The new arc that focuses on Bat-foe Bane, the man who broke the Bat!
Secret Six #35
There’s a lot of bittersweet, irritating moments connected with Secret Six 35, none of which are Gail’s fault. I found it ironic that as I went to my local comic shop, the issue was, once again, sold out (glad I subscribe) and yet it’s one of the many books on the chopping block come September. Gail Simone has once again turned in a great, if dark and twisted, story about the ne’er-do-wells of the dysfunctional family/mercenary team.
The issue starts with Bane out for a jog in the woods around their home, when he runs across Catman. The two have a strange sparring match/conversation about Bane’s future. Bane is still shocked that he’s consigned to Hell, as they learned last story (although I still think the team taking a demon’s word for anything is utterly foolish). Bane’s also come to the realization that, while he won the epic fight against Batman in Knightfall, the Batman now is healthy and well, and surrounded by loved ones, ruling Gotham, while Bane is on a team of, essentially, losers. Please note, that’s his thinking, not mine, I love this book and the characters. Inside, there are various scenes of the team’s couples- Deadshot and Jeanette having apparently made new and interesting use of the kitchen counter (I really don’t think I’d ever eat in their kitchen, given the many scenes of oddness Gail’s done in there), while Scandal learns Knockout has… what would you call it? post-Hell depression? She’s certainly not her old self.
Bane decides he’s going to go for broke, and go after Batman again. This time, to really hurt him, Bane is targeting the “loved ones” of the Dark Knight: Red Robin, Batgirl, Robin, and Huntress. Catman immediately says Huntress is off limits, or he not only walks, but will call the Gotham Cops. Bane shrugs and crosses her off, substituting Commissioner Gordon. In my view, this is one of the few holes in Gail’s story. Bane knows who Batman is. If he really want’s to hurt him by attacking those close to him, where are Alfred and Leslie Thompkins?
The team goes off on part one of Bane’s plan, and after wading through a lot of defenses, finally manage to capture their quarry- the Penguin. Just before the battle is another of the great examples of Gail’s dialogue which so well sum up this group-
Jeanette: Mr. Lawton, have you given any thought as to why we are following a man we don’t even like to injure and kill people we don’t even know?
Deadshot: Not really. Don’t look at me. I just like to shoot things.
As one sided as it is, the fight does seem to snap Knockout somewhat out of her depression, if not quite back to her old self. Penguin proves surprisingly resistant to Bane’s beating, refusing to give up what he knows of the various Bat-allies. In their usual offbeat and twisted way, the team gets him to give in by Ragdoll threatening to start feeding the various penguins in the man’s office to King Shark, who is more than ready to eat them then and there. There’s a further twist- when Penguin finally agrees to give the information to the team, he’s also informed that he’s been drafted, and is one of the team for the duration.
What I liked and what I didn’t:
As ever, it’s a great story. The characters are true to themselves, and the very complex relationships among them drive the story in part. It’s great that Knockout doesn’t instantly recover from being in Hell for so long. That has to be incredibly traumatic at the very least (she was going to agree to marry Ragdoll, for Pete’s sake, how messed up do you need to be for that?). Bane, throughout the issue, refers to himself as the new Napoleon, and when Catman agrees to help, starts calling him his lieutenant. Clearly, going after the Bat-family is going to have consequences, but since this is the end of the book, that makes sense enough. There’s been no mention at all of Bane in the DcnU, I wonder if this is his going out in a blaze of glory, or infamy?
About the only thing I didn’t like was the glaring omission mentioned above, of Alfred and Leslie on the hit list. Taking Huntress off made perfect sense to me, and Oracle not being there fits with her faking her death recently. I also sort of wonder what happened to Liana, maybe she’s still in the hospital.
A COMIC BOOK BLOG RATING
|the characters, Bane’s decision to go to war, how Knockout was handled||no Liana, the hit list oddity|