Rating: 3/5 – Disappointing Issue Starring the Riddler.
By ComicSpectrum senior reviewer Shawn Hoklas.
The Secret Six has had it’s ups and downs over the course of it’s six issues so far. While the character moments are strong, rotating artists and a disappointing first story arc have left me feeling as though this relaunch wouldn’t make it far. Not only that, but the third issue was delayed by quite some time which killed any momentum the book may have had. Now with the sixth issue, we get a wrap up of it’s second storyline that again uses a different artist, and a portrayal of the Riddler that seems far from the brilliant psychopath we saw in Batman: Year Zero.
Ken Lashley and Dale Eaglesham split the chores for art on the first five issues and with number six, we get Tom Derenick. I do enjoy Derenick’s work, but when you have three really different artists over the course of six issues you can imagine the lack of cohesion, especially when you go from someone like Lashley who set the artistic tone in the first issue. Derenick’s art here is solid, and you almost wish as though he would have been the choice from the beginning. I enjoy his somewhat classic style and each character of the team is clearly identifiable while the action scenes are easy to follow. This “New 52” version/look of Ralph Dibney is a serious let down for me, but Derenick makes even him look good.
Writer Gail Simone has definitely given each character in the Secret Six personality and charm, but her writing of the Riddler is what fails this issue. Coming off of one of the arguably best Riddler stories ever by Scott Snyder in the main Batman book, this portrayal of the Riddler seems tame and somewhat out of character from who we saw just a year ago. The Riddler is attempting to get a stolen diamond back which he intended to use as a wedding ring for Sue Dibney, and the Secret Six are of course attempting to stop him with Ralph leading the charge. It’s not a bad story, its just that the Riddler never seems all that smart and the Dibneys come off so different from what long-time DC readers have known and loved from this cute and endearing couple. Change isn’t a bad thing, but boy have the Dibneys changed with Simone’s interpretation
I’m not sure if the Secret Six book is something I want to keep following. From issue one until now the art has changed with almost every consecutive issue, characters I’ve known before are quite different, and some creative difficulties at the start made this book stumble out of the gate. At the same time, Simone has a great handle on the team’s characters which is always one of her top strengths. I’d recommend anyone wanting to jump on board with this title to pass on this issue and see where she takes this series with the next arc. I’ll wait for that arc to finish before deciding on whether or not I’ll be back.
Reviewed by: Shawn Hoklas
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