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ACW #626 – Secret Six

Action Comics Weekly #626 (Secret Six)
“Capitol Offenses”
Writer – Martin Pasko
Pencils – Frank Springer
Inks – Frank McLaughlin
Colors – Carl Gafford
Letters – Albert DeGuzman
Editor – Robert Greenberger

“int” is usually how I begin laying out my patented comics-reviewing format.  I fill in the credits… hit enter twice… type “int”… hit enter twice… type “–“… hit enter twice… type “syn”… hit enter twice… type “–“… hit enter twice… type “rev”.

Now you know all of my Secrets.  Were there Six of ’em?  I lost count…

We open with Sixers, Vic, LaDonna, and Maria attempting to evade a helicopter in the skies above Arlington, Virginia.  Meanwhile, on the opposite coast, Tony and Mitch play dress-up with some Imagik prosthetics.  They kinda playfully bicker back and forth, which feels like it comes out of nowhere.  Back in VA, Vic leans out of the VTOL and blasts the chopper to bits… it falls, and crashes into what’s gotta be an Olympic-sized swimming pool in some random backyard.

While those Sixers set down and try and figure out their next move, we shift scenes to that Hunter S. Thompson-looking guy.  He’s chatting up another Agency member about how Fenedy has called a morning meeting.  Then… he deduces that there might just be a new Secret Six!  What’s this… nine chapters in a row where he has this revelation?  Dude, get over it… you were right the first time!  Take the win and move on!

Next, we check in with Luke… who had been taken captive at the end of last chapter.  Some Agency goons approach his prone body, with a sizable hypodermic in tow.  Luke manages to get the upper hand and fight off the pair of geeks.

Back at the VTOL, Tony (disguised apparently as the wizard Shazam) arrives to fill in his teammates on everything he’d learned during his West Coast excursion.  He believes it was this “Agency” that downed the original Six, and not Mockingbird.  We get some awkward (which is to say, wrong) word-balloon placement here, which kinda muddies things, but I feel like we’re smart enough to know who really said what.

More than that, Mockingbird also knows who said what… ya see, he’s got the entire operation “bugged”.  He’s tickled pink that his new Sixers are blaming Fenedy and the gang for all of their troubles.

But not everything is going quite as well for ol’ Mista Byrd.  Ya see, his current captive is taking his sweet time “coming around”.  That captive is, of course… wait for it… Rafael!  Wow, we haven’t seen that guy in ages!  He’s looking far less Bert Convy-like here… and more like Namor the Sub-Mariner when the Fantastic Four first found him.  We join him as he’s sitting on a floor playing with a train set.  Seems as though he thinks he’s a little boy… or something.

Well, no, not really.  As one of Mockingbird’s goons enter with his evening meal, Rafe overpowers him… with a toy train, then makes a run for it.  He is found, almost immediately, by Mockingbird who mocks him for being unable to escape… after all, his father was an escape artist!

It feels like we might finally be getting somewhere with this one!  Though, we gotta keep in mind that there are still four chapters left to go…

Let’s break this one down.  Four of the Six have been reunited… and have shared intel.  That intel may not be the most accurate, but we’ll burn that bridge when we get to it.  We finally get to see Mockingbird “in the flesh”, as in, not just as a talking head on a monitor.  While it’s pretty hilarious that he wears his full cloak even when cloistered away in his headquarters, it was still cool to “see” him.

I remember way back in the long ago, when I was reading ElfQuest.  There had been ongoing in-story rumblings about the half-Elf/half-Troll character, “Two-Edge”.  I never thought we’d get to see him… then, we did!  The Mockingbird appearance was… well, a lot less cool than that… but, still… forward momentum!

Rafe being “brainwashed” into being a child?  Okay, it’s interesting… but, doesn’t get enough “build”.  It also… kinda tips the creator’s hand a bit, doesn’t it?  We got Mockingbird talking about “genetics”… he’s got Rafe acting like a little boy… we know Mockingbird is one of the original Six… and Rafe is the son of one of the original Six.  Ya see where I’m goin’ with this?

I’d be remiss not to mention how Hunter Thompson deduced that there might just be a new Secret Six… again!  Would somebody please just pat this guy on his bald head and tell him he’s right?!  This reminds me of making the mistake of laughing at a joke a little kid tells… they try and “recreate” that moment for the rest of the day, and that just ain’t fun.  So, Hunter-looking guy… from me to you: You’re right, buddy!  Good job!

Overall, I’m pleased that this feature is moving forward.  Lord knows it’s been mostly stagnant since its return!  I will admit though, I am kinda looking forward to referring to this one in the past tense.  The art, which I don’t mention nearly enough, is still strong as ever!

Tomorrow: Off-Roading!

Your Moment of Vartox:

From Power Girl (vol.2) #7 (February, 2010)
Jimmy Palmiotti & Justin Gray (w) / Amanda Conner (a)

The Main Man squirts some of his… musk in Power Girl’s direction… only to learn that it had no effect.  This is the unsubtle (but funny!) “let’s write him as he looks” era of Vartox… just to be clear.

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