The Secret Six are a bunch of evil bastards, and there’s no one better to write their adventures than Gail Simone. We mean that as a compliment, by the way: issue after issue, Secret Six is easily one of the most fun books on comic book stands, bringing together six very, very different villains, and putting them on the slow path to… Well, not redemption, actually, so much as “not getting killed.”
Today’s issue pits the weirdo villains in Secret Six against weirdo superhero team Doom Patrol, in the first part of a two part crossover. The winner? The fans. To celebrate the occasion, we talked to Simone about what to expect when Six faces Patrol, what’s fun about crossovers (or should be), and then we had her pit The Secret Six against six other DC teams of our choosing. You know, for fun.
Geek: So bring us up to speed... The Secret Six are about to battle the Doom ?Patrol - how did we get here?
Gail Simone: Well, in-story, it's because the Secret Six are mercs, and anyone with the folding green can hire them to do almost anything, even if it's something as dumb as attacking the Doom Patrol on their own home turf. It's that kind of team.
But the behind the scenes story is that Keith Giffen, one of my heroes and a creative tornado, called and said he thought it'd be a lot of fun to do, smashing DC's two freakiest books headfirst into each other. We both wanted to do something like the crossovers of the past, where you just had two teams at odds, without fifty tie-in books or gamma-ray variant covers. It was tremendous fun, which in the end, is the best reason to do anything in comics.
My issue of S6 this week is part one, and Keith blew the doors off in part two, in the next issue of Doom Patrol. It's good fun, and it has martinis and explosive strippers. How can you go wrong?
Geek: Who's the Ragdoll of Doom Patrol? It's Negative Man, right? I'm right, I just know it.
GS: I can't say. But yes.
Also, that was a delight, working on the characters and trying to match Keith's voice. When the scripts came in, we went over each other's dialogue for continuity, and he nailed Ragdoll's voice perfectly, and said I had done the same with Ambush Bug, which are without question the two hardest characters on these teams to write. So we were both hugely relieved. Keith's Ragdoll is a riot, and just as sick as he is in his own team.
Geek: If you could draft one character from Doom Patrol onto the Secret? Six, who would you pick?
GS: Wow. That's tough. I would think it would be either Elasti-Girl, who Keith has given a much-needed added dimension to, or the very aloof Negative Man. But he's done amazing things with Bumblebee, and now I absolutely adore her. I'd probably say Negative Man, as he'd bring something unique to the team. But I hope Bumblebee gets a bigger role in the DCU now, she's really become something under Keith's pen.
Geek: You're coming off a crossover from last issue with Action Comics. Other than getting to play with someone else's toys, what's fun for you about a crossover? Is it a refresher from the regular run of the book, or are you just antsy to get past it, and get back to the "main” story?
GS: Well, you know, it's odd, but there was a time when these kinds of things happened simply because the readers requested it, or because the creators had a fun idea for a story. I love the big, crazy, mega-crossovers as much as anyone, but that's not how every meeting of books should have to be. Some should just be there for fun, or to make some interesting point about the teams or characters. The Action crossover was huge fun for me because I adore Paul Cornell, but it also gave us the chance to resolve a couple things with Luthor, who formed the team in the first place, and to show an absolutely critical bit of history between Scandal, her mother, and Vandal Savage.
It's strange to me that we have to ask why we do these things now, why we DIDN'T make it part of some huge hype-fest. We did it because the DCU is a wonderful place to explore, and King Shark Vs. Robotman is exactly the kind of thing I want to read, big, odd, and a little bit disconcerting. It sounds like one of those crappy Megatuna Vs. Gigantoweasel low-budget monster movies that Tiffany always stars in.
Geek: Before we get to the main event, let’s talk a little bit about the next storyline. We're going to see the Get Out of Hell Free Card come back into play, right?
GS: Yes, this is the most requested story in Secret Six history. For those who might be coming in late, in the first arc of the ongoing S6 book, Scandal managed to hide the possession of a card that gets ONE person out of Hell with no consequences forever. They can never go back to Hell no matter what they do. Obviously, this is something all the villains of the DCU want.
Our story has the Secret Six taking advantage of that card--but who uses it and who is it used UPON is very much in question!
Just your basic, average trip to Hell, where all your dead enemies are. Like me and Charlie Callas.
Geek: Okay, boring stuff out of the way. Let's pit some other DC teams against the Secret Six. Fight!
ROUND 1: R.E.B.E.L.S.
GS: HA! Well, the fun thing about the Six is, even with all their firepower, they lose a lot of the time. They're tough, but they organize like grease marbles on an escalator.
I would say any team that has a Brainiac on it is going to be several steps ahead. The Six lose this one, but man, what I'd pay to see Lobo or Kanjar Ro and King Shark go at it, I can't even say.
ROUND 2: Creature Commandos
GS: I figure the vampire guy on this team is so ashamed of the TWILIGHT films that he kills HIMSELF, and that gives the Six the advantage. Plus, there hasn't been a great werewolf movie in years. The Six win.
ROUND 3: Metal Men
GS: I have a lot of fondness for the Metal Men, and truthfully, there are only a couple of the Six who could actually do any of the MM any real damage, Jeannette and Black Alice. I might give this to the Six, but it would be great if Mercury would just come out of the metal closet and admit he's gay for Iron.
ROUND 4: Stars and S.T.R.I.P.E.
GS: Geoff Johns, who created this book, is my boss now. So they win, a glorious win for our Celestial Leader! Win, win, win! Oh, frapalacious jolly day!
Who am I kidding, S.T.R.I.P.E. gets a magnificent beating, and Stargirl gets a massive spanking and sent home to write "I will not fight a super-criminal team ever" 100 times on her Hello Kitty chalkboard.
ROUND 5: The Newsboy Legion
GS: I would love to see the original team fight the Secret Six, but only if they had aged believably since they were created. Seeing the Six beat the hell out of some doddering geriatric newsboys appeals to me tremendously. The Six win, but they smell like liniment and bedpans for weeks after.
ROUND 6: The Zoo Crew
GS: Aw, man, no fair, I LOVE the Zoo Crew, and the co-creator of that book is the amazing Scott Shaw, who is the reason I am working in comics in the first place. So this is a tough one for me. I'd say the Six win, and then they all sit down and barbecue Pig-Iron in a delicious St. Louis-style barbecue sauce with a side of Fastback soup.
BONUS FIGHT: The Entire Town of Tranquility
GS: Well, there are a couple Captain Marvel-level guys in Tranquility, and most of the TOWN has powers of some sort. So the Six go down fast, but they don't mind, because after the fight, it's Wing Nite at the Chik-n-Go.
Geek: Okay, time to take a breather, that was an intense seven rounds of fighting. Before we let you go, though: any more crossover between Birds of Prey and Secret Six coming up?
GS: Huntress and Catman have a bit of an attraction going on, like two trains on the same track about to collide. It all happens in issue eleven, and I can't say much, but it might be the worst Date Night since the Montagues and the Capulets.
Secret Six #30 is on sale now!