Written by: Gail Simone
Art by: Dale Eaglesham and Tom Denerick
Publisher: DC Comics
Secret Six has throughout it’s run been pretty consistently fun, and it’s one I’m glad DC have kept around. However, with the threat of Rebirth hanging overhead and a lot of these more experimental book seemingly being for the chopping block, you can’t help get the feeling the book is rushing a bit too fast towards a conclusion, a real shame, considering this issue has so many great moments that remind me why I wish Secret Six was sticking around.
This issue deals mostly with resolving the current Strix arc as well as all the goings on between Ralph and Sue Dibny. Things are problematic though given how quickly the Strix conflict is resolved, after a two page fight scene things just anticlimactically come to an end, and while it seems like they’re not completely done with that story, it feels very weird pacing wise and made me feel like I’d missed something during the story. What also felt super weird to me, is during the emotional climax of Strix’s decision, it’s Batgirl who steps in to give her an emotional send off. This probably bugs me more than it should, but honestly this didn’t make much sense to me, Porcelain has been the one bonding with Strix in recent issues, so it felt like they should really be the one doing this scene. Instead, Barbara sort of forces herself in, with her only callback to a sweet moment being something that happened literally pages ago (which to be honest, was the cutest thing I’ve seen in a comic all week). That said though, the Ralph/Sue moments were far better handled, having benefited from much stronger build up and the additional benefit of being centered around characters actually from this book. Additionally, the ending is the absolute biggest DC fist pump moment I’ve had in as long as I can remember. It might be down to personal preference, but I think certain fans are going to be very happy.
While I have my complaints about the pacing of the story feeling very rushed in light of the books upcoming cancellation (no official word from DC I should say, though when nothing’s cancelled everything is), the issue still features a lot of what I’ve loved about the series. There’s been a real sense of the characters bonding and the fruits of this feel like they’re paying off with lots of touching yet funny moments, but the pacing is disappointing, as it feels we’ve finally got to a comfortable place, but now have to start running towards the end. It’s disappointing, especially since this happened to original series, so I really hope DC have some plans to keep these characters around. They’re a unique team of oddballs that manage to also be fun without trying to be “edgy” or unnecessarily grown up. It’s a book with a big heart, you genuinely feel the love Simone feels for the characters, and it’s made them really grow on me in this short amount of time.
In terms of art, Eaglesham continues to be the perfect fit. He his a very classic DC style, which makes this book feel like a natural extension of that world, while still having enough expressiveness in his art to nail the humour of the book. The emotional ending is also very well done, nice tender images and once again, that “jumped out of my seat screaming” reveal is terrific. Tom Denerick does a couple pages of this issue, which initially worried me as multiple issues on a single issue are a big no-go for me, but I honestly I didn’t even notice the style change, Denerick is therefore technically a great fill in art, as it didn’t disrupt the story at all for me.
Overall, Secret Six #12 is another solid issue in a series that feels like it’s being unfortunately cut short. The series has done an excellent job building on it’s cast, and despite this issue sidelining them a bit in favour of Batgirl, there’s still a lot of great payoff for fans. If you’ve been reading the series, you should definitely pick this up, if you haven’t? You’re the reason I’ll never truly be happy.