"Secret Six" is determined to end with a bang, not a thud, and in its penultimate issue Gail Simone raises the bar, and the intensity. It's easy sometimes, reading an issue of "Secret Six," to forget that this is a comic about super-villains. You've come to care for this group of misfits, and they may seem at times almost like heroes.
This isn't one of those times.
In "Secret Six" #35, Bane is back on the Venom, and (still reeling from the team's recent trip to Hell) is leading their team on their most dangerous mission yet: take down both Batman and his associated heroes. It's a suicide mission, certainly, but at the same time an intriguing one. In a way to wrap up "Secret Six," you can't get much more high stakes, and in the past the best "Secret Six" storylines have been the ones where you can see disaster looming ever-larger on the horizon.
Like with each issue, all the characters have their own little moments, from Deadshot and Jeanette sprawled in the kitchen, to Bane and Catman's spar in the snow. The two that stand out above all other, though, are King Shark and Scandal Savage. Scandal's interactions with the back-from-Hell Knockout are both heartbreaking and chilling, as we see just how badly Knockout has been affected by her death and resurrection, as well as Scandal's growing realization that the person she restored to life is quite different than the one she once loved. And as for King Shark, well, every scene with him is nothing short of hysterical, and it makes me that much more sad that Simone won't be writing him in this fall's "Suicide Squad" relaunch.
J. Calafiore continues his solid, dependable run as artist on "Secret Six." The scenes with Bane and Catman fighting in the snow are gorgeous; you can almost feel the cold just looking at the pages, especially that opening scene with Catman's breath fogging up in the crisp air. And when King Shark attacks the lair of the new draftee into the Secret Six, well, it's an explosion of energy from start to finish.
I'm sad to see "Secret Six" about to end, but it's great to see Simone and Calafiore not doing it by halves. It's been a great three years worth of an ongoing series, and this is another great installment. Now, all that remains? Finding out who survives when the dust settles.