Artist: J. Calafiore
Colorist: John Kalisz
Letterer: Travis Lanham
Cover Art: Calafiore & Kalisz
This Is How it All Ends…
The Secret Six is on the cusp of fighting one of their toughest battles ever with Bane leading the charge!
Torn by the new discovery of his destiny in Hell, Bane decides to quench his hateful thirst for the Dark Knight in one final battle. But this last installment of the Secret Six is much more than a mere vendetta held by Bane, but rather of team coming to terms with themselves and each other. Decisions will be made, hearts will mend, and only one ending can meet the standards of this legendary, yet villainous, comic book team. But is it truly and ending?
The Most Suitable Ending…
Where do I start? Since issue #1, The Secret Six has been the title I anxiously wait for every month over all the rest. Even during Gail’s time on Wonder Woman, the Six has always had my attention the most. When I heard that my favorite title was one of the few that was not transitioning into the new 52, I wept on the inside and wondered if any comic could ever equal the standard of quality established in the Secret Six. A few come close, but ultimately the Six wins.
I’ve never truly been satisfied with the ending of most comic book titles’ runs; the only ones I can remember being truly satisfied with was The Batman Adventures and Justice League: Generation Lost. But I can now add the Secret Six to that list of perfect endings to outstanding titles.
#36 wraps up many of the amazing aspects that made the Secret Six DC’s best comic book title; allowing friendships to finally be realized, loving relationships to be explained, and providing a happy ending in the only way the Six are able to understand.
But, They’re Bad Guys! Shouldn’t I be Happy That They’re Gone?
The Secret Six is a team of bad guys, no question about it, but the amount of heart that each character developed as the series progressed over the last three years is so much more than any of DCs most iconic characters ever had. As we came along for the ride, we’ve seen the darker side of the Six more than we have the lighter side. However, as the darkness loomed over us, we found a hint of respectability and good within each member of the six…even King Shark.
Issue #36 shows how a team like the Six becomes a family defined by their own principles and not by how the world expects them to be. Even in the face of the most powerful heroes, the six decide the best way that they can end their time together is by taking on their foes head first, without allowing them to be the victorious despite being outnumbered. If you truly look and examine the final battle, the Six were in control of the fight despite how outnumbered they were.
But the Secret Six is no stranger to tragedy as every major story arc this title has had has ended in such. How often has Gail written a truly happy ending for the Six? Almost never! It was nice to see some goodness come into the lives of each character for a change; Bane receiving a type of love he never thought he would experience, Scandal uniting in a happy and wondrous trifecta of love, and Deadshot and Catman doing the manly thing and showing how much they actually do care for each other as friends…even if they never actually admit to that fact. These types of joyous occasions have never occurred in the Secret Six. I think Jeanette hit the nail on the head by saying, “A happy ending…I’d forgotten they existed.”
But no one comes out of this final installment unscathed, even the superheroes realize this. This wasn’t a mere team of bad guys. The Injustice League had little purpose except to destroy their enemies, and the Legion of Super-Villains hated each other to the point of being…well…pointless. The Secret six, as Huntress pointed out, weren’t like the others. This was a family, and the superheroes knew it. The Six fought and protected each other…they loved each other. Which is why Huntress damned herself and the rest of her superheroes peers to Hell…they just killed a family. This is the most heartfelt and emotional ending to a comic book series I’ve ever experienced in my life!
Being the true guiding light to the Six’s artistic endeavors, J. Calafiore adds an even greater element with the visual perspective of #36, combining images of rage and love that has been intermingled in the series since day one. Likewise, John Kalisz enhances every panel with perfect coloring and shading, feeding into the emotional impact this final issue gives.
I can’t end this review any better than by simply thanking Creator, Gail Simone, and artist J. Calafiore for bringing the greatest superhero comic book series in history into the hands of readers like me. As much as I wish that the Secret Six was a part of the new 52, I think I can rest easy with this ending and let go. I’ve come to terms with the ending and needn’t any reboot nor revamping. They went out in the best way possible.
10 out of 10 stars.
+ 10 incentive points