Gail Simone continues to deliver some very twisted but excellent story telling in Secret Six #33, “The Infernal Finale.” The team is offered a chance to stay in Hell and serve in Ragdoll’s new court here, or go down fighting and suffer eternal torment. The debate amongst them is ended as it usually is- Deadshot decides for them and shoots Ragdoll in the head. A nice touch in the art here is the team gradually takes on more demonic appearances as the story goes on- Hell is affecting them whether they wish it, or even notice it, or not.
Secret Six #33
Elsewhere, Catman has a VERY disturbing reunion with his father. Blake didn’t come here to free his father, or seek forgiveness. Thomas Blake, disturbed soul that he is, wanted to make sure his father was actually in Hell where he belongs. Even more twisted, Blake Senior’s punishment is to be eaten alive every day by a creature that is part lioness (as he used to hunt) and part his wife who he abused and murdered. It’s really odd seeing a vaguely demonic lioness/human blending saying things like “Thomas, how lovely to see you,” and actually meaning them. Blake leaves, satisfied his father is punished, and when he wonders why his mother, a good person, is down here in Hell, Etrigan responds “Clouds and angels, paradise/the line of reward sometimes blurs/for if you can pay the asking price/you choose your Heaven, and this… is hers.” Think about that a second to really appreciate how truly messed up this entire concept is. I salute Gail for making me ponder something metaphysical and then go “Ewwww….. seriously?”
Back at the main fight, the Six are doing fairly well, considering they are vastly out numbered in hostile territory and Knockout not only doesn’t appreciate being rescued, she doesn’t remember them and goes after Scandal for breaking up the wedding. Of course, things can’t go well in Hell, and Lady Blaze, the ruler, shows up. First she puts them all through versions of their personal hells (a nice nod seeing Deadshot in his original tuxedo wearing incarnation, and Killer Shark’s hell is being trapped in a vegetarian restaurant).
Catman returns, Knockout gets her memory back, and the team refuses to surrender. A great line here “Look into the soul of Bane and know the truth. We will topple your kingdom if takes all eternity. We will defeat Hell.” Ragdoll switches sides and comes back over to the Six, and they use the card to get Knockout freed. Blaze lets them go, but says she will have Scandal’s “other girlfriend” soon enough. There was brief interlude with Liana and her kidnapper, Liana defiant to the end, which seems to be coming swiftly for her.
What I liked and what I didn’t:
This was a fantastically written issue, mixing family bonding (even with a messed up family like this), metaphysics, and bleak humor. I love that Catman was simply making sure his father was being punished properly, and the bit about choosing your own heaven was an interesting thought. I liked the entire story, and this continues to be my favorite monthly title, among some stiff competition.
My one picky bit here, that’s never explained: how does a New God, born on Apocalypse and eventually fleeing to Earth, end up in Hell? Are all the other New Gods down here somewhere? It’s not a big deal, but it bothers me enough to wonder about, and be mildly disappointed that Gail never addressed it.
A COMIC BOOK BLOG RATING
|Catman’s side trip explained, the team unifying, Bane’s threat||why is Knockout in Hell?|