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Comic Review: Secret Society #1

Forever Evil DC New 52 Secret Society of Supervillains #1

It’s no big name villain title like Zod or Joker, but make no mistake: Secret Society #1 is one of this month’s most important books in the Forever Evil event. Co-written by Geoff Johns and Sterling Gates, Secret Society #1 is a quick and dirty backstory setting up Earth-3’s Owlman and his trusty partner in crime, Alfred Pennyworth.

Johns and Gates start by showing the fateful night in Crime Alley where Thomas Wayne Jr. sees his parents gunned down. But unlike in Bruce Wayne’s world, this was a planned hit set up by Thomas and executed by Alfred.

“What happened that day is the dark secret he will never speak of again,” says Alfred.

Johns and Gates move quickly off this twisted Owlman origin story to give a tightly-written look at Owlman’s final days in Gotham. They show out a Gotham ruled by the tyrranical Owlman and his deadly ally, Talon.

Yes, it seems in this world, there was no Batman to save Dick Grayson from the hands of the Court of Owls. Dick did indeed become their assassin before joining forces with Owlman.

But that doesn’t last long, because even on Earth-3, the Joker has a talent for killing sidekicks. The difference here is, he’s considerate enough to put a nice bow on his handywork after he’s done.

This is more an Owlman story than anything else, as it sticks with him in his showdown with the Joker on a rainy rooftop at night.

Artist Szymon Kudranksi gets plenty of opportunity to draw silhouetted Owlman dripping rain and looking badass, but there are places where all the shadows make the story hard to follow. He’s got a lot of lower face closeups, and when the face is covered in rain and blackness, it’s tough to know who is talking.

Still, Kudranksi gets the rain and shadow shots right most of the time, and when he does, the pages look spectacular.

Dick Grayson sits at the heart of this story, both in the Earth-3 Talon version and the more familiar Nightwing incarnation. Unmasking Nightwing was not random, nor was sparing his life afterward.

Owlman’s still hung up on his lost sidekick, and he’s got plans for Dick going forward.

Dick Grayson’s life keeps getting worse.

It also keeps getting more interesting.

8 out of 10

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