“The Darkest House”
Writer: Gail Simone
Artists: Brad Walker (p), Jimmy Palmiotti (i)
Publisher: DC Comics
In my review of the first issue of Secret Six, I expressed a disappointment in the artwork. While the art hasn't gotten any worse, it hasn't improved either. However, what's really disappointing is the way the writing has regressed. I'm of the mindset that Gail Simone is an excellent writer, but of late she's hitting more “valleys” than “peaks.” This issue is one of those “valleys.”
The main reason I really dislike this issue is that there are too many crazy characters on the team. There's not enough balance now. Ragdoll alone was fine, but now Mad Hatter and apparently Scandal have been added. Three out of the six are nuts. And, for me, it's too much. The dynamics of what made the team fun and enjoyable has been tossed out the window for this “new direction.” During this issue I found myself rolling my eyes and muttering to myself about how much I dislike how the team is in shambles. While I realize that the way of stories is to break down in order to build back up, there is a limit. The only good thing about this issue is that Knockout is healed and ready to rumble.
Another part of the story, and one I knew was going to come back to haunt the team, is what Dr. Psycho did to Ragdoll. Perhaps it's my own personal bias, but I'm beginning to hate the overuse of Psycho in the DCU lately. And, obviously, this story takes place before the events of Manhunter #24, but no explanation was given. Yet another aggravation when it comes to coordinating events and it appears that what happened last month has been undone. Am I the only one who misses the little “editor's note” box that used to appear?
As I also said in my previous Secret Six review, Brad Walker's art is serviceable. My hope that the art would get better is waning quickly though. He's okay, just not as good as I think he can be. He still has difficulty in telling a clear story throughout. Some of the angles he chooses to tell the story leave me guessing what is going on (I'm still trying to figure out the helicopter fight), while others have me seeing how good he can be. Walker has a ton of potential, and he shows flashes of what he's capable of doing. Now he just needs to put it all together sooner rather than later.
As much promise as this series showed in the first issue, it's essentially gone by the wayside now. While I have no doubt I'll buy the next three issues, doing so may not be as enjoyable as I was hoping it would be, but I want to finish it and see if it gets any better. Though at the rate it's going, there's not much hope of that right now.
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