ACW #601 – Secret Six

Action Comics Weekly #601 – Secret Six
“Listening to the Mockingbird”
Writer – Martin Pasko
Art – Dan Spiegle
Letters – Carrie Spiegle
Colors – Carl Gafford
Editor – Dick Giordano

Wouldja lookit that… it’s like Milestone Week here at the Infinite Earths… today marks our ELEVEN-HUNDREDTH DAILY DISCUSSION!  How ’bout that?  I wish I had something more interesting to talk about today, because…

Well, here’s probably the one I knew (and cared) the least about goin’ in.

My first exposure to the Secret Six is probably like a lot of folks in my age range… and that’s the Villains United version, with Catman, Deadshot, and all’a them.

I actually have a few issues of the late-60’s stuff that I’ve managed to grab here and there… but, lemme tell ya what, that’s some dry comics right there!  I’d tried getting through a few to share on this here blog, but I just couldn’t do it.  It was just too dry, too dull.

Here’s hoping that 8-page helpings will make this easier to digest!

We open in Orsonville, where there is quite the heavy acid rainstorm going on… it’s literally melting the flesh off of the citizens!  Ya know, Acid Rain is up there with Quicksand on the list of things I was sure would impact my life in a profound way.  Anyhoo, we get a shot of the Technodyne Plant, which may or may not have anything to do with anything… but almost certainly does.  From here we shift scenes to this odd woodland mansion called “The Enchanted Forest” where Bert Convy tells all of the patrons that they’re going to be closed the following night for a private party.

After making the announcement he follows up with a couple of fellows (including original Secret Six member, Carlo di Rienzi) regarding some R.S.V.P.’s… and so, we’re about to meet some of the invitees.  Starting with Mr. King Savage… another original member of the Secret Six (they’re all going to be members of the original Secret Six, by the by).

Then, Lili de Neuve… an aged French film star.

Next, Crimson Dawn… which isn’t that red mark that Psylocke had on her face during the late 90’s, but yet another Secret Six veteran.  She is Kit Dawn-Langman, a model.

Then, Tiger Force… a beat-up old boxer, who appears to have trouble even signing his name… though, he tells a fan that he’s going to write a book one’a these days.

Off to August Durant, a former Physicist… now an old man reliant on pills to stay alive.  He quarrels with… I dunno, maybe his wife… before getting in the car.

Back at the Enchanted Castle, Bert Convy (actually a dude named Rafael) is pleased to hear that the gang’s all RSVPed… and hopefully, this will draw the mysterious Mockingbird out of the shadows as well.

Do you see a bird… or a bunny?

We shift scenes to San Francisco, where a man is arriving for a “job interview”.  It’s ten o’clock at night, so he’s a bit suspicious.  Upon arrival, he meets five other people… including a woman in what appears to be a hockey mask.  Nobody comments that this is weird… so, whattayagonnado?

It’s quickly established that each of these folks have disabilities.  One’s blind, another’s deaf… one’s in a wheelchair, and as mentioned, one’s wearing a hockey mask.  They were all called here by a Mr. Byrd (hmm…) and none of them seem to be all that pleased.  In fact, a fight breaks out between them straight away!

They are then interrupted by a video monitor… it’s Mockingbird, who offers them each a new life they’d never dreamed possible… so long as they agree to be his new Secret Six!  We wrap up with a mention of an entire city having just been wiped out… going to assume that has something to do with the acid rain.

I’m going to be honest, this one took a few passes to get through.

Not that it’s necessarily a bad story… but, if you’re coming in cold… which I’d have to assume many of the readers of Action Comics Weekly were… you’d have absolutely no idea who any of these people were!  Outside of an appearance in Crisis on Infinite Earths #12 (March, 1986) they hadn’t been seen since Secret Six #7 (April-May, 1969)!  Who’s going to know who or what a “Tiger Force” is?!

The only way I was able to make sense of this was with use of the DC Wikia… something I’m fairly certain the readers of 1988 didn’t have access to.  Now, as you know, I’m a big fan of “lore”… but this feels like it might be just a little too obscure.

The story itself?  It was kind of tough to follow.  The panel layout here didn’t really lend to the idea of scenes shifting.  It was difficult to understand (at first blush) where one scene ended and another began.  We’re going to give ’em the benefit of the doubt though, and chalk that up to the idea that writing eight-page stories was a bit of a novelty to a writer more accustomed to writing full-length issues.

The idea of the New Secret Six being comprised of folks with disabilities is interesting… and I gotta admit, I’m looking forward to finding out what’s going on under that hockey mask!

Tomorrow: It’s almost a “cheat day”, because we’re talking Superman!


2 thoughts on “ACW #601 – Secret Six

  • Charlton Hero

    Sooooo….glad I read this. As you know I didnt get Action Comics Weekly in my parts..firmly established. Secret Six is new to me outside of some wiki entries but I like to conjure up ideas for comic character concepts fully believing I am super original only to find out Secret Six beat me to the disabled superheroes punch. Thanks for saving me a lawsuit down the road! Ha!

    • At first, I thought this was going to be like the Burger King Kid's Club, where they just happened to have a fella in a wheelchair. It wasn't until my second-scan of the story that I realized that they're *all* disabled! Let's hear it for (my) reading comprehension!


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