Action Comics Weekly #608 (Secret Six)
Writer – Martin Pasko
Art – Dan Spiegle
Letters – Carrie Spiegle
Colors – Carl Gafford
Editor – Dick Giordano
Over the past few years I’ve been trying to cut back on calories and whatnot… one of the main things I did was cut out soda. I used to drink a lot of it… especially when I was working overnights. I’d probably polish off a couple of gallons of soda and coffee a night… and somewhere in the garage I have a couple of kidney stones in a jar to prove it!
Anyhoo, I’ve changed from drinking real soda to things like sparkling water… flavored seltzers, all’at stuff. Thankfully, these days, flavors are so plentiful… and the novelty has sorta worn off of ’em, so they’re more affordable.
My go-to flavors are Coconut and Pamplemousse (that’s grapefruit to the less pretentious-or-French among us). But a flavor I really wanted… was Peach. Every time I’d hit the aisle, I’d look for a Peach-flavored drink… and the only one I could find was Walmart’s Clear American brand…
… and it sucks. Like a lot. It’s got that fake-sugar twinge to it. This can has literally been in my Fridge since we moved to the new house back in October, 2017. I keep hoping a guest will drink it.
And so, the hunt continued… for over a year. I found a “Pear-Peach” flavor… but, that wasn’t what I was looking for. Then finally, one day in the aisle I mentioned it to the wife… and she pointed and said “Just get Apricot…” To which I squinted, furrowed my brow and exclaimed “Ew… I don’t want Apricot.”
This was immediately followed with my asking, “What’s Apricot taste like?” Well folks, I’m sure I’m the last person in the free world to learn this, but, Apricot tastes a heckuva lot like Peach. And so, finally… I had my Peach Seltzer.
And then… not two weeks later:
Moral of the story… uhh, good things eventually come to those not smart enough to look for alternatives?
On with the show…
We pick up right where we left off last chapter. Mockingbird has revealed to the Secret Six that… a fella named Rafael DiRienzi is conspiring against them. He further reveals that ol’ Rafe is the proprietor of the Enchanted Forest Magicians’ Cabaret… or, he was, anyway. Ya see, Mockingbird done burnt that place to the ground! As Mr. Byrd continues his screed, Rafael decides to git while the gittin’ is good. The Sixers seem kinda split on the issue… they’re not sure quite who to believe.
Mockingbird’s transmission ends, and the Sixers set to fixing up the damage DiRienzi caused while breaking into the compound. As this is going down, we shift scenes to the Pentagon, where investigations regarding the VTOL crash are underway.
Later on, back in Frisco, Mitch is fitting Vic with a latex mask so he can take a trip… and, ya know, hide the fact that he can only see via the grace of that weird helmet. Turns out, Mitch is rather the gifted make-up artist… I mean, he’s right up there with Amazing Adventures era-Hank McCoy here!
We follow Vic on his trip into Boston. If you recall, he was with a young lady in our opening chapters… and it looks like he’s looking for a bit of a reunion. Only problem, she’s married… to (naturally) a grade-a jerk.
Vic and Gary-the-Husband fight a bit… and Vic winds up punching the poor jerk right through the window of The Pelican restaurant. It’s worth saying that Gary did throw the first punch.
We shift scenes to the Patron City of the Cosmic Treadmill Podcast… Chevy Chase, Maryland, where a young mother is frantic over the illness of her son. We join the scene as a Doctor is making a house-call, and for the life of him… cannot figure out what’s wrong with the lad. In the kitchen trash can, we see a package of Farmer Ralph’s Bacon. Hmm…
We wrap up back at Secret Six Headquarters where Maria and Luke have decided to watch the video tape DiRienzi brought with him. It’s of Mockingbird… and he’s talking to the original Secret Six. He tells them of their final mission… to train their successors. It’s here that our Sixers begin to put two-and-two(-and-two) two… er, together.
Strange little chapter here. A lot of stuff I liked… and also some stuff that I really couldn’t care less about (though, necessary for the story to proceed).
Let’s start with the stuff I didn’t really care for. The cutaway to the Pentagon. Yeah, I know we kinda need to follow up on this, but, really… it just drags things down. It also reminds me that this is a situation we’re going to have to deal with in longer form pretty soon. Thankfully it only got three-panels here.
Vic’s reunion with Mel? Not sure why we oughta (is it “oughta” or “oughtta”? I’m sure I’ve spelled it both ways… and will probably continue to) care about this. I get that there’s something between Vic and Mel, but, can’t even bring myself to shrug in indifference (though, dropping a poorly-worded paragraph on the subject isn’t a problem). I will say that I dug Vic punching Gary-the-Husband through the window!
I also dug Mitch putting his special effects talents on display when making Vic look like less of a robot. That’s something this feature has done quite well (for the most part), really highlighting each characters’ “specialities”.
Mockingbird destroying the Enchanted Forest was a neat touch… really goes to show that he’s not foolin’ around. Gotta wonder if he knew Rafael was there watching. The Secret Six never know whether it’s “Live or Memorex” when it comes to Mockingbird’s missives… so, for all we know, that was a live two-way broadcast.
This is also illustrated in how the team doesn’t quite know how to react. There’s a pretty clear schism here between people who want to give Rafael the opportunity to explain his side of the situation… and others who would rather not risk losing the “gifts” Mockingbird bestowed upon them by asking too many questions. It’s certainly a complex situation, and the conflicted dialogue here served it well.
The scene with Farmer Ralph’s Tainted Bacon sorta came out of nowhere, but I appreciate it being here. I’d almost forgotten what the Six’s next mission was going to be. It didn’t take up too much time or space, and served to remind us of what’s to come. Well done.
Overall… the Six have nearly lifted the wool from over their eyes… and I feel like things are really going to heat-up from here.
Tomorrow: Super-Exposition! Wait, where are you going? Please, come back!