Review by: JDC

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Avg Rating: 4.6
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Size: 144 pages
Price: 14.99

Despite numerous brushes with the larger DC Universe, Secret Six has always felt like an indie book to me. Following a team of C-list villains (and Bane), it’s violent, crude, sexy, and lots of other things that would make Superman blush. Being slightly off the rails has made it a thrill to read; with unpredictable storylines and captivating characters, it’s one of the hottest mainstream series out there right now.

Which is why I was a teeny-tiny bit disappointed with The Reptile Brain.

With the team split in two, we get some fun new additions from the bottom of DC’s collective rogues gallery. Every one of them gets the Gail Simone treatment; elevating them from “villain-of-the-weeks” into blank canvasses ripe for masterpiece. She makes King Shark disturbingly hilarious, and you just know something bad is gonna happen to Dwarfstar from his attitude.

Simone’s dialogue is so sharp you might cut yourself reading it, and her ideas outrageously inspired for a book like this, but that’s all par for the course. Everything starts to get a little murky once the main characters descend (literally) deeper into the DCU.

I found all the new characters — seemed like there was one every issue — a little hard to keep up with, even forgetting some of their names. And while I appreciate spicing up the genre every now and then (I loved that Western story a while back), swords and monsters fantasy really isn’t my thing, and thus I found the plot difficult to follow.

However I can still appreciate the fun of it all, which remained at the forefront. Just so long as it isn’t permanent. And J. Calafiore’s art is starting to loosen up too.

Speaking of fun, the crossover with Paul Cornell’s acclaimed run on Action Comics was an absolute blast. Cornell’s comedy beats are impossible not to laugh out loud to — that bouncing detonator is pure slapstick. He also shows a great handle on the Six, who are tricky characters at best. Even when he “tags” Simone back in, the transition is seamless, and Simone shows similar characterisation skill with Lex Luthor.

All this and some more backstory for Scandal too. Don’t say they aren’t good to ya.

Given the ending, it would appear that the Six are only going further into the complex web of the DC Universe, but so long as Simone is writing these no-good, foul-mouthed, black-hearted anti-villains then I guess it doesn’t matter where they hang their hats. Besides, somebody’s gotta love ’em.

Story: 3 - Good
Art: 3 - Good


  1. I’m trying to get into this series but I have no idea where to start! What’s the first TP called?

  2. Try Villains United. That’s the first intro to the Six, and then you’ll have to look for Six Degrees of Devastation. That one is harder though, because its out of stock.

  3. It’s honestly a “start anywhere” kinda book. You’ll soon get caught up with the rich backstories.

    As Mpainter said though, the Six first appeared in Villains United, which is a tie-in with Infinite Crisis. Six Degrees of Seperation would be the first trade of their own spin-off, but if you can’t find that then the next earliest trade would be Unhinged. All of them are great.

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