Review Date: 09/12/2008

 Supergirl #33
By: James Peatty, Ron Randall, Stephane Roux
Type: Comics
Genres: Action-Adventure, Superhero
Series: Supergirl
Publisher: DC Comics
Pub. Date: September 04, 2008
Availability: Released

     The latest D.C. run of Supergirl began almost three years ago, with the first five issues being written by premier writer Jeph Loeb, penciled by Ian Churchill and inked by Norm Rapmund.  Loeb got the series off to the very high quality start expected of him.  I read the first ten issues of the series, so I was curious to check-out the latest issue and see how its holding-up.
     Issue #33, entitled "Aftermath," is written by James Peaty with Ron Randall doing the art.  The plot focuses on Supergirl assisting the superhero Empress is trying to free her parents from a gangster who's kidnapped them after they've been genetically altered to revert to childhood.  It quickly turns out that the situation is a set-up to trap Supergirl.  Since I don't want to ruin the plot, I won't go into detail, other than to say that Empress and Supergirl figure out how to creatively work together and save the day by the end of the issue.
      This is a pretty good issue, of a quality on par with the earlier issues of this series.  Two aspects of this comic stood-out for me.  First, I liked the fact that it was a one-issue story, beginning and concluding in one shot.  It seems like every comic these days is part of a complex, multi-issue story arc, and it was a nice change of pace to just pick-up a comic and read a complete story.
     Secondly, there was a well-presented sub-plot through-out the story, of Supergirl grappling with the philosophical issue of how far a superhero should go both in getting violent in a situation and in personally trying to help a person.  There's reference to her recently trying to help a terminally ill cancer patient, and trying to come to terms with not being able to help in all situations.
     All-in-all, Peaty and Randall deliver for the reader in this issue.  I'd also recommend checking out next month's issue #34-the promo in the back of issue #33 announces a new creative team and an interesting story arc, "as we march toward New Krypton."

 Secret Six #1
Written by Gail Simone;
Art by Nicola Scott and Doug Hazlewood;
Cover by Cliff Chiang

  This new D.C. comic is written by Gail Simone, pencilled by Nicolla Scott and inked by Doug Hazlewood.  This is one badly disjointed, confusing book.  To be honest, it was so unclear regarding who the main characters are and just what is going on in this storyline, that I actually had to go to Wikipedia after reading this comic to try and get any idea about this comic world.
     Apparently (as I learned from Wikipedia, not from reading this comic), the Secret Six has been an on-and-off again team published by D.C. sporadically since the 1960's.  Each iteration had a different mix of six superheros, with a mysterious leader only known as Nightingale.  In 2005 and 2006, Gail Simone took a spin at scripting a new Secret Six team, this time structuring the group as six villains in a limited comic book series.  She took the old B-list D.C. villains of Catman, Deadshot and Cheshire, and added new villains Ragdoll, Scandal Savage and Parademon.  At some point she added a character named Knockout, who had a lesbian relationship with Scandal Savage.
     Simone's scripting of issue #1 is a disjointed mess, mixing together three major flaws to be avoided in any comic.  First, it's clear that she's throwing the reader into the middle of a lot of angst and emotional issues that are carried-over from her earlier series run, without giving any inkling to the reader of what it's all about.  Secondly, she makes no attempt to explain just who the heck any of these people are; there is absolutely no information regarding the group itself nor any details about the member's personalities, powers or histories, with the exception that Knockout previously died and Scandal Savage deeply mourns her passing.
     Third, Simone seems to be trying to creatively write about evil by just going for cheap shock value.  Its not high quality writing to focus on bad guys planning to kill some kid's dog because they're trying to get back at the kid's father.  It's hacky writing.  Multiply that pathetic example by about 20 story items and you get a feel for this comic.
     The cliffhanger at the end of issue #1 is the pending appearance of (gasp!) Batman in issue #2.  I don't think even The Dark Knight can bring some logic to this mess.  My advice:  run from this book, run from it like it's the Bubonic Plague.  There's so many great, or even average, enjoyable comics out there, that it's a crying shame to waste $2.99 in this direction.  Sorry to be so negative, but that's sometimes the life of a reviewer.  You're entitled to your own opinion...but you've been warned!

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