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A Lifetime Ago

June 27, 2010

Secret Six #22 marks the true and complete end of the Catman we once knew and the beginning of the Catman whom the world will fear as one of the most deadly hunters of all.  The issue begins with the continuation of the Scandal Savage and Black Alice fight.  Elsewhere, Catman continues to remember the fight his mother and father had.  His father wanted him to see this because he doesn’t want to lie to his son.  Young Thomas pulled out his gun, but his father managed to confuse him and push the gun away.  So when Thomas actually shot, he killed his mother.  Then, as his father goes to call the authorities, even then saying that he will always love him, Thomas stabbed him in the stomach, hoping that his father would die slowly and painfully.  Back in the present, Scandal finally beats Alice.  Alice starts crying and apologizing before saying that, while trying to heal her father’s asthma with Raven’s powers, she accidentally gave her father cancer.  Elsewhere, the scuzzbag old man who hired the three mercenaries waits with the last one for Catman’s coming.  He reveals his true motivations; just he found out that he was doomed to a slow and painful death, his wife and daughter were killed in Qurac by Cheshire’s infamous terrorist attack.  Catman gets picked up by someone who looks suspiciously like one of the people who guided him and his family around back in the day, and Black Alice leaves the team, wanting to go be with her family.  Catman finds the last assassin, who is an electricity-wielding metahuman, and defeats him after literally biting off part of his face.  He finds out from the old man that his son has been adopted by a family and that he will be forever safe from people like them.  On the old man’s advice, he calls Cheshire and tells her that their son is dead.  Then, he tosses the old man out of the window, bidding his son farewell.

Oh wow.  That… was so dark.  I mean, even for Secret Six.  And I absolutely loved it.  Gail Simone has such a twisted mind sometimes.  First of all, there’s poor Alice.  This bridges her involvement in Secret Six and the Coven of Three so that her behavior in the latter actually makes sense.  And her rhymes were so funny and awkward, especially the one about Ragdoll’s penis.  Deadshot’s comment about smoking?  Priceless.  And it was pretty cool to see Ragdoll stand up perfectly straight and threaten Deadshot.  Then, of course, there’s the messed up motivations of the old man.  And what Catman did.  He bit part of that guy’s freaking face off!  That was crazy!  He really has gone off the deep end.  And the way he coldly bid farewell to his son and lied to Cheshire…  He’s never coming back from that.  I’m sad a bit, since I liked Catman inhabiting that morally gray area.  And yet, he’s so bad-ass now that I almost don’t mind at all.  Jim Calafiore was absolutely meant to draw this arc too.  Okay, so Catman’s mouth looked a tad too big when he was biting the mercenary’s face.  But everything else was superb.  I particularly liked the way the stained glass shattered and the perspective in the panel when the old guy was tossed out of the window.  Every so often, I do miss Nicola Scott, but Calfiore was definitely a good replacement.  At this point, I really, truly have no idea where this book is headed next.  More so than almost anything else I’m reading.  I never would have expected this story before it happened.  But Gail Simone has done such great work with these characters issue after issue that I know I’m going to be both repulsed and thrilled by whatever she comes up with next.

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

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