Story-Arc: Who Are the Secret Six?.
WRITER(S): Joshua Williamson.
Artist(S): David Marquez.
Colourist(s): Alejandro Sanchez.
Letterer: John J. Hill.
PUBLISHER: DC COMICS.
RELEASE DATE: March 31st, 2020.
GENRE(S): COMICS, SCIENCE-FICTION.
MY OVERALL RATING: ★★★☆☆.
The Dark Nights: Metal event changed the DC universe forever by introducing the dark multiverse. All it took was a mystery too important for Batman to ignore to trigger a chain of events that could never be undone. While the world is still recuperating from this new reality and dealing with various other new threats slipping into their world from unknown parts of these multiverses, there remains one villain from this dark multiverse that continues to live in their world: The Batman Who Laughs. Being an alternate Batman who killed the Joker and was exposed to a devastating toxin that fused both entities together, the world was not ready for a psychopathic mastermind with no regard for human life. In writer Joshua Williamson’s hands now lies a brand-new series where two of the greatest heroes of all time join forces to stop an evil plot that will put some of their dearest allies in danger.
What is Batman/Superman: Who Are the Secret Six? about? Following up on the events that took place in The Batman Who Laughs, this story sends Batman and Superman looking into the sudden appearance of a mutated Joker virus. With the Batman Who Laughs having wreaked havoc on the DC universe ever since he surged out of the dark multiverse, the safety of the world has never been this much of a fragile concept. Despite knowing what this new virus could do, their hunt leaves them wondering who might be the next target and when will it happen. It’s up to the World’s Finest duo to figure this out before the maniacal plans of the Batman Who Laughs cause any more trouble than necessary.
“He has a plan to save us all, Supes. You’ll understand once you see… Your truth…”
– Joshua Williamson
I think a villain with a name like “Batman Who Laughs” should never have their name said out loud during dialogues. It’s near impossible to take it seriously, even if he remains one of writer Scott Snyder’s creations that will have you quaking in your boots at the mere thought of him. It’s also a bit difficult for this series to really take off and remain pertinent when the whole narrative is based on this idea that a defeated villain is still able to somehow pull strings and make everyone’s lives so much more complicated from “behind bars”, especially when he continuously anticipates countless yet-to-be-made decisions by Batman and Superman.
At best, this story remains action-packed and relies heavily on the premise that you’ll want to know who are the unlucky six characters who are bound to be infected to ultimately form the Secret Six. Other than the suspense on that matter, there isn’t much more being cleverly developed besides writer Joshua Williamson’s attempt at genuine chemistry between Batman and Superman as well as a quickly skimmed over attempt at introducing regret in these two heroes who thought hiding the truth from other heroes would prevent a disaster.
The main attraction here remains the artwork, penciled by David Marquez and coloured by Alejandro Sanchez. With zero reproaches in terms of consistency, this creative team developed excellent character designs, fantastic transitions, and brilliant action sequences that quickly reminds the reader that this story features beings with extraordinary powers and magical abilities that are beyond the understanding of science. The colouring is also impressive, managing to strangely balance both the vibrant colours of daylight and the flashy hues of classic suits but also the darker shades with an accent on shadows and the eeriness of the night time. It can be argued that this attempt at featuring both tones takes away a certain horror-full atmosphere that could’ve been prioritized throughout this story.
Batman/Superman: Who Are the Secret Six? is an action-packed and entertaining story featuring the Batman Who Laughs’s evil shenanigans and the cost of secrecy.