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Strange Intentions

July 14, 2009

     Caught in the midst of a battle, the Secret Six, or more specifically, Deadshot, were forced to make a difficult decision.  Deadshot insists on carrying the corpse himself, and he gets into a fight with Mr. Smyth and his assistants over it, since they believe that it would be a bad precedent for him to do so.  Ultimately, Smyth decides to allow him to do as he wishes.  The Secret Six also shows signs of division over the topic of slavery.  At dinner, Mr. Smyth reveals that his plans involve the utilization of slavery, with representatives from all parts of society, in order to achieve something great.  In prison, some guards try to fiddle with Artemis, but their superior scares them off.  She then yells at him for being a greater evil than his subordinates for fooling himself into believing that he is decent.  One of Mr. Smyth’s assistants show the Secret Six what their slaves are building: a giant prison for every criminal in the world.  In the middle of the night Jeannette decides to go free Artemis, despite her better judgment, and the rest of the Six catch her.  They then divide down the middle on the issue, with Jeannette, Scandal, and Bane trying to help Artemis (actually, Bane’s trying to help Scandal), and Catman, Ragdoll, and Deadshot trying to stop them.  In the scuffle, Artemis seems to stop breathing, and Wonder Woman, full of wrath, arrives to deliver punishment to those who harmed her sister.

     This arc is great because it explores just where in the morally gray spectrum of today’s comic books that the Secret Six stand.  Even those fighting to keep Artemis imprisoned are primarily doing it just because they accepted the job to work with the slavers.  And those fighting to free Artemis aren’t exactly trying to help her out of the kindness of their hearts.  Only Scandal seems to really dislike what’s going on, and that’s mostly because she doesn’t want to be like her father, Vandal Savage.  It’s Gail Simone at her best in these pages.  And Mr. Smyth is another delightfully scary villain.  His ideas for the betterment of the world are truly bizarre and frightening.  I don’t know about everyone else, but I can’t wait to see Wonder Woman lay the smackdown on the Six.  None of them would even stand a chance against her, except for maybe Jeannette.  It’s a rare opportunity to see the main characters of Gail’s two current series interact with each other.  Nicola Scott continues to do her superb work in this issue, though some of the faces, like Mr. Smyth the one shot of Wonder Woman, are a bit funkier looking than her usual work.  It’s clear that the Six won’t be getting out of this mission unscarred.  But that tends to happen to them on every mission.  And that’s why they’re so fun.

Plot: 9.4      Art: 9.2      Dialogue: 9.3      Overall: 9.3

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