a separate universe and one of my favorite things as a child and still as an adult is listening to people tell stories. At the end of the day its all about getting the story across to the next guy and comics certainly is a fantastic medium for just that.  

Butcher: What was the first comic you read?

JP:I really try to think hard to what that was and my brain goes right to superman or to Archie comics. There were so many around the house because I had two older brothers that had them, so I think I was fed a steady diet of superheroes and horror comics daily, with the break of Archie and Ritchie rich here and there. All of them have made an impression on me, especially when I was in high school…things like master of kung fu, swamp thing and killraven changed the way I thought about comics. Funny thing I notice now is they are all genre titles and not classic superheroes. Explains a lot. What was the very first comic you worked on?It was while I was in high school and it was INVADERS #41. I helped ink the backgrounds for chic stone. Someone at the high school came by looking for an artists assistant for an artist he knew and I was recommended by my teacher, Mr. Jefferson. It was a short lived job because chic didn’t like what I did…he told me I ink like I’m trying to create a photo and fired me right away…but he used the work I did.  

BUTCHER:Who are some of your hero’s and who’s the most fun to work with. 

JP:My heroes are, starting at home, my mom and dad, Amanda conner, Justin Gray…then frank frazetta, paul gulacy, darwyn cooke, joe kubert, elmore Leonard,  will Eisner, milo manara, Phil Noto, moeibus, Kevin nowlan, james jean, and so on…the list goes on and on. They are my heroes because they do their own thing and make this business so much richer. Each one has has a specific effect on a part of my life and what I do and how I am able to stay successful in this business. I’m not kidding, this list can go on for pages.  

BUTCHER:What do you think the main difference is between American Comic book fans and British Fans? 

JP:Hmmmm, at times better manners all around and they can hold their drink! I think the fans have so many things in common and if the land mass was connected, it would even be a smaller difference. Now that I am thinking about it, the British fans have a healthier attitude towards embracing genres like war comics, westerns and science fiction. I must have a bit of a brit in me. Comes from hanging out with Garth Ennis too much. Honestly, I have only met the brit fans at shows in the states…I really haven’t been invited to many cons over there…just mostly Spain and Italy.   

BUTCHER: Us Brits really took to secret six, and also Catman, did you like the character.?I found him really intriguing that a villain had such a strong moral compass and that team wouldn’t have been out of place walking on the side of angels? 

JP: Well, the better written the villain is the better the book and showdowns will be, don’t you agree/ they are both interesting studies in people who “ think” they are doing the right thing and by whatever way society is judging things this week, they are looked upon as bad guys. On of my favorite “bad guys” to write is jonah hex. In his brain he is doing a service, but to the rest of the world he is a feared killer. Perceptions. Very important stuff.  

BUTCHER: What do you do for fun?

JP:I hang out with Amanda conner, go out and travel, get drunk, tell tons of stories, break up a fight and fool around. I also have my work, which I find great fun.  

BUTCHER:What have you got coming out in the coming year? 

JP:A lot more Jonah hex books featuring jordi bernet, darwyn cooke, jh Williams, Michael beck and so on. Working on a war that time forgot series with Bruce Jones writing…got a big superman/Supergirl mini series with Phil noto attached,the terra series with Amanda Conner coming as well and a few more books to be announced. On the tv and film side…too many to mention and they wont let me talk about them yet as well.   

BUTCHER:Any tips for budding artists or writers who want to break into the industry apart from don’t starve.? 

JP:Yeah…get published or publish yourself…stop looking at porn and make the internet work for ou…network yourself and talent and have manners with people you meet. Be good to all people.  

BUTCHER:When will us Brits get to see you over here?

JP: Working on that…seriously. Was there for 2 weeks a few years ago…but hid out in pubs with my comic friends and complained about the food mostly.   

BUTCHER:Is there anything you’d like to do in the industry, life? 

JP:Yes, write and direct a film with a character I created, travel more and only do creator owned characters for the rest of my life. Real simple , please make that happen for me…ok?  

BUTCHER:Is there anything you wish you hadn’t done, is there anything you wish the industry hadn’t done?

JP:Weekly comics, alternate covers, more than one title for characters…you know…4 batman books, 9 x-men titles, and so on. It kills the industry and leaves no room for Indy guys to get your money. I wish I hadn’t gotten into advertising for 9 years and I wish I met Amanda Conner when I was 7.  

From Stu.Art from MWM what’s your favourite cheese and beer. 

JP:Cheese, I like cheddar…and beer…man, you brits are gonna think im nuts…but I like  crap beers…nothing too heavy. All my British friends laugh at me…but I was brought up stealing beer from stores and the cheapest beers were always the ones closest to the door. You get the picture. Oh…and I don’t like Heineken at all.

I have to thank Jimmy for doing this in his Dinner Time. This is one genuine nice guy and I will be more than glad to buy him a ale or six