Comics Load: Elegy for the Six

Now that I’m caught up on mainstream comics, I’m going to devote some time to my indie stack, including a load of new stuff I picked up at Comic-Con. So, look for that in a week or so (or less if there’s nothing good on TV). This week, Brian and I are both saying farewell to Secret Six. Sadly, it won’t be the only farewell coming this month. There are lots of beloved DC titles and characters to pay tribute to before the relaunch, and we’ll be there, mourning and wailing as each is snuffed out. Thankfully, Harvey Nicks have got some really tasty little black numbers at the moment. Now, on with the Load!

Brian‘s Load image

image Strawberry Shortcake #1

When my local comic store owner handed me this comic, I squealed. Yeah, you read that right, I squealed. I had no idea Strawberry Shortcake and her berry-best friends were getting a comic. That’s what a good comic book store owner does, people. He pulls books for you that he knows you’ll love. And my guy knows that I love girlie kid comics. And this book was as cute and delightful as you’d expect from a comic starring that beloved strawberry-smelling classic toy and cartoon character from the 80s. I loved every panel and every second of this comic. And yes, I’m a 37-year-old gay male. Bring on issue #2!

image Flashpoint #4

Another fast-paced, action-packed, exciting issue. If you’re not reading this, you’re missing out on a solid read, full of alternate-reality versions of your favorite DC characters. The best reimagination has to be the six kids who together turn into Captain Thunder (aka Captain Marvel aka Shazam). The fact that each kid represents one of the aspects of the old Captain Marvel’s super-gifts make this new Captain Thunder even better. These kids are like that classic, horrible cartoon from the 90s, Captain Planet. Man, I hated that cheap-ass show. I don’t need a cartoon to brainwash me about environmentalism and being all eco-vegan-y-recycle-y. Even as a teen, I knew that ‘toon was pandering to me. Screw that! I’ll take a cartoon, like Strawberry, that’s a thirty-minute commercial for a toy any day. At least she doesn’t preach it.

image X-23 #13

So here’s why I totally hate our site leader Chance: he got to meet and interview Marjorie Liu, the writer of this amazing series, at Comic Con. When I stood next to Chance for hours at the Prism Comics booth, trying to lure people to stop by, he repeatedly rubbed it in my face how much he enjoyed Marjorie and how pretty she is and how smart and clever and talented and— blah—I hate him! But I adore X-23 and this book. The interaction between Celia Reyes and the groin-impaired Gambit, the first meeting between Spider-Man and X, and the reference to the “little hirsute bird with claws” (read: Wolverine) totally made this book sing. Also, did you know that X-23 first premiered in that awesome X-Men: Evolution show from the 00s? She didn’t make her Marvel appearance until years later, but she was first and foremost a cartoon. Now she rules my heart…along with Ms. Liu. (Call me, girls!)

image Secret Six #36 (The end. *Sniff*)

One of the coolest moments from my Comic Con experience was my brief chat with writer Gail Simone. She was very sweet and kind and as I told her how much I enjoyed this series, she slyly mentioned that we might not have seen the last of our dastardly group of villains. Yay! How cool was it that Scandal decided to marry both tall, red-haired ladies she was romantically involved with? Pretty cool. We totally need more polyamory in comics. I hope new, relaunched Superman hooks it up with Wonder Woman and Aquaman. Yummmm, Aquaman. Anyhoot, this final issue (for now) had a huge, awful, edge-of-your-seat ending. I don’t want to spoil it, but, well, yeah I do: everyone dies! Everyone but Bane, it seems, but he can’t die because he’s gonna be in the new Batman movie. Let’s hope Bane is cooler in this live-action movie than he was in the recent Young Justice cartoon series. Don’t get me wrong, I really like YJ, a lot, but I’m not so sure that Bane should be some island dude with a luchador mask. I like drugged-out Bane much better, personally.

image Ultimate Fallout: Spider-Man No More #4

My boss at my 9-5 job is this big, white, middle-American guy who’s all about tradition and fully against change and advancement of “other cultures.” So when he heard about this new Spider-Man being a different ethnicity than the lily-white Peter Parker, he was outraged. No joke! He railed on and on about how Marvel shouldn’t change the race of a long established white character and blah blah blah. I finally had to tell him to chill the *&%$ out and get over it! So what if the new Spider-Man isn’t white. I say, great! Why can’t Spider-Man represent the multicultural America that I see every day? I told him, “It’s the future, buddy, so shut up and stop being so petty!” After my boss picked his jaw off the floor, he promptly shifted gears and started on about something else he hated about America. What an idiot. Rumor has it there’s a new Ultimate Spider-Man cartoon coming out soon. I wonder who’ll be under the mask? I hope it’s Miles Morales, because that would drive my boss crazy, and I would love nothing more than to rub it in his face each week! Hahah!

image X-Factor #223

Our girl Wolfsbane is about to give birth, and just like any comic book birth, it can’t be a normal drive to the hospital, some contractions, and the butt-slap to the new born baby’s fanny. No, it has to involve gods, monsters, ghosts and a werewolf. It just doesn’t pay to have kids in comics. Or get married. Or really, just be a woman in comics. All the bad stuff happens to them. What I did enjoy about this book is the appearance of the creepy young boy at the end of the comic, the one named Agamemnon. Anyone remember back in the 90s that Agamemnon was the name of the god who ran the Pantheon and recruited the Hulk to join his team? Back when the Hulk had the personality of Bruce Banner and was drawn by the then unknown Gary Frank? I love that era of the Hulk! Seriously, it’s a classic run on old Green Jeans. And the writer behind that storyline? One Peter David! Another writer I admire that stupid Chance met at his stupid Comic Con panel. Stupid! I will say that I enjoy the Hulk’s appearances on the Avengers cartoon show that just wrapped up its second season. He’s classic Hulk, with a twist of sassy and the grumps! Totally worth tuning into.

Chance‘s Load image

image The Boys #57

At this point in The Boys saga, I don’t think this thing’s going to end with a showdown between Butcher and Homelander. Oh no. We’re heading for a battle royale between Butcher and Hughie. I’m sure Homelander will get his, no doubt, but the real fireworks are going to come when Hughie finds out just how much Butcher has manipulated the war against the supers. It’s just the kind of twist needed for a Boys movie. Starring Simon Pegg. And Vinnie Jones. And Vanessa Hudgens as the Female.

image Secret Six #36

First Oprah ended, now this. When DC announced the relaunch, I know a lot of people—a lot—who had only one question: what about Secret Six? I really had no idea what to expect, nor did I have any idea of how I wanted it to end. However, I did think Bane’s plan to re-break the Bat sort of came out of nowhere. Luckily, it’s only a red herring to get the gang out in the open, where the JLA (and practically the entire DCU) is waiting for them. I love stories about losers, except when they’re in a glee club, so it’s particularly poignant that the series should end with one spectacular loss for our beloved gang of misfits and malcontents. While Catman and Deadshot come oh-so-close to admitting they love each other, Scandal admits she loves all the ladies in her life and, remarkably, they seem okay with that. Gail Simone, being a crafty sort of writer, left some questions remaining, of course. Like, who among the heroes died in the battle? There’s a panel that shows Deadshot shooting some female super I didn’t recognize, and King Shark seems to have taken a bite out of Conner Kent in another. Still, the good guys win, and the Secret Six (like their devoted fans) lose. Fare thee well, Six.

image Superboy #10

A secret satanic society has been living beneath Smallville for a hundred years, waiting for a cloned super being to come along, so they could, in turn, clone him and create an army to kill the Jedi and take over the galaxy. Meanwhile, Superboy’s stalker boyfriend Simon may or may not be a future genocidal maniac. While I appreciate the Legion of Superheroes (or someone) sending an assassin back to take out Simon, I think the evil army of Superboys would be a bigger concern. Unless, of course, Simon is somehow responsible for unleashing the army of Conners on the world. Oh, Simon. Honey, we’ve all been there. Let him go. I know unleashing an army of naked, sexy Conners may seem like a solution, but a week on Fire Island will be just as satisfying, I promise.

image Superman #714

I had rather hoped that Superman’s journey of self-discovery would have a bigger emotional finale. Instead, we get a pretty intense heart-to-heart, then a standard sort of feel-good ending. I definitely would have played up the Kryptonian/human meta-crisis a bit more. Maybe let readers in on the truth a little earlier, so we get a chance to care about this woman and what it must feel like for her to bear Superman’s thoughts and feelings. On a side note, this may be the last time we see Lois and Supes as a couple for a while. You’ve had a good run, kids. But it’s time for Clark to sew some wild oats, and by oats, I mean Jimmie Olsen.

image X-23 #13

This is a fun issue, mainly because X gets to be a hero for once, instead of a pheromone-induced killing machine. Things take a turn for the worse, though, when those creepy FF bastards show up at the end. X, you need to get the hell out of there. Trust me, you are better off with the family of claw-bearing murderers you have now than the bizarre, cult-like freakfest that is the Fantastic Four/Freedom Foundation/Church of the Gamma Ray Saints. And once they put a white robe on you, it’s too late. So, run! Run now!

image X-Factor #223

I wonder if Secret Six readers will find their way to X-Factor. Like Six, the X-Factor gang is full of damaged ne’er-do-wells of varying sexualities, powers and arrests. Plus, you can’t beat the goofy antics they get up to, like chasing the bi guy’s ex-girlfriend into the woods to try to save her and her werebaby. Or something like that. It doesn’t matter, because the characters really ground the book, so you actually care about them and their wacky shenanigans. So, if you’re missing Secret Six, come join us for a very special episode in the woods. (Punch and pie.)
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