The only reason I bought this issue is because it's the first part of a crossover with Doom Patrol. I probably could have skipped this issue. I'm sure DP writer Keith Giffen would have given me enough info that I wouldn't be totally lost if I'd opted to only buy the second part of the story. Giffen's pretty good about that actually. As it turns out, there are plenty of reasons to buy this issue other than just to get the bare bones of the plot.
Before I picked up this comic, I read a few of the reviews on-line. The general consensus out there in web land is that this issue is very good, and that Secret Six writer Gail Simone does the DP as well as Giffen. One reviewer admits to laughing out loud at several points during the issue.
So, what did I think about it? Well, it was very good, I laughed out loud a few times, and Simone does, indeed, write the Doom Patrol as well as Giffen. She even gets Ambush Bug right, which isn't easy. Even Giffen, the character's creator, hasn't always pulled it off. Bumblebee is just as useless here as she's been over in the Patrol's own book. Her big contribution to the team this issue is to get swallowed by a mutant man-fish.
Before this issue, I never would have thought Bane could be funny. But there is a hilarious scene near the beginning involving the backbreaker on a blind date. After meeting his date, he thrusts a bouquet of flowers in her face and flatly declares, "I wish to mate." The girl, Spencer, is a dancer at a super-hero themed gentlemen's club called "Superiors", which is where she and Bane meet. When she's harrassed by a drunken customer, Bane punches his face in, then asks, "Shall I snap his spine? I am unsure of the etiquette?" The date ends there, as Bane is ushered out before the cops can arrive, but Spencer tells him to call her. Not only is Bane funny, but he actually comes off somewhat sweet, innocent and naive. I certainly never would have expected that of the guy who crippled the Batman.
Then there's Deadshot. Especially after John Ostrander and Kim Yale's excellent, but very, very grim, 1988 mini-series, I wouldn't have pegged Floyd Lawton for a barrel of laughs either. However, he's got a couple of very funny lines here as well.
The story concerns a slacker kid named Eric who suddenly inherits his grandfather's fortune and criminal empire. He decides to rebuild the organization as C.R.U.S.H. (Companians Recently United to Spread Hate--a great acronym, by the way) with his gamer friends and sets out to get himself a secret headquarters inside a volcano. The volcano he has his eyes on just happens to be on Oolong Island, current home of the Doom Patrol, so he hires the Secret Six to take over the island for him.
Given the overall irreverent tone of this issue, I'm not surprised that the Secret Six appears to consist of eight members. However, I didn't recognize about half of them and it would have been nice if Simone had taken the time to introduce them to any Doom Patrol readers, like me, picking this up just for the crossover, or to introduce the Patrol to Secret Six readers who for some reason aren't reading their book.
That minor quibble aside, this was an excellent comic, and enough to make me want to read more of this series. I've already bought the six issues mini-series that preceded the current monthy and includes the first encounter between the Doom Patrol and the Secret Six, and I plan to read that this weekend. I might even check out next issue, which the blurb at the end of this one promises contains "...the most requested Secret Six story ever!" Don't know what that could be, but I am a little curious.
Personally, the story I'd most like to see is Bane and Spencer actually getting to finish their date.