Despite their moods, their personalities, and identity clashes, the new secret six have arrived: Catman, Black Alice, Big Shot, Porcelain, Strix, The Ventriloquist.
Secret Six #1 offers:
- Strong colour choices that establish mood
- Deep characters with strong personalities
- Well constructed themes of identity and deception
Colour establishes mood and identity for each character. Catman causes orange colours to wash through his actions scenes. Black Alice returns in a powerful, violent moment. The Ventriloquist sets a gloomy mood with blue colours
Colour choices set distinct moods in the comic. Red and purple colours washing over “Rusty Red’s” Bar in New Mexico create excitement. Thomas Blake – Catman – has a distinct orange colour palette. Orange floods out into the panels around him. He’s quickly established as a character who draws attention to himself.
Later, the enigmatic “goth girl” Black Alice brings back the exciting purple colours seen earlier in the comic. She casts a magic spell, seemingly borrowing the magic of the super magician Zatanna.
A powerful moment in the artwork brings Black Alice into the new DC universe.
The eccentric performer Shauna Belzer – The Ventriloquist – wears blue. Sombre blue colours fill the panels featuring Belzer. This colour sets a gloomy mood.
The Secret Six have large personalities, with their own unique abilities. The comic establishes strong themes of identity, and deception. The characters deceive each other, or assert their identity.
These characters are people with large personalities. They are flawed, but not caricatures. Humor is placed quietly into the dialogue, which serves to make the conversations bounce along and remain fun to read despite the dark and dire setting. Trapped in a claustrophobic box, the Secret Six have moments to answer the questions of a blaring, senseless artificial intelligence. It screams at them “What is the secret?”
Identity and deception themes are brought out by this first issue. The singer at “Rust Red’s” bar is not just a singer, and successfully deceives Catman. The Ventriloquist acts eccentric, but later shows she has an advantage over the Secret Six’s captors. Damon Wells – Big Shot – talks down his abilities in an attempt to hide details about himself. A basic deception. Big Shot has the ability to grow in size and strength. Strix keeps her face covered, and does not speak, which is a more direct and complex deception. By doing this, she conceals her identity.
Black Alice seems to have a disparate identity. She draws her abilities from other magicians. She might not feel that she has an identity of her own as a result. Kani – Porcelain – Seems to be the only character confident in who she is, and what she does. Porcelain openly admits to breaking into a bank using her abilities – she can cause objects to erode, become brittle, and break apart. She is however, mistaken for a man by Catman, which potentially foreshadows that joining the Secret Six could compromise her identity.
Themes of deception and identity are cemented by the arrival of six masks. The person behind the plot of this opening issue has an insight into where the characters are heading.
In addition to the characters actions, the deception themes are cemented when a box opens inside the gloomy bunker where the Secret Six are held captive. The team are presented with six masks:
- A blue, feathered mask
- A cat mask
- A black domino mask
- A rose coloured face-mask, partially broken
- A white face mask with a black pattern across its surface
- An owl mask typically worn by a Court of Owls assassin.
It sends an interesting message. The Secret Six are being asked to take on new identities, and to engage in deception by donning these new masks. The person behind this plan clearly has an insight into each of these characters pasts, and where they are heading.
Secret Six#1 is published by DC Comics ($2.99 USD). Gail Simone (W.) Ken Lashley (P.) Ken Lashley & Drew Geraci (I.) Jason Wright (C.) Carlos M. Mangual (L.) Cover Artwork by Eaglesham and Wright.