ACW #630 – Secret Six

Action Comics Weekly #630 (Secret Six)
“… The Mockingbird Still Singing O’er its Grave…”
Writer – Martin Pasko
Pencils – Frank Springer
Inks – Frank McLaughlin
Colors – Carl Gafford
Letters – Tim Harkins
Editor – Bob Greenberger

Today we come to the end of another road.  The second of our “Original Six” features concludes… never to be seen, heard from, or possibly even ever referred to again.

The Secret Six will take their final bow today… but, will it be in their perishing… or peaceably retiring that we say our goodbyes?

Our final chapter opens with Carlo “Mockingbird” DiRienzi wrapping up the story of how he survived the sabotage of the VTOL way back at the start of this thing.  If you recall (and I don’t blame you if you don’t), Carlo was an escape artist… so, ya know, escaping and defying death is sorta what he does.  I’m not sure this explanation required a whole two pages of this final chapter, but whattayagonnado?  As Carlo yammers on, Fenedy pulls up to the gate of the estate… and shoots the absolute bejeezus out of a stationed guard!

Back inside, Carlo reunites the Six with his son Rafael.  Turns out that after Carlo assumed his new role he planted that security box for his son to find.  Betcha forgot about that!  I know I did!  Anyhoo, he claims this was done in order for the new Six to learn about the deaths of the original Six from someone not-named Mockingbird?  I… uh… guess?  As this story meanders, Fenedy bursts through the front gates.

Inside, DiRienzi’s portly guard rushes over to inform his boss about the to-do on the estate.  Vic and the Six ready themselves for action, but Carlo calls them off.  He doesn’t want the Secret Six to risk their lives anymore… as he sees it, their job is done.  The Sixers (who actually refer to themselves as such) rush off regardless.

Carlo tackles Vic, knocking his Bebop/Rocksteady style gun away from him.  As he scrambles to nab it himself, Fenedy swings in from the skylight.  It’s always the skylight with these people.  Anyhoo, Fenedy lands and shoots “Mr. Byrd” right in the chest.  Vic responds by spearing the “S.O.B.” through a nearby railing!

Fenedy falls to the floor below, and winds up impaled by a big ol’ spike of wooden railing.  Whoops.

Oh, and Mockingbird’s dead.  There’s that, too.

We wrap up with the New Secret Six being retired… allowed to walk off into the sunset with their miraculous “gifts”.  So, all’s well that ends well for the folks we’ve grown to know and love over the past eight months.  They say their final goodbyes back at their San Francisco headquarters… however, once they leave… a monitor powers up.  On it appears… Mockingbird???

Ya know, I was all ready to start bagging on this for its poor pacing when we got a quarter of the way through the chapter, and were still in “flashback land”.  I didn’t think such special attention needed to be paid to how Carlo made his escape.  All we really had to know is that he did.  And we’ve known that for the better part of a month now.  It could’ve been one panel of dude with a sly smile on his face reminding us that he’s an escape artist.  Didn’t need to see the whole show.

I guess I did decide to bag on this for its poor pacing.  Hmm… that really wasn’t my intention.  What I was trying to say was, this final chapter didn’t really require a full eight pages.  the back three-quarters were (mostly) high octane action, parlayed into a pretty satisfied (dare I say, thrilling?) conclusion.

Both of our (assumed) antagonists wind up biting it at the end.  Fenedy and Carlo are no more… both dying as a result of their own bravado, more than anything.  Sure, it would’ve been nice to get a bit more “closure” after all the time we spent chasing (and being chased by) these characters, but, who knows what the future plans were for this property at the end of 1988?  For all we know, Pasko may have already been planning a “Gen Three” Secret Six team.  The sorta-kinda twist ending suggests that very well might have been in the works.

Who y’all think the new-new Mockingbird in the very last panel was?  Probably Geno.  I mean, it’s almost gotta be.

I was happy to see our new Sixers get the opportunity to walk away… and keep their “gifts” to boot.  It isn’t often that sort of thing happens… and this explains why we’ve never heard from these folks again.  I gotta hand it to DC… in an era where they’re rehashing and reheating every damn thing (I mean, there was a Dingbat in New Challengers), they’ve let these folks remain in retirement.  At least, as far as I know.  I might’ve missed Johns and Didio killing them all in a single panel… or referring to having killed them all off-panel.  We’ll just assume they’re still around, living their best lives.

I’m happy we made it through this Secret Six feature… as it, along with Blackhawk, struck me as the two (of the original six) that I would probably struggle the most with.  Having little experience with either concept (outside of the pre-Flashpoint take on the Six), I feared it’d be a slog.  Turns out the toughest part of the Secret Six feature was the restraint it took not to mention… for thirty weeks… that New-Sixer Mitch Hoberman looks exactly like Terry Long.  Whew… it feels so good to finally say that.  It was as though I was holding in a sneeze for eight months!

Tomorrow: Fellows of the Fellowship, Fellowing!

One thought on “ACW #630 – Secret Six

  • Chris U

    This version of the Secret Six were the only original characters to star in a feature in Action Comics Weekly. It is oddly appropriate that their only adventures be in the pages of this volume.

    But I still want to know who upgraded the Sixers "gifts" in between their two runs. The upgrades are never even mentioned in the story. AAAAAAAAARRRRRRRGGGGGGHHHHHHH!!!!!


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