Chaykin. For real? Who slaps their forehead when somebody kneecaps them with a crowbar? Nobody ever slaps their forehead anyway, that's only in bad movies when a shit actor doesn't know how to express surprise, here--there's just no excuse for that. It is that Bridge character who looks like a black Pac-man, even more so because his choice of clothing is skin-tight (which the Shield organization shouldn't do to people who have perfectly circular bellies) so there's already some aspect of "goofy," but the silly factor got turned up a bit too far on that one. Still, this is the first issue of this terribly stupid Jigsaw story where Fraction & Remender made good on that whole "these guys will save comics" tagline they've been labeled with by having the main villain tell Punisher that he loves him a whole bunch of times. That was sort of--unexpected? Random? Whatever it was, it was funny to watch a guy dressed in spandex jump on another guy dressed in spandex and compulsively repeat "I love you" while trying to kill him at the same time.
Deadshot used to look like a pre-sobriety Tony Stark, here, Nicola Scott ends up crossing that with a fey take on Errol Flynn, which makes his relationship with Catman far more homoerotic then it already was--and these guys are practically rimming each other on every page. When you compare the way these characters talk to each other, with their non-stop sarcasm and playful banter, to an actual spandex couple like the Authority's Midnighter and Apollo, it's hard to believe that Catman and Deadshot are supposed to be heterosexuals. Not out of some cheap laziness, but just because the two of them seem so goddamn perfect for each other. There's never been a good version of a "will they or won't they" in super-hero comics (probably due to the fact that it's way better done on television), but if Simone keeps this up, Secret Six could be that book. The only thing that's in the way right now is one of those terrible "coming-out" stories that comics should only be allowed to do if they're written by Mindy Kaling.
Garth and Darick knew better than to try to compete with the audacious reverie of the last issue's 9/11 blood drama, making for a quieter setting the stage chapter. The nastiest thing that happens is the aftermath of an attempted rape, where Annie (the near-victim) tries to reach out to the only other female she knows--for solace, commiseration, or maybe just a behind the back shittalking, and her attempt is repelled by a cold "I'm not your friend, little girl." It's cruel, and even more so when Annie responds, just as quickly, saying "God forbid. But would it kill you to offer me a martini?" That's the world of this comic, paid in full: a world where everybody, no matter where they started from, ends up being ground down by nihilistic solipsism. A man will send a stranger to kill his son, a woman will accept the abuse of another, simply because--well, as long as they can shit comfortably, it doesn't matter to them anyway. If it wasn't being done with such humor, this would be the most depressing comic available.
While there's no chance anytime soon that John Constantine's cab-driving friend Chas is going to get an ongoing series, the novelty of this story is still enough to propel it forward for 22 pages. It's about a cab-driver, the actual plot is far less interesting then the possibility that the cab-driver may finally cheat on that harpy wife of his, and it features John Constantine taking ecstasy in hopes of bedding young harlots--which he must fail at, since he ends up sleeping on a beach. (Which leads to one of those classic old school Hellblazer moments where he responds to a toddler's attempt at helping him by saying "Fuck off.") For whatever it's worth, it's nice to have a comic out there that has a character who tells children to fuck off. For the time being, that'll be the barometer that determines whether or not you've got taste: like it when the hero curses out adorable little boys? Then your vote counts.
Why does Gotham City need Batman at all when they've got emergency room physicians who can keep someone alive when the patient's heart has been removed? Sure, crime is bad, that's understandable, but clearly: the real heroes are at Gotham General. How many doctors would even take a look at someone with a gaping hole in their chest cavity, notice the missing heart, and attempt to keep the person alive? "Something smells good. My burrito or your vagine?"
It's kind of hilarious to read a Nightwing comic that feels the need to use words like "intra-articular" and "periarticular fibrosis" to add, we guess, some sense of realism or whatever you call that kind of manipulative use of WebMD to one of those overdone scenes where a super-hero character is getting operated on by a trusty friend who claims to have learned up to date surgical techniques from "the Discovery channel," both because A) this character in particular has been near-fatally shot about 47 times in the last three months if you go by "continuity" and B) because the only thing Discovery shows nowadays is Deadliest Catch and Shark Week. While the whole mechanical aspect of the story works in a relatively decent sense, mostly because of the dedication Rags Morales has to making the reader feel really, really sorry for Alfred, who is now living in the perpetually morose world of being a butler to Bruce Wayne while also being really sad, all the time--but when the strongest and most effective part of a super-hero story is a two-page sequence where a side character washes his hands, cries and then climaxes with a close up of him holding hands with the main character, you've got to kind of wonder if there's really any reason to read something like this. Touching, sure--but there's plenty of other avenues to go find "touching" that will be far smarter and more interesting forms of entertainment then a Nightwing comic book.
If you can't get a gangbanger to flip when you dangle reducing his prison sentence in his face, then drop him into a hospital room with a dude who screams and says nonsensical things all night. That'll show him. What's that? Didn't work? Well, see how he likes being locked up with an old man--an old man who is in a coma. Oh yeah. Now he'll talk. ... Really? Okay, well then convince his doctor--yeah, the weird looking lady who wears glasses that make her look like a Latino Judge Dredd--convince her to withhold medical treatment and physical therapy so that he'll be paralyzed for life. That'll get him talking. Telling stories. About gangbanging.
Wait, still? Nevermind. That's not what this comic is about anyway. Somebody go steal a couple of copies of Ghost Rider, just copy the rest straight out of that. Oh, but make sure you make the main character look as lame as possible. Like a sad version of that Racer X guy crossed with the voodoo priest from Live and Let Die.
-Tucker Stone, 2008